Grand Prix Boxing Day Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 26)

The final racing day of 2021 is on Boxing Day and it features the traditional season ending Grand Prix Stakes. There are 10 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 11:10 to 16:40. Here are the previews:

Any excuse to post a picture of Triple Nine – The Grand Prix winner in 2018

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Twelve previously unraced juvenile fillies open the Boxing Day card. She’s drawn wide but we’ll go with (12) CONCORD QUEEN, who did at least record the fastest time among any of these in her trial. The track was wet and fast but that was true for most of these in their respective heats. She said just off the pace and ran through the line well and has strong claims first-up. The only trial winner is (6) SIRIUS ALPHA, which might be enough to make her favourite. She led all the way in her trial in a fair time and from a good draw is likely to be leading again. (4) DOLBAE posted a decent time in her trial and from a good gate and with a top jockey booking is set to be backed. (3) K N OLD QUEEN and (8) LAST PUNCH are others in the hunt.

Selections(12) Concord Queen (6) Sirius Alpha (4) Dolbae (3) K N Old Queen
Next Best8, 9
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 7

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

Juvenile maidens with eight of the fourteen racing for the first time. We’ll take a chance on one of those first-timers as (2) USURP ran a strong 2nd in his trial on a fast time, running through the line well. Starting out at 1200M may suit and he gets a great draw. (6) OCEAN STORM won a trial before debuting on November 19th, when she ran on on-pace 2nd over 1000M. She should have come on for the experience and will be expected to be close here. (9) SKY JEJUHYANG also won a trial before performing adequately on debut when she ran 3rd at 1000M sitting handy throughout and is another who may well have come on. Other debut-makers (8) GRAND SUN and (14) JOSEPHINE QUEEN also won their trials and can enter the calculations. Watch the market for any clues.

Selections(2) Usurp (6) Ocean Storm (9) Sky Jejuhyang (8) Grand Sun
Next Best14, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) NEOREUL EUNGWONHAE has raced twice, improving in the latter to a strong 2nd over 1000M on November 27th. She steps up in trip for the first time but there is nothing to indicate it won’t suit and from a probable on pace or handy position, she can win. (4) TAEYANGMA had a hard time from a wide gate when sent off as favourite over this distance on November 28th, ultimately finishing 6th. From a much better draw today, he must be given another chance. (2) BURUI KKOT ran 4th behind Neoreul Eongwonhae at start number two on November 27th, running on well from a wide draw. The gate is much better today, and she comes down another 2kg to just 50kg which should put her in the finish. (8) WONDERFUL KITTY and (12) MAGIC RUSH are others with at least placing chances in an open race.

Selections(6) Neoreul Eungwonhae (4) Taeyangma (2) Burui Kkot (8) Wonderful Kitty
Next Best12, 7
Fast Start5, 6, 13, 14

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

It’s time that (9) CATCH THE SKY got his maiden win and bade farewell to the lowest level of racing. He comes in following a 2nd and a 4th at this distance, registering the fastest time among these for the mile along the way. He goes back and runs on and he can win here. (3) YEONSEUNG BRAVO beat three of these on his way to 2nd place over this distance on December 5th when sitting handy throughout. The same apprentice rider keeps the weight down again and from a nice draw he can be close at hand again. (1) RAON THE MILLION was 4th in that race having led until the home straight. He draws the inside here and should be on pace again and can be in this a long way. (4) BARBELL STORM and (13) CARIBBEAN DAY are others in the frame for places.

Selections(9) Catch The Sky (3) Yeonseung Bravo (1) Raon The Million (4) Barbell Storm
Next Best13, 8
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 8

Seoul Race 3:  Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(4) HEUNGHAENG DAEBAK came close to winning on debut on December 4th when leading almost the entire way around over this distance only to be denied late on by Wonderful Sam. The time was good, albeit on a wet track, and from an ideal gate he should lead again and have too much for this ordinary looking field. (12) BIG ENERGY took a few starts to figure out what he was meant to be doing but his recent form reads quite well. With three 4th place finishes and a 2nd. Alan Munro climbs aboard today which catches the eye and further improvement is possible. (14) BYEORAK also seems to be getting there with a 4th place when stepped up to 1200M last start. The extra half furlong may help him get closer again. He has a bad draw, though, unlike (2) ALL FOR YOUR DREAM, who has a runner-up finish and a pair of 5ths from three starts so far. He may be ridden a bit closer a bit earlier this time around and can be in the finish. (8) SUNNY BLADE another in the hunt.

