Grand Prix Stakes Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (December 11)

It’s Grand Prix Stakes Sunday with the traditional season finale bringing together sixteen of the country’s best horses at Seoul for the 2300M Group 1 test. See here for a full runner-by-runner guide. The Grand Prix is race 8 on the 11-race program at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There is also a 6-race card at Busan from 12:15 to 16:45. The Grand Prix is at 16:15. Here are all the previews:

Haengbok Wangja won last year’s Grand Prix. He returns to try to defend his title on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile filly maidens in the opener with three of the small field of eight racing for the first time.  (8) RAON CITY GIRL has race twice and was an improved 3rd in the second of them over this distance on November 6th when handy throughout and finishing in a fast time. The small field means she should be able to get on pace again and she is the one to beat. The biggest danger looks to be one of the first timers. (1) EINSPANNER was an on-pace 2nd in her trial in a fair time and from a great draw can put in a bold showing first up. (2) BLUE ARCH has raced twice at this distance and just like Raon City Girl, she improved in the second of them, settling handy and running on for 4th. With some more improvement she can be in the mix here. (3) GEOMIBULU is a debut-maker who must be taken seriously having won her trial in November when settling midfield and running on. (7) GROW can improve on her midfield finish on debut.

Selections(8) Raon City Girl (1) Einspanner (2) Blue Arch (3) Geomibulu
Next Best7, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile filly maidens this time with four of the eight making their racing debuts. (7) ICE CREAM will be the hot favourite. She led for much of her debut at this distance on October 16th, ultimately finishing back in 4th but with close margins and a quick time. She should have derived benefit from the experience and if she runs to that level again, she should win. (1) NANGJU YEOGEOL has raced twice already, finishing 5th both times and stopping the clock in exactly the same time. A similar run will put her into the places here. Among the first-time starters, (2) BULGOM MADRE looks to be the pick. She came from off the pace to win her trial in a fair time and if she brings that form to the races, she can go close in this company. (4) GREEN SPECTER led for most of her trial, crossing the line 2nd. She draws well to be on pace and can be in this a long way on debut. (3) GOOD SIMON perhaps needs trying at further but can aim for minor money.

Selections(7) Ice Cream (1) Nangju Yeogeol (2) Bulgom Madre (4) Green Specter
Next Best3, 8
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens again, this time open to colts as well as fillies. Four of the eight race for the first time. (8) GEOSEN CHAMP is the favourite. He ran an improved 4th at start number two over this distance on November 5th, beginning slowly and then settling right back before finishing strongly, well beaten by winner Farciarz but posting a more than respectable time. With some natural improvement, he may take some beating. (6) RICH GATE ran pleasingly enough for a midfield finish in a good time on debut on October 30th. He can have benefited for the run and can be in the mix here. (3) HALLSTATT and (4) SEUNGRIUI YEONGHON both put in fair efforts on their respective debuts and can build on them here with the latter likely to be on the early pace. The first-time staters didn’t exactly leap out of the trial highlights reels. (7) CHRYSOL SMILE is the first foal by 2016 Korea Cup winner Chrysolite to make the track.

Selections(8) Geosen Champ (6) Rich Gate (3) Hallstatt (4) Seungriui Yeonghon
Next Best7, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 6

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens get things underway on the south coast with two of the ten racing for the first time. (3) HANEUL SEUNGNI races for the third time, having run 3rd and 2nd in two previous outings, both at 1000M and both in good times. He draws nicely to lead here and can go all the way. (6) STAR FURY went through two October trials, improving significantly in the second of them (which as it was a voluntary trial, may not appear in all race cards). In that trial he crossed the line within two-lengths of Touch Star Man and Top Mate, experienced winners (the former a Classic winner) and he can be given a chance here. (1) STORMY DAY beat a couple of these on his way to a very creditable 4th place over this distance on debut on November 13th. He doesn’t have the benefit of an apprentice claim today, but that’s balanced somewhat by a better draw, and he can go close. (7) DALLILLAEYO was 5th in that race on November 13th when settling right back and running on. That was an improvement from his debut, and he can continue to make progress here. (4) REMEMBER ME another who can improve.

