Day: April 23, 2022

Busan Ilbo Sprint Sunday: Busan & Seoul Race-By-Race Preview (April 24)

The Busan Ilbo Sprint is the highlight of a big day’s racing in Korea this Sunday. See here for a full horse by horse preview of the race. The Busan Ilbo is race 5 on a 6-race card at Busan from 12:00 to 16:45, while at Seoul there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. All racecourses and betting locations are open to spectators and attendance can either be booked using the MyCard app, while non-reserved seating is available on the gate. Here are the previews:

Can Raon he FIghter make it 11 from 11 in the Busan Ilbo Sprint? (Pic: KRA)

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

Three-year-old filly maidens in the opener and it is very competitive with several holding genuine winning chances. Based on her lively debut, we’re putting (8) GREEN DRAGON on top. She sat handy and ran on well for 2nd in a fair time at this distance and while she was well beaten by a good winner, should have come on for the experience and a similar run will mean she isn’t far away. (7) GORGEOUS SERVE improved at start number two on March 13th when beating a couple of today’s rivals on her way to 4th place at this distance. She has drawn wide in both her starts so far and has gone back but gets a better gate today and should be close. (5) HERA BLADE has raced four times with the latest her best on April 9th, when 3rd at this distance having been on pace throughout. She backs up at the earliest opportunity here and is expected to be on the speed again and in this a long way. (2) MUSTANG CHARM and (6) WIDAEHAN HANMA others who appear on the right trajectory.

Selections(8) Green Dragon (7) Gorgeous Serve (5) Hera Blade (2) Mustang Charm
Next Best6, 1
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

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

Another tricky maiden. (11) SINJURYU comes in off a smart 2nd place behind King Crush at this distance on March 20th. The time was fast, although it was assisted by the wet track, but it wasn’t the first time he has shown ability and despite the wide draw, there isn’t much early speed here and he can go one better. (10) GUK HYANG returned from over six months out in January and has run an encouraging 5th and 3rd, both times over today’s trip and both times settling midfield and pushing on late. She could be peaking third-up here and has claims. (12) SKY FUTURE is a wildcard. He raced three times up to March last year, registering a 2nd and two 3rd placed finishes. He didn’t offer many clues in a trial just last week and will obviously need this but if he has retained his ability, then he can go well first-up. (2) NEW SMART comes into the calculations following a good 3rd place in an all-filly race over this distance on April 10th. She draws a better gate today, should be on pace, and is a chance. (6) CHEONDUNG OREUM another with minor money hopes.

Selections(11) Sinjuryu (10) Guk Hyang (12) Sky Future (2) New Smart
Next Best6, 5
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Without an abundance of confidence here, we’ll side with the probable favourite (3) CHEONGSAN YEONGUNG. He enters here following a 5th and a 4th in his latest two starts, both at 1700M and last time overcoming the widest gate and beating a couple of today’s rivals. The step back in trip can suit and he can sit off the pace and run on. (7) TOUGH YEOJE showed signs that she is figuring things out when running an improved 2nd at start number three over 1200M on March 26th when she came from well back and worked home strongly. She was beaten a long way by a good winner but with more improvement plus an extra half furlong to play with, she can be close today. (12) QUEEN OF RACING may need a touch of luck early from the widest gate, but her recent form reads adequately enough to suggest she can play a role here. (5) BIG ENERGY and (6) SMART BLUE are others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(3) Cheongsan Yeongung (7) Tough Yeoje (12) Queen Of Racing (5) Big Energy
Next Best6, 11
Fast Start1, 9, 11, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(4) YEONGGWANGUI POWER races for the first time since February 2021. He had looked ready to win before his injury and he went through a trial last October in fine style but didn’t make it back to race at that time. He completed another trial two weeks ago in a fast time. It’s not impossible he can defy the sixty-three-week layoff and win first-up here. If that puts you off, then (5) CROWD ONE is the probable favourite. Her best finish was 2nd place three starts back but she has since run twice fairly at this distance. The Moon-factor aboard will ensure she gets plenty of backing, she should be on pace from the start, and she can go all the way. (9) WIND CROSS has been consistent over his four appearances so far. He has the fastest time among those who have tackled the distance before and should be in the finish again here. (1) FANTASTIC MAGIC and (3) VICTORY NINE among others in the placing frame.

