Christmas Day Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (December 25)

Every restaurant booked out in Seoul for Christmas? Plenty of space at the racecourse! Both thoroughbred tracks are in action as usual on Christmas Day with 11 races at Seoul and 6 in Busan. With racing taking a break next weekend, it’s the final meetings of 2022. Here are the previews:

Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy winner Raon Giant is in action in the concluding race of the year at Seoul (Pic: KRA)

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

Juvenile maidens with ten of them fillies and all twelve racing for the very first time. Based on trials (11) CHILSAN DAEGYO will be a warm favourite. She made all in her heat, stopping the clock in a fast time and while she draws a touch wider than ideal, any improvement on that, will make her hard to beat. Another trial winner is (7) MUNHAK CENTRAL and she will be second favourite. She too led from gate to wire and while her time wasn’t as fast as that of Chilsan Daegyo (in a different heat on the same day), if she brings that form to the races, she can go well first up. (10) BARAMUI HYANGGI registered a time in her trial that while not on the fast side, suggested some potential and she will probably be the next in the market. (4) CHOEGANG NICE and (3) GREEN SHIELD others who can stamp their authority on debut.

Selections(11) Chilsan Daegyo (7) Munhak Central (10) Baramui Hyanggi (4) Choegang Nice
Next Best3, 6
Fast Start4, 6, 7, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Juvenile fillies but a rare race at class 4 level which gives the imports (imported horses must begin at class 4) a rare chance to compete. Four of these raced one another in a very similar event on October 30th and the winner that day was the appropriately named (3) RACE WINNER, who settled handy early and proved too strong. The weight conditions are the same, the gate if anything is better, and she can win again. (4) MIGHTY Q was 2nd in that October 30th race sitting on the heels of Race Winner until the closing stages. She has four lengths to overturn on that day’s winner but can get closer here.  (7) MEDICI WOLF has beaten a few of these across two starts so far and can accordingly be backed to do similar. Most significantly her latest outing saw her run 3rd in the Listed Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy and a similar run will put her firmly in the mix. (2) BS POWER and (9) LOTUSMIREU others who can go close in a competitive race.

Selections(3) Race Winner (4) Mighty Q (7) Medici Wolf (2) BS Power
Next Best9, 5
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 8

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

Juvenile maidens with two standouts. (4) BADEN BADEN was an on-pace 2nd on debut over 1000M on November 26th. She was well-beaten by the standout winner Phoenix Serve but it was an encouraging first outing nonetheless and from a good gate and under a light weight, she can be on pace here and has every chance. Her rival for favourite status is (9) BULGOM MADRE. After winning a trial in October, she debuted on December 12th and having sat in midfield in the early stages of the 1000M test, she ran on strong to just go down by a neck, traveling significantly quicker than the winner. The additional furlong should suit, and she has every chance.  There are four first time starters. Among them (7) NAOL JEONGSANG trialled pleasingly enough, running 2nd in a fair – if unspectacular – time. This is a nice race to debut in and he has a chance. Another debut-maker, (6) SMARTY FIGHTER, along with the second-up (2) LUCKY BOUNCE are others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(4) Baden Baden (9) Bulgom Madre (7) Naol Jeongsang (6) Smarty Fighter
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 12

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

Juvenile maidens with only two of the twelve having previous racing experience. They are going to be the two leading contenders in the market though as they both raced well. (4) BLUE MORE will be hot favourite. He was an on-pace 2nd on debut over this distance on November 27th, well beaten by a good winner but well clear of the rest. He draws well and with some natural improvement may take some beating. (12) BACKTOTHELEGEND also debuted over this distance in a different race on November 27th. He settled midfield and ran on for 3rd in a good time and is set to be the main danger here. As for the first-timer starters, a few did enough in trials to suggest they can compete for places. (9) KING OF THE YEAR was on pace in his heat and stopped the clock in a good time while (3) EVERY KING IJI and (7) SMILE KING also did enough to suggest they should be kept safe.

