Month: October 2021

Yeonggwanguilegend, Aspen Taeyang Land Juvenile Prizes On K-Breeders’ Cup Trail

The race to become Champion Juvenile took a big step towards its big decider in the Korean Breeders’ Cup in December as Yeongwanguilegend backed up his Areumdaun Jilju Stakes win by claiming the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon. Half an hour later, Aspen Taeyang announced his arrival on the two-year-old scene with a hard-fought victory in Seoul’s NACF Chairman’s Trophy.

Yeonggwanguilegend was the only runner who participated in the Areumdaun on October 3rd to take his place in the Gimhae Mayor’s starting gate and therefore the only one to compete in all three of Busan’s prep races for the Breeder’s Cup, having also run in September’s Rookie Stakes. Several who ran in that race did return, but it was Yeonggwanguilegend who was sent off as the favourite.

Djordje Perovic, who rode Yeonggwanguilegend in the Areumdaun, got on to Man Of The Year, so Franco Da Silva climbed aboard the favourite and immediately had Yeonggwanguilegend sit handy to the lead being set by Juvenile Series newcomer Doctor Caesar and the filly Adele Rosario, 2nd in the Busan Rookie Stakes.

Having set a punishing early pace, Doctor Caesar led until the middle of the straight when, with Adele Roasrio already done, Yeonggwanguilegend took command and Da Silva’s mount had enough in reserve to see off the late challenge of Perovic and Man Of The Year, the margin of victory just under a length on the line.

Yeonggwanguilegend [Concord Point-Perfect Scip (Scipion)] moves on to three wins from five starts and will head to the Breeders’ Cup race among the top line of favourites. For Franco Da Silva, who is closing in on 250 Korean winners and won the Korean Derby in 2018 on Ecton Blade, it was a welcome return to the big race winner’s circle. With the Breeders’ Cup being run at 1400M though, Perovic, who won the Derby last year on Save The World, may be thinking his and Man Of The Year’s day is yet to come.

Seoul’s third prep race for the Breeders’ Cup race saw Aspen Taeyang, who participated in neither the capital track’s Rookie Stakes nor Munhwa Ilbo Cup but arrived a perfect two for two, maintain his unbeaten start to his career.

With Rookie Stakes and Munhwa Ilbo winner Complete Value absent, Aspen Taeyang was sent off as hot favourite in a small field of eight in the NACF Chairman’s Trophy. He was made to work hard though as Seungbusa, 3rd in the Rookie Stakes, got onto Aspen Taeyang’s shoulder and struck the front for a time from a furlong and a half out.

With just 100M to go, Moon Se Young roused another effort out of Aspen Taeyang, who retook the lead and then held off the late challenge of the fast-finishing Double Edge, the first three crossing the line with just half a length between them.

Aspen Taeyang [With Distinction – Aspen Light (Bernardini)] now has three wins from three starts, making him, along with Complete Value, who hasn’t been in work since his Munhwa Ilbo win one of only two of the leading juveniles to remain unbeaten.

The Korean Breeders’ Cup race to determine champion juvenile will take place over seven furlongs at Busan Racecourse on Sunday December 5th. Next weekend, attention shifts back to the three-year-old division with the Korean Derby, the second leg of the 2021 Korea Triple Crown, at Seoul on Sunday afternoon with Heat Yegam, the impressive KRA Cup Mile winner, set to be the favourite.

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 31)

Juveniles take centre-stage at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday afternoons with the running of the Gwacheon and Gimhae Mayor’s Cups. There are 9 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30. Here are the previews:

Could it really be the last day behind closed doors?

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens get us underway with four of the twelve racing for the first time. (4) REMARKABLE is set to be favourite though. He ran 2nd in a good time on debut over this distance on September 18th before being tried in the valuable Munhwa Ilbo Cup for his second start at 1200M on October 3rd. From a wide draw he never really got going, finishing 6th of nine on the day but dropping back here in shallower waters, drawing well and getting Moon Se-young on his back, there is plenty to like about him. (3) DREAM SPEED has raced twice before, improving in her second outing, when she led at this distance, ultimately finishing 4th in a decent time. She should have made more progress for that and can continue to improve here.  (1) GIANT KILLING ran 3rd on debut on August 22nd, settling midfield and running on. He comes in fresh after ten weeks off and can improve on that here. Among the first-time starters, (7) WONPYEONG GWANGYA was the fastest in trials and can go well first-up.

Selections(4) Remarkable (3) Dream Speed (12) Janggun Byeol (3) Dream Speed
Next Best1, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 7, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) NEW STAR YEONGCHEON comes in off two strong showing at 1200M, racing on pace and finishing 3rd and 4th, the latter time having come out of gate twelve. He draws the inside here and while he steps up in trip for the first time, he won’t need to improve much to win this. (5) K N TEUKGEUP also comes up in trip. He has mixed his form across six starts so far but has a 3rd place to his name and generally finishes off well. He gets a good draw and with Antonio Da Silva in the saddle can be aiming for a career best finish. (2) BIG ENERGY has been doing his best work late on in his latest two starts, both times running on strong for 4th over 1200M. The additional half furlong may well be what he needs to get even closer today. (8) SEMYEONG NARAE is the only one in the field to have a runner-up finish in her record and she comes in after beating a couple of these on her way to a fair 6th place at 1200M last start. She also has experience at 1400M which may be of benefit here. (9) MASEONG CHEONHA comes in having scored an on-pace 3rd at his latest start on September 4th and is another in the hunt although he will need a good start from an unfavourable gate.

Selections(1) New Star Yeongcheon (5) K N Teukgeup (2) Big Energy (8) Semyeong Narae
Next Best9, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A tricky race with two standouts. (5) ONE JI is already a winner having struck at class 6 level two starts back when leading all the way at this distance. He then ran a solid 3rd place at this class and distance on September 19th. He is well drawn here, and he could well get to the lead and win again. The main danger is the up in class but sure to measure up (3) YUKWAEHAN SEONTAEK. He has a 3rd, and two runner-up finishes from three starts so far, all of them over 1000M. He has run on-pace all three times and should be able to do the same here from a great draw. He has winning claims. (6) CRAZY TANK comes up in class having broken through at start number five over this distance on September 4th. He was second-up into a comeback after a few months out and could well have progressed further. He likes to be on pace, but can may settle handy and run on here. (11) FASHIONED PASSION has developed a bit of a habit of getting a bit far back in her races. The wider draw may actually help here as she can avoid traffic problems and she certainly has plenty late speed. (4) BIG RED among others in the placing frame.

