Day: January 28, 2023

Segye Ilbo Trophy Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 29)

The Stakes race program for 2023 finally gets underway at Seoul on Sunday when Raon First and Raon The Spurt head the field for the Listed Segye Ilbo Trophy over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 11:05 to 16:05. Here are the previews:

Raon First faces danger from her own stablemate in the Segye Ilbo Trophy (Pic: KRA)

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

Three-year-old maidens in the opener with all at least one start behind them and (10) TOUCH CHARM will be the warm favourite. She ran 3rd on debut over 1000M on November 26th before improving to 2nd on her next start on December 18th when stepped up to 1200M in filly only company. She comes up in trip again, and slightly in weight, but she should have too much. (8) NEULGAEUL is the only one in the field to have prior experience of this distance having finished a close 3rd on December 17th. That experience should stand him in good stead for this and he can be the main danger. (2) KARIZMA ran fairly enough for a midfield finish on debut over 1000M a month ago. He should have derived benefit from that and can improve today. (6) BEST CLONE returns after almost five months out and looked well in a trial earlier this month and along with (9) INDIANUI BYEOL, who began his career with a 2nd and a 3rd, can be considered for a place.

Selections(10) Touch Charm (8) Neulgaeul (2) Karizma (6) Best Clone
Next Best9, 11
Fast Start1, 3, 9, 10

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

(10) HWANGOO MONEY has come from well off the pace to run 3rd in both starts to date, both over 1200M and both from gate eleven. The wide draw certainly won’t be an issue and the additional half furlong should give him plenty of time to get the job done this time. (4) FAST GUN was anything but fast out of the gates on debut over 1000M on December 16th, but he finished off swiftly enough, passing plenty to finish 3rd. He should have come on for the run and he is another for who the extra distance can suit. (2) BRAVE CAPTAIN was much closer to the pace on her debut, scampering across from gate nine and ultimately running 4th over 1000M. With some natural improvement and from a better draw, she can match or better that today. (7) K GOLD BAR and others (9) SKY PUNCH are others who are in the placing hunt.

Selections(10) Hwangoo Money (4) Fast Gun (2) Brave Captain (7) K Gold Bar
Next Best9, 5
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 7

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

Three-year-old maidens with all but one racing for the very first time. That experienced one didn’t do anything on debut to warrant recommendation so it’s to the trial videos we turn and the one who caught the eye the most was (5) TAMRA CHOEGANGJA. He sat handy in his heat before finishing well to cross the line in front, stopping the clock in a fair time. If he brings that form to the races, he won’t need to improve much to win this. (3) FANCY PLAY recorded the second fastest time in trials when leading in a heat in early December, ultimately finishing 2nd. He draws well to be on pace here and should be in it a long way. (12) CHECK POINT went through the same trial as Tamra Choegangja and while he does have five-lengths to make up, he ran on well and neither the wide draw nor the trip should be a hindrance first-up. Speaking of the trip, that sole one with experience, (7) THIS WEEKEND was slowly away and with a better start and in the absence of too many standout first-timers, can improve. (9) COMPLETE LEADER another debut-maker to keep an eye on.

Selections(5) Tamra Choegangja (3) Fancy Play (12) Check Point (7) This Weekend
Next Best9, 1
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(6) HANEUL JEWANG enters off an improved 2nd place at this distance on December 16th when settling handy and finishing well to record a time faster than any of the others here have managed for the distance. He should be on or close to the speed again and in this company, will be warm favourite to go one better. The main danger is (8) META QUEEN. She was 5th behind Haneul Jewang in that December race but at the start before registered a runner-up finish of her own when on pace over 1000M. This is just her fourth career start and there could be some more improvement. (9) WONDERFUL CHACHA ran an improved 4th on his latest outing over 1300M on December 2nd. An apprentice keeps the weight light and he be in the mix here too. (10) SKY SHOT and (4) UNJU MACH among other minor money contenders.

Selections(6) Haneul Jewang (8) Meta Queen (9) Wonderful Chacha (10) Sky Shot
Next Best10, 4
Fast Start6, 8, 10, 11

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

More three-year-old maidens with all but one of the twelve having raced at least once before. The debut-maker is notable though as he is set to be favourite. (3) JANGSAN SPO blitzed a trial in November, stopping the clock in a fast time some fourteen lengths clear of the next across the line. That showing, coupled with the modest opposition he faces here, makes him a heavy favourite, despite the big gap between trial and race. Only two of the experienced ones have positive form. (5) BEAT RUNNER is the clear second pick with a 6th and a 4th in two starts at 1000M and 1200M, the latter at this distance and both in fair times. A similar showing will see him place again. Draw a line through (4) MENI POCKET’s second appearance and instead go on her debut last summer and she is clear third choice although the length of time between starts isn’t reassuring. (8) CLAIR QUEEN and (11) GREEN SPECTER potential improvers.

Selections(3) Jangsan Spo (5) Beat Runner (4) Meni Pocket (8) Clair Queen
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race. We’ll take a chance on (9) WITH SUN, who was a strong winner on debut over 1200M in November when coming from off the pace before running 4th in a slow race over this distance on his first try at this level. The wide draw shouldn’t be an issue and today there should be a bit more early speed to chase down. The probable favourite is (2) BACKTOTHELEGEND. He overcame the widest gate to get on pace over 1200M on Christmas Day and ultimately went on to win well. He is up in class and in distance here but draws much better and has solid claims. (3) BYEOLGYOUI KKUM was an all the way winner at start number two over 1200M on Christmas Day. He too comes up in class and distance but draws well to get on the speed again and should be in this a long way. (11) ALL OR NOTHING ran out an eye-catching winner on debut in December. It was at 1000M, but he can measure up here. (1) FASHION FORCE ONE another in the frame.

