After a week off, racing returns to the peninsula on Friday as the 2023 season gets underway at Busan. As there are just two weeks until another weekend off, there are lots of races and every one of them has a big field. Friday sees 10 races at Busan from 11:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
The 2023 Korean racing season kicks off with a series of maidens with the opener for three-year-olds. Following a fast trial, (10) ROCK AND ROLL was sent off as favourite on debut over 1200M on November 20th. He was on pace throughout and while he could only manage 3rd, the time was good and with some natural improvement for the run, he could be hard to beat here. (5) POWER RIDE was slowly away on debut over 1200M on November 27th and loped along at the back resenting the kickback at one stage tailing the field by a full six-lengths. Once he found his rhythm, he did work home well though and with a better start and additional half furlong to play with, big improvement here is possible at a probable each-way price. (7) STORMY DAY ran a good 4th on debut and while he couldn’t follow-up on his second appearance, that alone is enough to put him in the place frame here. (6) CHOICE ROAD and (9) NINE FORCE ONE others to take into consideration.
|Selections||(10) Rock And Roll (5) Power Ride (7) Stormy Day (6) Choice Road|
|Next Best||9, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 9, 10|
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maiden fillies here and (8) GOHEUNG CLASS will be a warm favourite, having improved significantly at start number two over 1000M on December 9th when she almost made all, ultimately running a close 2nd. The step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem and she is the one to beat. There are three first-time starters and two of them looks to have very solid claims first-up. (11) GOLDEN WAVE doesn’t draw the best showed decent speed in her trial and with a touch of luck at the start to find a handy position, can go close. (1) DOCTOR TIFFANY put in a similar run in her trial and with no concerns about the draw from the inside gate, she too can put in a bold showing on debut. (2) U PING rana creditable 2nd place over 1000M on debut on December 2nd, beating plenty of today’s rivals when overcoming a wide draw to get on pace. She gets much luckier with the barrier this time and should have come on for the run. (9) DAEHO NARA, 3rd in that December race, another in the frame.
|Selections||(8) Goheung Class (11) Golden Wave (1) Doctor Tiffany (2) U Ping|
|Next Best||9, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 4, 10|
Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Two standouts here, one a first timer and one with two starts in the bank already. Without much conviction, we’ll side with experience in the shape of (1) ROAD TO DREAM. After running 2nd on debut, he ran a good 3rd second-up behind a winner who has gone on to win again at class 5 and a runner-up who has since got his own maiden victory. That form should stand up here, the additional furlong can suit, and he could win. The debut maker who shapes as the main danger and possible favourite is (6) WISE KING. He went through two trials running on pace in both and stopping the clock in a fast time in the second of them. He won’t need to improve much to go very close here. It’s hard to look past the pair of them for the quinella and indeed past (2) FAST FURY to complete the trio. He draws well to be on pace here and going on his 2nd two starts back in a fast time at this trip, he should have the beating of most here. (12) SOUTHERN JOY and the very experienced (not necessarily a good thing at this level) (4) WONDERFUL SMARTY are the other logical money hopes.
|Selections||(1) Road To Dream (6) Wise King (2) Fast Fury (12) Southern Joy|
|Next Best||4, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 6, 0|
Busan Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million
It’s about time that (11) HWANGU FIGHTER broke through. He has raced five times finishing between 2nd and 4th on each occasion. His latest was his best when on November 25th he ran out a very close 2nd over 1200M having settled to the front of midfield and then run on. Any kind of top three finish will see him in class 5 next time and the step up to 1400M may be just what he needs to do it with a win. The main danger is probably (2) B. K. HUNTER. He enters off a solid 3rd place over 1300M in November when settling right at the back of the field and then running on well. The 1400M can suit and he should be close. (4) WISE BOY has mixed his form to date, but he comes into a good gate today, has Franco climbing aboard, and he is another who can appreciate the slight step it up to 1400M. (1) QUEEN ROMANCE and (10) ECTON POWER are among others who can enter the calculations.
|Selections||(11) Hwangu Fighter (2) B.K. Hunter (4) Wise Boy (1) Queen Romance|
|Next Best||10, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 9, 11|
Busan Race 5: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Having finished up his juvenile season with 3rd place in the Listed Gimhae Mayor’s Trophy before running a creditable 6th of fourteen in the G2 Breeders’ Cup, it will be hard to go past (6) WORLD LEGEND here. His maiden win over 1200M was a dominant one and he has already proven he can compete at today’s distance. He’ll be going higher than this level. (1) BRAVO HAMYANG is yet to win but has five top-four finishes from seven starts. He was drawn wide over a mile in his latest outing and didn’t feature but back in trip, down in weight and into a better gate, he can be competitive here. (7) BUDDY BUDDY ran 5th behind World Legend in the Gimhae Mayor’s Trophy. This is his first start since and just his fourth in total, and he can be in the mix today. (4) ADELE STELLA and the ultra-consistent but still yet to win (3) TITAN K are others to be considered.
