Raon The Fighter Returns – Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (February 19)

Raon The Fighter, runner-up in the Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes and second highest rated horse in Korea after his nemesis, Winner’s Man, kicks off his five-year-old campaign at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. He goes around in the very final race of the day at class 1 over 1800M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 11:05 to 15:40. Here are the previews:

Raon The Fighter put daylight between himself and the field in last year’s KRA Cup Classic (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maiden fillies. (2) ELITE ROYAL will be a warm favourite having been very slow going through the gears on debut but running on for 5th and then an on pace 2nd when stepped up to this distance at start number two on January 15th, beating a few of today’s rivals in the process. She draws nicely here and may tale some beating. (11) DALGEUM has raced fairly across three starts so far. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem here and the slight step up in trip may suit. (7) DASI TAEEONADO was 4th behind Elite Royal on January 15th, settling midfield and running on. That continued a consistent start to her career that has seen her in the top0five on each occasion, and from a better draw today, she can go closer. (4) SEMYEONG LADY and (3) NAOL SKY others with potential to improve.

Selections(2) Elite Royal (11) Dalgeum (7) Dasi Taeeonado (4) Semyeong Lady
Next Best3, 6
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 11

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens and we’ll take a chance on one of the two first-time starters. That’s (9) LEMON DOKKI who after failing to qualify in his first trial last November, looked a much better prospect when running 2nd from off the pace in another in January, stopping the clock in a good time. The 1300M first-up should suit and he can win. (3) COOL RUNNING has a 3rd and two 4th place finishes to his name from three starts so far. That runner-up finish was at this distance in December when leading for much of the way around and from a good draw, he should be on pace again and has solid chances. (5) ROCK POWER was sent off as favourite on debut having won a trial. He ran 4th on his race day bow over 1200M when overcoming gate ten to sit handy. He should have derived benefit from that experience and can be considered for improvement here. (1) NAMYANG BOLT and (6) MORNING FLOW others in the placing frame.

Selections(9) Lemon Dokki (3) Cool Running (5) Rock Power (1) Namyang Bolt
Next Best6, 4
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens. (7) JANGSAN SPO is favoured. He was sent off as favourite on debut on January 29th having own a trial and though he led, he ultimately ran out of petrol in the home straight and ended up in 5th place. He should have benefitted from that run and is worth another chance today. (2) BAEDARI WANGJA also comes in having been a well beaten favourite in his latest outing over 1300M. Prior to that though he had registered back-to-back 4th place finishes over this distance and that form puts him in in the frame here. (4) AGAPANTHUS ran fairly on debut in December when on pace. He should be showing at the front here and with some natural improvement can be in the finish. (9) RUBY AGAIN has made progress across three starts so far and can continue her upward trajectory today while first-timer (12) BANFF might be worth a chance at an each-way price.

Selections(7) Jangsan Spo (2) Baedari Wangja (4) Agapanthus (9) Ruby Again
Next Best12, 1
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens with four of the ten racing for the first time. (6) WONDERFUL PHONE will be favourite, having run 2nd and 3rd in her two prior outings at 1000M and 1300M respectively. Both times she has been slowly away and settled back before running on but from a central draw today, she may be a little closer and is the one to beat. Of the first timers, (8) NORTHERN BID is the pick. He went through two trials, winning the second of them on February 4th when settling back and running on, recording a fast time. If he brings that form to the races, he should be right in this. (2) POWER SOUND hasn’t raced since running 2nd on his debut at this distance last September. He looked well though when trialling up last week, stopping the clock in a fast time, and so long as he didn’t leave his race there, should be competitive. (5) GEMIJIN went through the same trial having not raced since an indifferent October debut. She crossed the line just a tenth of a second after Power Sound and can go well here. (3) QUEENS LANDING another in the frame.

