It’s Korean Derby day at last! The latest Derby in history goes to post at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon with race fans in attendance (attendance must be pre-booked using the My Card app – there is no walk-up admission). Heat Yegam won the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown, at Busan last month, and will be favourite again. A full horse-by-horse preview of the Derby will be up soon but in the meantime, here is the full race by race preview of the 10-race card at Seoul (10:45 to 18:00) and at Busan (7 races from 11:10 to 16:40):
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
The juvenile maidens get us underway with five of the eleven racing for the first time. And it’s one of those debut-makers who is set to be favourite. (1) PINE FARM first trialed up in May in good style but didn’t make it to the track that time around. He requalified in mid-October, running fast time behind Moonhak Chief and from a good gate should be on pace from the start and can lead all the way. The big danger has some experience. That’s (7) RAON THE ARIA, who was anonymous in her trial but debuted well with a strong 4th p lace at this distance on October 2nd when she sat handy all the way. She won’t need to improve much to be right in this. (10) NO SMALL SUN was a decent 4th on what was her second start on October 10th and if she can continue to make progress here can go close. Returning to the debut-makers, (4) NAMSAN HORANGI impressed when winning an October trial in a fair time and has every chance of going well first-up. (2) P N S LIN didn’t do much wrong in his heat and has an outside chance of sneaking into the money.
|Selections||(1) Pine Farm (7) Raon The Aria (10) No Small Sun (4) Namsan Horangi|
|Next Best||2, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 7, 8, 10|
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Maiden juveniles start the card at Busan with seven of the twelve racing for the very first time. There is some ability among the experienced ones though, so we will side with (5) MAHAMERU, who after an encouraging trial, ran 6th on debut in September in a fast time on an admittedly wet track. He should have come on for that run and Perovic climbing aboard is a plus. (6) GREAT CHEONGHO was a good 4th on debut just two weeks ago when prominent throughout. It was a fair time on a dry track, and he can go closer today. (7) KING SATURDAY is perhaps the standout of the first timers. While indifferent in his mandatory trial in September, he was sent through a voluntary one just last week and significantly improved, posting a fast time and leading for much of the way. So long as he didn’t leave his race there, he can go well. (3) PLAY THE INDY didn’t do much wrong in what was a slow trial and could also play a part. The wildcard is (12) ANASTASIA, who raced twice uncompetitively in summer but recently went through two trials, winning the latter.
|Selections||(5) Mahameru (6) Great Cheongho (7) King Saturday (3) Play The Indy|
|Next Best||12, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 12|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
A big field of maiden fillies and plenty look to have the potential to make the breakthrough. (14) GOLD KAISER is going to need to navigate her way from the widest gate, but if she can do that then she looks to have solid claims. Having won a September trial, she ran 3rd on debut over this distance in a fair time, having been handy early. If the draw is a concern, then (5) RUBY CAT is the one to be on. She has improved across three starts so far, culminating in 4th place last time out over 1300M. She can sit just off the pace here and it could be her day. (12) V QUEEN came home 5th in the same race in what was an uptick in form. She has a good finish on her so the draw shouldn’t be a problem and she can get even closer today. (3) SMART HIGH and (1) FLYING BARBIE are among others with placing potential.
|Selections||(14) Gold Kaiser (5) Ruby Cat (12) V Queen (3) Smart High|
|Next Best||1, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 8, 14|
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Fillies (and one mare) only here. (7) ANNIKA GIRL stepped up to this distance at her latest start and ran a fair 5th place in a reasonable time in what was a tougher race than this. She sat handy that day and ran on and in this company, has every chance of breaking through. (1) DARI TTEUNI is the only one to have won a race and then alone brings her into contention. The victory was in May, and she hasn’t looked like repeating, however, she did beat a couple of these on her way to 6th place over 1300M two starts back. (12) WORLD FLOWER stepped up to this distance on October 8th and came from off the pace to run a useful 6th place in a fair time and a repeat of that run would be competitive here. (14) BAEK SEOL QUEEN was disappointing at her latest start in August but had previously registered some decent efforts. She trialed up a couple of weeks ago looking well and may have benefitted from the twelve weeks off. (8) USEUNG GANGJA is another in the placing frame.
