Day: November 13, 2021

Korean Oaks 2021: Runner-By Runner Preview

Raon Pink was a crushing winner of the Luna Stakes last month and on Sunday the Musket Man filly returns to Busan as the hot favourite to win the 2021 Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G2). The Oaks is race 6 on Busan’s Sunday card with a post time of 15:50 in Busan. CLICK HERE FOR SUNDAY’S RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW

Raon Pink, seen here in the Luna Stakes Parade Ring returns to Busan as favourite for the Korean Oaks

Remarkably, of the twelve who will line up, no fewer than nine of them have travelled down from Seoul, including Raon Pink, who won the Luna Stakes by a full eight-lengths on October 17th. That was over a mile, but such was her superiority, few expect the additional furlong to cause problems.

Busan may only field three but among them is something One thing that Raon Pink didn’t have to contend with in the Luna, and that’s Doctor Fappiano. Long thought of as the most forward filly of her crop, the Old Fashioned filly missed the Luna due to a setback but takes her chance in the Oaks as likely second-favourite.

Doctor Fappiano has won at the 1800M distance already and was only three-lengths behind subsequent Derby winner Winner’s Man when they faced each other in August.

All top-five placegetters from the Luna Stakes return for the Oaks while Miss Indie, who finished back in the pack that day, will be expected go better. In addition to Doctor Fappiano, the likes of Cupid Point, Pureun Jangmi and Choegang Black make for interesting newcomers to the Filly Triple Crown trail.

Long-shots have prevailed in the most recent editions of the Korean Oaks, with Ottug Ottugi in 2016, the last pre-race favourite to win the race. Here is a full run down of all the runners:  

1. SMART OFFICER [Officer- So Chic (Private Terms)] – Has only raced five times and won u to class 5 level over 1300M. In the Luna Stakes she was the slowest away and a long last on settling but by the corner had tacked onto the field and looked full of running. She then made excellent ground wide to run 3rd, a super run in the circumstances. Based on that she can’t be ruled out.

2. CHOEGANG BLACK [Purge – Allwise (Mr. Greeley)] – Gets her chance following a class 5 win over 1400M at class 5 level last month when handy to the lead before running on strong in a good time. Two starts back she came from midfield to run 3rd in a fair time over 1700M, her only experience of racing around two-turns. She won’t be among the favourites here, but she draws nicely to find a good position and a top jockey has been persuaded to go down to ride her. Could be interesting.

3. RAON PINK [Musket Man – Pink Candy (Southern Image)] – A filly who has been in outstanding form and in the Luna Stakes jumped well and worked to the lead setting a good pace and slipped away from the field on the corner to go well clear and was still strong at the finish. It’s an extra furlong today but she draws the same gate as in the Luna and a similar performance will make her very hard to beat. Full-sister to Raon First, established at class 1.

4. CUPID POINT [Concord Point – A Girl Named Phil (Distorted Humor)] – Enters in very good form with two wins from her last three. Last time out over 1700M at class 4 level she sat handy to the lead before running on in the final furlong for victory in a good time. That was at the end of August so she has had a bit of time out but from a good draw and under a top jockey, she can go well. Look for her running on late.

5. EODIGANA [Smarty Moonhak – Beneficial Friend (Street Boss)] – Great to see a Smarty Moonhak running in a big race and while she won’t be among the favourites, she is one of only two in the field who has won over 1800M. That came at her latest start on October 10th at class 4 level when she sat behind the lead before taking things up just over a furling out and running on for a comfortable win. This is harder but she can be competitive.

6. SERVE ACE [Tiz Wonderful – Havisham (Bernardini)] – A super winner over 1400M at class 5 level in July she has been perhaps a touch disappointing in her latest two when 6th behind Cupid Point in August and then 4th at her latest four weeks ago, both over 1700M at class 4. She can lead or settle back and run on and Munro remaining loyal and traveling down is a plus, but others are favoured.

7. JEDI [Cowboy Cal – Bichui Yeowang (Midnight Lute)] – Showed promise as a juvenile and has maintained her form this year. She only has three wins from eleven, her latest being at class 4 over 1200M in June but she ran a big race to finish 2nd in the Luna Stakes when settling withing striking distance before saving ground on the turn and then running on strong to the line. Ran 2nd on her only try at 1700M at class 5 level so distance not a concern and she should be in the placing frame again.