Selections(6) Wonderful Phone (8) Northern Bid (2) Power Sound (5) Gemijin
Next Best3, 9
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 5

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

A standard maiden here and based on her debut performance on January 8th, when 2nd over 1300M having led from the gate, (2) HANGAWI SEONMUL should start a hot favourite. She draws well, Antonio remains aboard, and she can lead every step of the way this time against a very ordinary field. (11) BEST PLAN probably has the best chance of stopping her. She was 6th behind Hangawi Seonmul in that January 8th race and has subsequently raced once more, finishing 4th of twelve over 1400M on February 5th. She is yet to breach the top-two in sixteen tries but has plenty of minor money finishes and should be looking for a career-best finish here. The form really does drop off after those two. (6) MOON DUST hinted at potential improvement last start when 6th over 1200M and develop further here. (7) RAON JUMP and (3) MAGIC MOCCASIN, the later at least with a couple of 3rd places to her name, others to consider.

Selections(2) Hangawi Seonmul (11) Best Plan (6) Moon Dust (7) Raon Jump
Next Best3, 9
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 6

Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 75 Million

Three-year-old maiden fillies, all of them imported from the USA. (9) CARPE BABEL is probably the banker favourite of the meeting. She found her debut in the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo a bot much too soon but has since finished runner-up in both subsequent starts and crucially has beaten plenty of these in the process. She has been on pace in both of those outings so may be drawn a touch wider than ideal, but she should have too much. (3) ALPHA THOR will be second favourite. She has run 3rd and 5th behind Carpe Babel in her latest two but did beat her when 5th in that DoMin Ilbo Trophy. She comes up 2kg in the weights but should be settling back and running on here. (11) ANOTHER MARINE finished 6th behind Carpe Babel and Alpha Thor on January 27th. That was her debut appearance and while she draws wide again, she can improve. (4) DAINYJI and (5) BABEL SUNSHINE are others to keep safe.

Selections(9) Carpe Babel (3) Alpha Thor (11) Another Marine (4) Dainyji
Next Best5, 2
Fast Start6, 8, 9, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

Another standard maiden. (5) GHOST CHARM has really figured out what he is supposed to be doing in his last couple, culminating in a runner-up finish when stepped up to this distance on January 15th, beating three of today’s rivals in the process. He sat midfield and ran on and can aim to do the same again today, this time going one better. (11) BADAUI KKUM enters with recent form reading well. A previous effort at this trip wasn’t great but he has been working home well in his latest efforts and can be a danger late here. (2) FINAL CHUKJE has finished in 5th place in three of his four outings to date. He comes up to this trip for the first time and it may suit. (9) STAND BY ME and (8) PURPLE STORM the other logical place hopes.

Selections(5) Ghost Charm (11) Badaui Kkum (2) Final Chukje (9) Stand By Me
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 9

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(10) CHANGCHANG DAERO was beaten by a couple of these on his latest start at class and distance on January 15th when settling towards the rear of midfield and running on for 4th. That was his first try at a mile and he should have come on for the experience. Under today’s handicap conditions he comes down in the weights and still looks to have improvement in him. (2) HAMAN BONGHWASAN has run fairly in his latest two, both at class and distance finishing 3rd and 6th. He comes into a better gate today and can be competitive in this company. (1) GREAT MISS comes up to the mile for the first time. She was doing her best work late on when slowly away over 1300M last time out, rattling home at speed for 4th and she may appreciate the step up here. (3) WONDERFUL BOBCAT and (9) DALEHOLRINGWANGDAE among others in the placing frame.

Selections(10) Changchang Daero (2) Haman Bonghwasan (1) Great Miss (3) Wonderful Bobcat
Next Best9, 5
Fast Start6, 8, 9, 10

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

Fillies (and one mare) only here and it’s a competitive race. (11) TIZ INDY shapes as the probable favourite. She is up in class following a maiden win on just her third outing on January 15th when she raced handy and finished off strongly. The draw is not ideal but with a bit of luck at the start, she can find a good position and should measure up. (2) TANSAN who comes up in class having got her maiden win at start number nine on January 15th when settling right back and running on. She comes down in the weights, draws well and Munro climbs aboard so there is plenty to like at what will almost certainly be an each-way price. (9) MAPARAM beat a couple of these over 1200M on January 15th having led for much of the way and ultimately finishing 4th. She’ll be on pace again and can be in this a long way. (10) HANGANG HERO and (8) GLOBAL PRIME among others in the minor money frame.

