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.
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.
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 Best||1, 7|
|Fast Start||4, 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 Best||4, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||4, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||11, 6|
|Fast Start||3, 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 Best||1, 4|
|Fast Start||3, 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 Best||8, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 8, 11|