8. MISS INDIE [Indie Band – In Escrow (Vindication)] – Half-sister to Mr. Afleet, who won the KRA Cup Classic (KOR G2) over 2000M at Seoul three weeks ago. Her wins came at class 6 level but her two runner-up finishes were behind Hill More and Alpha Star, both of whom are useful. She was away well from the inside gate in the Luna and was prominent for a long time before Raon Pink’s tempo perhaps took its toll. Should have come on for the experience and with likely less early intensity in this race, can improve.

9. QUEENS TOUR [Colors Flying – Daisy A Day (Smart Strike)] – Sole win to date came ay class 6 level over 1400M but she’s earned her spot here through a 5th place in the Luna, when she settled in the rear division but finished strongly, passing plenty of tired fillies in the final coupe of furlongs. Likely to employ similar tactics today, minor money again would be a very good result.

10. DOCTOR FAPPIANO [Old Fashioned – Feversham (Distorted Humor)] – A setback caused her to miss the Luna Stakes, a race for which she would have been favourite. That was before the blistering performance of Raon Pink but Doctor Fappiano has excellent claims. She ran 3rd behind subsequent Korean Derby winner Winner’s Man two starts back at class 2 level over this distance and then stepped back to class 3 and won, again at today’s distance on September 5th. She is a front-runner, so Raon Pink has got the better of the draw but don’t rule her out. Big Chance.

11. PUREUN JANGMI [Old Fashioned – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lightly raced with just four starts but she has two wins and two runner-up finishes, including her latest, an all the way score over 1400M at class 5 level on October 15th. This is stiffer and it is not easy from a wide gate over 1800M at Busan. She clearly has potential though and the trainer/jockey combination will make plenty take note. Interesting wildcard.

12. YEONGGWANGUI MISO [Hansen – Perfect Scip (Scipion)] – Gets her chance here having run 4th in the Luna when settling midfield from a similarly wide barrier and in the straight challenged Jedi in 3rd all the way in a run full of merit. She will need plenty of luck from the widest barrier, but she should be able to give a good account of herself again.

Oaks Day 2021: Busan & Seoul Race-By-Race Preview (November 14)

The 2021 Korean Oaks will be run at Busan on Sunday afternoon – full horse-by-horse preview to follow. There are 7 races at Busan from 11:10 to 16:40 and 10 at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. The racecourses and all betting locations are open at restricted capacity, however, there is no walk-in admission and attendance must be pre-booked through the MyCard app. Proof of vaccination against Covid-19 is also required. Here are the previews:

Uaryung won the Oaks last year (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A small field of juvenile maidens assemble for the opener with a few standouts. Both of (5) CHEONJI JIDAE’s starts to date have been over 1000M and both times he has recorded decent times, finishing in 3rd and 4th and running on well. He steps up to 1200M here and should have solid claims to be on pace throughout. The main danger is (8) CHAMJOEUN CHINGU. She too has operated only at 1000M prior to today and ran an improved 3rd on her second start on October 17th. She’s from a red-hot stable and can continue to show progress here. (6) SPEED GALLOP similarly improved to 2nd place at start number two on October 10th. She was a long way behind a good winner, but she ran on well and the additional furlong may suit. Solitary debut-maker (3) TITAN SOCKS led in his most recent trial, ultimately crossing the line in 2nd place in a fair time and can go well first-up. (4) JILJUE BADA is one of only two who have tackled the distance before and could challenge for the places.

Selections(5) Cheonji Jidae (8) Chamjoeun Chingu (6) Speed Gallop (3) Titan Socks
Next Best4, 1
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field of two and three-year-old maidens. (8) WONDERFUL FAGER looks set to be the one to beat, despite returning from twenty-two weeks out. He’s finished 3rd in three of his four starts and finished in that very same position in a trial two weeks ago. He can sit handy here and run on strong. (2) DAEHO NURI comes in having taken his chance in a Listed juvenile race last time out when he ran 6th of ten in a fair time over this distance. He showed handy to the lead that day and will be expected to do similar today with solid claims to be in this a long way. Also likely to be on pace this time will be (3) ADELE CHUKBAE, who may appreciate the step up in trip. All three of his starts so far have been at 1000M and with a slightly less intense early part of the race here, he can find a better position. (5) NEW CROWN and (6) WONDERFUL DIGGER are others in the placing hunt.

