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|
Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(3) NAMSANUI BYEOL got his maiden win three starts back at class and distance when he came from well off the pace to score well in a good time. He has followed it up with a 4th and 3rd at the same distance, again running consistent times. He comes down slightly in the weights today, draws well, and has every chance of returning to the winner’s circle. The main danger is one gate to his inside in (2) MONSTER K. He made all when recording back-to-back wins at this class over 1200M in June and August and then ran 3rd at that same distance last start. He comes up in trip today and does five 3kg away to Namsanui Byeol, but he is very well drawn to lead, and he could go all the way. Draw a line through the latest effort by (5) ROMANCE CHARM when she got caught too far back over 1200M and instead go on her 2nd place two starts back at this class and distance when she sat handy throughout, finishing off in a fast time. She has claims here. (6) THIS CHALLENGE made all to win over 1200M at this class on August 14th. It was only his third career start, and he steps up in trip here with reasons to be confident despite the additional weight. (11) PINE TOUCH another with minor money hopes.
|Selections||(3) Namsanui Byeol (2) Monster K (5) Romance Charm (6) This Challenge|
|Next Best||11, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6, 7|
Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Tricky race with plenty of potential winners. Despite the wide draw, we’ll go with (12) UNJU SESANG. She’s finished no worse than 4th in any of her five starts so far and while her only previous attempt at this distance was a runner-up finish in a slow race on her debut last December, she looks nicely in here. She enters off a good 4th over a mile in a fast time and if Kim Hye-sun can find a decent spot for her just behind the lead, she can win. (1) CAPTAIN GIRL has a more straightforward assignment from the inside gate. She enters off back-to-back 4th place finishes at class and distance when she sat just behind the lead. Her one win came when she led all the way at class 6 level in July and Ioannis Poullis probably won’t hang around here. (2) DAMYANG JEWANG returned form almost seven months out to run 2nd over this distance at class 6 level on September 9th. That was his third runner-up finish in five starts so he is forced up in class today. He ran well in a trial at the start of this month and can be considered. (6) CHOEGANG ILSE and (11) HALLA NURI are others in the placing frame.
|Selections||(12) Unju Sesang (1) Captain Girl (2) Damyang Jewang (6) Choegang Ilse|
|Next Best||11, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 8, 11|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(12) DAECHEON EOLJJANG was a class and distance winner on September 19th, when he came from well off the pace to swoop home, beating three of today’s rivals in the process. He comes up in the weights today, but given his running style, the wide draw doesn’t matter, and he can win again. (8) SARYEONI QUEEN finished 3rd in that race, having sat handy throughout. That was her first try at this level following back-to-back wins at this distance at classes 6 and 5 and she gets a 3.5kg swing in the weights in her favour here. She could overturn the form. (3) K N MAGIC comes up in class following victory at class 5 over this distance on September 12th, when she sat in midfield early before improving on the turn and running on well for an easy win. She should measure up at this level. (4) RUNNING KING also comes up in class, in his case following two consecutive runner-up finishes at this distance. He led on both occasions and draws well to be competitive here. (11) LEAD VOCAL, another one up in class, can also fit in against this caliber of opposition.
|Selections||(12) Daecheon Eoljjang (8) Saryeoni Queen (3) K N Magic (4) Running King|
|Next Best||11, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 9, 10|
Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(2) DONGTEUJA BOY comes up in class after an all the way triumph over 1200M on September 10th. That was just his third career start, and he also comes up in distance for the first time today. He draws well though and can lead from gate to wire once more. (5) NICE WORLD is yet to win but hasn’t finished any worse than 4th in four starts to date. She posted a fair time in her only previous try at this distance and looks ready for another crack having run on well at 1200M last start. (9) WONDER BLADE is another who steps up in distance for the first tie. He won consecutive races at class 6 level over 1200M earlier this year and his running style suggests that he can cope with the additional furlong. (12) YEONGGWANGUI SPEED remains a maiden and had a hard time over a mile on his first try at this class in September. He has though raced well at this distance, registering some fast times and can go well here. (7) WILD BLUE is another with at least placing claims.
|Selections||(2) Dongteuja Boy (5) Nice World (9) Wonder Blade (12) Yeonggwangui Speed|
|Next Best||7, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 7: Class Open (1200M) “SBS Sports Sprint” (KOR-G3) Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million
What a race! (12) EOMA EOMA is a sprinter in sensational form having won his last six in class 1, breaking the 1400M track record in the process as well as recording a sensational time at this distance. He was 3rd in this race last year but he has progressed since then and while he isn’t assisted by the draw, it’s hard to go past him. (1) EAST JET was 4th in this race last year before going on to win the SROA Trophy at this distance. He suffered a surprise defeat at this distance at his latest start in July but is capable of fast times and comes back down in the weights under today’s conditions. He draws well and is worth plenty of thought. Has a great start on him and may lead. (3) BLUE CHIPPER is international Group 1 placed at a mile and winner at his latest start over 1800M, he won the Korea Sprint at course and distance in 2019. Placed this distance in July and August when giving away a lot of weight. He draws well and at level weights he can’t be left out. He will be on pace from the start and will be in this a long way. (10) MORFHIS won this race last year when he powered home late from a wide draw. At his latest start on August 29th, he was 2nd to Spring Back but was giving away 9kg. Likewise, he gave 8kg to Eoma Eoma when 4th over 1400M in July. Level weights is very much in his favour. He likes to settle midfield
and run on and with so much speed in the race, it may suit him. The draw is not an issue and has a chance. (11) M J POWER will be working home late and while not a winning chance, may sneak some minor money.