Selections(5) One Ji (3) Yukwaehan Seontaek (6) Crazy Tank (11) Fashioned Passion
Next Best4, 12
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 5

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maidens with four of the twelve racing for the first time. (1) GREEN SPEED looks the one to beat. He has run 3rd and 4th in two starts so far, both of them at 1000M, finishing off strong both times. He steps up in trip to 1200M for the first time and it may well suit. (11) WINNER FALCON is a debut-maker sporting the Yoshida colours. The Smart Falcon fill is a late-starter at four-years-old but trialed very competently in a decent time and looks set to make a positive first race start here. (7) CHEONGMA POWER has certainly mixed his form across four starts so far but has run well twice at this trip including his latest start when he was 2nd having been handy throughout. He can settle just behind the early speed here and be a danger at the business end again. (5) MONGTTANG was an improved 4th on his third career start on October 3rd and his first at this distance. The jockey/trainer combination will make plenty take note. First-timer (12) CHOEGANG MIJIGAE another in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Green Speed (11) Winner Falcon (7) Cheongma Power (5) Mongttang
Next Best12, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 5

Seoul Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) SPOT FLATTER comes back into shallower waters following an unsuccessful tilt at the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, at Busan three weeks ago where he tried to sit behind an extremely hot pace but got overwhelmed, although he still finished with an extremely creditable time. How much that took out of him is a valid question but if he picks up his class 4 form where he left off, winning here on August 14th, then has every chance. (9) LAST BOSS is up in class following a good win over this distance on October 2nd. The time he recorded certainly measures up at this class and Moon Se-young taking the mount won’t harm his chances. (10) TIZ BLACK comes up in class having won his latest two, both at 1200M, by narrow margins. That takes him to three from six in total and he steps up in trip here with solid claims to make it three in a row. The draw is not ideal, but he can go close. Surely lightning doesn’t strike three times in a row with (5) CHEONJI POKPUNG. Twice in a row he has been unfancied yet swept home late to score over 1300M. He is up in class and in distance, but significantly down in weight and warrants some – perhaps reluctant -respect. (2) ULTRA KING another who is up in class today but comes down hugely in weight and draws well.

Selections(4) Spot Flatter (9) Last Boss (10) Tiz Black (5) Cheonji Pokpung
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) LANE KILLER has run on very strong for two 3rd place finishes and a 4th in three stats so far, each time making up good ground late. He steps up to a mile for the first time and his racing pattern, suggests that it will suit and that the draw won’t matter. The step up may suit (8) OLD CHEONHA too. He returned to action following six months out on October 17th but didn’t really get into the race finishing down the field. He should have benefited from that though and can improve today. (7) CHEONGMA YEONGUNG ran an improved 3rd over 1200M on his latest start three weeks ago. He has tended to get well back in his races before running on and the additional distance to play with here can suit. (12) SINBIHAN GANGJA is the only one in the race to have a runner-up finish to his name, which came at this distance three starts back and he should be in the placing frame here. (6) TEN TEN QUEEN has the fastest time among the four who have tackled the mile before and she too can have placing aims.

Selections(10) Lane Killer (8) Old Cheonha (7) Cheongma Yeongung (12) Sinbihan Gangja
Next Best6, 1
Fast Start1, 4, 8, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) GOLDEN BADGE is yet to score in eleven attempts buy has been consistently close and took to this distance well when stepped up at her latest start back in August when she ran 2nd to promising three-year-old Royal Road. This is her first start since then, but a top jockey is engaged and from a good draw, she can sit handy and run on strong. (5) REDBACK returned from almost six months out to run 3rd behind Last Boss over 1400M on October 2nd. He settled midfield and ran on strong and can step up to two turns with confidence that it will suit. He still looks to have plenty more development in him and has strong claims here. (7) TANK SOCKS has been at this class for a long time, picking up a win at 1200M but she too steps up to this distance for the first time today. She has been running consistent times over 1400M in her latest three appearances and there is no reason why she can’t be in the mix here. It’s a similar story with (6) HEUKRYONG GAMU, who comes in with the fastest average time for the final furlong of all of these. He made up excellent ground late on over 1400M to go from almost last to 4th and is another for who the step up in trip may suit. (4) RUN RUN RUN struggled on his first try at this distance in September but can be given another chance here.

Selections(3) Golden Badge (5) Redback (7) Tank Socks (6) Heukryong Gamu
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start3, 5, 9, 10

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 30)

Will this be the last Saturday of behind-closed-doors racing in the capital? With baseball allowing 100% capacity attendances for its post-season beginning this week, one would hope so. But there have been many many false dawns since the start of the pandemic, so we shall see. This Saturday they are 9 races at Seoul from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

It’s autumn (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with four of the nine racing for the first time and while it is a small field, it is a pretty good race with three or four who would have started favourite in similar affairs in recent weeks. (2) HWASUBOON is the slight top pick. She ran 2nd to Purple K on debut on October 2nd, well beaten by that good winner but looking competent and finishing in a fast time. She draws better today and with a similarly good start, will be the one to beat. (8) ALL FOR YOUR DREAM came from well off the pace on his debut to run 2nd to Byeolbit Maru at this distance on September 19th. He was really motoring at the end of that race and if he can put himself in a better position here, he has a winning chance. (1) CHEONGSAN YEONGUNG came from off the pace in the same race to run 3rd, again in a good time. He draws well again and should be in this a long way. (4) P N S LUCKY was a good 2nd on debut which allowed him to take his chance in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup. He finished down the field in that but didn’t do much wrong and in shallower waters today should get closer. Among the first-time starters, (5) EUNHYE DREAM was a fast 2nd in trials and looks best place for an immediate impact.

Selections(2) Hwasuboon (8) All For Your Dream (1) Cheongsan Yeongung (4) P N S Lucky
Next Best5, 3
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies and a tricky one too. We’ll take a chance with (10) P N S HER, who ran 4th in a decent time at this distance on debut in August before finishing a good 5th in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup over 1200M on October 3rd. She has settled midfield both times and should have come on for the experiences and she can make her breakthrough here. The favourite will be (1) JAY TROSS. Having won an August trial, she ran 4th on debut on September 18th in a decent time on a good-rated track. From a top stable and with a great draw on the inside, she will have plenty of supporters here and every chance. (11) JEONGSANG Z also finished 4th on debut, behind Aspen Taeyang on a very wet track, which may account for the fast time and with a couple of today’s rivals behind her. She ran on very strongly and the wide draw shouldn’t matter here. (8) TRIPLE RUN and (2) DIA POWERCAT are among others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections(10) P N S Her (1) Jay Tross (11) Jeongsang Z (8) Triple Run
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(5) PRINCESS DAY is set to be a warm favourite here. She’s run 3rd In her latest two starts, both of which were slowly run races at this distance. She has a better draw today and should be on pace or handy and in a race of not many chances, she won’t need to improve much to win. (1) FLYING KARA raced twice around the turn of last year, most recently in January, both times finishing 3rd at this distance. She trialed up in August and while it isn’t easy to get a handle of where she is at in terms of progress, this is a good race to come back in and from a good draw on the inside she can go well. (3) APPLE MINT put in an inauspicious debut back in May but looked much better when winning a trial earlier this month. He will be in the frame here. (6) MIGHTY SUNSHINE hinted at ability when running on well two starts back and while he was poor in his latest outing, is perhaps worth another chance for a place here. (2) EURO QUEEN offered some evidence of progress at her second start on October 3rd and she too may get better here.