Selections(4) Heunghaeng Daebak (12) Big Energy (14) Byeorak (2) All For Your Dream
Next Best8, 3
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 7

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Very tricky race with plenty of credible contenders. If it wasn’t for the draw, (14) LANE KILLER might be a more confident top pick. He was a good winner at class 6 level over a mile and has run 2nd and 5th in two goes at this class and distance. He was ridden quite hard to get and early lead last time but given the extreme wideness this time he may just be dropped in, and it may end up paying dividends. (4) HONEY STAR has no problems with the draw, He steps back up in trip after a decent 4th over a mile at his latest start and has had the beating of a few of these in his last two outings. He is versatile but likely to be on or close to the pace here and has solid claims. So too (1) GOLDEN KAISER, who has been knocking at the door in his recent efforts and should get a good run from the inside gate. (11) GEUMA GOOD POINT ran 3rd to Lane Killer’s 2nd on November 19th having led for much of the race. Expect to see him up front early again. (8) THE FIRST FACTOR possibly the best of a competitive rest.

Selections(14) Lane Killer (4) Honey Star (1) Golden Kaiser (11) Geuma Good Point
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start1, 4, 8, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A big and very competitive field. We’ll go with (7) WINNER IS WELL, who returned from six months out to run a strong 3rd at class and distance. He draws marginally better today and may well have come on for that run and has as good a chance as any. (5) CHALLAN HANNAL had a hard time when tried at 1700M at his latest start but should be much happier back at a distance at which he has the fastest time among those here who have tried it. (2) YEONGWANGUI CAPTAIN ran a good 4th on his first try at this distance on October 23rd. He came from midfield that day but should be on pace here and can go close. (3) RAON THE TEUKGEUP comes up in class and in distance having scored over 1200M in November. He ran on strongly and can measure up here. (14) WORLD RACER is a perfect one for one and while he comes up in class and distance and draws the widest gate, all of those can be overcome. He swept home like an express train in that debut win at 1200M and shouldn’t be ruled out here.

Selections(7) Winner Is Well (5) Challan Hannal (2) Yeongwangui Captain (3) Raon The Teukgeup
Next Best14, 10
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 12

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

Another tricky race. (11) I WILL BE FREE struck at start number two on November 21st having run 2nd on his debut. Both were at 1000M but the way he ran suggests the slight increase today won’t be an issue and he has every chance of making it two in a row. Having won an October trial, (12) CAPTAIN YANKEE debuted over this distance on November 11th, making all to win very easily. He comes up in class today and the draw isn’t ideal as he will want to lead again, but he will be vying for favourite status. (2) GEUMBIT SKY, on the other hand, draws very nicely. He too was a front-running winner over this distance at class 6 level at his latest start, when he was returning from five months off and looking significantly better. He should be in the finish again here. Similarly (13) SHY DRAGON, another all the way winner at class 6 level last time, although in her case over 1000M, can measure up in this company too. If you prefer experience at this level already then (8) ECHO MOON might be one to consider.

Selections(11) I Will Be Free (12) Captain Yankee (2) Geumbit Sky (13) Shy Dragon
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start2, 11, 12, 13

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

Four of these raced each other at class and distance on December 4th. (4) JOEUN GWANGYE was sent off as favourite that day, off the back of a fast 4th over 1400M the start before. He only managed to come 3rd in the end having gone back and run on but is probably worth another chance in similarly weak company today. That day’s winner was (3) RUFFIAN PARK. He was securing his maiden triumph at start number eighteen and sat handy throughout before finishing off well. He comes up 2kg in the weights but has claims again. (11) MAGIC JOY was a good winner on his first try at this distance at class 6 level in November. This isn’t the toughest of races to try class 5 for the first time and he should be competitive. (6) RUN RUN RUN is yet to win but has been consistent and has placed at both his last two starts, both at this distance. He came from a long way back to be a close 3rd at his latest outing and can be dangerous here. (2) JIGEUMYEOGIE, from a nice draw, is another in the frame.

