Day: April 16, 2022


The 2022 Triple Crown series gets underway at Busan on Sunday with the running of the KRA Cup Mile – the Korean 2000 Guineas. Click here for a full runner-by-runner guide to the race. The Cup Mile is race 5 on a 6-race card at Busan which runs from 12:00 to to 16:40. There are also 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. All betting locations are open and walk up attendance is permitted at both Seoul and Busan. Here are the previews:

Heat Yegam won last year’s KRA Cup Mile, which this year returns to its usual April position

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

Three-year-old maidens in the opener and (1) SONGAM BEST has two 3rds and a 4th from three starts so far, with one of the 3rd places coming at this distance. From a great draw, she can get a soft run to the lead here and once in front, she may not be caught. (10) COMPLETE JOY improved a little at start number two in a slowly run race over this distance on February 19th. She comes in fresh after two months off and can improve again here. (11) TOP CLASS raced a couple of times last summer and didn’t do too badly. After a couple of setbacks, he came back to trial in March, putting in a decent effort and has every chance of going well first-up today. Debut-maker (8) GANGCHEOL BUDAE came through the same March trial as Top Class. That was his second heat and he looked capable in both. (9) HWANGWOO GANGJA raced twice at the end of last year without distinction but looked much better when trialing up again at the end of March.

Selections(1) Songam Best (10) Complete Joy (11) Top Class (8) Gangcheol Budae
Next Best9, 6
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 9

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

(8) LUCKY INDY was a much-improved 2nd when leading for much of the way around at this distance on March 12th. She is the only one in this field to have a runner-up finish to her name and she also has a 3rd, as well as the fastest time among these for the distance. She should be on pace or handy here and has solid claims. (11) JANGGUN BYEOL also led for a long way at his latest outing on February 20th over 1300M, ultimately finishing 3rd. The draw doesn’t make things easy here, but he should have enough about him to get close to the speed again and can be in this a long way. (1) TROT QUEEN is the big beneficiary of the draw, and she can use it to settle handy to the lead. She too comes in off a good 3rd place at 1300M at her latest start and can build on that here.  (3) MONEY STONE and (5) RALLY QUEEN are others in the placing frame.

Selections(8) Lucky Indy (11) Janggun Byeol (1) Trot Queen (3) Money Stone
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start8, 9, 10, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A small field of fillies and mares. (1) FIRST ROAD is set to be a warm favourite. She was sent off as market leader at her last start over this distance on March 19th, but while she didn’t run badly, she could only manage 4th. She gets a better draw today, carries marginally less weight, and is the one to beat. (7) HAPPY DREAM managed to do just that when finishing 3rd ahead of First Road in that March 19th race. That was her best finish to date and marked the second consecutive race where she has beaten a couple of today’s rivals. She tends to settle back and then run and can be a danger today. (2) TORUK MAKTO was 5th in that same race, marking an uptick in recent form and well-drawn again, she should be on the pace early and make the others go around her. (5) SHINE MUSIC and (8) EOMCHEONGNAN GIRL are other sin at least the placing frame.

Selections(1) First Road (7) Happy Dream (2) Toruk Makto (5) Shine Music
Next Best8, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 6

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

Having run 2nd in a fast trial, (6) KING BOSS was 4th on debut on March 25th, sitting 3rd or 4th the entire way around. He was favourite that day based on his trial, but should have come on for the experience, and can win here. That will mean overturning the form on (3) FLYING REGAL. He ran 3rd in that race having been handy throughout, continuing the positive start to his career that saw hm get a 2nd and a 4th from his opening two races. A top-three finish will see him promoted to class 5 and from a great gate and with an in-form jockey aboard, he could be going up a winner. There are two debut-makers and (8) MAN OF THE MAN could make an immediate impact. He went through two trials, improving in the second of them when crossing the line 4th in a fast time on a dry track. (4) YEONGCHEON POWER and the other first-timer, (7) GEUMA NIMBLE, who trialed up behind King Boss, others who could sneak some money.

