Derby Day Seoul & Busan: Race-by-Race Preview (May 15)

it’s 2022 Korean Derby Day. Click here for a full preview of the big race which is race 8 on an 11-race program at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There is also a 6-race card at Busan from 12:00 to 16:45. As is customary on Derby weekend, general admission to the racecourses and to OCBs across the country, is free of charge. Here are the previews:

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

(9) TOUCH NINE is the one to beat here. The Fed Biz colt is yet to finish in the top two, but he has four finished between 3rd and 5th including back-to-back 4th places from his latest two, both of them at this distance. He has post fair times and has proven able to run on pace or to close. From the widest gate he will probably look to drop in and use his late speed to be too good. (2) TIZ FIGHTING was 5th behind Touch Nine at was both their latest starts on April 9th. He draws well again and can be competitive. So can (5) BIG ENERGY. Yet to win in twelve, he does have six top-four finishes to his name and was 3rd at his latest outing three weeks ago when going right back and running on. He can run into some money again. (3) KKANGDORI has shown signs recently of figuring things out with a 2nd and a 3rd among her latest four appearances. And under another light weight can run well here too. (6) CHADOL RUN another minor money contender.

Selections(9) Touch Nine (2) Tiz Fighting (5) Big Energy (3) Kkangdori
Next Best6, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 6

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

(2) TOP CLASS will be hot favourite here. He raced twice quite ordinarily last summer and then didn’t reappear until this spring when following a positive March trial, he returned to action on April 17th, running a very good 2nd at this distance when overcoming gate eleven to lead for most of the race. He should have come on for that run, he draws a much better gate, and he is very much the one to beat. (6) M J TIME was significantly improved at start number four when leading almost the entire wat around at this distance on April 23rd, only to get passed late on by a good winner. He will be on or close to the pace again and can maintain that momentum here. (9) WONDERFUL MUSIC didn’t do too much wrong on debut at this distance on April 16th, running around in midfield and improving to 4th. That followed a good trial and he she can put in another bold showing today. There are two first-time starters and both (4) GANA FASHION and (8) WHITE CAT trialed up pleadingly, with the former quicker and more preferred first-up.

Selections(2) Top Class (6) M J Time (9) Wonderful Music (4) Gana Fashion
Next Best8, 3
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Since getting her maiden win last September, (2) SOBERANIA has been sent off as favourite all three times she has appeared in the gates. At the first of those, she ran a slightly disappointing 2nd. At the second she deposited her jockey on to the sand coming out of the barrier and proceeded without him. Most recently, she led but just got pipped into 2nd place at class and distance on April 10th. From a good draw, she goes on top again and surely it will be fourth time lucky. Should something go wrong again – and let’s face it, it might – (6) CUPID VOW could take advantage. He ran 4th behind Soberania on April 10th, running on, and he can be considered to go closer today. So too (8) K N OLD QUEEN. She was disappointing in that same race which was her first at class 5 following a maiden win over this distance in January. She is worth another chance here. (5) DIECO and (12) RAON THE WILD others in the frame.

Selections(2) Soberania (6) Cupid Vow (8) K N Old Queen (5) Dieco
Next Best12, 11
Fast Start2, 6, 8, 11

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field in the opener on the south-coast but three of the seven look ready to win. We’ll take a chance on (4) ADELE ALLIE’S who has steadily improved across three starts so far, culminating in a 3rd place at this distance on April 10th when settling midfield and running on. In this field, she should be on pace and has every chance of winning. So too does (6) LINE BREAKER. He comes back in trip following some good performances at 1400M including last time when he was an on-pace 3rd. He is yet to finish any worse than 5th in five starts and will probably be the favourite here. (5) SPECIAL FACT came from off the pace to run a good 3rd in a slowly run race at this distance on April 15th. (1) STAR CATCH and (3) FANTASTIC YEOGEOL could potentially sneak some minor money.  

Selections(4) Adele Allie’s (6) Line Breaker (5) Special Fact (1) Star Catch
Next Best3, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 6

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

Fillies and mares only here. (9) BOOSTER ROCKET warrants favourite status on the back of her runner-up finish in a similar class and distance event on April 23rd, when she came from off the pace to work home well. She has eight top-five finishes from ten attempts and will be finishing off strongly again. (8) ADAMS APPLE might be worth a speculative additional chance here at probable good odds. She had shown plenty of ability in four starts prior to a lengthy layoff and hinted at it still being there when trialing. She has been ordinary in two starts back but following another six weeks out, she may be fitter this time. (2) BIG BIT is one who returned to form after some lacklustre performances. She comes in following a good 2nd place at this class over 1200M on April 17th and from a good gate and under a light weight, should be in the mix here. (3) SONGAM BEST comes up in class following a good win over 1200M when handy throughout and she can measure up in this company. (1) NANA LAND also comes up in class following back-to-back runner-up finishes and she too can compete.