Selections(9) With Sun (2) Backtothelegend (3) Beolgyoui Kkum (11) All Or Nothing
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies (and two mares) here. There is very little to choose between the top two, both up in class following maiden wins. The coin toss comes down on the side of (3) WONDERFUL SLEW, who came from off the pace on debut over 1200M on December 18th to just get up to for the win. She comes up in trip here, but it can suit, and she can win. That’s true too for (5) JEOMSUNI GO. She was slowly away on debut over 1000M before rattling home late for a desperately near miss. She then took a very tight victory second-up at 1200M on Christmas Eve. She too comes up in class and distance and there is very little between them. If you fancy them both to get beat, then (11) GREENBACK maybe the place to turn. She has plenty of experience of this level and enters in consistent form. The draw isn’t ideal but with a touch of luck at the start, she can run on. (7) TOUR QUEEN and (6) DUSON CLASSIC, who was slowly away last time but should be on pace here, are others to consider.

Selections(3) Wonderful Slew (5) Jeomsuni Go (11) Greenback (7) Tour Queen
Next Best6, 1
Fast Start1, 6, 11, 12

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

(10) EUNSEONG WINNER ran out a strong winner at class and distance on December 23rd, settling just behind the early speed before taking things up at the top of the stretch and winning well. A word of caution in that she was found to have bled for the first time but she came through the mandatory trial earlier this month without issue. (8) ARCTURUS was 4th in that same race having led for much of the way in what was his first try at two turns. He has won well at a mile and can be a danger today. (6) HORAENGI is yet to win in fifteen attempts but has no fewer than twelve top five finishes including on her last start on Christmas Day when she came from well off the pace to run a close 2nd over a mile. She comes up in class here but is nicely weighted and has placed more than once at this distance already. (2) I WILL BE FREE and the rapidly up in class having won his latest two (1) MACH WONDER, are among plenty of others to consider.

Selections(10) Eunseong Winner (8) Arcturus (6) Horaengi (2) I Will Be Free
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start1, 8, 10, 12

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million


2023 Stakes Schedule Underway Sunday as Raons Clash in Segye Ilbo

Horses with the word “Raon” in their names took home eight Korean Listed or Graded races in 2022 and as the 2023 Stakes race season kicks off at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday with the Segye Ilbo Trophy (1200M KOR-Listed), two of those winners in the green silks of owner Son Chun-soo are set to be at the top of the market as the six-year-old mare and defending champion Raon First, clashes with up-and-coming stablemate and potential heir-apparent, four-year-old filly Raon The Spurt.

Choi Bum-hyun rode Raon First to President’s Cup glory but he gets on Raon The Spurt in Sunday’s Segye Ilbo Trophy (Pic: KRA)

Last year’s winner RAON FIRST is the top filly or mare in Korea, with twelve wins from twenty-two starts and a hugely versatile repertoire as shown by her 3rd place in the Korea Sprint (1200M – IG3) last August and then her sensational victory in the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) in November. It was a first ever victory for a filly or a mare in the nation’s most valuable race for older in-country bred runner, with Korea Cup champion Winner’s Man back in 3rd. Raon First finished off what had been a remarkable campaign with an in no way disgraced 6th place in the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) as Winner’s Man returned to the summit.

In the early half of her three-year-old campaign, RAON THE SPURT was forced to play second fiddle in the Triple Tiara (filly Triple Crown) races, running 3rd in the Luna Stakes and then 2nd to Tiara winner Golden Power in both the Korean Oaks and Gyeonggi Govenor’s Cup. She finished off the season strongly though, winning the Singapore Turf Club Trophy at 1200M, running 2nd to Wish Me in the Jeju Govenor’s Cup (1400M KOR-G3) and then winning the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup (2000M KOR-G3) at Busan. Her star is very much in the ascendency.

Jockey Choi Bum-hyun has ridden both of the Park Jong-kon trained pair in recent starts. For their first head-to-head meeting, he rides Raon The Spurt.

It’s not necessarily a two-horse race though. WISH ME has done something she never usually does and drawn a good gate for a front-runner. She had to contend with gate eleven when 2nd to Raon The Spurt in the Singapore Turf Club Trophy over 1200M in September, before reversing the form with a stunning track-record breaking performance in the Jeju Governor’s Cup from gate twelve. She found 2000M was not her go last time out, but back in sprinting territory and from the plum barrier two, she can’t be ruled out.

While it’s the fillies and mares who are most favoured, the race is open to males as well and a strong set have shown up. DAEHAN JILJU was a break-out 4th in the Korea Sprint last September before running 2nd to that day’s winner Eoma Eoma in the Kookje Shinmun Trophy (1400M Listed) at Busan on October. He is capable of running fast times and the wide draw should prove no distraction. Group winner EAST JET as well as the in form JANGSAN LASER, 4th in the President’s Cup, are among others who can provide testing material.

Only one Busan-trained horse has made the trip to the capital. That’s HAPPY FEVER, a six-year-old who, while he doesn’t win out of turn, enters in consistent form and has posted fast times. At his best he can challenge for some minor money. Jockey Kim Hye-sun has come with him to ride at her former track and has picked up five additional rides across the weekend.

The Segye Ilbo Cup is race 8 on an 11-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon with a local post time of 16:35.

Selections: (4) Raon The Spurt (1) Raon First (2) Wish Me (12) Daehan Jilju