|Selections||(6) World Legend (1) Bravo Hamyang (7) Buddy Buddy (4) Adele Stella|
|Next Best||3, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 7, 8|
Busan Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Having won a trial, (5) GOLD CHEONSA was sent off as favourite on debut over 1000M on December 9th. She duly obliged racing on pace throughout and scoring by a handy margin. She comes up in class and in distance here but should be able to overcome both and maintain her 100% record. (7) SSAEKSSAEGI is the logical second pick. He got his maiden win over 1200M two starts back settling handy and running on, before finishing 3rd over that same trip on his first try at this level in November. He comes in fresh off nine weeks rest, has an apprentice keeping the weight nice and low, and he should go close. (9) BAEK GU doesn’t exactly win out of turn – she wouldn’t be class 5 still if she did – but she is consistent. She was a beaten favourite at class and distance last time but Franco hops on today and she can be given another chance. (6) SAVAHA and the up in class (3) DAMYANGUISIN among others in the picture.
|Selections||(5) Gold Cheonsa (7) Ssaekssaegi (9) Baek Gu (6) Savaha|
|Next Best||3, 8|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6, 11|
Busan Race 7: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Fillies and mares only here. (5) GOLDEN PLUS was an all the way winner on debut over 1000M on November 25th fighting it out with Special Road a long way ahead of the rest. Special Road has since got her own maiden win and while Golden Plus is up in both class and distance today, she will be hot favourite to make it two in a row. Also one for one is (9) BREAD HIT. She too led all the way around on debut on November 4th and while the time wasn’t quick, the margin was big. An apprentice meant she carried very little that day, but she isn’t overburdened today either and she can measure up. Several of these raced each other at class and distance on December 2nd. (12) USEUNG YEOGEOL was the on-pace winner of that race and while she doesn’t draw favourably here, an apprentice keeps the weight light, and she warrants respect. That day’s pre-race favourite was (6) GAMDONG ENERGY. She too raced on the speed ultimately finishing 2nd and also has an apprentice employed today. She can go close. (11) HONOR QUEEN among others in the hunt.
|Selections||(5) Golden Plus (9) Bread Hit (12) Useung Yeogeol (6) Gamdong Energy|
|Next Best||11, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 6, 9|
Busan Race 8: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(9) CAPTAIN GOLD has just the one win to his name, but he is yet to finish outside the top-four in six starts. That 4th was last time out on December 18th over a mile when he led before being passed in the closing stages. He comes back in trip, is down in weight and he should take some beating. (1) HANSEN COD GIRL comes up in class having led all the way over 1300M on December 16th. Her only disappointing run so far came in the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Trophy and under a light weight and a good gate, she can measure up in this company. (2) KENDRICK had a dismal Christmas Day at the office when sent off as favourite at class and distance. He was going very nicely prior to that though and has posted fast times at the distance and is worth another chance today. (5) SANGIM YEOWANG and (6) B. K. NEW MOON among others in the hunt.
|Selections||(9) Captain Gold (1) Hansen Cod Girl (2) Kendrick (5) Sangim Yeowang|
|Next Best||6, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 6, 9|
Busan Race 9: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million
A winner on debut, (12) BETELGEUSE was 5th of eight in the Rookie Stakes at start number two before proceeding to win his next three including, unusually for a two-year-old, twice over 1800M. He begins his three-year-old campaign as a Derby contender and while this should provide a stern test given the wide gate and short run to the turn, he can make it four in a row here. (6) STAR EYE was slowly away on his latest start and was then never a factor in a crowded field over this distance on December 18th. He is better than that though and was a very good winner at this level over a mile in November. (7) TRIUMPH KING and (10) HANEUL JEONSA should both be going close while (5) GIJEOGUI JEOKTOMA rounded out 2022 by beating a couple of these on his way to a class and distance 2nd on December 2nd. Vastly experienced at this level, he can run a good race again.
|Selections||(12) Betelgeuse (6) Star Eye (7) Triumph King (10) Haneul Jeonsa|
|Next Best||5, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 11, 12|
Busan Race 10: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(2) I WILL THE STAR ran 2nd on debut in September and has since won back-to-back races in quick times at 1000M and 1200M, making all on both occasions, to get rapidly promoted to this level. He also comes up significantly in trip but there is no reason to suggest that it can’t suit, and he can win again. Punters didn’t think that (6) JUMAL BOBAE would measure up after winning at class 5 in November, sending him off at big odds for his first try at this class over 1400M on December 16th. He proved us thoroughly wrong though, winning well and while he comes up in the weights this time, can go close again. (12) WORLD FOUR A ran 2nd in that race, handy throughout and briefly leading late on. He too comes up in weight and has the challenge of the wide gate but can still be competitive. (5) DIXIE BAND and (3) YONGGARI among others in the hunt.
|Selections||(2) I Will The Star (6) Jumal Bobae (12) World Four A (5) Dixie Band|
|Next Best||3, 11|
|Fast Start||2, 6, 8, 12|