Selections(4) Joeun Gwangye (3) Ruffian Park (11) Magic Joy (6) Run Run Run
Next Best2, 10
Fast Start1, 4, 9, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies (and one mare) here. (2) SEUNGNI MAGICQUEEN races for the first time since running 6th in the Luna Stakes, the first leg of the filly Triple Crown back in October, when she was the first Busan-based runner to cross the line. Prior to that she registered back-to-back wins up to 1300M at class 5 level. Form a good draw she should be close to the pace here and should be returning to winning ways. (11) ADELE ROSARIO comes up in class after a smart all the way win over 1200M on November 21st. Prior to that she was considered good enough to be given her chance in the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup and while that didn’t work out, she evidently has talent. While she is the only juvenile in the race, she should have the beating of plenty. (3) FLAT BABE was a winner at this class over 1400M two starts back and while she could only manage 6th over a mile at her latest start, she warrants another chance here. (14) MISS INDIE and (5) SONHADOR among several others with strong claims.

Selections(2) Seungni Magicqueen (11) Adele Rosario (3) Flat Babe (14) Miss Indie
Next Best5, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 11

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Having won at this class over 1700M on November 27th, (1) UNICORN ALPHA comes up 3kg in the weights but is nevertheless favoured to prevail again. He ran on very strongly late on and the additional half furlong can be in his favour here. (3) BERRING MAN was favourite in that race and ended up running a close 2nd. He too comes up in the weights and while he should go close, may have to settle for a place again. (4) MUNHAK ENCORE was an all the way winner over 1700M at this class on December 4th. He is up considerably in weight but that is marginally offset by a better draw today and he should be leading again and in the mix for a long way around. (5) JEONGSANG KINGDOM and (9) NORTHERN TIME are others with at least placing claims.

Selections(1) Unicorn Alpha (3) Berring Man (4) Munhak Encore (5) Jeongsang Kingdom
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 6, 9

Busan Race 6: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Having beaten four of these when 2nd over 1200M at this class on November 26th, (6) COPY THAT is set to be a hot favourite here. He previously ran 4th at this distance on a fast time and with an apprentice jockey meaning he carries next to no weight, looks hard to beat. (4) WONDERFUL KING has been a model of consistency of late and comes up in class after a win over 1200M in November. Two starts back he ran a strong 3rd at this distance and down in the weights and drawn well, he can measure up in this company. (8) NICE ONE ran 3rd behind Copy That in the November 26th race, his second consecutive 3rd place at class and distance and he should be there or thereabouts again while (11) DOCTOR SKY and (7) REVERSE SWEEP are among others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(6) Copy That (4) Wonderful King (8) Nice One (11) Doctor Sky
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) SEUNGBUSA is a winner of two from four and returns to action for the first time since running 3rd in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup on October 31st. He was scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup at Busan at the start of this month but had a setback a few days before the race. He has been back in work since December 8th. He has plenty of speed about him and from a great draw should be far too good here. (11) CHOEGANG QUEEN has never finished outside the top four in six outings to date and comes in off a good 2nd place at class and distance on November 21st when she drew similarly wide. She only comes up 1kg in the weights for that and should be going close. (10) LUCKY WORLD had a tough day at the office on his first try at this class at the end of November but warrants another chance here. (13) JILJU DAERO and (9) FEVERDINI among others who can go close.