Selections(9) Booster Rocket (8) Adams Apple (2) Big Bit (3) Songam Best
Next Best1, 11
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 8

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

He’s been out for almost a year but (6) POKPUNG JILJU still shapes as the one to beat here. He registered two smart 3rd places over 1400M before his layoff and looked very well when trialing up at the end of April. This is a small field with little to fear, and he couldn’t have asked for a better race to return in. (3) PURPLE MANGO has also had an interrupted career so far. She made one appearance in August of last year and then didn’t race again until April 22nd when she was handy for much of the 1200M before ultimately ending in 7th. She should have benefited from that run and can go closer today. (2) YEONGCHEON POWER has shown signs of figuring things out in her latest two and can go close today. (7) WONDERFUL REALTY and (8) FANTASTIC MAGIC are others in the hunt.

Selections(6) Pokpung Jilju (3) Purple Mango (2) Yeongcheon Power (7) Wonderful Realty
Next Best8, 4
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 8

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

He is a fourteen-race maiden but (10) EPIPHANY should change that here. He enters on a run of solid form that saw his best finish to date when 2nd over this distance on March 19th. He then dropped back to 1300M and ran 4th, both times beating some of today’s rivals. Moon Se-young climbs aboard and totally should finally be his day. (8) BLOW MIND has also finished ahead of a couple of these in his latest two, most recently at this distance on March 12th. He likes to sit back and run on and can challenge here. (9) COUNTRY ROAD was behind Blow Mind in one of these but is another who likes to drop back and should be running on strong at the end of this. (7) BITNANEUN JILJU comes in off a runner-up finish last time out. It was at 1300M, and he has form to overturn on a few of these, but he shouldn’t be discounted. (1) BEST BIG BANG another in the placing frame.

Selections(10) Epiphany (8) Blow Mind (9) Country Road (7) Bitnaneun Jilju
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 10

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

(1) JJANG I was a front-running winner over this trip on debut on April 1st. He was sent off as favourite for his first try at this level too, but while he made it to the lead, he ultimately weakened in the closing stages of the 1400M and ended up back in 8th place. Back in trip, drawn on the inside and in this soft company, he is very much worth another chance today. (4) I WILL BE FREE returns to action for the first time since Boxing Day when he ran on from a wide draw into 4th place at 1200M at what was his first try at this class following a maiden win over 1000M in November. He trialed up very pleasingly at the end of April and looks set for a bold showing first-up today. (6) HARDY CHARLIE should be on the early speed. It is questionable if he can maintain it, but he has managed a 4th place in at the distance in arguably better overall company than this so may get even closer, even if he doesn’t look a winning chance. (5) BAEK GU and (7) WILD BLUE others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(1) Jjang I (4) I Will Be Free (6) Hardy Charlie (5) Baek Gu
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race this. (4) SPEAR GUN comes in having run 2nd in both his latest two outings, both at class and distance and both times settling midfield and running on but not quite getting there. He does come up 1kg on those, but he draws well again, and it could be third-time lucky here. The exact same applies to (8) JEONGMUN PRINCE. He has come from well back in each of his latest two to run 2nd. He too comes up 1kg for his trouble but draws fairly and be rattling home late again. He is the only runner in the field to have won at the distance. (11) NAMSAN HORANGI comes up in class and in distance following a good win over 1300 on April 16th. His running style suggests the additional trip should be within his capabilities and he can be a danger here. (10) GEUM SEDA and (2) HAWKUI YEONGGWANG others who can enter the placing calculations.

