Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 7)

The capital kicks off its 2023 season on Saturday with a bumper 12-race card. Note the 1st race is five minutes earlier than usual so the races are from 10:40 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Jo In-kwon, who won the Minister’s Cup on Captain Yankee, returns full time to Seoul this weekend (Pic: KRA)

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

Three-year-old maidens in the opener and quite a few have already shown some promise. (6) ARGO RICH will be favourite, having run 4th on debut over 1000M in October before improving the 2nd when stepped up to 1200M on November 19th when on pace throughout. The additional half furlong can suit, and he can win here. (1) SAENAE KHAN beat Argo Rich when they pair debuted in the same October race before running 4th over the same distance at start number two. He comes up in distance for the first time but draws well and can be a danger here. In turn, (2) HANGANG POWER beat Saenae Khan when they raced one another on December 4th. That was a big improvement on his first two efforts, and he can continue that momentum today. (10) NONSTOP THUNDER and (9) UPTOWN WHIZ are others to take into account.

Selections(6) Argo Rich (1) Saenae Khan (2) Hangang Power (10) Nonstop Thunder
Next Best9, 12
Fast Start1, 3, 7, 9

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

Maiden three-year-old fillies with half the field having run once and half the field non having run at all. (6) ÉCLAIR STAR drew the widest gate on debut and then slightly fly-jumped as the gates opened and then went wider. The jockey calmly took her across to the fence where she proceeded to run on well for 3rd. She draws better today and could well win. Favourite status will probably belong to (3) CANDY GLOW. She ran 7th of twelve on debut in a fair time over the 1000M, beaten by Hangang Power and Saenae Khan from race 1. She should have come on for the run and Moon Se-young remaining aboard will be enough for plenty. Of the newcomers, (9) DANDI looks the best. She went through a fast trial, crossing the line 4th behind a couple of very established racehorses. If she can bring that form to the track, she may have a chance of emulating her namesake at Busan from the early 2000s. (1) LADY TAEPUNG came through the same trial in good fashion and along with (5) WALGADAK, is another to consider.

Selections(6) Éclair Star (3) Candy Glow (9) Dandi (1) Lady Taepung
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 9

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

Three races into 2023 and Moon Se-young will probably have been on the favourite in all of them. Here it’s (2) ARGO TAP, who has shown good consistency over his five starts to date. He hasn’t been especially quick, but he draws nicely to get on pace and dictate, and they may not get past him. (10) SSING SSING SSING was a big improver at start number three over this distance on November 27th when settling handy and running on well stopping the clock in a time faster than any of today’s rivals have manages. He doesn’t draw as favourably today but shapes as the main danger to the favourite. (4) GANGHAN QUEEN has been up and down across three starts so far but looks sure to be on the pace here and in this a long way, while (9) GOLD MIGHTY comes up in trip following a solid second effort over 1000M. (5) DREAM SKY had a hard time in the Munhwa Ilbo Trophy before running out on the turn on her reappearance. She had shown ability to that prior and has recently trialled well enough. If she takes the corner properly, she may have a chance at a decent price.

Selections(2) Argo Tap (10) Ssing Ssing Ssing (4) Ganghan Queen (9) Gold Mighty
Next Best5, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 5

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Plenty of these raced against each other over this distance on November 26th and it was (4) DAECHEON CHAMP who came out the best, settling midfield and coming home in 2nd place. That was by far her best showing to date and on her third try at the trip, she can get her maiden win. One at odds could be (12) WONPYEONG BIRD. He comes in off his best finish to date, a 3rd over 1200M on December 3rd and while he takes a big step up in trip, it may well suit. (11) BAEDARI GONGJU too comes up in trip. She has settled back and finished strongly over the shorter courses so is another who may enjoy the chance to stretch out a bit. (6) NEOREUL EONGWONHAE and (10) ZEROBAEK FIVE, both behind Daecheon Champ in that November 26th race, are others in the frame.

Selections(4) Daecheon Champ (12) Wonpyeong Bird (11) Baedari Gongju (6) Neoreul Eongwonhae
Next Best10, 2
Fast Start4, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(5) QUCKLY RUN is yet to finish any worse than 3rd in six starts to date and has posted some fast times along the way. On her first attempt at a mile last time out on November 26th, she drew the widest gate but ran on well for 3rd and from a better draw today can win. She’ll be vying for favourite status with (2) YAMUJIN JAESU. He is yet to win but has some solid efforts at this level including a last start 3rd over this distance on December 4th. He comes up in the weights but gets Moon Se-young aboard which will tempt plenty. (6) MAIN OF KING was the 40/1 winner of that race on November 26th ahead of Quickly Run. That was his maiden score at start twenty-one, but it was also his first ever run at this distance and a repeat can’t be completely ruled out. (3) BLUE CHARM is a class and distance winner and can be given another chance despite being well back in his latest two at further. (7) SONGAM TIZ another in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Quickly Run (2) Yamujin Jaesu (6) Main Of King (3) Blue Charm
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start5, 6, 9, 10

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

(10) YEONGUNG DAEMA has just the one win in twenty-three starts, but he has been knocking on the door of another in his recent efforts. He comes in off back-to-back runner-up finishes over class and distance, beating a few of today’s rivals in the process, and while he does come up in the weights, he can go one better today and given his running style, the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem. (1) DAECHEON BEAUTY is winless in eight but is another who has been coming close with seven top-four finishes. She likes to settle back and run on, and she can go close again. (5) NONSTOP WINNING may not be the most appropriately named but he knows how to pick up a cheque and most recently was 3rd behind Yeongung Daema on December 4th. He’ll be finishing strongly again. (7) JEONGMUN CHOEGANG and (2) EUNPA MOUNTAIN among others to consider for the places.

