It never ends, does it? With Covid new case numbers in Korea reaching a record high on a daily basis (although still low by global standards), Seoul and the wider metropolitan region has moved into “Level 4” of the revised social distancing guidelines. This means that no customers will be permitted at Seoul Racecourse or in the capital area’s OCBs for the foreseeable future. While Busan remains open for the time being, it seems inevitable that there will be further changes to the racing schedule for July, the basis of which, with race numbers and even prize money returning to something approaching normal levels, was made with Seoul being able to admit at least 30% capacity from last weekend. This has now been completely blown up. For now though, racing continues according to plan and Saturday’s races are at Seoul with 10 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews for what is a challenging card:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million
Tricky little maiden for two and three-year-olds to start with in which plenty have potential winning claims. The narrow top pick is (3) ARAK TO WIN. True, her best performances so far have been at 1000M while she is yet to impress in two tries at today’s distance, but the manner of her 2nd place last start where after sitting in midfield she finished off very nicely. She was a long way behind the winner, a filly who has gone on to score again since, but Kim Yon-geun remains aboard and from a nice gate she could make the breakthrough here. (8) FLYING VICTOR showed good improvement when 2nd on what was his first start since last August. He too was well beaten by a good winner but should have come on fitness wise for that run and has every chance here. So too (1) GREAT THUNDER who has a 3rd and a 5th in two outings so far as well as the fastest time of any of these for the distance. From gate one, he will surely be on the lead and may be hard to get past. There are two debut-makers and both look to have promise. (7) BYEOLBIT MARU was the marginally more impressive in trials but (2) WONDERFUL SAM also looked competent and both can go well first up.
|Selections||(3) Arak To Win (8) Flying Victor (1) Great Thunder (7) Byeolbit Maru|
|Next Best||2, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million
The second division of the maiden for two and three-year-olds. Again it’s competitive but (3) WONDERFUL TYCOON gets the nod. He ran 4th on debut in what was a slow race at this distance before finishing 3rd to Aqua Punch, who has gone on to win again, over 1300M on June 6th. Both times he has sat in mid-division before running on well and he can take top spot today. The main danger is (4) JEONGSEONG DAERO. On debut on June 12th she sat in the middle of the pack before running on strong for 3rd place over 1000M in a decent time. The additional furlong may well suit and she will be a threat. Also stepping up in trip after a promising debut over 1000M is (2) MAGIC JUNIOR. He settled handy and stuck to his task well and he will be expected to make the running today with solid claims to stay on for the finish. There are four first-time starters and among them (10) GEOSEN GISANG went through two trials showing on the pace in both and posting solid times. Munro is on board and she can go well first up.
|Selections||(3) Wonderful Tycoon (4) Jeongseong Daero (10) Geosen Gisang (2) Magic Junior|
|Next Best||1, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4, 10|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
This maiden is open to older horses but it’s just as competitive as the previous ones. (5) TELOS mixes her form but we can give her a pass on her latest effort at 1200M when she drew the widest gate and used up a lot of energy getting to her favoured position before weakening. Instead we can go on her performance two starts back at this distance when she again drew wide but had an easier time of it getting to the front and led until the closing stages, ultimately finishing 3rd. She draws much better today which gives her a chance of getting a soft lead and she can go all the way. (2) CURRERECUS has been consistent across his eight starts to date. He has a strong finish on him compared with most of these and if Park Hyun-woo can have him in a good position turning for home then he will be in the finish. (1) GOLD SPIKE has a similar style of running. Although yet to record a top three finish he generally doesn’t miss by much and should be aiming for a best to date placing today. (8) VIKING HEART looks to be on the proper trajectory with an improved 4th last time out which he can build on today.
|Selections||(5) Telos (2) Currerecus (1) Gold Spike (8) Viking Heart|
|Next Best||12, 4|
|Fast Start||5, 7, 10, 12|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million
(1) ROCK FIGHTER won back to back races at class 6 level in March and May, both at this distance and in competitive times. For his first try at this level on June 12th. He dropped back to 1200M and ran well, settling in midfield and running on strong, briefly getting up to 2nd in the straight before finishing 3rd. From the inside gate expect to see him on speed here and if he is at his best, he should be too good. (6) MOST SPEED has run 2nd in both her attempts at this trip so far including at her latest start when she was on pace throughout. From a decent draw expect her to challenge for the early lead again and she should still be there at the business end of the race. Kim A-hyun’s 4kg claim brings (11) NINE EYE right into this. Yet to win in ten attempts, he has finished as runner-up on no fewer than ten occasions although at his latest start he had to settle for 3rd when stepped up to 1700M. He rarely runs a bad race and is tactically versatile and he should be on the board again here. (5) JOYFUL K struggled from a wide gate on his first try at this class over 1200M last start. The time before he was successful at this distance in a fast time at class 6 level and is worth another chance here.
|Selections||(1) Rock Fighter (6) Most Speed (11) Nine Eye (5) Joyful K|
|Next Best||2, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 6, 7|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million
Since returning from three months off in April, (9) HAECHAN has impressed across two starts, first getting his maiden win over 1200M and then running 2nd at this distance on his first try at class 5. He broke from the same gate as he has today and sat handy before running on well. Munro climbs aboard this time and he is set to be favourite. (10) POWER DOLPUNG steps back in trip after recent good work over 1400M. He likes to be on pace so while the draw is not ideal, his one win so far came from an even wider gate. The start will be important but if he can find a nice position then he can go close. (2) SMART OFFICER comes up in class following a win and runner-up finish at class 6 level. Both times she has settled back and run on strong so the step up in trip is of little concern and she comes in under a nice light weight. Expect her to be in the finish again today. Plenty of others come in with claims too. (11) LOVE ARCH is up in class and while she hasn’t run any special times so far, she has been finishing off her races really well. She steps up to this distance for the first time and won’t be bothered in the slightest by the wide draw.