Selections(4) Yeonggwangui Power (5) Crowd One (9) Wind Cross (1) Fantastic Magic
Next Best3, 6
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 5

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(11) RAON THE TEUKGEUP’s solitary win came over 1200M at class 6 level last November and after two indifferent runs to start his class 5 campaign, showed he was back to form with a 3rd place, again at 1200M on March 12th when he went right back and powered home. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and the extra half-furlong can suit, giving him solid claims to go close here. (9) CHAMPION GAMUN is a winner at this distance at class 6 level. His two efforts at this class have also been at the 1300M and he has run well. A front-runner, he should be on pace from the start, and it would be no surprise were he to go all the way.  (1) HAPPY MIX had a hard time on her first try at this class following a maiden win over 1200M in February. She drew wide that day and it was a very wet track, so she has excuses and from a much better draw and probably in different conditions, she can be given another chance. (5) JEONGSANG FIGHTING and (7) SAINT LUCCA others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(11) Raon The Teukgeup (9) Champion Gamun (1) Happy Mix (5) Jeongsang Fighting
Next Best7, 12
Fast Start1, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Fillies and mares only here. (5) STELL LUNA had a poor day at the officer when favourite for a similar race at class and distance on March 11th when she raced relatively prominently early but was flat in the home straight, ultimately finishing 7th of twelve and beaten by two of today’s rivals. That was her second disappointing run in a row but previously she had shown plenty of ability with some fast times, especially when winning at this distance and she is worth a third chance here. (8) BORAMI gained her sole victory at 1000M but didn’t run badly when overcoming gate fourteen to run 5th on her first try at this class over 1200M on February 18th. She has had a couple of months off since then and with an apprentice making for a very light weight, she can be competitive here. (6) SUNSET MELODY comes back in trip following a good 3rd at 1400M on March 25th when she was a little more forward a bit earlier than in other recent starts. She can be in the finish again. (9) SLIM QUEEN comes back in trip and into the calculations while (10) SANGIM YEOWANG is another to consider.

Selections(5) Stell Luna (8) Borami (6) Sunset Melody (9) Slim Queen
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start5, 8, 10, 11

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

(7) MONEY GARAK has beaten a few of these across his three outings at this class since his maiden win at this distance on Christmas Day. At his latest start, he was a close 3rd at class and distance on March 27th, having come from off the pace. He will settle midfield again and can prove too strong. (10) MIGHTY GOOD didn’t do a whole lot on his first two outings but pulled off a good win at start number three over 1200M on March 27th at class 6 level when he flew home from almost last to first in the home straight. He is up in class here but down in the weights and the additional furlong should suit. (8) HANGANG CHAMP ran 5th behind Money Garak in the March 27th race. He is yet to win in six attempts but has three runner-up finishes, including one at this class over 1300M and he can be competitive here. (12)  NAMSAN YEOLMAE and the returning (1) CHODONG ROCKET among others with placing claims.

Selections(7) Money Garak (10) Mighty Good (8) Hangang Champ (12) Namsan Yeolmae
Next Best1, 2
Fast Start1, 5, 8, 11


After a two-year enforced hiatus, the Korea International races are to return in September and the local contenders take their first step towards the first weekend in September as ten of the nation’s fastest gallopers line up for the Busan Ilbo Sprint (1200M – KORG3) on Sunday afternoon, the first leg of the three-race series that concludes with the International Korea Sprint.

The winner of the last Korea Sprint to be held in 2019, Blue Chipper, takes his place in the gate. But it is a sign of the strength of the race that the six-year-old, who went on to run 3rd in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, won’t be in the top two of the betting, despite a bullet trial at the end of last month.

Instead, most eyes will be on Raon The Fighter, the brilliant Bayern four-year-old, who is yet to be tested in ten starts, all of which he has won effortlessly. He has usurped Eoma Eoma, who had the misfortune to emerge on the scene just as racing was closing down in early 2020 and he dominated when racing for the reduced prize money on offer in behind-closed-doors racing. He did though win last October’s SBS Sports Sprint and at five, still has plenty to offer.

East Jet is a Graded Stakes winner at sprint distances too and will be another at the head of the market, while along with Blue Chipper, the up-and-coming Yeongung Louis heads Busan’s challenge. Here is a run-down of the field.