Selections(10) Yeongung Daema (1) Daecheon Beauty (5) Nonstop Winning (7) Jeongmun Choegang
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 12

Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) BLACK CHOCOLATE was a smart winner on debut over 1200M October before running 4th at the same trip on his first try at this class on November 13th. He likes to settle midfield and run on and from a great draw, jockey Jo In-kwon has a great chance of getting on the board on his first day back at Seoul full-time. The main danger is (7) SURE WIN. She has posted good times at this distance and last time ran 2nd when settling handy, dropping back and then finishing strongly. She comes up in the weights but should be competitive. (4) GEOLJAK MAN defied big odds to run 2nd – albeit well beaten by the very promising Farciarz – in a good time at class and distance on December 4th and he warrants respect this time. (12) DESK TAP and (1) BEST SUN, the latter needing a line drawn through his latest – are others in the hunt.

Selections(3) Black Chocolate (7) Sure Win (4) Geoljak Man (12) Desk Tap
Next Best1, 10
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9

Seoul Race 8: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies (and one mare) here. (2) NAEGILUI QUEEN made all at start number two on December 4th to win by an eye-catching margin over 1000M. She comes up in class and in trip here but the manner of that win suggests that she has ever chance of repeating the trick. The main danger is to her inside in the shape of (1) ULTRA SOCKS. She came up in class following two runner-up finishes but she came close to getting his maiden win last time out at this class and distance on November 20th when she almost led the whole way only to get caught close to home. She has the speed to challenge Naegilui Queen for the lead. So too does (5) COMPLETE ANGEL. She is up in class following an easy on the eye maiden win over this distance in which she led all the way on December 3rd. She’ll be up and on the pace too and surely measures up at this level. Continuing the pattern, (6) DANAEUN ROSE was a big margin winner, leading all the way at this distance on November 13th. Up in class but in the frame. If the front-runners decide to engage in a four-way speed-duel then the beneficiary may be (8) AL SIMON. She can take a sit and go past plenty late.

Selections(2) Naegilui Queen (1) Ultra Socks (5) Complete Angel (6) Danaeun Rose
Next Best8, 7
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 7

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) BEST CHEONSANG will be a warm favourite here. She returned from five months out to run an strong 3rd at class and distance on November 26th when she overcame gate ten to sit handy and then run on, positing a time for the distance faster than anything else in this has achieved. She should strip fitter for that run, she draws better, and she may take some beating. (2) MAGIC GRACE comes back in trip following a couple of decent efforts over 1400M. She likes to run on pace so draws well here and should be in the mix for a long way around. (9) DUSON FANTASTIC has run good times at this trip – almost as fast as Best Cheonsang – and is tactically versatile so the wide draw may not be a problem. He has claims here. (7) BURUI GASOK and (6) SAENAE POWERFUL among others in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Best Cheonsang (2) Magic Grace (9) Duson Fantastic (7) Burui Gasok
Next Best6, 4
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 6

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

(1) DOKKI BULPAE is two for two and is rapidly up in class. Both successes have been by big margins and while he stretches out to 1400M today, there’s no reason why that can’t suit and from a great draw, he is favoured to continue on his merry way. (3) SMART JEONSA enters off a good runner-up finish at class and distance on November 27th, a long way behind a good winner but holding off the rest of the field well. She likes to settle midfield and run on, and she can be a danger again. (4) DAPHNE was another who was rapidly promoted to this class after back-to-back wins. She has taken to class 4 well with a 2nd and a 3rd in two goes at it, the latter over this distance on November 20th. She is nicely draws and weighted and should be in the mix. (6) THE QUEEN JUSTICE and (7) THE REAPER among plenty of others who can go close in, the hot favourite aside, a competitive race.

Selections(1) Dokki Bulpae (3) Smart Jeonsa (4) Daphne (6) The Queen Justice
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 10

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

Competitive race so at an each-way price we’ll take a chance on (4) ROYAL ELVIS. True, he is returning for the first time since May and he didn’t offer too many clues in a trial just before Christmas, but he has plenty of quality, the distance and the draw are ideal and he can make a winning return. (5) THIS CHALLENGE comes in off a 3rd place in one of the quickest races ever run at Seoul over this distance when settling back and flying home. He carries very little weight once again and has every chance. So too (1) RAON THE JET. A winner of four from eight it is true his only previous attempt at this distance didn’t go well, but he has run some super times at shorter and he could be ready for another crack today. (6) EAST BAN and (12) WHITE QUEEN among others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(4) Royal Elvis (5) This Challenge (1) Raon The Jet (6) East Ban
Next Best12, 10
Fast Start1, 6, 7, 12

Seoul Race 12: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 90 Million

(3) JANGSAN POISON has eleven top-three finishes from thirteen starts and looks to be getting to grips with class 2 racing with a 3rd over 1800M and 4th at a mile from his latest two, overcoming the widest gate at the difficult mile start last time. He comes up in the weights without an apprentice claim but he draws nicely and is the one to beat. (4) EODIGANA comes in having run 3rd over this distance in a filly and mare Group race in November. This does seem to be her preferred trip and under a light weight she has the potential to be a danger today. (5) RAON BEAT has started his class 2 career with back-to-back 3rd place finishes at 1800M and a mile. He carries his fair share of weight today but shouldn’t be ruled out. (12) WINNER BROWN and (11) LOOKING GOOD are among other possible for the minors.

Selections(3) Jangsan Poison (4) Eodigana (5) Raon Beat (12) Winner Brown
Next Best11, 9
Fast Start5, 6, 8, 12