The 2021 Triple Crown finally gets underway on Sunday when three-year-olds line up for the KRA Cup Mile at Busan. The unprecedented late start to the series has had the effect of making it arguably the strongest ever as every horse who arrives in the start line is tried and tested whereas on its usual April date, the race is often full of those who were precocious as juveniles but then haven’t kicked on. Anyway, more of the Cup Mile to follow over the next couple of days but in the meantime Busan kicks off proceedings for the weekend with a six-race card on Friday afternoon. Seoul jockeys Kim Yong-geun, Park Tae-jong and Ham Wan-sik all have rides. Here are the previews:
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(1) TWO TWO LIME will be hot favourite to open her account at the fifth time of asking here. She has a 2nd and a 3rd to her name already, both of them at this distance and she has already beaten a few of these. She comes in under a light weight and from the inside gate should be on the early speed and she should win. (4) SPRING FIRE came home 5th to Two Two Lime’s 3rd at her latest start on August 13th. She is another who does have a couple of places to her name and in this company she can be competitive for another. She came from off the pace last start but has been known to lead as well. Definitely closing late will be (6) CHEONGMA YEONGUNG. Seoul jockey Park Tae-jong, one of a number in town for Sunday’s KRA Cup Mile, picks up the ride and while this colt tends to get a bit too far back, if he can get away well, then he can be a danger at the end. This is not a strong race so while the solitary debut-maker (7) SUSO ENGINE didn’t exactly catch the eye in trials, he won’t need to improve too much on it to be competitive. (11) EUTTEUM CAL another in the placing hunt off the back of an improved 4th last time out.
|Selections||(1) Two Two Lime (4) Spring Fire (6) Cheongma Yeongung (7) Suso Engine|
|Next Best||11, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 5|
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Maiden fillies here and all but three tackle the seven-furlongs for the first time. The pick and probable betting favourite is (12) WONDERFUL RAISE, who following a runner0up finish on debut in August then ran 6th in the Rookie Stakes on September 5th over 1200M when she ran on reasonably well and was travelling nicely at the end. The step up to 1400M may suit and while she has drawn the widest gate, she should be able to overcome it. (1) GOLDEN POWER went right back on debut before running on well for 3rd – albeit a long way behind a good winner – over 1000M on September 3rd. She should have come on for that run and the additional distance today may work in her favour. It’s fair to day that (2) WONDERFUL LADY is no superstar but she is turning into a dependable type with five top-five finishes from eight starts. She beat a couple of these on her latest start when overcoming a wide draw to sit handy and run on for 4th over 1300M. She draws much better today and will surely be in the finish again. (6) DONGBANG CAPTAIN and (7) WIND HIGH are others in the placing frame.
|Selections||(12) Wonderful Raise (1) Golden Power (2) Wonderful Lady (6) Dongbang Captain|
|Next Best||7, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 12|
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Tricky one here. (11) SPEED MATCH made all to score his maiden win three weeks ago at this distance. He comes up in class here but that manner of that victory – and the time it was recorded in on a good rated track – means he has to be considered again. The wide draw is a concern though and the likely betting favourite is (9) RUN FIGHTER. He has never been worse than 3rd in four outings to date and comes in off a good 2nd place on his first go at class and distance on September 5th when he was handy throughout. He has run consistent times and has every chance here. So too (1) PURE KING. He tackles 1400M for the very first time, having got his maiden win at his latest start over 1200M on September 19th. He settled in midfield that day, running on strong and there is nothing to suggest that the additional trip won’t suit. (4) DOCTOR TEXAS had a hard time on his first crack at class and distance when well back behind Run Fighter. His previous form suggests he is better than that and is worth another chance for at least a place here. (2) B J SONG another who has every chance of competing for the money.
|Selections||(11) Speed Match (9) Run Fighter (1) Pure King (4) Doctor Texas|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 10, 11|
Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Fillies only here. (10) D’LOVELY QUEEN has been a model of consistency across her five starts so far with her one win coming at this trip at class 6 level back in July. Since has since run twice at this class, finishing in 3rd place on both occasions in competitive times. She tends to settle handy or midfield and then run on so the wide draw isn’t off too much concern and while she does carry an extra 2kg from last time, she can win here. (1) STORM TO WIN has good experience at this class and was 5th over 1400M three weeks ago having led for much of the way around. She is a filly who gets regularly trialed between races and she went through another heat just last week in double-quick time. If she has maintained that sharpness, then from the inside gate she can be in this a long way. So too can (3) BANJIUI GIJEOK, who is still a maiden but comes up in class after a good 2nd place over 1300M having led for much of the way, on August 29th. That was her first start since last December so she should have come on for the run and while this is undoubtedly harder, she can measure up. (9) APRIL QUEEN may be working towards another win. She has found her feet at this class with a 2nd and two 4th place finishes from three attempts, and drops back in trip here. She can go close. (7) GOLD LUCK another with more than a chance of placing.
|Selections||(10) D’Lovely Queen (1) Storm To Win (3) Banjiui Gijeok (9) April Queen|
|Next Best||7, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 10, 11|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Kim Yong-geun has traveled down from Seoul to ride Royal Road in Sunday’s Cup Mile and while that colt won’t be favourite, he takes the ride here on (4) KING OF THE MATCH, who almost certainly will be market leader in a really good race. He is three for three so far having won up to a mile and while he comes up 3kg in the weights and finds himself against some horses who have run some tremendous times at this distance, he should be equal to the challenge. (1) RAON THE POWER has finished in the top three in all eight of his starts so far with four wins. He comes up in class after a good score at this distance on August 20th, is down significantly in the weights and draws very nicely. (12) HANEUL ULLIM won three races in a row between March and May including a super win at this distance. He hasn’t raced since the latest of those wins so sharpness might be an issue but he looked well in a September trial and his running style means the draw shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. (3) DOCTOR FASHION and (10) AKER’S DREAM among others in the hunt in a race of many talents.
|Selections||(4) King Of The Match (1) Raon The Power (12) Haneul Ullim (3) Doctor Fashion|
|Next Best||10, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 6, 7|
Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million
With a good apprentice taking 4kg off his back, (3) KING OF GLORY can return to winning ways here. He comes in having run 4th behind Blue Chipper at the distance three weeks ago but has beaten plenty of these in recent outings. A front-runner, he draws very nicely and today can be his day. The main danger may prove to be his stablemate. (1) PRO CONSUL races for the first time since May but has won first up at this level before. When he last ran he was 2nd over a mile to King Of Glory and having looked well in a trial only last week, it could be a Wolsley quinella here. (6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP comes back up in trip following recent work around one-turn including defeating Doctor Carson and Blue Chipper over 1400M. He perhaps doesn’t look a winning chance here but his quality could well see him to a place. (2) SPEED FURY is another to have been beaten by King Of Glory recently when 3rd to his 2nd at class and distance on August 1st. He has since run disappointingly over 2000M but should be better back in trip and drawn well here. (9) GOOD CASTING comes back up in trip too and is another who rarely runs a bad race.
|Selections||(3) King Of Glory (1) Pro Consul (6) Baengmunbaekdap (2) Speed Fury|
|Next Best||9, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 12|