Selections(4) Blue More (12) Backtothelegend (9) King Of The Year (3) Every King Iji
Next Best 
Fast Start 

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

Juvenile fillies and on the final day of a season which have seen the Raon Organisation dominate, the appropriately named (3) RAON EMPIRE will be hotly favoured to win. She was favourite on debut over 1000M on November 13th but while she overcame gate ten to get to an eventual handy position, she could only manage 3rd. She should have come on for that run and from a much better gate, will be hard to beat. Second favourite will be (9) HERO QUEEN She has gone right back on both starts so far but rallied very well at her latest to run 3rd over this distance eon November 26th. The wide draw won’t be a problem and she will be challenging late. (12) ANYANG POKKYEOKGI was an improved 3rd in a quick time at start number two over 1000M on November 12th and may appreciate the step up in trip here. (10) AMAN BAROWS and (11) TAURUS QUEEN join the ranks of those drawn wide to be in the hunt.

Selections(3) Raon Empire (9) Hero Queen (12) Anyang Pokkyeogi (10) Aman Barows
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start3, 5, 10, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Juvenile fillies with five of the eleven racing for the first time. Both (1) GANGSEO GIANT and (2) ALPHA THOR come out of the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Trophy where Alpha Thor was the best of them in 5th to Gangseo Giant’s 8th. Coming back in trip, they look set to battle out the honours here with Gangseo Giant sightly favoured to overturn the form. (3) CARPE BABEL debuted in the Do Min Ilbo Trophy, which was always going to be a tough ask first-up and from a wide gate she wasn’t a factor. She had previously won a trial in good order and it’s fair to give her a fresh start today. Among the first-time starters, (7) JOY JUNMA and (10) MACH BULLET perhaps have the best chance of making an immediate impact.

Selections(1) Gangseo Giant (2) Alpha Thor (3) Carpe Babel (7) Joy Junma
Next Best10, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 9, 10

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

More maidens and it’s hard to look past (10) POWERFUL HWASEONG. That’s based on two of his latest three outings when 3rd and 2nd over this distance in times that were both faster than anything else here has achieved. He has a decent finish on him and doesn’t need to lead so the wide draw is of little concern, and at start number five, he looks ready to win. The main danger is (6) DONGBANG SAGI. She enters off an improved 2nd place over 1300M on November 27th when on pace throughout and beaten only by a good favourite. She’ll be on the speed again here and can be in this a long way. (4) CAMINO has only raced once, finishing midfield over 1300M on November 20th. He should strip fitter for that experience and can go closer today. (12) ULTRA GALAXY and (2) WINNER DRAGON are among others in the frame.

Selections(10) Powerful Hwaseong (6) Dongbang Sagi (4) Camino (12) Ultra Galaxy
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(7) ONNURI CHUKJE will take some beating here. He was an improved 2nd at start number two over this distance on November 27th, when handy and running on and crossing the line in a time almost two full seconds quicker than any of the others here who have tackled the distance have managed. He should have far too much. Plenty of others have hinted at ability though. (3) FIRST MENI was a decent 4th on debut over 1000M, settling back and running on. She steps up in trip here and draws well and can improve. (9) HUIMANGUI ACHIM has two starts in the bank, finishing 3rd in both, having settled towards the back, and finished well. She too steps up in trip and it can suit. (11) HWANGOO MONEY and (10) NALA among plenty of others with placings already on their records and who can repeat.