|Selections||(7) Annika Girl (1) Dari Tteuni (12) World Flower (14) Baek Seol Queen|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 7|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
Another big field and a competitive race. (9) ROAD ACE has been working towards a win with steady improvement over his three starts so far, all of them at 1000M and culminating in a 2nd place last time out in a good time. He steps up in trip for the first time but should be on pace and can win. The presence of Moon Se Young aboard (5) KOREA GIJEOK may make the Hansen gelding favourite. He’s scoreless following fifteen attempts but enters in good form with a 2nd and a 4th from his latest two appearances, both at today’s distance and coming from off the pace. He can go close again. (6) DOUBLE TAKE too comes in with recent form reading positively. She comes in off a last start 4th when settling midfield at this trip and Munro stays aboard today. (3) GEOSEN DOLPUNG steps up to this trip for the first time. He was an on-pace 3rd in a fair time over 1200M on his last outing in September and will be expected to show the way again here. (11) POSA POSA perhaps the best of the rest.
|Selections||(9) Road Ace (5) Korea Gijeok (6) Double Take (3) Geosen Dolpung|
|Next Best||11, 12|
|Fast Start||3, 8, 9, 13|
Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
(7) VICTOR BASIUM is an intriguing entry here. He has only raced once, back in May, but he raced well, finishing in 4th place in a respectable time over the five furlongs. He trialed up smartly two weeks ago and in shallow waters here, has good claims first-up. (9) WONDERFUL REALTY comes out on top in plenty of indicators in this race. He the fastest finish on him as well as the fastest time at this distance. He comes in off a good class and distance 3rd place on October 1st and while the draw isn’t the best, he should be going close. (6) RAPIDO QUEEN has led both her latest starts at 1300M and 1400M before finishing back in the pack. The slight drop back in trip may be in her favour here and she should enter the calculations. (5) HAEUNDAE BLUE and (12) MYEONGSEONG CHARGE among others in the placing hunt.
|Selections||(7) Victor Basium (9) Wonderful Realty (6) Rapido Queen (5) Haeundae Blue|
|Next Best||12, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 12|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) JANGSAN LASER returned to make his second start a full nine months after his first and it proved successful as he came from midfield to score over 1200M on October 3rd. As a result, he comes up in class but neither that, nor the step up in trip should be a problem and he can make it two in a row here. The main danger is (5) BEOLMAL DAEJANG. He comes in having posted two excellent times at this distance in his latest two outings, which ended in 4th and a very close 2nd. He comes up slightly in the weights today but has very solid claims. (3) COOL PRINCESS comes up in class following a win at this distance on October 2nd. She will need to improve on that performance but has drawn very nicely to lead and can measure up. (4) FIGHTING NOW has plenty of class and distance experience and along with (11) GRAY CAT is another with at least placing chances.
|Selections||(2) Jangsan Laser (5) Beolmal Daejang (3) Cool Princess (4) Fighting Now|
|Next Best||11, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 8, 11|
Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Small field of fillies here and after a string of near-misses, (7) NEW LUX should be winning. Two starts back she ran 3rd at class and distance in a super time on an admittedly wet track, continuing her consistent run of form. At her latest she was 5th over 1800M. She likes to sit handy or midfield and should have too much for these at the business end of the race. (1) GOLD LUCK comes up to the mile for the first time. She has got caught a bit far back in a couple of her latest starts but from a good draw on the inside this time, coupled with the additional distance to play with, she may push the favourite close. (8) TAMNA HWANGHU came from well off the place for a slashing 4th at class and distance on October 15th. She mixes her form but if she gets up a head of steam in the straight, she can run a few of these down. (4) QUEEN OF HEARTS and (6) GREAT GO are others with money chances.
|Selections||(7) New Lux (1) Gold Luck (8) Tamna Hwanghu (4) Queen Of Hearts|
|Next Best||6, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 6, 7|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Having run out a super winner on debut at 1000M, (1) MENI GOLD stepped up in class and distance on November 9th to be sent off as favourite but ultimately run 2nd over 1200M. It was a decent performance nevertheless and from the inside gate, she will be expected to be on pace here and can return to the winner’s circle. (2) COMPLETE RULER comes up in class and distance after a battling debut win on September 4th. From gate nine, he sat behind the speed and then ground out a narrow win. There is no reason to suggest the extra distance won’t suit and he can go well here. (11) MAGIC JUNIOR beat a couple of these on his was to 2nd place at class and distance on October 2nd. Like Meni Gold’s it was in a fast time, and he overcame a similarly wide draw to today’s to get close to the speed. He comes up very slightly in the weights but if he can find a decent position then he has a chance. (8) WINNER BLUE was 4th in that same race and also possesses the fastest time of any of these for the distance and along with (7) PRINCESS SOCKS must enter the placing calculations.