Selections(3) Haneul Seungni (6) Star Fury (1) Stormy Day (7) Dallillaeyo
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile filly maidens. (1) HANGANG JILJU looks ready to win. She improved at start number three when an on the pace 4th over 1000M and coming up in trip for the first time and from a good draw, may take some beating. (7) BAEDARI GONGJU has made steady progress across three outings so far, with her 4th place on what was her first try at this distance on November 13th, her best so far. She has tended to get a bit far back in her races but can run on and challenge here. (8) GANGCHEOL YEOGEOL similarly demonstrated improvement at start number two. She has drawn wide every time so far, but in today’s smaller field, it may not be much of a hindrance. (4) CATS WOMAN and (6) RED TAEPUNG are others with claims on the minors

Selections(1) Hangang Jilju (7) Baedari Gongju (8) Gangcheol Yeogeol (4) Cats Woman
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 6

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Another maiden where it is hard to look past the favourite. (4) PAN STAR has steadily improved across three starts to date, culminating in a runner-up finish over 1200M on November 18th when she came close to making all. The additional half furlong shouldn’t be an issue and she can go one better today. (6) HEARTBREAKER also improved at start number two on November 11th when sitting midfield and getting back well for 3rd over 1200M. He stretches out a little further in trip today and with some natural improvement, he can go close. (5) ADELE HORANGI has four top-five finishes from his five starts to date. His best was a second place in October over this distance when handy to the speed and he can be a danger here. (8) JEONGMUN CHITA and (7) BOOMY STAR the others in the hunt.

Selections(4) Pan Star (6) Heartbreaker (5) Adele Horangi (8) Jeongmun Chita
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 6

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) BADAUI KKUM has made steady progress in recent outings and comes in off his best to date when 2nd over this distance on November 6th when on pace throughout. He carries the same weight, draws similarly, and has the fastest time of any of these at the distance. He can win. There is one debut-maker and it’s a potentially good one. (1) HIDDEN BRAIN absolutely bolted up in a trial in November, crossing the line seventeen-lengths to the good and in a decent time. If he brings that form to the races, there’s no reason why he can’t win first up, and he will probably start as favourite. (8) SSANG OK RU has been on the speed in his latest two, finishing 3rd and 4th. He tackles this distance for the first time and can be in this a long way again. (7) MONEY STONE and (9) CLAIR POWER among others with placing hopes.

Selections(4) Badaui Kkum (1) Hidden Brain (8) Ssang Ok Ru (7) Money Stone
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start2, 7, 8, 9

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

It’s about time (3) GOLDEN POINT made the breakthrough and got his maiden win. He has seven top-five finishes from nine attempts without cracking first place but came close at his latest on November 13th when he led from the gate and nearly made all over 1400M. He comes slightly back in trip, draws very well, and has Franco aboard and today should make no mistake. (1) ETERNAL ACE comes up in class following a good win over this distance on November 11th, when he led all the way and stopped the clock in a good time. Under an apprentice claim, he carries very little weight and draws very nicely on the inside. (7) BUILD UP Is another maiden. He has mixed his form, but his 7th place last time out was in a tight race with small margins, and he had shown on the speed. Expect him on pace again and to be a danger. (9) ADELE ALLIE’S comes up in class but down in weight and could be worth an interest at an each-way price. (11) QUALITY QUEEN another in the frame.

Selections(3) Golden Point (1) Eternal Ace (7) Build Up (9) Adele Allie’s
Next Best11, 5
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 10

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(10) BLOOMING STAR ran out a good winner on debut over 1000M on September 24th when stalking the leader throughout and then proving too strong. He has had a couple of months off since then, comes up in class and distance and draws a touch wider than ideal, but the way he finished off that race, suggests that all those things can be overcome, and he can maintain his 100% record here. (5) GOOD NISEN returns to action for the first time since March. He was putting together an impressive body of work before the layoff with a win at 1200M and a close class and distance runner-up finish in a super time. He looked well enough in a November trial, and he can be a danger first-up. (8) NAMSAN MUJEOK is another up in class, in his case having got his maiden win at the seventh time of asking. It was over this distance, and he sat midfield and ran on. He can measure up in this company. (1) CHANCELLOR and (11) MUNHAK FOREST among others who can enter the placing calculations.