Selections(7) Onnuri Chukje (3) First Meni (9) Huimangui Achim (11) Hwangoo Money
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 10

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race. (1) WINNER YOUNG comes up in class having registered two runner-up finishes and a 4th place at class 6 level, running on well over 1200M last time out. He draws well, comes down in the weights, and the additional trip may suit. (7) SMART POWER was narrowly beaten over this class and distance three starts back in a fast time. He has subsequently run well at both 1200M and 1700M and tactically versatile and also down in weight, he should be very competitive here. (8) NUBIGO has the fastest time among those with prior experience of this distance. That was recorded last time out on November 20th when after a slow start, he was ridden up to be handy and then ran on well. (6) ALL FOR YOUR DREAM and (4) TUHON GISANG are others in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Winner Young (7) Smart Power (8) Nubigo (6) All For Your Dream
Next Best4, 2
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 12

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

It’s about time that (6) KENDRICK returned to the winner’s circle. His solitary success came on debut in January since when he has registered no fewer than four runner-up finishes, two each either side of a five-month layoff. At his latest on November 18th, he settled close to the speed before finishing off well behind the three-for-three Geuma Passionate, and today could be his day. (1) HUIMANG PUNCH won back-to-back races in September and October before running 4th at this class and distance on her latest appearance on November 4th. She goes best when on pace so draws very well here and is a big chance. The wild card is (5) STAR ACE. He won both his starts in January and February of this year to get rapidly promoted to this class but hasn’t raced since. He offered few clues in a trial just last weekend and while this may come a bit too soon, he has quality. (10) PURE MAGIC is rapidly up in class and along with (3) GOBLIN is another to consider.

Selections(6) Kendrick (1) Huimang Punch (5) Star Ace (10) Pure Magic
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start1, 2, 8, 12

Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here. (6) PHOENIX SERVE was 3rd on debut before winning well at start number two on November 26th making all in a similar filly-only race. She comes up in class but looks nicely in again and can win again. (12) RANUT was a smart winner on debut and then after two swings and missed returned to form with a sharp 2nd place at this class and distance on November 27th, leading for most of the way around. She is done no favours by the draw but with a touch of early luck, she can go close. (1) DUSON CLASSIC has consistently gone close without breaking through. She was leading in her latest at class and distance on December 4th, ultimately running 3rd and should be aiming for at least another place. (2) LONDON ACE has broken through, winning on her latest outing and she comes up in class but can measure up. (3) JANGBI MUJIGAE is up in class after a maiden win at start three and has nothing to fear at this level.

Selections(6) Phoenix Serve (12) Ranut (1) Duson Classic (2) London Ace
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start5, 9, 11, 12

Busan Race 5: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) MIGHTY STORM will be hot favourite here. He got his maiden win over 1400M two starts back before coming up to this class and distance on November 27th and running a good 2nd, settling midfield, and finishing well. He comes up 2kg in the weights but draws well and should have too much. (12) HORAENGI doesn’t draw well but enters with recent form reading well. He is yet to win from fourteen starts but has no fewer than eleven top-five finishes and has been 2nd and 3rd in his two starts at this level, both over 1800M. He doesn’t need to lead and can go close – albeit find at least one too quick – again. (6) B.J. CHIEF is another non-winner but with good form. He was 2nd last time out at class and distance in what was his first start for seven months. He should strip fitter for the experience and be a danger here. (9) DOCTOR KONGDOLI comes up in class and in distance but can measure up. (10) HAMAN BONGWHASAN another in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Mighty Storm (12) Horaengi (6) B.J. Chief (9) Doctor Kongdoli
Next Best10, 8
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 10

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies only with a mixture of experienced local breds and some inexperienced imports. (1) EUNHYE SERVE comes in having won at class and distance on November 26th when settling midfield and then handy before proving too strong. She comes up 3.5kg in the weights but that’s balanced somewhat by a much better gate, and another win isn’t out of the question. (9) FURIOSA is the progressive type in the race. She was 3rd in the Seoul Rookie Stakes in August before finishing as an also-ran in the listed Munhwa Ilbo Trophy in October. She then ran a very good 2nd at big odds in the listed Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy when settling back and running on and in ostensibly shallower waters today, must shape as a winning chance. (2) LAST PUNCH got back to winning ways with a smart win in a fast time over 1400M at this class on November 20th. She comes up in the weights but should go close again. (4) GOLD POWER and (8) MENI GOLD are also in the medal hunt.