Selections(4) Spear Gun (8) Jeongmun Prince (11) Namsan Horangi (10) Geum Seda
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 11

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

A winner at class 6 level over 1300M two starts back, (4) UNJU BULPAE was slowly away and then settled back on his first try at this class at the same distance on April 1st and while he ran on well, could only manage 5th. Expect him to look to get on pace today and he can return to winning ways. (7) GALAXY ORB is no superstar, but he got the class drop he needed last time out and ran on well for 4th. He carries the same weight today and at this level, he can run into the money. He has the second fastest time of any of these at the distance. (11) SAEROUN HAMAN comes up in class having secured his maiden win at start number four on April 1st when he came from right the way back in the pack to score over 1200M. That running style suggests the wide draw here is of little consequence and he can play a big part. (1) MARIA’S GAL had a poor day at the office on her second start on April 10th but can be given another chance today. (6) HIDDEN BOY another who could improve.

Selections(4) Unju Bulpae (7) Galaxy Orb (11) Saeroun Haman (1) Maria’s Gal
Next Best6, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 4

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

It’s hard to look past (6) ASPENROS here, who is going to be the hottest favourite of the day. He comes up rapidly in class having won his latest two in fine style at 1300M and 1400M by a combined fourteen-lengths. He is up in distance too but the way he has run suggests that two-turns will be his specialty anyway. He will be ridden patiently here, and it would be a surprise if he didn’t complete his hat-trick. (5) CHEONGDAM WICKED comes up in class after a good win over 1400M when she found herself handy to the lead from a wide draw and then ran on well. She is also up in trip but can measure up. (2) REDBACK has won both his tries at this distance, including at this class two starts back, before he ran 5th in a competitive TJK Trophy on April 3rd. He is up significantly in weight on his last win but draws nicely and should be a factor. (8) WONDERFUL TYCOON has also won over the distance and along with (7) BEOLMAL DAEJANG is another to consider.

Selections(6) Aspenros (5) Cheongdam Wicked (2) Redback (8) Wonderful Tycoon
Next Best7, 4
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 7

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) KRA 60 Million

(8) BEOMI NAERYEO ONDA ran 3rd in the Gyeongnam Shinmun Classic trial over 1400M before taking his chance in the KRA Cup Mile and ending a respectable 6th of twelve. He skips today’s Derby and instead stays in Busan looking in good stead to win here. He is up in distance but carries a good weight and should be winning at this level. (6) WIND HIGH has already won at this level, scoring over a mile on April 10th when settling midfield and running on well. She comes up 3kg in the weights following that, but she has been ultra-consistent across her seven starts to date and there looks to be more to come. (2) BANJIUI MAGIC led over class and distance a couple of weeks ago, ultimately finishing 5th. Today he is third-up this preparation and could be peaking for a stable that saddled four winners on Friday. (5) YEONGCHEON SOLEMIO was a winner at class 5 level over 1400M two starts back before running s solid 5th of twelve on his first attempt at this class again over the seven furlongs on April 17th. He comes up in trip here but should be able to cope with it and can be competitive. (10) BULMYEORUI GIL another in the frame.

Selections(8) Beomi Naeryeo Onda (6) Wind High (2) Banjiui Magic (5) Yeongcheon Solemio
Next Best10, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 8

Seoul Race 8: Class Open (1800M) Korean Derby (KOR G1) Allowance / KRW 800 Million

(4) COMPLETE VALUE was last year’s champion juvenile having gone a perfect five for five including the Breeders’ Cup. So far as a three-year-old, he has two starts and two runner-up finishes, first in the Listed Sports Seoul Classic Trial at 1400M and then in the first leg of this Triple Crown series, the KRA Cup Mile. They went hard up front that day and he looked like he was going to win until the actual winner arrived on the scene in the final furlong. A cold in the week after the race suggests he may not have been at 100% and from a good draw here, he can get the job done this time. That winner was (13) CAPTAIN YANKEE. He closed brilliantly to win the Cup Mile by two-lengths at local odds of 40/1. It perhaps shouldn’t have come as such a surprise though as he was a good 2nd in the Gyeongnam Shinmun Classic Trial in March. The draw is not ideal, but the distance shouldn’t be a problem and a second jewel is not impossible. (9) SEUNGBUSA was the winner of the Sports Seoul over 1400M, making all and showed some staying ability with his fighting 3rd in the Cup Mile. With his natural speed, the barrier is not a problem and a potentially softer pace for the 1800M may assist. (3) TIZ BAROWS is the long shot play so we’ll slide him into fourth pick. He didn’t go to the Cup Mile but has won at 1700M in a fair time and can sit handy or midfield from a good draw and run on. (11) WINNER STAR and (10) DOUBLE EDGE will meet with more market support.