Selections(5) Princess Day (1) Flying Kara (3) Apple Mint (6) Mighty Sunshine
Next Best2, 4
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) JEONGMUN PRINCE beat a couple of these on his way to 3rd place over 1400M on October 2nd. He has been knocking at the door for some time now and from a nice draw today, he can make his breakthrough at start number thirteen. He, along with every other horse in the race, is tackling two-turns for the first time and (7) SHINE MUSIC is one it may benefit. He has been finishing off his recent races in good fashion and can sit midfield and run on here. (12) BEST FORCE has similarly run on and has the fastest final furlong average time for any of the field. The draw shouldn’t matter too much here and he should be in the finish. So too should (6) JEONGMUN POKJU, the only runner in the race to have a win to his name. That came on a wet track over 1400M when he came from well off the pace and while he hasn’t come close to repeating in three starts since, in this kind of company, he must be considered. (11) OKCHUMA is another in the hunt.


Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 29)

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday with 6 races from 13:25 to 18:00. The feature sees Doctor Carson heading a strong line-up in the Kyushu Owners Association Sprint Cup. Here are the previews:

It’s Friday. It’s Busan (Pic: KRA)

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens kick us off. (12) JEONGMUN DRAGON ran 4th on debut before finishing 5th in the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes on his second start on October 3rd. That was a race where aside from the winner, not much covered themselves in glory, but coming back to 1000M today and despite the wide draw, he has solid claims. (2) RAON THE FLASH was a good 3rd on debut on October 1st when she sat midfield and ran on strong., finishing in a good time. From a better draw today and with some natural improvement, he she is firmly in the hunt here. (1) ADELE CHUKBAE has raced twice, improving at his second start when 5th to Jeongmun Dragon’s 4th on the latter’s debut on September 17th. He has a great draw on the inside today and can be expected to improve. (6) MENIFEE SONG drew the widest gate when running 6th on debut back in early September and can be expected to progress from that, while among the five debut-makers, (3) YEONGGWANGUI MAGIC is perhaps best equipped to make an immediate impact first-up.

Selections(12) Jeongmun Dragon (2) Raon The Flash (1) Adele Chukbae (6) Menifee Song
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Tricky maiden this. (7) HORAENGI is yet to really run a bad race, just coming up short each time. She has the fastest time among these and while she tends to get a bit far back and then run on, as she did when 4th at his latest start on September 19th, she is drawn better than her main rival here and today could be her day. That main rival is (11) CHEONGHO LEADER and he is the probable favourite. He comes in off the back of very solid 2nd and 4th places over this distance, beaten only be decent horses both times. He has come from off the pace in those races so the draw shouldn’t be too disadvantageous, and he has a real chance here. (9) BARAM GONGJU is yet to finish in the top two in twelve attempts but comes in off a good 4th place over this distance three weeks ago when he ran on well from midfield. A similar run today will put him right in this. (3) DOCTOR PRO and (4) AFLEET TAPIT, the latter better than his latest two showings suggest, are others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(7) Horaengi (11) Cheongho Leader (9) Baram Gongju (3) Doctor Pro
Next Best4, 12
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

It’s about time (6) DOCTOR FAITH won. He has eight top three finishes from nine starts but the Kantharos gelding just can’t seem to get that breakthrough win.  At his latest start he stepped up to this distance to run 3rd in a good time and from a similar draw, he can sit on the pace here and it could well be his day. Should he come up short once again, (2) DOCTOR TAKE, under the same ownership, may be the one to take advantage. He steps up to the 1800M for the first time but is a winner at 1400M and comes in having run well over a mile last time when on pace and 4th. He draws well and will be a threat. Draw a line through the latest effort from (5) GALLANT WARRIOR when well back behind Doctor Faith over 1400M in September. That was an aberration and he had previously run consistently good times when close at that distance. The extended trip may suit. (12) SEONGSAN BULKKOT and the up in class (8) SINJIN GANGHO are others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(6) Doctor Faith (2) Doctor Take (5) Gallant Warrior (12) Seongsan Bulkkot
Next Best8, 11
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 8

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(4) DOMINATION returned from over six months out to win at class and distance on October 10th, when he pretty much made all. He comes up a full 6kg in the weights here but from a good draw, that shouldn’t be enough to stop him from winning again. (1) TOP BEST ran 5th to Domination in that race and while he was a long way back, he draws much better today and should be competitive here. (2) CHEONGDAM DRIVE comes up in class having swept home late to win over this distance on October 3rd. He only carries 1kg less than that day but draws well and will surely coming home strong again. (10) ROCK PEGASUS is a winner at this class over 1400M and has run very fast times at that distance. He is up in trip today following a 4th place behind Success Macho at his latest start, but his racing pattern suggest the additional furlong won’t be a problem and he can go close. (5) QUEEN UP has the joint-fastest time at this distance and looks a fair placing chance.

Selections(4) Domination (1) Top Best (2) Cheongdam Drive (10) Rock Pegasus
Next Best5, 9
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

It’s hard to look too far past (3) DAEAM JANGGUN here who while up in class, comes in following two very good wins at this distance in very good times. He can sit on the pace or in midfield, he draws very nicely, and he even comes down significantly in the weights so there is a lot to like about him. (6) QUATTRO MAX comes up in class too following a string of near misses. He has run some very good times at this distance though and he comes down a full 6kg in the weights and must be taken seriously. (7) BABEL HIT comes back up in trip after two really good runs over 1200M when he beat a couple of today’s rivals in fast times. He has previously run a super time over today’s distance and can come from off the pace here. (1) SO MUCH GO is another who has run consistently fast times at this distance and along with (5) JANGSAN BOBBY has at least placing chances.

Selections(3) Daeam Janggun (6) Quattro Max (7) Babel Hit (1) So Much Go
Next Best5, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 8

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) “Kyushu Owners’ Association Sprint” Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(6) DOCTOR CARSON skipped last week’s SBS Sports Sprint in Seoul with this in mind. He has won four of his last five, beating Blue Chipper on four of those occasions. It is finally his turn to carry plenty of weight, but he has won under not much less when recording his fastest time at this distance back in March this year. He should win this and then go on to stiffer tests. He will be given a stern examination. (7) SEOBU CAT is firmly established at class 1 and while he hasn’t run the kind of standout times that Doctor Carson has, he is consistent and today meets Doctor Carson on better terms then preciously. He will be on pace, and he has a chance.  (9) ACE KOREA comes in off two super runs over a mile and 1400M. As ever, he carries plenty of weight, but this is an elite horse, and he will be in this a long way. The evergreen (1) DORAONPGYEONGSEON as well as (4) MUJEOK YEONGUNG are others in the minor money hunt.

Selections(6) Doctor Carson (7) Seobu Cat (9) Ace Korea (1) Doraonpogyeongseon
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 8


Eoma Eoma finally got the Graded race win his talent has always promised in the SBS Sports Sprint while Australian trainer Peter Wolsley saddled his fifth Korean Graded winner as Mr. Afleet took out the KRA Cup Classic on a big Sunday afternoon of action at Seoul Racecourse.

