CUP MILE SUNDAY: SEOUL & BUSAN – RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW (April 17)

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

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

Fillies and mares only here. (9) MENI SPEAR was an emphatic winner at start number three over this distance on March 13th, leading every step of the way. She comes up in class today but looks to have potential for more and he can win again. It won’t be easy though as it is not a bad race for the level. (8) DIECO doesn’t exactly win out of turn, but she is consistent with thirteen top five finishes from twenty starts. There isn’t much flash about her, she is solid of the gate and solid through the line and she can pose a test here. So too can (4) EUNSEONG MARU. She was a winner on debut over 1000M in December and ran 3rd at her latest start at his class and distance. From a good draw she can be on pace or handy and can have a say in the finish today. (6) EUNHYE SERVE has to come up in class, but she carries a light weight and has run a time that could be competitive here. (1) CHEOLLICHONG another in the hunt.

Selections(9) Meni Spear (8) Dieco (4) Eunseong Maru (6) Eunhye Serve
Next Best1, 10
Fast Start1, 4, 8, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) O.K. THUNDER was a smart winner on debut over 1200M. That was all the way back in December, but he has been in work consistently since then with just a few little niggles and illnesses and if he brings his December form, he can win again. Those doubts mean that (4) KENDRICK will probably start as favourite. He won on debut at 1000M but has been beaten favourite in two starts since, which ended in 2nd and 4th. He draws well here and can perhaps be expected to get forward a bit earlier today that he did last time, and if he can, he will have a big say in the finish. (6) DAEHO NURI comes up in class having won at the eighth time of asking over this distance on March 13th. He tends to go back in his races but runs on and under a little less weight today, can measure up in this company. (12) ONE RUSH too is up in class after a win at this distance last time out. The draw does her no favours but along with (9) GUARDIAN ANGEL, who can have a line drawn his latest effort, she is in the placing frame.

Selections(3) O.K. Thunder (4) Kendrick (6) Daeho Nuri (12) One Rush
Next Best9, 8
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 9

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) BYEORAK put in a bit of a shocker when well-supported on his first try at this class and around two turns on February 26th, racing ungenerously in the early stages with his head up and then not finishing off. He had previously shown ability though so we will draw a line through that and give him another chance today. (7) JOEUN GWANGYE finished 5th in that same race, having sat handy early. He is yet to win in fourteen attempts but has consistently run well at this distance and shouldn’t be discounted here. (4) SAENAE HWANGJE races for the first time since December and also for the first time at this class following a pair of runner-up finishes, both at this distance, to round out 2021. She put in a fair effort in a March trial and can be competitive first up here. (2) ADELE NARAE and (8) AMAZING WHIZ are others in the placing frame.

Selections(3) Byeorak (7) Joeun Gwangye (4) Saenae Hwangje (2) Adele Narae
Next Best8, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 8

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

(3) LEGEND NUMBER ONE ran 6th in the Gyeongnam Shinmun Classic Trial last month and while three lower-rated colts do line up in the KRA Cup Mile later, he is sent here instead in a race that looks very winnable. He has won at this distance at class 5 level when making all and will be expected t o be on pace right from the start here. (1) GEOMEUN SSONSAL won back-to-back races at this class last summer and returned from a seven-month absence to finish down the field over 1200M on March 18th. He probably needed that and should be a different prospect today. (4) CALM STRONG was a class and distance winner at her latest outing on March 20th when she put in an on-pace performance on a muddy track to pull off a win in a fast time at big odds. She can go well again. (6) CHEONNYEONUIYAKSO returned to the winner’s circle on March 18th, following a long time between drinks. It was at this class and distance and while he doesn’t benefit from an apprentice claim this time, he should be competitive. The up in class (7) YONGCHEON SOLEMIO among others to enter the calculations.

Selections(3) Legend Number One (1) Geomeun Ssonsal (4) Calm Strong (6) Cheonnyeonuiyakso
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 7

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

A competitive race. (1) TITAN SOCKS has won two of his latest three, the latter at 1700M in a fair time on March 20th, when settling midfield and running on well. Accordingly, he comes up in class today, but carries the same weight and is nicely drawn in the inside gate. The probable favourite is (9) K N LIGHT. He comes in seeking a hat-trick of victories following good wins in his latest two, the latter at this class over 1700M when coming from a long way back. He does come up 3.5kg in the weights but has solid claims to score again. (6) NAOL YEONGUNG comes rapidly up in class, having won two of three outings to date, and in distance too. He has been a front-runner all three times but is yet to go further than 1300M, so he looks an interesting prospect here. (7) SINUI YEOLMAE is yet to win in nineteen attempts but comes in with solid recent form with two 2nd places and a 3rd from his latest three. It would be no surprise to see him close again today. (4) NANEUN STAR another in the placing hunt.

Selections(1) Titan Socks (9) K N Light (6) Naol Yeongung (7) Sinui Yeolmae
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start1, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 5: Class Open (1600M) Allowance / KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) / KRW 600 Million

We have a difficult task here with no fewer than ten of the thirteen probably able to make genuine claims in the Korean Two Thousand Guineas. We shall be boring and side with (5) COMPLETE VALUE. He was unbeaten as a juvenile and was very good winner of the Breeders’ Cup here last December. He suffered his first defeat in the Sports Seoul Trophy at 1400M when coming off an eight-week break when he raced a little keenly and wide before making up plenty of ground in the straight. Expect progress from that race and he is hard to hold out here from a nice barrier. (8) WINNER STAR ran 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup race and since then has had two spins around 1800M, winning one of them at class 4 level. That should stand him in very nice stead for this and don’t be surprised to see him in the mix. (2) MAN OF THE YEAR was an impressive winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun (trial for this race) on March 6th when he settled on pace and then ran away for a convincing win. Prior to that, he was 5th in the Breeders’ Cup and then beaten by Winner Star at 1800M, but a great draw here boosts his chances. (6) CAPTAIN YANKEE came to light with a solid 2nd in the Gyeongnam Shinmun when after a bump at the start, he settled on the pace and was strong in the straight. That was his first run beyond 1300M, and he will have derived much benefit. (4) ASPEN TAEYANG is a high-class galloper who put in a strong performance in the Sports Seoul when handy all the way and running on for 3rd. He will be in this a long way. Sports Seoul winner (10) SEUNGBUSA may find the combination of the draw and the mile testing but along with (7) BYEOLUI SUNGAN, shouldn’t be ruled out.