|Selections||(12) Eoma Eoma (1) East Jet (3) Blue Chipper (10) Morfhis|
|Next Best||11, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 11, 12|
Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Decent race but it’s hard to look far past (4) WINNER STAR. The juvenile came from off the pace to win the Rookie Stakes at 1200M on September 5th but the skipped the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes at the same distance three weeks ago in favour of running at a mile at class 4 level. He didn’t win but worked home well for 3rd and while it is unusual here for a two-year-old to tackle two turns so early in his career, there is every indication that he is talented, and it will suit. (10) ACE JACKPOT doesn’t win out of turn but consistently finds the places at this distance. She did that at her latest start – her first at this level – when runner-up on September 3rd, having come from of the pace. The draw doesn’t matter here, and she can finish strongly. So too can (9) BULMYEORUI GIL, who did exactly that when running on strong for 2nd at this distance at class 5 level on September 3rd. While up in class, he comes down in the weights and should measure up in this company. (8) JEONGSU SIDAE is consistent at class and distance and should be aiming to at least place, while (3) BUSAN MISO comes back up in trip after a couple of good showings at a mile and can’t be discounted.
|Selections||(4) Winner Star (10) Ace Jackpot (9) Bulmyeorui Gil (8) Jeongsu Sidae|
|Next Best||3, 2|
|Fast Start||4, 7, 8, 10|
Seoul Race 8: Class Open (2000M) “KRA Cup Classic” (KOR-G2) Weight for Age / KRW 450 Million
(9) CHEONGDAM DOKKI is the evergreen champion who is looking to win this race for a third time, following successes in 2017 and 2018. He showed he still has a zest for racing when winning over 1800M on October 3rd, leading all the way and holding off a stern late challenge while giving away 5kg. He doesn’t give any weight away today with 57kg a luxury for him, he is race fit and he can complete his hat-trick. (15) MR. AFLEET is still an up and comer at five who has done nothing wrong at class 1 with three wins and two runner-up finishes. At his last start, he bolted up over 2000M under 56kg at Busan and while he is up again in terms of the caliber of opposition, he doesn’t know that. The main challenge will be getting to a handy position from the outside barrier. (12) TIZ PLAN is a hugely talented galloper who has lowered Cheongdam Dokki’s colours before. Like Dokki, he will appreciate coming back into the eight for age scale here and while he is resuming for the first time since May, he warrants respect. (4) HUNCH is a stablemate of Mr. Afleet and a recent huge winner at this distance, He still looks to have further development in him, and the draw is a major boost here as he is going to need to do far less work than almost all the other leading contenders to get to his desired position. (13) HAENGBOK WANGJA drew a blank in his first seven starts before proceeding to win the next seven. A real up and comer he has risen to every occasion and situation he has been presented with. This is another step up for him and the draw is not kind but don’t rule out. (14) MOONHAK CHIEF is a Korean Cup winner, resuming for the first time since May and while he must be taken on trust, it would be no surprise were he to be in the finish.
|Selections||(9) Cheongdam Dokki (15) Mr. Afleet (12) Tiz Plan (4) Hunch|
|Next Best||13, 14|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 9, 15|
Busan Race 6: Class 2 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
Good race to round off Busan’s card. (3) FANTASTIC MAN comes in looking to complete a hat-trick of victories and drops back in trip with both his recent successes being over 1800M. He is unbeaten at this distance though and while up in class comes down a full 5kg in the weights, draws very well and has every chance. Also up in class is (8) GREAT BOSS. He has never finished worse than 4th in eleven starts to date and ran a good 2nd to promising three-year-old Mach Titan. He can be on pace or handy and just like Fantastic Man comes down 5kg in the weights putting him in with a great chance. (2) SAMSEONG DOKKI returned to action following on October 1st over 1800M and showed on pace before weakening a little in the closing stages and finishing down the field. He should have benefited from that run and can get closer today. (10) GYEONGJUUI DUREBAK won that October 1st race and while she comes back in trip today, warrants a little more respect here. (4) SUCCESS PARTY among others who can go close.
|Selections||(3) Fantastic Man (8) Great Boss (2) Samseong Dokki (10) Gyeongjuui Durebak|
|Next Best||4, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 12|
Seoul Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
(5) VIKING STORM is up in class here on two successive wins over 1700M on wet tracks, the latest of which was by seven lengths after settling handy and then running away. This is naturally harder, but he has the potential for more development, and he can make it three in a row here. (6) LUCKY HOON beat Viking Storm when winning three starts back and has maintained his good form at this distance. Last start he settle back before getting up handy to the lead and running on. The time before when he struck trouble at the start, he still managed to run on for 2nd from an unpromising position. Resourceful horse who may be considered. (3) HIDDEN SOCKS was a winner at this class and distance at his last start when settling midfield. He is up in weight today but nicely drawn and will be in this a long way. (2) MIGHTY CHIP ran 3rd at class an d distance two starts back when settling back in the field and ran on wide. At his latest effort he plugged away gamely for 6th. His racing pattern means he may need some luck, but he is capable of running into a place. (4) NORTHERN TIME, another up and comer, steps up to two turns for the first time and may well measure up.
|Selections||(5) Viking Storm (6) Lucky Hoon (3) Hidden Socks (2) Mighty Chip|
|Next Best||4, 8|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 9, 10|