The SBS Sports Sprint (1200M-KOR G3) was one of the few Graded races that managed to get run in 2020 and on Sunday, Morfhis returned to defend his title while East Jet and Blue Chipper took their place in a star-studded lineup. Eoma Eoma was only 3rd in last year’s race but had progressed to such an extent in the meantime, including smashing the 1400M Seoul track record, that he was sent off as hot favourite, despite drawing the widest gate.

In the event, that draw meant that Eoma Eoma would be wide all the way around and would be tested every step of the way by East Jet as Alan Munro kept his Strike Again gelding, winner of last year’s SROA Trophy on the rail and in the lead throughout. Moon Se Young meanwhile on Eoma Eoma simply couldn’t find his way inside with not only East Jet but also Blue Chipper and Yeongung Louis keeping him outside.

Class told, as in the home straight and still wide, Eoma Eoma was relentless and despite a very game run by East Jet, Eoma Eoma eventually swept by just meters from the finishing line to win by half a length. It was a tenth career win on his twelfth start for the American bred four-year-old colt, who is by Algorithms and out of the Run Away And Hide mare Lignite.

East Jet was a strong 2nd while there was a potential breakout performance by lightly-raced three-year-old Yeongung Louis [Violence – Don’t Stop To Shop (Unbridled’s Song)] in 3rd. It proved a hard day at the office though for defending champion Morfhis, who ran 5th, and even harder for Blue Chipper, who faded to 9th. It’s a first Graded win for Eoma Eoma, but few would back it being the last.

An hour later, once more the widest gate prevailed as Mr. Afleet won the 36th running of the KRA Cup Classic (2000M-KOR G2).

The 2019 Korea Cup winner Moonhak Chief led from the gate, but Mr. Afleet [Afleet Alex – In Escrow (Vindication)] took command in the home straight and saw off the attentions of the up and comer Haengbok Wangja to claim victory by a nose in a photo-finish.

Moonhak Chief would fade to 7th while Cheongdam Dokki, seeking a third win in the race after victories in 2017 and 2018 briefly showed just behind the leaders but ultimately weakened to last (an initial post-race check showed no obvious issues). With Tiz Plan also misfiring, there was a sense of a possible changing of the guard although the six-year-old Jjang Kong running 3rd and the evergreen eight-year-old Shamrocker, a remarkable 4th quickly belied that idea.

Speaking after the race, winning jockey Seo Seung-un told in-house broadcaster KRBC that everything went to plan “The draw wasn’t good, but I was surprised how easy it was to get to the position that I wanted to be in. I followed Moonhak Chief across and from then on it was simple.” When quizzed on whether he thought he and Mr. Afleet would be back in the winner’s circle at Seoul in December’s Grand Prix Stakes, Seo had something else in mind. “Of course, the Grand Prix is the target but he is eligible for the (Busan) Owners’ Cup (1600M on November 21st) so they might go there, but I just hope for the Grand Prix” before adding: “it isn’t up to me, anyway.”

Seo Seung-un will be traveling back to Busan minus a substantial percentage of his winnings after stewards penalized him to the tune of $1,000 for unacceptable whip use in the home straight. Haengbok Wangja’s jockey Kim Yong-geun was also found guilty and punished for the same offence. In their ungainly windmilling, both were lucky they didn’t unbalance their mounts to the extent of taking them out of contention and both thoroughly deserve their (lenient) punishment.

It was another training triumph for Peter Wolsley, who back in 2007 became the first foreign trainer to be granted a license in Korea. It took him several years of sheer hard graft to establish himself, but in January last year Mr. Afleet chalked up Wolsley’s 500th Korean winner. On Sunday, the same horse gave him his fifth Korean Graded Stakes winner and his first since Bold Kings came to Seoul and won the Grand Prix Stakes in 2015. This coming Boxing Day, Mr. Afleet may just make the unassuming man from Bendigo a two-time Grand Prix winner.

Blue Chipper, Eoma Eoma, Morfhis, East Jet, Cheongdam Dokki, Tiz Plan, Moonhak Chief & More: SUPER SUNDAY SBS Sports Sprint & KRA Cup Classic Race-By-Race Preview (October 24)

There is double Group race action at Seoul on Sunday afternoon (sadly behind-closed-doors) with the SBS Sports Sprint at the KRA Cup Classic. There are 9 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30.

Cheongdam Dokki on his way to his second Cup Classic 3 years ago (Pic:KRA)

Blue Chipper returns to Seoul Racecourse on Sunday for the first time since winning the Korea Sprint in 2019, a victory which punched his ticket to Santa Anita where he went on to run 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He’s back at the Sprint distance of 1200M but runs slap bang into a host of Korea’s top sprint stars, including new star Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint (KOR-G3).

Algorithms four-year-old Eoma Eoma took part in this race last year and ran a strong 3rd but has only got better in the intervening time, breaking the track record at 1400M and putting in a string of fine runs. He has drawn the outside gate but there is every reason to believe that won’t matter.

Blue Chipper draws well and after a frustrating campaign of giving away vast amounts of weight in handicaps during the Covid-relief racing period, finally gets to run at level weights. But even if he manages to see off Eoma Eoma, there is still plenty of other talent to deal with.

Morfhis won this race last year, powering home late under Johan Victoire. The draw doesn’t matter for him and in a race with lots of early speed, he may well take advantage. East Jet, from the inside gate is also a huge danger. He won the SROA Trophy last year at this distance and has posted formidable times.

Morfhis won the 2020 SBS Sports with Eoma Eoma in 3rd

An hour later, Cheongdam Dokki will bid for an unprecedented third victory in the KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as the popular chestnut heads the field for the 36th running of the race.

Winner in 2017 and 2018 before running 2nd to Dolkong in 2019 (there was no race in 2020 due to the pandemic), the now seven-year-old Cheongdam Dokki made his first start for trainer Tony Castenheira three weeks ago when successfully holding off the fast-finishing Jjang Kong to return to the winner’s circle over 1800M. He faces a star-studded set of rivals on Sunday. 

Korea Cup 2019 winner Moonhak Chief returns to action for the first time since May as does Tiz Plan, who knows a thing or two about lowering Cheongdam Dokki’s colours, having defeated him in last year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup. All three horses will very much appreciate being back running under weight for age conditions after a year of giving away significant weight in handicaps.

The up-and-coming Haengbok Wangja enters off a seven-race winning streak, made even more remarkable by the fact that he failed to win any of his first seven starts. The Daerdevil colt dips his toe into elite waters for the first time, but such has been the manner of his recent rise that he may even start the race as betting favourite.

Five horses have travelled up from Busan and the two best south-coast hopes are both trained by Peter Wolsley. Mr. Afleet is a winner of nine from fourteen and while he will have to overcome having drawn the widest gate, he enters in form and will have plenty of backers. So too will his stablemate Hunch, the biggest winner from the barrier draw, and a big winner at this distance in Busan in the summer.