Selections(1) Eunhye Serve (9) Furiosa (2) Last Punch (4) Gold Power
Next Best8, 7
Fast Start4, 6, 8, 9

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

(4) JESSIEUI KKUM dips a hoof into class 1 waters for the first time following back-to-back successes at class 2 over 1800M, taking his record to five wins from eleven. This is his first try at 2000M but there is no reason why it can’t suit and down 4kg from his latest appearance, he is the one to beat. (10) HIT YEGAM has recently been set a succession of seemingly unsuitable assignments in various Group races or last time back at a sprint. He finally looks well in here over a distance at which he won the final leg of the Triple Crown last year, and he can go close. (9) CALM STRONG had a dreadful day at the office when drawn gate fourteen in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup last time out. That doesn’t completely absolve her from blame for her performance that day, but she has built up enough credit prior to that to be given another chance here. (2) MACH TITAN makes a quick return from a dismal showing (he wasn’t alone) in the Grand Prix Stakes two weeks ago and along with (12) ALPHAKING IJI is another in the frame.

Selections(4) Jessieui Kkum (10) Hit Yegam (9) Calm Strong (2) Mach Titan
Next Best12, 8
Fast Start2, 5, 9, 10

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Competitive race. (1) RAON FOREST is yet to finish any worse than 5th from five starts and comes in after a very fast win over 1300M on November 27th. She comes up in class and significantly in distance but she caries a feather weight and from the inside gate she could win again. (10) MIGHTY GOOD is up just 2kg from his class and distance win on November 19th when he settled just behind the early speed and ran on strong. He is giving 7kg to Raon Forest, but he is competent over the trip, and he can win again. (11) LUNAR SILVER comes up in class following a win over this distance on November 5th. She overcame a wide draw that day and while she will need to be quicker here, she carries a light weight and may have more improvement at an each-way price. (7) DAESARI and (3) SWEET JUICE BAR are others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections(1) Raon Forest (10) Mighty Good (11) Lunar Silver (7) Daesari
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start1, 7, 9, 11

Seoul Race 10: Class 1 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(6) CHIEF INDY ran out a good winner of the JRA Trophy on international weekend in September before finishing a creditable 6th place in the G1 President’s Cup over this distance in November when from a wide draw he went right back and passed much of a tiring field late on. He is nicely weighted here, draws well and surely has class 1 wins in his future. (4) GOOD PILSEUNG ran 2nd to Chief Indy in that JRA Trophy and while he was an also-ran in the G2 KRA Cup Classic, he then finished 4th at class 1 over 1800M on November 20th. An apprentice means he carries a very light weight here and he should go well. (3) MOONHAK CHIEF is a one-time Grand Prix Stakes and Korea Cup winner, and he offered a hint of a return to form when 6th in the KRA Cup Classic. As ever his problem here is that he must carry 59kg but in this field that may not prevent him from finding the money. (7) JANGSAN BADA and (8) VIKING STORM among others capable of placing.

Selections(6) Chief Indy (4) Good Pilseung (3) Moonhak Chief (7) Jangsan Bada
Next Best8, 11
Fast Start3, 4, 7, 11

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

A winner of three from four including the listed Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy, (4) RAON GIANT Is Seoul’s top juvenile filly and can end her year on a high here. A natural front-runner, she draws very well and can prove too good again. (9) YELLOW CAT won twice over this distance at class 4 level and has a 2nd and a 3rd in two subsequent outings at this class. She comes up 2kg in the weights but is still not very high and she will surely be competitive again, settling handy or midfield and running on. (11) WOW WOW comes back down to a sprint trip for the first time in a while. He has never lost at this distance and a return to winning form can’t be ruled out. (2) ULTRA KING is also slightly up in weight from his runner-up finish at this class over a mile on November 19th, when he beat Wow Wow, but he draws well for Antonio to be able to pick his spot and he should be in the frame. (8) BULBANGUL another in the hunt. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Selections(4) Raon Giant (9) Yellow Cat (11) Wow Wow (2) Ultra King
Next Best8, 12
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 9