Selections(4) Complete Value (13) Captain Yankee (9) Seungbusa (3) Tiz Barows
Next Best11, 10
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 15

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(8) SUCCESS MACHO comes in off three straight wins, the latest being and all the way score and ultimate narrow defeat of Domination at this class over 1800M on April 8th with several of today’s rivals back down the track behind him. He does come up 3kg in the weight today but that still leaves him on a low mark, and he has won under much more in the past. It would be a big surprise if he doesn’t extend his winning streak here, probably leading gate to wire again. (9) BARBARIAN on the other hand, comes in off two consecutive reverses at the hands of Yeongung Louis and King Of The Match at 1400M and a mile. No disgrace in either. He has won up to 1800M and while this is first time at 2000M, he should be dangerous. (4) FANTASTIC MAN set the track record for this distance last November and while we do always qualify that by noting how fast the track was that day, he looks to be coming back into form with a runner-up finish at 1800M last start. (3) SMART PRINCE was 3rd behind Success Macho and Domination last time out and should relish being back up to 2000M. (5) HUNCH has seemingly lost his way a little but don’t rule out a return to form.

Selections(8) Success Macho (9) Barbarian (4) Fantastic Man (3) Smart Prince
Next Best5, 1
Fast Start4, 5, 8, 9

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

(4) DUSON FANTASTIC gets the nod here based on his good 3rd at his latest start on March 9th, when having his first run at this class. He led on that occasion, which was at 1200M, and from a good draw, will be expected to get to the front and could go all the way this time. (7) YUJEONG CHAMP is a proven winner at class and distance as recently as February. At his latest start on April 16th, again at class and distance, he ran a solid 4th but today has the luxury of a 4kg weight drop due to an apprentice claim. He can make a big show here and is the probable favourite. (8) SUPER ECTON has been thereabouts at this class and distance and was a good 2nd at his latest effort on April 17th. He can get a bit far back in his races so may need a touch of luck, but he warrants consideration. (9) COOL PRINCESS is up in class here on solid recent form. She was a winner over this distance at class 5 level on April 17th, leading from gate to wire. She is nicely weighted here, and a repeat of that effort will put her in the picture. (2) GLOBAL YEONGUNG comes in off back-to-back 4th place finishes and can co close too.

Selections(4) Duson Fantastic (7) Yujeong Champ (8) Super Ecton (9) Cool Princess
Next Best2, 3
Fast Start3, 4, 7, 9

Seoul Race 10: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

In a race where a crystal ball would be of more utility than a form guide, (8) JANGSAN MONSTER comes into the reckoning on his last start good 2nd when he led. He should be competitive again and while he is yet to win a race, he is worth serious thought. (2) SUN FO RE will be available at good odds and could be interesting. He enters following a nice 3rd at his latest over 1800M on April 17th. He led that day and comes down a full 5kg in the weights and from a good gate can lead again. (6) SPRING KKUM was a winner at this class over 1300M at his last start on April 10th when he settled handy and ran on. He comes up in the weights but that is balanced by a slightly better gate, and he could start as the favourite. (10) LAST BOSS is another who has been running over further distances of late, but he has been consistent, leading at his last start when 2nd and today has the benefit of a 3kg apprentice claim. (11) BRAVO SOCKS among others in the frame in a competitive race.

Selections(8) Jangsan Monster (2) Sun Fo Re (6) Sprung Kkum (10) Last Boss
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) JOEUNGIRL is resuming here for the first time since last August. She is a winner six in total, including all of her latest five up to her time off. She trialed on May 6th when she stumbled from the barriers and was on pace and wide and pulling hard and she was hard held to the line. She should be ready to go here. (3) MUNHAK FIRE is a recent class 4 winner and at his latest start on April 30th, he was a close 4th when wide. He likes to race forward and is drawn nicely, which brings him into the picture. (11) CHOEGO RACE has done much of his recent work at further including a class 4 win at 1400M two starts back and then last time out, at that same distance, he was a close 2nd at this class. He has the challenge of the wide barrier but will be strong in the finish and must be kept safe. (10) ROCKUI JEWANG will be well-supported on his consistent form at this class. He tends to settle midfield and run on regardless of barrier and will be hard to hold out. (1) BYEOLNARA JILJU another in the calculations.

Selections(7) Joeungirl (3) Munhak Fire (11) Choego Race (10) Rockui Jewang
Next Best1, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 7