|Selections||(9) Haechan (10) Power Dolpung (2) Smart Officer (11) Love Arch|
|Next Best||12, 5|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 9, 10|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
(8) OXFORD KING found himself surprisingly beaten at his latest start on June 6th when having led for much of the race, he found himself passed by Money Champ in the closing stages. He does have to carry a similar heavy weight today but at his best he should be far too good for this lot. He will be on pace again and will be heavily favoured to put things right. (5) RAON DIA came home 3rd in that same race on June 6th a further four-lengths in arrears on Oxford King. That’s her third straight 3rd place finish at this level since being promoted after a good win at this distance in January. She may not be able to overturn the form on Oxford King but does look his most genuine rival here. (6) GREAT KHAN is up in class and comes in fresh racing for the first time since a front-running score over this distance in April. She will need to improve but she has only finished outside the top three on one occasion and looks to have scope for further development. (11) DALRINEUN BITKKAL rarely runs a bad race and was a decent 5th place on his first try at this level on June 6th in the Oxford King race. He can aim to match or better that here.
|Selections||(8) Oxford King (5) Raon Dia (6) Great Khan (11) Dalrineun Bitkkal|
|Next Best||2, 10|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 8, 9|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Relatively small field here with (9) YAHO GOLDEN CAT the standout. He crowned his recent run of good form with his second career victory over 1400M on May 29th when he settled handy before dropping to midfield and then running on strong for a comfortable win in a good time. He does come up 3.5kg in the weights today but is favoured to prevail once more. (2) JEONJEONGSAGUEM enters off almost three months’ rest after a good 4th place at class and distance in April. He came from well back that day, but is capable of running well from on the pace too and has produced some fast times. Lim Gi-won climbs off in favour of the favourite, but in Alan Munro there is a more than capable replacement and he should go close. So too should (8) DONGJJOK GLORY. He showed signs of coming back into form last start on June 12th with a solid 4th at class and distance. Another who is tactically versatile, in his recent starts he has been settling back and running on and he should be in the finish here. (3) SUPER ECTON came home in 2nd place in that June 12th and while it has been a long time since his latest win, he runs very consistent times at this distance and looks good for a money finish again.
|Selections||(9) Yaho Golden Cat (2) Jeonjeongsaguem (8) Dongjjok Glory (3) Super Ecton|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 8, 9|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
It’s hard to go against (4) QUICKLY SUN here. After finishing 6th on debut, he hasn’t been outside the top three in four subsequent appearances with his maiden win coming at this class and distance in January. He has two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place since then and today, from a good draw, he should be on the early speed and prove too good. He will be hot favourite. (1) WILDLY ROMANTIC was a well-beaten odds-on favourite at his latest appearance on June 5th. He began uncharacteristically slowly that day and was scarcely a factor as he finished 5th of nine. He did though come back slightly lame so we can draw a line through it. He came back into work on June 30th and he looks the most credible threat. (9) THIS CHALLENGE was a decent 4th on debut on May 9th and can build on that second-up here while (2) DIRT SURFER was a big-priced class and distance winner on June 5th and will warrant more respect today.
|Selections||(4) Quickly Sun (1) Wildly Romantic (9) This Challenge (2) Dirt Surfer|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 7|
Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million
(9) MIGHTY BOOM should be too good here. She got her maiden win at class and distance two starts back before dropping back to 1200M to run 2nd to the very promising Victor Moon on May 22nd. Her times at this distance are consistently faster than anything else in the field has managed and she can settle handy here before proving too strong in the straight. (5) FINAL CANGINO ran well on his return to action following almost a year off, crossing from the widest gate to lead over this distance before eventually running 2nd to Dirt Surfer on June 5th. He may well strip fitter for that run and is in the placing frame again. So too (3) JANGSAN CLEAR, who registered a win and a 3rd place finish in two starts around the turn of the year. He returns here following over four months off and looked well when trialing in a fast time just last week and comes straight into contention. (4) ROMANCE CHARM was a significantly improved 4th behind Final Cangino a month ago and can build on that momentum here.
|Selections||(9) Mighty Boom (5) Final Cangino (3) Jangsan Clear (4) Romance Charm|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 5, 9|
Seoul Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Irresistible force meets immovable object. A seven race winning streak comes up against a five race winning streak and it’s (2) CARVING CROSS who should extend his remarkable record. He looks the real deal having recorded some super times in his dismissively easy victories including two at this distance at class 3 level. He does come up in class today but really he is class 1 quality already and he will be a big favourite to win again. He could get a bit of a workout though as (8) HAENGBOK WANGJA is no slouch. He is already a class and distance winner having beaten Heunghaeng Jilju in a fast time in a stretch duel at his latest start in a very fast time. This is his first start since that race more than three months ago though and that, couple with the fact that he is giving away 3.5kg to his rival, makes Carving Cross very hard to oppose. (4) RAYMOND had a dreadful day at the office last time out but is significantly better than that and is worth another chance for some minor money. (6) PALPAL VICTORY also has placing claims.
|Selections||(2) Carving Cross (8) Haengbok Wangja (4) Raymond (6) Palpal Victory|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 8, 9|