Selections(8) Wonderful Fager (2) Daeho Nuri (3) Adele Chukbae (5) New Crown
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 8

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

Big field and from the inside spot, (1) SARYEONI FIRST may prove hard to beat. He ran 2nd to Aspen Taeyang on debut before finishing 3rd behind Meni Wonderful and Icheon Arch at his second start on October 3rd. Both were over 1000M, and he made good ground late both times. The additional furlong can suit, and he’ll be favourite to salute at the third time of asking. (3) LONDON POWER enters off a good 4th place finish at class and distance on October 16th. She draws similarly well today and should be able to grab an early lead. She won’t necessarily be easy to go past. There is one first-time starter in the shape of (5) BE CRAZY. There are sure to be plenty of eyes on the three-year-old gelding as he is a half-brother to top line Seoul-based sprinter East Jet. He won a barrier trial in an unhurried fashion a month ago and has every chance of going well first-up. (10) SMART JEONSA and (6) DONGSEO YEOGEOL are others in the placing hunt.

Selections(1) Saryeoni First (3) London Power (5) Be Crazy (10) Smart Jeonsa
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 6

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

After an inauspicious debut, (10) DAEJI CHOICE has run well in three subsequent starts including a 3rd place in the Listed Areumdaun Jilju n Stakes for juveniles at his latest outing on October 3rd over 1200M when he emerged out of the pack late on, a long way behind the winner but well clear of 4th. The step up in trip may be to his benefit and he can win here. The big danger is (3) DAEHOMA. The three-year-old comes in off his best finish to date when 2nd at this distance on October 17th when always on pace from the same gate he has drawn today and beating several of these in the process. He’ll be the one to aim at here and could go all the way. (8) HANSEN ICHEON races for the third time, having improved to run 3rd behind Daehoma at start number two. He was on pace that day and is likely to be challenging for the lead again here. (11) GIANT CAL and (1) GWANGDAESEUNGCHEON, who also went in that race, are others in the hunt.

Selections(10) Daeji Choice (3) Daehoma (8) Hansen Icheon (11) Giant Cal
Next Best1, 9
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) JIGEUMYEOGIE did precisely nothing across twelve starts at sprint distances up until August. He was then given a couple of months off, trialed up well and then tried over 1700M for the first time, a distance at which he proceeded to make up excellent late ground and to run 2nd. The time was not quick but quick is one thing he will not need to be in this race and frankly, he is hard to oppose. (6) HANI ran 4th behind Jigeumyeogie at his latest start and that’s enough to bring him too into contention here while (3) TAEYANGTAGO also scored a career-best 4th on her first try at this distance a month ago and similarly can be looking to go at least one better today. As for the rest, (10) SOUTH BAN and (2) SAENAE HWANGJE perhaps have the best chance of competing for a place.

Selections(1) Jigeumyeogie (6) Hani (3) Taeyangtago (10) South Ban
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 10

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) PURE KING is the one to beat here. A good winner over 1200M at class 6 level two starts back, he then beat a couple of these on his way to a runner-up finish on his first try at both this class and distance on October 8th when he was on pace throughout. He only comes up marginally in the weights and draws well again and should have enough to see off this small field. (4) MONGTTANG comes up in class having registered his maiden win when coming from midfield to score over 1200M just two weeks ago. The additional trip can suit and under a light weight and a nice draw, he should measure up at this level. (6) RUN FIGHTER and (2) DOCTOR TEXAS came home in 5th and 4th respectively behind Pure King a month ago and both can be considered for at least places here. (7) SMARTY DOLPUNG comes up in class and in distance following a coast-to-coast score over 1300M in September. He has had nine weeks off since but can’t be left out of the calculations here.