|Selections||(1) Meni Gold (2) Complete Ruler (11) Magic Junior (8) Winner Blue|
|Next Best||7, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 7, 8, 11|
Busan Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) Having got his maiden win at start number three, (5) HWARANG BEST ran 2nd in the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes over 1200M, emerging from the pack late and running on strong. The additional furlong can suit, and he can win this. (9) LIGHT STORY was a gate to wire winner on debut October 17th. He is up in class and also by two-furlongs in distance but has potential for measure up and he carries a nice light weight. (7) UNJU EUTTEUM comes up in class after a good all the way win over 1200M on October 1st. He comes up in distance too and will be challenging Light Story for the early lead. (8) APRIL QUEEN has been consistently close at this class and two starts back ran 4th ahead of a couple of these at this distance. She comes in following a 3rd place over 1200M and looks a solid place chance once more. (10) QUEEN OF THE QUEEN is better than her recent form suggests and could make for an interesting outsider.
|Selections||(5) Hwarang Best (9) Light Story (7) Unju Eutteum (8) April Queen|
|Next Best||10, 12|
|Fast Start||7, 8, 9, 12|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Competitive race. (4) MUNHAK FIRE has the fastest time among these at the distance, recorded when winning on a “good” rated track three starts back. Since then, he has recorded back-to-back 3rd place finishes and while he comes up in the weights on the latest of those on October 3rd, he draws much better, should be on pace and can win. To do so, he will have to overturn the form on (10) THUNDER TIME. He had been working his way to a maiden victory and it came in that October 3rd race when he sat midfield and run on. He too comes up in the weights today and his draw is not as favourable but his racing style suggests that can be overcome and a repeat is more than possible. (11) BYEOLNARA JILJU ran out an emphatic class s and distance winner two starts back but could only manage 6th on reappearance in September. That day he carried the same weight as today which is 5kg more than when he won but he gets reunited with Moon Se Young and can return to form after seven weeks out. (1) CHEONGCHUN VIVA ran 5th in the Thunder Time race and along with the debut-maker (7) MUNHAK TAPIT, is another who can compete for the places.
|Selections||(4) Munhak Fire (10) Thunder Time (11) Byeolnara Jilju (1) Cheongchun Viva|
|Next Best||7, 12|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 10, 11|
Busan Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) SUNSET MELODY was successful on debut at this distance, sitting handy early, striking the front at the top of the straight and then running on strong. He comes up in class here but draws nicely to be on pace again and should be hard to beat. (12) DONGNAM BULPAE has been getting to grips with this class and comes in following a good 3rd over this distance on October 1st when he settled back and ran on well. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and he can be coming on strong late again. (4) STORM TO WIN made all to score over this distance at class 5 level on October 8th. He trialed up last weekend running 3rd in a good time behind a couple of useful horses and if he can maintain his form here, he will be a big danger. (9) B. K. MARSHALL remains a maiden but comes up in class following a 3rd and two runner-up finishes. All three of those starts were at 1000M but she comes inhere under a light weight and will be aiming to get on pace with every chance of measuring up. (1) GOLDEN has the fastest time of any of these at the distance and is another place hope.
|Selections||(2) Sunset Melody (12) Dongnam Bulpae (4) Storm To Win (9) B.K. Marshall|
|Next Best||1, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5, 9|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Fillies and mares only here. (4) GANGSEO PRINCESS is a model of consistency and comes in having run the fastest time of any of these for this distance when 3rd on October 9th. She came out of gate twelve that day and ended up running on from off the pace, but she is equally comfortable on speed or handy. From an ideal gate today, she is the one to beat. (3) FOREVER ONE enters having placed at both her latest two outings, both over 1400M and at the most recent on October 2nd, beating three of today’s rivals. Back to 1200M today, she likes to lead, and the great draw brings her firmly into the calculations. (1) GREEN WATT may not have a huge amount on paper to recommend but at her last start on October 10th, she settled midfield and ran on fairly in a nice time. From the inside a place isn’t impossible. (5) ONE AND ONLY registered two unexpected wins in August and September to get promoted to this class. She finished well back on her first try at this level but dropping back to 1200M today, don’t rule her out of sneaking some money. (10) BEST TIME also needs a line drawn though her latest and has proven she can be competitive at this level.