Selections(10) Blooming Star (5) Good Nisen (8) Namsan Mujeok (1) Chancellor
Next Best11, 3
Fast Start3, 5, 7, 11

Busan Race 4: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies only here. A class and distance winner in September, (2) ILNYEOM CHEONHA has run fairly in to starts since, recording a 5th and a 4th and beating a couple of these along the way. An apprentice jockey claim takes her carried weight back to the mark at which she last won at, and she draws very nicely. She looks to be the one to beat. (12) ILBEONJI comes back to the races for the first time since winning in double quick time over 1200M at this level in July. She is up a full 6kg on that summer run, but she blitzed a November trial and so long as she didn’t leave her race in that heat, she can go close. (8) D’LOVELY QUEEN is also up significantly in weight on her class and distance win on November 11th when on pace throughout. The time she recorded that day was faster than anything else in this race has achieved at this distance and she will be a danger. Up in class but down in weight, (4) BLUE CARSON can be competitive, while (6) ART KELLY is another capable of the money.

Selections(2) Ilnyeom Cheonha (12) Ilbeonji (8) D’Lovely Queen (4) Blue Carson
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 4

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies and mares here. (1) GREEN SPARK comes up in class having secured her second win on her fourth career start over 1300M on November 6th. An on-pace type so far, she comes up to the mile for the first time, but the draw is great, and she comes down a full 3kg in the weights. She’s a big chance. (7) HAPPY SOCKS was a good winner over 1300M at class 5 level in October before running 2nd on her first try at this class and distance on November 12th. The experience of the mile with its unique characteristics can stand her in good stead and she can go close. (4) SINHAN TEUKSEONG also has prior experience of the distance, having run 5th behind Happy Socks in that November 12th race. From a good gate, she is a potential leader here and shouldn’t be ruled out. (2) BEST MAD CAM and (8) DREAM K are others to consider.

Selections(1) Green Spark (7) Happy Socks (4) Sinhan Teukseong (2) Best Mad Cam
Next Best8, 5
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 7

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(6) HERO MAN will be the warm favourite here. He won over this distance at class 5 level in September, making all, and come sin off a 4th place at class and distance on November 11th when beating a couple of today’s rivals and while he doesn’t have the benefit of an apprentice claim, that’s countered by Franco climbing aboard. Big chance. (7) WONDERFUL WORLD won at class and distance back in August at big odds and has followed up with three consecutive 3rd place finishes. He too is up a little in the weights, but this looks a nice spot for him, and he can go close. (8) YONGGARI tackles the two turns for the first time. He was a useful 4th over 1400M on his latest effort and his running style may suit. (2) BOUNTY HUNTER and (3) GEUMA NIPPY among other potential placers.

Selections(6) Hero Man (7) Wonderful World (8) Yonggari (2) Bounty Hunter
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 8

Seoul Race 8: Class Open (2300M) Grand Prix Stakes (KOR G1) Weight for Age / KRW 900 Million

The Grand Prix Stakes traditionally decides the year’s champion racehorse. (2) RAON THE FIGHTER is the most exciting galloper in Korea right now with twelve wins and three 2nd places in fifteen career starts. He was runner-up to Winner’s Man in the Korea Cup and subsequently won the KRA Cup Classic (2000M KOR-G2) when he used his natural speed to easily cross to the lead from a wide draw and then exploded into the straight before being eased in the closing stages. That was his first try at 2000M and there’s no reason 2300M should be a problem. (14) WINNER’S MAN won the International Korea Cup and is the best stayer in the nation but came up short in the President’s Cup when 3rd. He was with the leaders until the 50M point though and battled on gamely. Last year’s Derby winner has been successful in four Graded races already this year including that sensational Korea Cup when he stormed through late to pass Japan’s Sekifu as well as Raon The Fighter. He is an attritional rather than spectacular type and will grind his way through the extended trip. He is tactically versatile and is a big chance (6) RAON FIRST is the best mare in the country and the only one entered in this race, she beat the boys, including Winner’s Man, in the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1). She knuckled the start then gathered momentum to race handy to the lead. She had to be restrained on the home turn as she wanted to faster and once unleashed in the straight proved too good. It was an amazing run following her 3rd place in the Korea Sprint at 1200M in September. She makes another step up in trip here, but she can’t be ruled out. Choi Bum-hyun, who won the race on Dongbanui Gangja in 2008 and 2009, will be aboard seeking his 3rd Grand Prix. (4) KING OF THE MATCH could be an option at longer odds. A consistent performer, if non-winner, in elite races this year with standouts being 4th in the Korea Cup and 2nd in the KRA Cup Classic, this race has always clearly been the target. In the Classic, he raced further forward than usual, settling handy, and he benefited. At the furlong pole, while not making ground on Raon The Fighter, he was running away from the rest the extended trip should suit and settling handy again, he has a chance. Defending champion (15) HAENGBOK WANGJA is best of the rest while for a long shot at a place, (5) TUHONUI BANSEOK may be the place to turn.