Selections(3) Pure King (4) Mongttang (6) Run Fighter (2) Doctor Texas
Next Best7, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 4

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Quite a good race with boosted prize money as it is a race where either the sire or dam of a runner must have raced in Korea. (7) WONDERFUL K is a perfect one for one at this distance having come from a handy position to score emphatically on his first crack at it at class 6 level on October 10th. He’ll probably need to run a faster time to repeat today but he looks to have scope for improvement. (1) TYCHE FIRE is a winner at this class and distance and comes in having run 4th in each of his latest four outings. He comes in having beaten a few of these at this latest start over 1400M, running on strong from the back as is his style and he will probably start as favourite here. (9) MAKALU POWER comes up in trip having run on well in his latest outings over shorter. A nineteen-race maiden, he doesn’t seem a likely winner but could place. (6) RUFFIAN PARK and (3) GYEONGBU DORYEONG are others in the minor money frame.

Selections(7) Wonderful K (1) Tyche Fire (9) Makalu Power (6) Ruffian Park
Next Best3, 2
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 12

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

A good race but (8) WONDER BLADE should have the edge. He raced twice in October for 2nd and 4th places, both at this class, first at 1200M and then at 1400M. He does come up a full 4kg in the weights for that latest effort, but Perovic climbs back aboard, and he looks firmly in the hunt. (12) CLIFTON KING was a good winner on debut which led him to be sent off as favourite for the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes on October 3rd, a juvenile Listed race. That status was perhaps more to do with his stable rather than his actual prospects in that race, but he should have come on for the experience and can go much closer here. (2) NAMED races for the first time since getting her maiden win back in ay when she made all in a fast time at this distance. That in turn was nine-months after her debut as a juvenile so we know she can go well first up. She trialed up nicely a couple of weeks ago and gets a nice gate. (3) CROWN KING STAR comes up in class after a good win over the distance on October 15th. From a good gate he can sit handy and be competitive. (7) GLORY KING was well back behind Wonder blade on his first try at this class six weeks ago but has proven himself capable of running good times at this distance and is perhaps worth another chance here.

Selections(8) Wonder Blade (12) Clifton King (2) Named (3) Crown King Star
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start2, 6, 7, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race. (3) GOLD SPIKE is the narrow top pick having won at this distance in a fast time at class 6 level two starts back before running a good 4th on her first try at this class on October 10th. Her style is to sit back and run on and she has as good a claim as any here. (8) RAON THE TIGER had a poor day at the office at his latest start back on August 21st. He had a couple of months off after that and only came back into full work at the end of last month but going on prior form where he has run and won in fast times at this distance, he has to come into the calculations and is a probable front-runner. (2) MEOTJIN GUY enters with almost identical form to Gold Spike having won two starts back at class 6 level before finishing 4th on his first try at this class, both at today’s distance. He too tends to get back in his races before running on and is a chance here. (7) FLYING FULL MOON comes up in class following an all the way win over this distance four weeks ago and is another who should be on pace. (9) OLD SPECIAL has mixed form at this level but is another who has run a fast time at this distance and could challenge for minor money at least.

Selections(3) Gold Spike (8) Raon The Tiger (2) Meotjin Guy (7) Flying Full Moon
Next Best9, 11
Fast Start7, 8, 9, 10

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

Competitive race. We’ll take a chance on (5) COOL GUY, a colt who has never finished worse than 3rd in seven outings to date but who steps up in trip to a mile for the first time. Both his wins have come at 1200M, but he has posted decent times at 1400M and has finished off his races well. He comes in here off a nine-week layoff but trialed up last week in good order and can win. (1) MAGIC FLYING is the probable favourite. He may have only won two of his thirty-five starts so far but he has a further ten top three finishes to his name and enters after an excellent 2nd place behind Sky More over 1800M on October 17th. Tactically versatile, he draws well here and has every chance. (10) HAPPY WOMAN was a fast winner over 1400M at class 5 level on October 3rd and then three weeks later, stepped up to this class and distance and ran a super 3rd with a number of today’s rivals behind her. She carries next to no weight at all and despite the wider draw, has a winning chance again. Plenty of others are in at least the placing frame with (3) SEUNGNI TOUT and (6) CRONUS the most prominent.

Selections(5) Cool Guy (1) Magic Flying (10) Happy Woman (3) Seungni Tout
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 5