|Selections||(4) Gangseo Princess (3) Forever One (1) Green Watt (5) One And Only|
|Next Best||10, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4, 11|
Busan Race 7: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
Fascinating match up here. (8) MACH TITAN comes in having run 6th in the KRA Cup Mile on October 5th. With a previous try at 1800M having been his worst result to date, he swerves today’s Derby in Seoul to go here and he can return to winning ways. While he carries 4kg more than his excellent class and distance win at the end of August, he should be equal to the task. It will not be easy, however, as there are plenty of other winning chances here. The main danger is (7) GREAT BOSS, who ran 2nd to Mach Titan in that August 29th race before running 4th to Success Macho two weeks ago. He carries planet of weight today but does meet Mach Titan on better terms this time around and he is a big chance. (1) NANGMAN JEONSA was 4th n the August 29th race and comes back in trip following two spins around 1800M. He gets plenty of weight from the two favourites and will go back and run on strong late. (3) DOCTOR GIANTS ran 7th in the KRA Cup Mile, just one place behind Mach Titan. He is a big winner weight wise here and will be a threat. (9) JEONSEOLUI BOSS another with placing chances.
|Selections||(8) Mach Titan (7) Great Boss (1) Nangman Jeonsa (3) Doctor Giants|
|Next Best||9, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 8: Class Open (1800M) “The Korean Derby” (KOR G1) Allowance / KRW 650 Million
(5) HEAT YEGAM is hard to go past as he has done nothing but impress having won his last five including the KRA Cup Mile at Busan when he led and set such a pace that nothing could go with him. He is untested at 1800M and faces the Seoul track for the first time, but neither should really be an issue for him and if he runs to his potential, he wins. (8) WINNER’S MAN is a two-time winner at this distance at class 2 level in Busan before running 5th in the KRA Cup Mile when he had to use up a lot from a wide draw to get on pace with Heat Yegam. Back up to the 1800M and with perhaps a touch less intensity in the early stages this time, he will be well suited. (11) HEUNGBARAGI must be considered base don his enormous run in the Cup Mile when drawn wide he showed good speed to get forward and made-up lots of ground in the straight. He has won at course and distance and while he may again need luck from a bad draw, he can be in the finish. (6) CHIEF INDY ran 3rd in the Cup Mile when he settled midfield and then ran on resolutely. He has won at this distance already and this should suit. (1) MR INDIE was a good 4th in the Cup Mile and is another who has already won at the distance. Don’t rule out a big run.
|Selections||(5) Heat Yegam (8) Winner’s Man (11) Heungbaragi (6) Chief Indy|
|Next Best||1, 10|
|Fast Start||5, 8, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
This is a very good race and is suitably tricky. We’ll take a chance on (5) MOONHAK DREAM who won back-to-back races over 1700M to get promoted to this class whereupon he ran 3rd on October 2nd on his first try at this class and distance alongside a host of today’s rivals, leading for part of it. He comes in under the same weight but with a much better draw and he has a chance. (11) JANGSAN MISSILE is a winner of four of his last six and is the probable favourite. He comes in having run 3rd at class and distance on September 12th when away awkwardly. He isn’t well drawn and may need some luck, but his quality will see him in the mix. (9) GLOBAL SOCKS finished 2nd ahead of Moonhak Dream in the October 2nd race. He has a wider barrier today and comes up in the weights but warrants respect. (12) HEUNGROK DAEBU comes up in class following a good win around 1700M when he settled on pace racing keenly and the win was better than the margin suggests. He should measure up. (10) BOLT MAN beat Jangsan Missile when 2nd at his latest start and should also be in the hunt.
|Selections||(5) Moonhak Dream (11) Jangsan Missile (9) Global Socks (12) Heungrok Daebu|
|Next Best||10, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 10: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
(5) CUPID MISSION is a competitive on-pace galloper who has been placed in both starts at this class, beating plenty of today’s rivals in the process. Last time he was a close 3rd at 1400M and the time before he was 2nd at today’s distance, both in good times. He draws well and looks the one to beat. (11) ICE PUNCH was a close 3rd at his last start at this class and distance. Just behind Cupid Mission. He won his two previous outings to get promoted to this level and can run fast times. He does have the challenge of the wide draw but is capable of running on from the pack. (4) FINAL STAR is another who has run fast times. Two starts back he was 4th behind Cupid Mission and Ice Punch and then followed it up with a similar performance on October 2nd. He is worth considering. (1) CLEANUP SHINE has been beaten by plenty of these across his latest two starts but has a light weight and a better draw today and may improve. (10) DADDY GLORY another in at least the placing frame.
|Selections||(5) Cupid Mission (11) Ice Punch (4) Final Star (1) Cleanup Shine|
|Next Best||10, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 5|