Selections(3) Seungbusa (11) Choegang Queen (10) Lucky World (13) Jilju Daero
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start3, 5, 7, 11

Busan Race 7: Class 1 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

A really good race. We’ll take a chance on the up and coming locally bred (9) MACH TITAN. Since a disappointing – albeit fast – 6th place in the KRA Cup Mile, he has registered back-to-back wins at a mile and 1400M to bring him up to this class. It is a quantum jump to class 1, but he doesn’t know that (although he will find out once they jump), he comes down a full 6kg in the weights and there is no doubting his turn of foot. (1) DOCTOR CARSON is the probable favourite. He, like many others, had a hard time in the Owners’ Cup at his latest start and it is fair to say the mile is a question mark with him. Nevertheless, he should be in the finish. (3) BARBARIAN too didn’t find it easy in the Owners’ Cup although for him there are no doubts about the distance. He carries a light weight and from a great draw has strong claims. (7) SSONSAL is another more noted as a sprinter but whose class may see him through while (8) BRAVE KINGDOM must be considered after a surprise win over several of these at 1400M at the end of November.

Selections(9) Mach Titan (1) Doctor Carson (3) Barbarian (7) Ssonsal
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start1, 3, 9, 10

Seoul Race 8: Class Open (2300M) Grand Prix (KOR G1) Allowance / KRW 650 Million

(3) MOONHAK CHIEF won this race two years ago and at his latest start when second-up from a spell he carried 60kg over 1800m when he raced handy to the lead and ran on to win. Very much up a grade here but drops back to 57kg and with a nice draw should get a cozy run. A repeat isn’t impossible. (12) MR. AFLEET has swept all before him recently, last start winning the KRA Classic over 2000M when he worked hard early to be on the pace and battled away strongly to the line making it win number ten and his first at Group level. It was a terrific run and he’s worth a great deal of consideration. (8) HAENGBOK WANGJA is an up and comer having just been promoted to class 1 before running a great race in the KRA Cup Classic, being on the pace and momentarily leading at the 200m before coming again at the finish. It was a super effort that day and he has a kinder draw here. (9) TIZ PLAN doesn’t know how to run a bad race and at his last start when second up from a spell was a good 2nd in the Busan Owner’s Cup over 1600M. He’s been unplaced only once in his last nine starts over the staying journey. (7) JJANG KONG among others to consider.

Selections(3) Moonhak Chief (12) Mr. Afleet (8) Haengbok Wangja (9) Tiz Plan
Next Best7, 10
Fast Start1, 6, 15, 14

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

If she is at her best, (6) JEDI is the one to beat here. She ran a terrific 2nd in the Luna Stakes before finishing down the field in the Oaks but drops back into more amenable company and a shorter trip here. She has posted fast times at the distance and has a great chance. (4) GWANGYANG EUTTEUM comes in off a last start win at this distance when he raced forward and finished off well. He is up in class here, drops 2.5kg and has a nice draw. (3) EAST IMPACT is always competitive. He enters following a good 2nd at this class and distance and can’t be left out. Disregard the latest start of (12) JEONGMUN JIJON when asked to go over 1700M. He is back to a more suitable trip today and a repeat of his performance when last winning at class 5 would have him in the finish here. (5) POWER TOWER is a mare Power Tower Mare who will be at good odds, but she has run fast times consistently and draws well here. She can settle back and run on.

Selections(6) Jedi (4) Gwangyang Eutteum (3) East Impact (12) Jeongmun Jijon
Next Best5, 2
Fast Start4, 9, 10, 14

Seoul Race 10: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(2) RAON FASHION was a winner at this class and distance in a super time two starts back and then at his latest he set up a big lead only to be run down on the line. He is nicely drawn to lead again today, and this time can hold on. The probably favourite is (4) MIGHTY GEE. He has been ultra-consistent across his starts to date and drops back in trip following an excellent 3rd from a wide gate in a good race over 1400M. He can sit just off the pace and run on. (5) MORNING HILL is a last start winner at this distance when he sat on pace and ran away from them in the straight. He is up in class but a little down in weight and nicely drawn. (11) SAENAE SUN is the winner of her last two starts, both at this distance, which brings her up in class and down in weight. She may need a bit of luck from the wide barrier but has claims. (6) GLOBAL SINHWA has placed in all his race starts so far and has every chance of maintaining that record in a competitive race.

Selections(2) Raon Fashion (4) Mighty Gee (5) Morning Hill (11) Saenae Sun
Next Best6, 3
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6