Here is the race-by-race for both meetings:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to kick things off with nine of the twelve racing for the first time. We will side with experience for the top two picks though. (5) LUCKY INDY ran 5th on debut on September 19th, sitting handy and briefly leading before being passed. It was promising enough, and she draws well to get forward today and has fair claims. So too does probable favourite (10) RAON THE WEEKEND. Having won a trial in August, she led for much of the way around on debut on September 18th, ultimately weakening and finishing 5th. The draw is not ideal for her here but if she can get to the front here, she may be difficult to pass. Among the first timers, (4) YONGHOJIMA is the pick. He went through a couple of trials and significantly improved in the second of them, running 3rd in a decent time on a dry track He draws nicely here and surely goes well. (6) TEUKBYEOL trialed up behind the likes of Moonhak Chief and Tiz Plan. She didn’t get involved with those and went around at the back, completing the course competently and in a fair time. The jockey booking will cause plenty to take note. (1) GRAND POWER went through two trials, going well in both.

Selections(5) Lucky Indy (10) Raon The Weekend (4) Yonghojima (6) Teukbyeol
Next Best1, 7
Fast Start4, 5, 7, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Quite a good standard maiden this with plenty looking capable of winning. We will go with (9) STELLA ROAD, who has been knocking on the door across her four starts so far, finishing between 2nd and 4th in each of them. She has the fastest time among these at the distance and in a race devoid of much early speed, she can get on pace or handy and is just about the one to beat. (5) GEOSEN GISANG has finished in 5th place in both starts so far, both at this distance and in fair times, beating a couple of today’s rivals last time. She has a fast start comparable to most here and from a good draw can be on pace and improve. (6) SWEET CAMP was an improved 2nd at start number two on September 19th when she led for much of the way around. She’ll be on pace again and can go close again. (1) YES I CAN came from well back to run on well for 2nd in good time on September 4th and he too has claims to match or even better that from the same gate. (4) FAST TRACK comes up in trip for the first time and may benefit.

Selections(9) Stella Road (5) Geosen Gisang (6) Sweet Camp (1) Yes I Can
Next Best4, 8
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(9) BYEOLBIT MARU broke through at start number three with a comprehensive score over 1000M on September 19th when she settled just behind the leaders before taking things up at the top of the straight and running away from the field. She comes up in both class and in distance today, but the manner of that win suggests there is more to come. (6) DAEJIUI YEOGEOL was a class and distance winner on September 18th, settling back in the field and making good ground in the straight. She has mixed her form but has run consistent times and can be a threat here. (12) GWANGYANG EUTTEUM got his maiden win at this distance at class 6 level and then ran a good class and distance 3rd place having led for much of the way on October 2nd. The draw is not ideal here, but she has run good times already and has a winning chance again.  (11) POWER BOX has shown plenty of speed in a 4th place and a win at class 6 level. He led during that win, so the draw isn’t ideal, and he is up in both class and distance but looks to have potential for more development. (4) GREAT THUNDER is consistent and another sure to be involved at the business end of the race.

Selections(9) Byeolbit Maru (6) Daejiui Yeogeol (12) Gwangyang Eutteum (11) Power Box
Next Best4, 10
Fast Start1, 8, 11, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile filly maidens here with nine of the twelve racing for the very first time. It’s from those first timers that we find our favourite and top pick, (3) ILBEONJI. The Cowboy Cal filly looked very assured when leading all the way in her trial, cantering home with minimal urging in a good time. Drawing well here, she can lead all the way. On the same day, (4) SEOGWI PLUS also trialed up. She was ridden a little harder in her heat but once she had shaken off the rest was allowed to cruise to the line, stopping the clock in the exact same time as Ilbeonji would thirty minutes later. Ilbeonji goes on top here due to having done the same time in less effort, but it would be no surprise if Seogwi Plus put up a stiff challenge. (8) GREEN PAPAGO trialed up nicely behind an experienced trial winner, running on pleasingly enough. With an apprentice claim she has a feather weight on her back and can run well first-up. Among the experience (12) QUEEN’S DAERO ran a good 4th on debut over 1000M in a fair time three weeks ago. She drew wide that day too and should be aiming to match or better here. (11) WISH LUCK took a while to get going on debut but should have come on for the experience and can improve on her 8th place.

Selections(3) Ilbeonji (4) Seogwi Plus (8) Green Papago (12) Queen’s Daero
Next Best11, 6
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and a very competitive race with all but one having finished no worse than 6th in their latest outing and with four up in class last start winners. Really a case can be made for any of them, but we have to decide so we will go for the least experienced, (3) MENIFEE MUSIC to continue to improve. She is one of the up in class ones following a maiden win at start number two over 1200M on September 11th. She worked her way from gate nine to get on the speed that day and ran on well and can be competitive here. (11) DIECO is super consistent with eleven top-five finishes from sixteen starts. She comes in off a good 2nd place over 1300M last start and her solitary win to date came from this gate three starts back. (7) BAEDARI CANDY didn’t run badly when tried at 1700M last time out but should be better today. She won at class and distance in a fast time on August 15th and while she carries more weight this time, should be firmly in the hunt. (12) MAGIC TIDE remains a maiden after six attempts but ran on very strongly from the back for 3rd over 1200M at this class on her latest start and may appreciate the step up in distance here. (1) LAPEIO BAN, another up in class, is one of several others with equal claims.

Selections(3) Menifee Music (11) Dieco (7) Baedari Candy (12) Magic Tide
Next Best1, 4
Fast Start3, 7, 10, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maidens, and stepping up to a mile for the first time, (11) CATCH THE SUN is the favourite. She has finished in the top five on all five of her starts so far and looks to be working towards a win following a good runner-up finish over 1400M on October 3rd, when she settled handy and ran on well behind a good winner. Her times have been consistent, the draw doesn’t look a problem and she may take some beating. (5) MAJOR FORCE came home in 3rd place behind Catch The Sun in that 1400M race three weeks ago, when she came from well back in the field. That was her best finish in eleven starts and she may well be ready for another attempt on a mile here. (3) NORTHERN LIGHTS has been consistent in recent outings and beat a couple of these on her way to 5th place over 1400M on September 19th. From a good draw, she should be aiming for better here. (4) ANY LINE and (8) OMEGA GIRL are others in the placing frame.

Selections(11) Catch The Sun (5) Major Force (3) Northern Lights (4) Any Line
Next Best8, 1
Fast Start4, 6, 8, 11

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 23)

There are 9 races on the behind-closed-doors card at Seoul on Saturday, running from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Moon Se Young is back on Saturday

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens get us underway with five of the twelve racing for the first time. It’s very hard to look beyond (11) COMPLETE TIME. The only one in the field who has raced twice already, he was 4th on debut behind Wonpyeong Gasok, before coming back out and running 2nd to Raon The Spurt on August 28th, overcoming a wide draw to be on pace and then running on strong in a fast time. He’s drawn wide again but should have little trouble getting to the front and it’s hard to imagine him beaten here. (5) DAEBAK STAR won an August trial and then ran creditably on debut on September 12th when 4th practically the entire way around. He’ll be looking to get on pace with the favourite here and can improve his finishing position. A few of the first timers showed promise in their respective trials. (8) EUNHYE SERVE posted the fastest time, sitting midfield and finishing off well, while (1) HWARANG TODAY led all the way around in his heat. (9) JAY RAPTOR another who led throughout her trial and can give a good account of herself first up here.