Selections(2) Raon The Fighter (14) Winner’s Man (6) Raon First (4) King Of The Match
Next Best15, 5
Fast Start2, 6, 12, 14

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

Back down to 1200M and (3) SSONSAL becomes the one to beat here. He won on his latest start over this trip back in May and as been solid in three subsequent outings over 1400M. He draws well, and his quality can see him through. (4) DAEMANGUI GIL come sin off a victory over 1400M in September and then an excellent 3rd place behind Eoma Eoma in the Kookje Shinmun Trophy over the same distance on October 30th. The booking of an apprentice means he carries significantly less than he is accustomed to and while the seven-furlongs may be more his go, he has run fast times at this distance too. (11) BUSANHANG GALMAEGI had a tough time over 1400M last time out on November 13th but just like Ssonsal, is another who should be more comfortable back at the shorter journey today., even though he needs to navigate the wide draw. (9) YES PERFECT and (10) PRO CONSUL among others in the placing frame.

Selections(3) Ssonsal (4) Daemangui Gil (11) Busanhang Galmaegi (9) Yes Perfect
Next Best10, 5
Fast Start1, 5, 11, 12

Seoul Race 9: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race. (5) CHAMPION GAMUN could be ready for another win here. He comes in off a solid 2nd place, albeit it well-back behind a very good winner, over class and distance on October 23rd and while he comes up 2kg for his efforts, he remains well drawn and has every chance. (10) RAON THE HIGHMAN ran 2nd in his first two outings to be promoted winless to this level. He has measured up fairly enough with a 4th and a 6th in two outings at class 5, tiring a little over 1300M last time. He comes down in the weights today and while he may need a touch of luck at the start from the wide draw, he can be going close. (4) GO GO STAR has a habit of coming 3rd, something she did two starts back when beating Champion Gamun. She has run consistent times at this distance though and Moon Se-young hopping on will tempt plenty. (1) HANGANG HERO and (2) COMPLETE LUCKY other potentials.

Selections(5) Champion Gamun (10) Raon The Highman (4) Go Go Star (1) Hangang Hero
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start1, 5, 8, 10

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

He might have finished last in the Korean Derby in May, but (4) DAEMUL is a winner of three from eight and two of his latest three. He comes up in class after a very smart win over 1200M on October 29th, when he settled midfield and ran on and under a light weight and from a good gate, he’s the one they need to beat. (6) FOX POWER perhaps has the best chance of beating the favourite. He has also won two of his latest three including a last start score over a mile in a fast time at this class. He comes up a full 4.5kg in the weights but should remain competitive. (2) GYORYONGDEUKSU is rarely too far away and from a good gate can settle on pace or handy and run on. (8) SECRET BOSS and (1) TOUGH MAN are others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(4) Daemul (6) Fox Power (2) Gyoryongdeuksu (8) Secret Boss
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 4

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

After running 2nd on debut, (4) WORLD CHARM has since reeled off four consecutive wins, making all on each occasion with his latest coming over this distance on October 22nd. He is up in class here, but comes down in the weights, draws very well and really, he looks destined for a higher level than this. He will be a prohibitive favourite, and for good reason. (6) WILD SOCKS won three in a row in June and July before running a good 4th in the Macau Jockey Club Trophy on September 3rd. He hasn’t raced since but looked well in an October trial and is down 3kg in the weights here. He has placing chances. So too (1) POWER BOX, who has been posting consistently fast times at this trip. He draws good gate today and carries a light weight. (9) SARYEONI QUEEN and (7) TAKTUEIN others who can go close.

Selections(4) World Charm (6) Wild Socks (1) Power Box (9) Saryeoni Queen
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 6