1. EAST JET (KOR) [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)] – A Group winner, he began the year running 2nd to Raon First in the Segye Ilbo Cup, having led for much of the way around. He then stepped up to 1400M when he, alongside Eoma Eoma, had a testing day at the office.

The 1200M suits him better, he draws the inside gate and while a place chance might be realistic, he will be in this a long way.

2. EOMA EOMA (USA) [Algorithms – Lignite (Run Away And Hide) – A winner of ten including the SBS Sports Sprint. Disregard his last start on March 20th, when on a very wet track he uncharacteristically settled midfield and while he did make up ground in the straight, appeared to hang in a little and was well back behind the winner, Dixie Again. The time before, on January 9th, he ran 4th behind Raon The Fighter when giving away plenty of weight, and ahead of Dixie Again. He is nicely drawn today and at level weights, things might be closer

3. YEONGUNG LOUIS (USA) [Violence – Don’t Stop To Shop (Unbridled’s Song)] – an up and comer having won his last 2 starts, the last in Class 1. He is better known as a 1400m horse but has won over 1200m at lower levels At his last start on March 27th, which was at 1400M he was an excellent five-length winner over a field that contained, Doctor Carson and the former champion sprinter Doraonpogyeongseon, both of whom go again in the Busan Ilbo. If there is too much pace up front, Yeongung Louis may be the closer and while he is very much up in class, he could measure up.

4. RAON THE FIGHTER (KOR) [Bayern – Clarinda (Empire Maker)] – The current hottest property in Korean racing. He has been flawless in ten starts so far, winning them all and is now only seven short of equaling the all-time record for consecutive wins. He has run super times at this distance, eased down and at his latest start on February 20th, he overcame gate thirteen to ease to the front and win by eight lengths from one of today’s rivals, Dixie Again. The time before on January 9th, he comfortably beat a field containing Eoma Eoma and Dixie Again. He likes to race forward so and will be very hard to beat from a nice draw.

5. MIRACLE DREAMING (KOR) [Federalist – Miracle Worker (Menifee)] – Not a prolific winner but he has fifteen top-three finishes from twenty starts. Enters off a good 3rd place at this distance at class 1 level in February behind Daemangui Gil and Heat Yegam when on pace throughout. He has run solid times, but it is hard to see him being able to run the kind of time that would be needed to beat some of today’s rivals.

6. DORAONPOGYEONGSEON (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – A two-time SBS Sports Sprint winner, the nine-year-old perhaps has his best days behind him but he is still able to run a good race, as evidenced by his 3rd place over 1400M at class 1 in January. He settles midfield or further back and runs home strong, but he will probably find himself with far too much to do against this kind of speed.

7. SINGSING MARY (USA) [With Distinction – Amylimehouse (Limehouse)] – The probable longest shot on the board and the only mare in the race. She is still at class 2 but there is space in the race, and she takes her chance here. It is a very slim chance. Does get a 2kg allowance on the rest of the field.

8. DIXIE AGAIN (KOR) [Ecton Park – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – A winner of eight from sixteen, he took a while to get to grips with class 1 level but ran (a distance) 2nd to Raon The Fighter at this distance in February, before upsetting Eoma Eoma and East Jet on a wet track over 1400M on March 20th. He was getting plenty of weight in those races and today will ne harder. Half-brother to multiple Korean Graded winners Beolmaui Kkum and Kkakjaengi.

9. DOCTOR CARSON (KOR) [Hansen – Carson’s Cat (Mountain Cat)] – He came to prominence in a series of wins over Blue Chipper when well weighted in handicaps throughout last spring and summer during the reduced prize-money racing season but has just come up a little short in the biggest races at level. At his last start, he was 4th behind Yeongung Louis at 1700M. He has run fast times for the distance and can be competitive but minor money would be a good result.

10. BLUE CHIPPER (USA) [Tiznow – Dixie City (Dixie Union)] – The 2019 Korea Sprint winner and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 3rd placegetter has had his setbacks over the past couple of years but showed he remains a force on his day with victory at 2000M at class 1 level in January. He hasn’t raced since but stormed home in a trial on a wet track on March 26th. The draw is unkind, but the quality is there and at level weights, don’t rule out a good run.

Selections: (4) Raon The Fighter (2) Eoma Eoma (1) East Jet (3) Yeongung Louis

The Busan Ilbo Sprint is race 5 on the six-race card at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and has a post time of 15:55 local time.