Selections(5) Complete Value (8) Winner Star (2) Man Of The Year (6) Captain Yankee
Next Best4, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 10

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Small field and (4) VYING BLADE is the one to beat. He comes in having run 2nd in a fast race on a wet track to Daesan Teukgeup on March 19th when just behind the leader throughout. He does come up 2kg in the weights, but a similar run here will make him hard to beat. (6) GLOBAL GOLD also enters in good form. He was a winner at class and distance two starts back and while he carries 4kg more than he did that day, he is under the same weight as his latest start when 3rd, again at this distance. He can settle just behind the speed here and he has a good finish on him. (8) BEOLMAL DAEJANG is yet to win in thirteen attempts but has no fewer than twelve top four finishes to his name. True, the only time he has been outside the money was at his latest and that was his only try at this class so far, but he comes back in trip and remains under a relatively light weight. (2) YEONGGWANGUI MISO and (3) NEMO PRINCESS are others capable in this company.

Selections(4) Vying Blade (6) Global Gold (8) Beolmal Daejang (2) Yeonggwangui Miso
Next Best3, 1
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 8

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

A very tricky race to round out the Busan card. We’ll side with (8) SEUNGNI TOUT, who comes in having beaten several of these on his way to 2nd place at class and distance behind long shot Magic Flying on March 27th. He comes done slightly in the weights, draws the same gate, and this is the kind of race that he can win. (9) MAN OF THE WORLD ran 3rd in that same race having led for much of the way around. Remarkably he is yet to win from twenty-six starts but he has fifteen top-five finishes and will surely be on pace and in this a long way again today. (3) DAEJI CHOICE was an also-ran in the Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup and swerves the Cup Mile to come here. He was a winner at this class over a mile two starts back and should be measuring up in this company. (2) TRIUMPH KING and (7) DAEHO JEONSEOL are others in the placing frame.

Selections(8) Seungni Tout (9) Man Of The World (3) Daeji Choice (2) Triumph King
Next Best7, 4
Fast Start5, 7, 8, 9

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) SKY MANGCHI is up in class and down in weight following a last start win over 1200M. He has placed at today’s distance and can race handy or settle midfield. Expect another bold showing today. (5) WHITE CHARM returns to racing for the first time since April of last year but on his best form he is a top chance. Having won twice and being in the prize money in all six starts, including beating good filly Jedi at class 5 level and running 2nd in Listed company to Heungbaragi as a juvenile. That was all a long time ago though and he didn’t offer many clues in a March trial. Watch the market and keep him safe. (4) LADY FIRST is a winner of two from four so far and is up in class from her last appearance when a winner back on January 9th. She is yet to go further than 1200M but shouldn’t be ruled out. (1) TEN BAGGER is another last start winner, in his case over 1300M on a wet track at odds of 30/1, and he comes up in class here. He can get a bit far back in his race, but he draws well. (3) SUPER ECTON is super consistent at this class and won’t be far away again.

Selections(7) Sky Mangchi (5) White Charm (4) Lady First (1) Ten Bagger
Next Best3, 8
Fast Start4, 5, 7, 8

Seoul Race 10: Class 3 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(6) SONGAM CANDY is worth consideration based on his last start win at class and distance on March 19th when handy and running on, resuming after five months and beating plenty of these in the process. Disregard his start before that as he refused to jump – and had to go through plenty of trials in January and February to requalify, however, his previous effort was full of merit when a close 4th. (4) JANGSAN BADA has done most of his recent racing around two turns, but a drop back to 1200M and a change in tactics seemed to do the trick last time out when he went right back and ran on, and he looks well in here to go close again. (5) JEJUI HEUKSEON will be in the market based on her good 2nd place at class and distance, when she led. Her previous form stands up well for a race like this and she is a place chance once again. (2) HAEDEULMOE has been thereabouts at recent starts and last time out was a close 5th. In a race such as this which is light on form, he can sneak a place. (9) ROCK LINE was an also-ran behind Songam Candy last time but is better than that and can improve here.

Selections(6) Songam Candy (4) Jangsan Bada (5) Jejuui Heukseon (2) Haedeulmoe
Next Best9, 7
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(4) MUNHAK SUN is working back up towards another win after racing handy and running on at his last start on wet track. He’s back under handicap conditions today which should suit, and a nice barrier brings him right into this race. (9) MIGHTY BOOM has solid form over the 1400M and comes in here following a good run last start at 1200M when a close 5th after settling midfield. She has been very competitive, only missing some form of prize money once in thirteen starts and coming back to the 1400M can assist. (2) SHARK JJANG is another with solid form at this class and has placed at 1400M. He does come up in weight but is nicely drawn and he can race forward or midfield. Doesn’t win out of turn but in the frame here. (8) EAST BAN comes into focus on his last start 4th over 1200M when he raced on pace. He can be in and out but has placed at 1400M and at his best can go close. (5) BYEOLNARA JILJU another in the hunt.  

Selections(4) Munhak Sun (9) Mighty Boom (2) Shark Jjang (8) East Ban
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 8