Selections(11) Complete Time (5) Daebak Star (8) Eunhye Serve (1) Hwarang Today
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start1, 6, 9, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another juvenile maiden with five of the twelve racing for the first time. Again, there is going to be a hot favourite in the shape of (2) GLOBAL MAGIC. After winning an August trial in fine style, he debuted at this trip on September 18th, he came out of gate eight and sat towards the front of midfield before finishing off well for 3rd place behind Cowboy King in a decent time. He should have come on for that experience, draws better here and should be winning. (10) MAGIC GRACE actually ran a faster time than Global Magic on his debut on August 28th, although he was assisted in that by a wet track. He and sat just behind the leaders throughout when finishing 4th and while the draw is not ideal as he will want to get on pace, he has claims. (11) YESULIYA has raced twice and while on the surface, 9th and 7th doesn’t sound great, those two races are looking among the stronger juvenile affairs we have seen this year. She ran fair times in both and can improve. Similarly (1) BICHUI DAERYUK, 8th behind Global Magic on her second start but runner-up at this distance on debut in August, should be in at least the placing hunt. Of the first time-starters, (12) GEOMOON showed improvement in her second trial and is perhaps the most likely to make an immediate impact. 

Selections(2) Global Magic (10) Magic Grace (11) Yesuliya (1) Bichui Daeryuk
Next Best12, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 10, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Regular maiden here. We’ll take a chance on (2) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE, wo steps up to 1300M for the first time following back-to-back 4th place finishes at 1200M. They have been in contrasting styles, with one of them being running on from midfield and the other leading then being passed, bus she seems to be finding some consistency and won’t need to improve too much to score in this company. She will though need to overturn the form on (9) OKDONG GONGJU, who beat Namsan Chocolate over 1200M on September 11th when running 2nd and accordingly will probably start as favourite. That was her best finish in nine starts so far and she was ridden a little more prominently, having tended to get too far back in her races. A repeat performance will see her in the finish again. Further back still in that September race was (4) SEMYEONG GANGJA. She may well be better back up at 1300M, a distance at which she has performed well already, and draws nicely to get to the front. (12) M J STORM, on the other hand, comes back in trip after a decent 4th over 1400M last start and has placing chances along with (5) MONEY GARAK, who came from well off the pace to run 3rd at this trip at his own latest appearance. That was a full thirteen weeks ago though.

Selections(2) Namsan Chocolate (9) Okdong Gongju (4) Semyeong Gangja (12) M J Storm
Next Best5, 11
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 7

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

After six weeks out following a fall, Moon Se-young returns, just in time to ride Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint tomorrow, and he could be straight back in the winner’s circle here with (12) GREAT EYE set to be favourite. The Transcend colt has shown improvement across four starts so far, notably last time out on September 18th, when 2nd on his first try at this distance. He settled midfield that day and ran on so the wide draw may not be an issue and while he benefitted from a 4kg apprentice allowance that day, the “Moon factor” may compensate for that. The main danger draws wide too. (11) HWARYEOHAN MISO has made both her starts so far over 1200M, but she has run 5th and 2nd with the latter a significantly improved time. She has gone right back both times and worked home very well and the extended trip today just might suit. (3) GEOSEN JILPUNG returns from three months off and looked well when 3rd in a good time in a September trial. He draws well and can be a factor. (8) REAL PACK has mixed his form over six starts so far but along with (2) MAIN OF KING is another capable of competing for the minors.

Selections(12) Great Eye (11) Hwaryeohan Miso (3) Geosen Jilpung (8) Real Pack
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 1400M

(7) CHOEGANG BLACK drops back in trip following a decent enough 3rd place over 1700M at this class on September 18th. That made it two 3rd and a 4th in three attempts since being promoted to this level following a class 6 score over 1300M back in May. She has run good times, including at this trip and can sit on pace or handy and run on here. (6) YEONGWANGUI CAPTAIN comes up in class and distance having broken through at start number two on August 29th when sitting behind the early speed and then running on well for a comfortable victory over 1200M. She ran through the line well and the additional furlong should be within her capabilities. (3) BODYGUARD ran a strong class and distance 3rd at class and distance on September 11th and from a much better draw, can be looking to at least match that today. He can settle handy or midfield and run on. (12) SPEAR GUN remains a maiden after eight attempts, but he has been a model of consistency which has forced him up in class here. He ran Bodyguard close at 1300M back in June and his times suggest he will measure up in this company. (2) LUCKY APPEAL, up in class following a come from behind win over this distance a month ago, is another with placing claims.

Selections(7) Choegang Black (6) Yeongwangui Captain (3) Bodyguard (12) Spear Gun
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 8

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 22)

The main action this weekend is at Seoul with the SBS Sports Sprint and the KRA Cup Classic, both Graded races, taking place on Sunday and featuring some of the biggest names in the older horse ranks from both tracks. The weekend’s action though gets underway at Busan on Friday with 6 races from 13:25 to 18:00. Here are the previews:


Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with seven of the twelve racing for the first time. There are two standouts and we will side with experience and (10) SHY DRAGON, who was slowly out of the gate on debut on September 12th, but was quickly up with the pace and ran on well for 2nd behind a good winner in a fair time at this distance. With some natural improvement on that run, he can compete for the win here. The big danger and probable favourite is (9) HANEUL JEONSA. He debuts having won two trials, first in August and then again in September, both in good times. In the latest of those, he overcame a wide draw to sit handy and run on strong and he has every chance of scoring first-up. Those two should fill out the quinella, while clear third choice is (5) FANTASTIC LOVE. She’s the only one in the field to have raced twice already and has a 2nd and a 3rd to her name. In the latest of those she sat handy and finished off well in a fast time which was assisted by a very wet track. She will be in the finish here. (12) WISE BOY ran adequately for 5th on debut and can build on that here while (2) BLUE CAPTAIN was similarly solid when 6th behind Fantastic Love on his debut and can also be in the hunt for the places.

Selections(10) Shy Dragon (9) Haneul Jeonsa (5) Fantastic Love (12) Wise Boy
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start2, 5, 9, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maiden fillies here. (12) MILLION BANK beat three of these on her way to 2nd place on debut at this distance on September 19th when from a similarly wide draw, she settled in midfield, improved turning into the straight and then ran on well behind a good winner. A similar run today would make her the one to beat. In that September race, she was pulling clear of (6) BEST HAMSEONG, who led through the early stages and into the straight but couldn’t quite see the race out, ultimately finishing a creditable 4th. She should have come on for that run and from a good draw is likely to be leading again. After running well on debut in early August, (4) SLIM QUEEN was scarcely a factor in two subsequent outings. She went back to trial after the latest of those and looked well when winning her heat a couple of weeks ago. She has the fastest time of any of these who have raced at the distance and from a much better gate today, she can be given another chance. (3) DROMOS was an also-ran in the Million Bank race last month but had run well on debut in August when she led and ended up 3rd. She draws nicely to be on pace here. (7) QUEEN OF SPIRIT another who can compete for the minors.

