The SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) turns thirty this year and on a rare day where racing gets mainstream TV coverage in Korea – by virtue of the sponsor – Raon The Fighter may not be running, but there is no shortage of star power, with Eoma Eoma, last year’s winner, returning having missed the SROA Chairman’s Sprint, the previous leg of the Sprint Series.
American import Eoma Eoma emerged onto the scene just before racing suffered its first shutdown in 2020, winning his first three races in lightning quick times, before tasting defeat for the first time in that year’s running of this race. He then went on to put together another seven-race winning streak, including the 2021 SBS Sports Sprint, which was delayed until October, before Raon The Fighter emphatically ended the run in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint the following month.
Another defeat at the hands of Raon The Fighter was followed by a class 1 reversal when odds-on favourite over seven furlongs on March. That led Eoma Eoma to be very much the second-choice when he met Raon The Fighter again for the Busan Ilbo Sprint, the first leg of the sprint series in April. Instead, after his rival stumbled at the start and then got pushed hard to rejoin the leaders, Eoma Eoma never allowed him into the race, winning by a full three-lengths.
Eoma Eoma will be the overwhelming favourite to successfully defend the SBS Sports Sprint, while second in the market will be Black Musk. He came from over the top to hand Raon The Fighter a second defeat in the SROA Trophy on May 22nd after the favourite had earlier engaged in an energy-sapping speed-duel with Hit Yegam. Up and comer Soul Merit is highly thought-of and takes his first steps into Graded company as the probable third in the betting. Morfhis and East Jet complete the top half of the market.
The SBS Sports Sprint will be run over 1200M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Here’s a look at all ten runners:
1. EAST JET (KOR) [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)]
O: Kim Yeong-gi T: Park Youn-gu J: Alan Munro
20(9/4/0) KRW 739,500,000
Runner-up in this race last year, having won it in 2020 but he has had a challenging first half of 2022 with his best being 2nd to Raon First in the Segye Ilbo in January. 5th in the Busan Ilbo and then 7th in the SROA, he draws well here and Alan Munro returns to the ride. Won’t be favourite but a place chance.
2. SOUL MERIT (USA) [American Pharoah – Placentia (Bernardini)]
O: Park Nam-sung T: Park Dae-heung J: Choi Bum-hyun
10(5/0/1) KRW 211,740,000
Since returning from eight months out last year, he has won four from four and steps into elite company for the first time here. At his latest start in April, he settled back before being ridden up handy to the lead and running on for a comfortable win over 1400M at class 2 level. He won his only previous start at this distance, and he looks set to be a big player.
3. MORFHIS (USA) [Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla (Rubiano)]
O: Park Nam-sung T: Lee Gwan-ho J: Johan Victoire
36(10/7/7) KRW 1,055,800,000
The winner of this race two years ago, he showed he still has plenty left with an excellent 3rd in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint where under a ground-saving ride, he closed strongly on the inside rail, only going down half a length on the line. He’ll settle back as usual and will be running on strong again and will be in the finish.
4. CLEAN UP HAPPY (KOR) [Paynter – Dream Delight (Unbridled’s Song)]
O: CU Network T: Park Jae-woo J: Jeong Jeong-hee
16(6/5/3) KRW 297,800,000
Gets his chance here following back-to-back wins at this distance in good times, most recently on his first outing at class 1 level on May 8th when from a wide gate he got to the lead and wasn’t caught, beating Global Captain, as well as Legend Day, who was a fine class 1 winner last week. He was only carrying 51kg and the level weights here makes it tougher but not impossible to place.
5. BLACK MUSK (USA) [Flat Out – Upjumpedthedevil (Tizdejavu)]
O: Kim Han-su T: Kim Dong-kyun J: Yoo Seung-wan
13(8/2/0) KRW 532,390,000
Pulled off a sensational win in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint from a seemingly impossible position, grabbing 1st on the line with a late burst of speed having been wide and back throughout. That was set up by the very fast pace set by Raon The Fighter and Hit Yegam. He might not have that kind of target to aim for here but he’s a chance.
6. SPRING BACK (USA) [Gemologist – Frangible (Broken Vow)]
O: D R M City T: An Byung-ki J: Lee Dong-ha
25(6/4/0) KRW 482,800,000
Has tended to just come up short at the really elite level although he has pulled off some good results such as 4th in the 2019 Korea Sprint and then last August pulling off a class 1 win at this distance over Morfhis and Raon First. This is his first start since February but he looked well when winning a May trial.
7. EOMA EOMA (USA) [Algorithms – Lignite (Run Away And Hide)]
O: Nasca T: Song Moon-gil J: Moon Se-young
16(11/2/1) KRW 952,500,000
Brilliant winner of the Busan Ilbo Sprint on April 24th, handing Raon The Fighter his first defeat. He settled on the pace and went away for a three-length win. A fetlock sprain kept him out of the SROA Chairman’s Sprint last month but he returned to work at the start of June. He’s the favourite to take his second SBS and should be too good.
8. SINGSING MARY (USA) [With Distinction – Amylimehouse (Limehouse)]
O: Jeon Seok-ho T: Bae Hou-jun J: Park Eul-woon
20(2/1/3) KRW 145,140,000
The only filly or mare in the race she outperformed her longest shot on the board status in the Busan Ilbo, and especially in the SROA where she was 5th, just two lengths behind the winner. Her rating remains fifteen points lower than anything else in the race, but she perhaps warrants a touch more respect this time around.
9. COMPLETE SWEEP (KOR) [Simon Pure – Few N Far Between (Pico Central)]
O: Jang Suk-young T: Cho Hyun-soo J: Lim Gi-won
30(6/5/4) KRW 401,750,000
Has registered some great times at this trip in the past but his form coming into this is on the cold side with it being almost two years since his last victory and his last money finish, a 5th, was five starts back. Hard to make a case for here.
10. GLOBAL CAPTAIN (USA) [Munnings – Queen Mercury (Langfuhr)]
O: Jang Jae-hyeung T: Jung Ho-ik J: Jang Chu-youl
23(8/1/3) KRW 542,050,000
Ran 4th in this race last year when it was held in October. He has the fastest final furlong average time of any of these, but he needs it because he gets so far back, as he did when trailing for the majority of his latest outing at this distance at class 1 level on May 8th, running on for 5th behind Clean Up Happy. Can be frustrating for punters but if he is in touch at the top of the straight, he could run into some money.