Selections(6) King Boss (3) Flying Regal (8) Man Of The Man (4) Yeongcheon Power
Next Best7, 2
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6

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

(12) EUNHYE CHUNGMAN warrants favourite status here, having run 2nd at class and distance in a fast time on a wet track on March 13th. Although it was assisted by the conditions, the time was faster than any of the others have achieved for the distance and given the way she won from off the pace at 1200M last December, the wide draw shouldn’t be too much of an issue and there isn’t a lot of speed here anyway. The main danger hasn’t drawn much better. (11) COOL PRINCESS looks to be working back towards another win having been getting closer in her recent outings, culminating in a runner-up finish in an all-filly race at class and distance on March 20th. Like Eunhye Chungman, the draw shouldn’t stop her from getting forward early. (7) LUXURY KING ran a fair 4th at big odds, on March 19th over 1300M finishing off very well from an unpromising position. That was an uptick on her recent form and a repeat or better isn’t impossible. (8) BLUE HAMMER and (2) COWBOY TANGO are others who can enter the placing calculations.

Selections(12) Eunhye Chungman (11) Cool Princess (7) Luxury King (8) Blue Hammer
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start4, 8, 11, 12

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

A small field of maiden fillies and mares. (3) MAGIC HILL weakened having been handy and then briefly leading at this distance on February 18th but still finished a creditably 6th of fourteen. It was her first race since last June and while she has had another eight weeks off since, she should have come on for it, can get the lead again from a great draw, and this time go all the way. (5) B. K. HANA will be competing for the early lead and the pair should be competing all the way. She hasn’t had the easiest time in her latest two appearances but has a fast time at this distance and this looks the ideal race for her. (1) WONDERFUL TIZ draws a good gate for the first time and with Moon Se-young climbing aboard, will be expected by plenty to improve. (2) WONDERFUL SMARTY and (6) SEUNGRIUI BULGIL are others in the hunt.

Selections(3) Magic Hill (5) B. K. Hana (1) Wonderful Tiz (2) Wonderful Smarty
Next Best6, 4
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 7


It’s just four months since the delayed 2021 series was completed, but the Triple Crown season is back in Korea this weekend with the KRA Cup Mile – the Korean 2000 Guineas – being run at Busan on Sunday.

Complete Value was Champion Juvenile of 2021 and will be favourite for the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

And it’s a thrilling race in prospect with arguably ten of the thirteen runners having legitimate winning claims, and the other three hardly being no-hopers themselves.

Six of the entrants have traveled down from Seoul, including probable favourite Complete Value, last year’s Champion Juvenile. However, it was a Busan filly who won the Luna Stakes (Korean 1000 Guineas) last weekend, and the home side fields a strong line up too.

All races in the Korean Triple Crown Series, which comprises the Cup Mile, the Derby and the Minister’s Cup are restricted to Korean-bred horses. There were two main trial races for the series, the Sports Seoul Trophy, at Seoul, and the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup at Busan, both run over 1400M.

Sports Seoul Trophy video:

Gyeongnam Shinmun Trophy video:

Here’s a full run down of the field:

1. BEOLMAUI STAR [To Honor And Serve – Gaya Gongju (War Zone)] – The wildcard of the field. He won his first two starts with dismissive ease before running 3rd on his third appearance at 1400M, leading most of the way but weakening. That was in January, and he hasn’t raced since although he did win a fast trial in February. He has a great draw to challenge for the lead and a jockey who knows how to win these races, but the mile is a big question.

2. MAN OF THE YEAR [Federalist – Over Speed (Menifee)] – 5th in the Breeders’ Cup but an impressive winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun Trophy when he settled on the pace but was wide most of the trip before running away for a big win. He also has a 3rd place at 1800M at class 4 level so the trip should not be an issue. He draws well to be on pace or handy and will be one of the favourites.

3. DOUBLE EDGE [Cowboy Cal – Blade’s Edge (Corinthian)] – A winner of just one of six starts but was runner-up to both Aspen Taeyang in the Nonghyup Trophy and Complete Value in the Breeders’ Cup. Also has a 3rd place over 1700M at class 4 level and ran 5th in the Sports Seoul Trophy. He goes back and runs on and has the fastest final furlong average time in the field. He has to overturn form on a lot of these though and a place line is realistic.