Selections(12) Million Bank (6) Best Hamseong (4) Slim Queen (3) Dromos
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start3, 6, 8, 10

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(10) DONGBANUI SIJAK beat three of today’s rivals when winning at class and distance on September 10th. He then dropped back to 1400M and ran a decent 3rd place. An apprentice jockey climbs aboard today which brings his carried weight back down to similar to what he won under, the draw shouldn’t matter too much and he has every chance. (2) ACE FOUR TEN beat four of these when runner- up at class and distance on October 1st. He settled just forward of midfield that day and stuck to his task well although could do nothing about a swooping late winner. His sole victory came at this distance at class 6 level in August and while he can mix his form and comes slightly up in the weights, he can win this. (6) WONDERFUL LADY remains a maiden but has to come up in class following a creditable 2nd place over 1400M at her latest start two weeks ago. She tackles a mile for the first time and while she doesn’t look a winning chance, she can compete for the places in this company. (12) THE FIRST FACTOR finished 3rd behind Ace Four Ten earlier this month. She led that day and while the draw obviously does her no favours in that regard, she can be competitive again. (4) BEAUTY HILL another in the hunt.

Selections(10) Dongbanui Sijak (2) Ace Four Ten (6) Wonderful Lady (12) The First Factor
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 12

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(11) ENDLESS RUNNING comes in here looking for a fourth straight win. His latest was at class 5 level over 1200M when he was quickly into the lead and dominated, having plenty in hand despite drifting very wide in the straight. He is up in class here and tackles 1400M for the first time. He also has a far worse draw than in any of his wins so far. Regardless of that, the manner of his victories suggest that all those things can be overcome and while he won’t want to be wandering in the straight against this opposition, he can win again. (9) FLAT BABE recorded her worst finish to date on her first try at this level over 1400M on October 10th. It was a tough race and she didn’t run badly and is worth another chance here. (7) CRONUS was a class and distance winner two starts back. He runs consistent times at this distance and should be going close here. (6) FIRST STAR and (4) VEGA THUNDER others in the placing frame.

Selections(11) Endless Running (9) Flat Babe (7) Cronus (6) First Star
Next Best4, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(5) HAPPY WOMAN has won two of her latest three to be rapidly promoted to this class. She also comes up in trip to a mile for the first time but here is no reason why it shouldn’t suit. She runs best when on pace or handy and she should measure up in this company. Stablemate (1) YEOWANGAUI MISO could prove to be one of the biggest dangers. She races for the first time since August when she beat a couple of these on her way to a class and distance 6th and while she can mix her form, an apprentice takes a couple of kilos off and she can go close here. (4) FUNKY was one of those behind Yeowangui Miso in August but bounced back to run 3rd at class and distance on September 12th when she went right back before closing strongly. She will be finishing fast again here. (2) ITSMYLUCKYBOY has won at this class over 1800M and while 10th at his latest start, the margins weren’t huge and it wasn’t necessarily a bad run. He has since looked well in a trial and can be dangerous here. (9) ARAM NARAE another in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Happy Woman (1) Yeowangui Miso (4) Funky (2) Itsmyluckyboy
Next Best9, 8
Fast Start2, 6, 8, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Can (2) B.K JOHN shake off his runner-up habit and go one better? He’ll be favourite to do so. The Colonel John gelding comes on off four consecutive 2nd place finishes, the latter two at this class over a mile and 1400M. During that run, he has finished 2nd when leading and finished 2nd when coming from off the pace. He steps up to 1800M for the first time, draws nicely and while he does come up in the weights, he can go one better today. (8) CHANGE BACK beat several of these when coming from well off the pace to run 2nd at class and distance on September 19th The start before he was a class 4 winner at this distance and under the same weight today has significant claims. (5) NANGMAN JEONSA came home in 3rd place in that race continuing a consistent run of recent form and he looks to have placing chances again. (9) FREEDOM KNIGHT led that day before ultimately running 5th and can get closer this time. (6) MAN OF TOP another who should be in the hunt.

Selections(2) B.K John (8) Change Back (5) Nangman Jeonsa (9) Freedom Knight
Next Best6, 12
Fast Start4, 6, 9, 11

Raon Fillies First & Pink On Top At Seoul & Busan

It’s becoming an unwelcome habit that we are posting these things days late, but it was a pair of “full” sisters ( I dislike that term, for some reason), who took top honours at Seoul and Busan last Sunday. Four-year-old Raon First took out Seoul’s Class 1 feature while a year here junior, Raon Pink won the Luna Stakes, the first leg of the 2021 Filly Triple Crown. Both are by Musket Man and out of the Southern Image mare, Pink Candy.

Raon First (Pic: KRA)

Raon First was a champion as a juvenile and has since gone on to establish herself at class 1 level, running 2nd to Dia Road in a Graded race for fillies and mares last year and finishing 2rd in her latest two, including behind Eoma Eoma. In all those races she had led, only to be taken down close to the line every time.

On Sunday though, Raon First would be no sitting duck. acing up and comers Legend Day and Carving Cross, among others, Raon First was drawn wide but instead of being ridden up hard to the pace, after being slightly slow away, Choi Bum-hyun in the saddle took a sit behind the lead and waited patiently. Choi made his move on Raon First at the top of the straight, punching through a gap with ease and the filly ran on to score by a length and a half in a fast time for the 1400M.

Outsiders Cupid Guy and Myeongpum Chukje chased Raon First home in 2nd and 3rd with Legend Day and Carving Cross both enduring poor days at the office and in the case of the latter especially, seeing their chances of qualification for any of the late season Stakes races diminishing. For Raon First it was seventh win in fourteen starts as she stakes her claim to succeed Dia Road as the top filly or mare in training in Seoul.

At Busan, younger sister Raon Pink was imperious in the Luna Stakes. Sent off as favourite in a sixteen-strong field of three-year-old fillies, who had thirty-six race victories between them coming in, Raon Pink jumped well and slowly worked to the lead and was comfortable in the pace she set. On the corner she slipped away and on straightening went well clear and was strong to the finish under Park Tae-jong. Jedi was 2nd and Smart Officer, who missed the break an excellent 3rd as Seoul fillies swept the top five finishing positions.

Raon Pink now moves on as favourite for the Korean Oaks, back at Busan over 1800M on November 14.

