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:
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 Best||9, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||9, 5|
|Fast Start||2, 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 Best||9, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||10, 4|
|Fast Start||6, 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 Best||11, 12|
|Fast Start||2, 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 Best||1, 5|
|Fast Start||3, 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 Best||6, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 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 Best||1, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 8, 10, 12|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million(more…)