4. ASPEN TAEYANG [With Distinction – Aspen Light (Bernardini)] – A high class galloper with three wins from six including the Nonghyup Trophy. Blew the start of the Breeders’ Cup before running on for 4th and was then 3rd in the Sports Seoul Cup when handy all the way and running on late. First time further than 1400M but that should not be a problem. Moon Se-young aboard will tempt plenty and he will probably start second or third favourite. On pace and in this a long way.

5. COMPLETE VALUE [Girolamo – Ft. Sduction (Ft. Stockton)] – The winner of the Breeders’ Cup to be crowned champion juvenile of last year and unbeaten until his latest start when 2nd in the Sports Seoul Trophy to Seungbusa. He was first-up that day off an eight-week break and raced keenly and a little wide, making up plenty of ground late. Expect progress from that, the mile should suit, and he is hard to hold out here if at his best.

6. CAPTAIN YANKEE [Old Fashioned – Can’t Rezist (Action This Day)] – Won two of his first three but came to light with a solid 2nd in the Gyeongnam Shinmun when after taking a bump at the start, he settled on the pace and was strong in the straight. That was his first run at further than 1300M and he should have derived much benefit. Expect similar tactics here and he could provide some each-way interest at probable big odds.

7. BYEOLUI SUNGAN [Menifee – Free Release (Dixie Union)] – A winner up to 1400M at class 5 level, he ran a solid 4th in the Sports Seoul when from a wide draw, he settled back and then ran on well.  That is perhaps the strategy that will be employed here as well as he does have some speed on his inside, and he can run on well. Not among the top line of favourites but could run into the minor money.

8. WINNER STAR [Concord Point – Jangguneui Huye (Gaeseon Janggun)] – He ran 3rd behind Complete Value and Double Edge in the Breeders’ Cup when coming from well off the pace before stepping up to take two spins around 1800M at class 4 level, finishing 2nd in the first of them and winning the latest when settling handy and running on. He may be more a Derby horse, but he has run a good time when 3rd at this distance too and is a serious contender.

9. BEOMI NARYEO ONDA [Take Charge Indy – To Live Fore (Pass Rush)] – Of the four horses here who have tackled a mile before, he has the fastest time among them, recorded when 2nd to Old Cheonha at class 5 level in January. He does have plenty of form to overturn here though having only beaten one home in the Breeders’ Cup and then 3rd in the Gyeongnam Shinmun when he sat midfield and ran on. Jockey has won this race three times, but a place line seems most realistic.

10. SEUNGBUSA [Mischieviously – T P Mc G (Flatter)] – The form horse of the race, he didn’t run in the Breeders’ Cup but has won his latest three in fine style, including the Sports Seoul when he made all and never looked like being caught. He is a front-runner and while he draws wide, he should have enough speed to get to the front. The mile is going to be the big question though. Will be among the favourites.

11. P N S HAENGBOK [Colors Flying – Haengbok Cheonsa (Menifee)] – Just the one win from five starts so far and that was over 1200M at class 6 level when he sat handy and ran on. He has enterprising owners, and with a spot available, takes his chance. This is going to be a big ask though and he is likely to be the longest shot on the board. He’ll settle midfield or back and see what happens.

12. MONGTTANG [To Honor And Serve – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] – The sole representative of trainer Kim Young-kwan, who has won the race four times, he blundered in the Breeders’ Cup and finished well back, but was a solid 4th in the Gyeongnam Shinmun. He does have a 3rd place at class 4 level over a mile and a good run is possible, but the jockey/trainer connection may make his local odds shorter than they should be and it is a hard ask from gate twelve.

13. UNJU HERO [Cowboy Cal – Black Ruby (War Zone)] – The only horse in the race to have won at this distance, he did that at his latest start at class 5 level on March 27th when he settled midfield and steadily improved, taking a narrow victory. He is in much better company today though and accordingly will find it much harder. From the wide draw, his best hope is perhaps to drop back and look to run on, but he will need improvement.

Selections: (5) Complete Value (8) Winner Star (2) Man Of The Year (6) Captain Yankee