Sunday Busan & Seoul: Luna Stakes Day Race-By-Race Preview (October 17)

Following Heat Yegam’s victory in the KRA Cup Mile last weekend, the fillies get their chance this Sunday with the opening leg of the filly Triple Crown, the Luna Stakes, over 1600M at Busan. The race is part of 6-race card at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30 while there is also a 9-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

The scene on Luna Stakes day last year…. (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

As is almost always the case right now, juvenile maidens kick things off and this time four of the nine race for the very first time. One of the experienced ones will be the hot favourite though. That’s (3) TOUGH GUY, who after posting a good time in a trial in August, debuted on September 12th when he put in a front-running effort at today’s trip to ultimately finish 3rd in a good time. He draws well here and should have too much. Running better on debut that his finishing position suggests was (4) AMAZON KING. Ran 6th but in a fast time in a good race. That came off an impressive trial and is the main danger to the favourite here. (8) CHAMJOEUN CHINGU was slowly away from a wide gate on her debut but did make ground late and finished in a decent time in a fats race and she too will be expected to improve here. Among the first-timers, (7) EUNHYE was the fastest in trials and perhaps has the best chance of making an impression first-up. (2) SUNNY BLADE too did nothing wrong in her heat.

Selections(3) Tough Guy (4) Amazon King (8) Chamjoeun Chingu (7) Eunhye
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Fillies only here. (5) FLYING FULL MOON has been knocking on the door in his latest three outings including 3rd place last start on September 19th at this distance with a couple of today’s rivals behind him. A front runner, he draws nicely so expect him to be on pace and he can lead gate to wire. (1) VIENTO came home 4th behind Flying Full Moon in that race on what was her fourth career start. She looks like she is figuring things out and from another very good draw she could make further progress today. (4) EOMCHEONGNAN GIRL put in a significantly improved 2nd at this distance on August 15th in a fair time behind a good winner. She had already shown she can finish off her races well but for the first time raced prominently throughout and a similar run should see her in the finish again. (7) SEMYEONG HAETSAL is the only previous winner in the field and as such comes into the calculations after three consecutive 4th place finishes. (11) SISEON JUMA has made an encouraging start to her career with three top five finishes from three starts. She led in her best finish to date when 2nd but has run well from behind as well and steps up to 1300M for the first time with solid claims to continue her development.

Selections(5) Flying Full Moon (1) Viento (4) Eomcheongnan Girl (7) Semyeong Haetsal
Next Best11, 10
Fast Start3, 5, 11, 12

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Unchartered territory for all of these maidens as none of them have tackled two-turns before. A few have hinted at ability and finished off their races well at shorter distances, including (5) FLYING BARBIE. She comes on off a decent 3rd place at 1300M, her best performance to date, when she came from well off the pace run down plenty. The extended trip may be what she needs. That’s true too for (4) SEMYEONG CAPTAIN. He ran fairly for 3rd over 1400M at his latest start on August 22nd when he overcame a wide gate to do his best work late. He should be in the finish here. (1) TAEYANGTAGO was 4th in that race behind Semyeong Captain in August and followed it up with another 4th place a month ago, also at 1400M when she made ground from last place entering the straight. She too may like the additional trip. (6) SEONBONG GOLD and (3) HELLO GEUMSEONG are others to consider.

Selections(5) Flying Barbie (4) Semyeong Captain (1) Taeyangtago (6) Seonbong Gold
Next Best3, 11
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 10

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A small field of juvenile maidens get things underway in Busan and (3) YEONGCHEON SOLEMIO is set to be a warm favourite. He made a bold showing on debut when overcoming gate eleven to lead before being ground down and ultimately finishing 4th in a fast time. He draws better today, should lead and should win (5) FUNNY LIFE registered a faster time than Yeongcheon Solemio when also 4th on her own debut on September 17th although it was on a much wetter and faster track. She too was on pace and looks to be the primary danger here. There are two first-timer starters and both warrant mentions. (8) RAON THE GUTSEN went through two trials, improving in the second of them, crossing the line 3rd in a decent time. He can sit outside the early speed and run-on. (2) LIGHT STORY clearly knows what to do having won his own trial. He draws well and can go well first-up. Returning to those with experience, (6) YOUNG BOSS looks to have the most potential to improve.

Selections(3) Yeongcheon Solemio (5) Funny Life (8) Raon The Gutsen (2) Light Story
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

We’ll go with (6) THE QUEEN JUSTICE here on the grounds that she has the fastest time of any of these at the distance (albeit recorded on a very wet track) and draws a much better gate than her primary rival. She comes in off a decent 2nd place at class and distance on September 11th when she went back and made ground and from the middle can perhaps pick her spot. That main rival is likely to be (12) JEONGMUN JIJON, who comes up in class after a good win on September 12th when she sat handy to the lead, striking the front in the home straight and running on well. This might be trickier from the wide draw, but she still looks nicely in and should measure up at this level. (4) GO GO STAR led at her latest start at class and distance ultimately finishing in 5th place. She draws nicely to lead again and can be challenging for a money finish. (10) JANGSAN GUARD had a poor day at the office in that race, his first at this class, but is better than that and can be given another chance. (1) YULONG STAR another in the frame.

Selections(6) The Queen Justice (12) Jeongmun Jijon (4) Go Go Star (10) Jangsan Guard
Next Best1, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Very tricky race. (11) GIANT CAL steps up to this distance for the first time and it may well suit. He doesn’t run on pace so the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and last time he emerged from the back to run 3rd in a solid time over 1300M. Today could be his day. (8) TRIPLE STORM comes back in trip after a couple of spins around a mile. He ran well at class and distance three starts back when 3rd in a time faster than any of the others here have recorded at the distance and he has to be considered a leading contender. (3) DAEHOMA has raced eight times, finishing no better than 4th although that is something he has managed on each of his latest four starts. He draws well to get on pace again and has claims here. (10) OLD CHEONHA hinted at ability in two starts in the early part of the year. He hasn’t been seen since April but trialed up adequately last month and a nice race has been picked for his return. (4) RAPIDO QUEEN another who should be competing for at least a place.

Selections(11) Giant Cal (8) Triple Storm (3) Daehoma (10) Old Cheonha
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race. (8) K N LIGHT has finished no worse 5th in six starts to date and comes up in class following a runner-up finish at this distance on August 29th when handy to the lead throughout and briefly leading in the closing stages. The time was good when compared with his rivals here and he should be competitive at this level. (10) CHALLAN HANNAL got preomotd to this class following a win two starts back over 1200M when he flew home from the back of the field. He stepped up to 1300M for his first try at this level on August 29th and almost managed to repeat the trick, ultimately settling for 2nd in a fast race. The slightly extended trip should suit, the draw should be no issue at all, and he will be competitive here. A wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem for (12) SECRET BOSS either. He ran 3rd in that race behind Challan Hannal at the end of August and has since repeated the finish, again at 1300M. Expect him to be challenging late here. (9) CHEONGSAN GASE and (2) JOY OF KING are others who can be in the placing frame.

Selections(8) K N Light (10) Challan Hannal (12) Secret Boss (9) Cheongsan Gase
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start2, 3, 8, 11