Selections(11) Tiz Indy (2) Tansan (9) Maparam (10) Hangang Hero
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start1, 6, 9, 10

Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1800M) Special Weight B / KRW 75 Million

(6) FLYING THE CHAMP has missed the top-three only once in nine prior outings and comes in having won a valuable race this distance just before Christmas before beating three of today’s rivals on his way to 3rd place at class and distance on January 15th. He carries his fair share of weight today but looks firmly in the hunt for another win. (3) WORLD FOUR A comes up in class and is distance following a good score over a mile on January 6th when he sat handy and then ran on. He draws well, carries a light weight, and can measure up in this company. (9) EUNSEONG WINNER is also up in class here following a solid 2nd place over this trip on January 29th. She is very nicely treated by the weights and can be a danger. (12) LUCAS SUN and (1) WIND HIGH others in the placing frame.

Selections(6) Flying The Champ (3) World Four A (9) Eunseong Winner (12) Lucas Sun
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 11

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(6) GEUMBITMA will be a strong favourite to score here. He got his maiden win two starts back over this distance when slowly away but then quickly ridden up to join the pace, and then ran 2nd on his first try at this class over 1400M on January 15th. Tactically versatile, he should be too good here. (7) GLOBAL JINGYEOK comes up rapidly in class having been a winner on debut over this distance on January 8th. The time wasn’t fast, but he won cleverly enough and comes down in the weights here. He can measure up. So too (2) EINSPANNER, a debut winner back in December over 1000M making all. She led on her first try at this class at 1300M on January 14th, ultimately weakening but from a good gate and under a light weight, she can be given another chance today. (4) GEOMEUN JILJU has placed at this level and along with (1) STAR RUSH, is another to keep safe.

Selections(6) Geumbitma (7) Global Jingyeok (2) Einspanner (4) Geomeun Jilju
Next Best1, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 9

Busan Race 6: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(4) SEUNGNI MAGICQUEEN and (3) AGAIN TOUCH have almost identical form with five wins apiece from nine starts apiece. There was only a head between them when they raced one another over 1200M in an all-filly and mare race at class 3 level on December 23rd and they look set to duke it out again. This is Seungni Magicqueen’s first start since then – and she was that day returning from eight months out – while Again Touch went on to win herself at class 3 level over that same distance in a fast time on January 13th. They both carry negligible weight here and either could win with Again Touch likely to be favourite as the more match fit. Several of these raced one another at class and distance on January 8th. Most favoured that day was (5) MILLION BANK and while he only managed 6th, the margins weren’t huge, and he is probably worth another chance here. (12) MUJEOK BULPAE led all the way in that race and warrants respect despite the rise in weight and the wide draw. (10) GREAT BOSS, 3rd in that race, another in the frame.

Selections(4) Seungni Magicqueen (3) Again Touch (5) Million Bank (12) Mujeok Bulpae
Next Best10, 8
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(8) SHINE ON ME is unbeaten having won her opening two starts in fine style at 1000M and 1200M. That brings her rapidly up in class but she comes down in the weights and in this company, she really should be continuing upon her merry way. (1) DREAM YEOWANG is the second favourite. She has only missed the top-five on one occasion from nine starts to date and enters off a good 4th place at this class over 1400 on January 8th when handy and running on. She is up marginally in the weights without an apprentice claim today, but she should be competitive. The form drops off a bit after that. (11) ARA CHAMP was a winner two starts back over this distance before struggling on her first try at this class up at 1400M in January. The wide draw isn’t an issue as she likes to go back and she may get closer today. (2) CHEONBISEONG and (6) CHALLAN HANNAL are others who are better than their most recent outings suggest.

Selections(8) Shine On Me (1) Dream Yeowang (11) Ara Champ (2) Cheonbiseong
Next Best6, 10
Fast Start5, 7, 8, 9

Seoul Race 8: Class 3 (1600M) Special Weight B / KRW 75 Million

(5) TIZ BAROWS ran 4th in the Korean Derby last May but has raced sparingly since. He got back to winning ways in his final outing as a three-year-old, scoring in a valuable race over 1800M on December 18th when, as is his style, sitting midfield and running on. He tackles the mile for the first time but draws well and looks nicely in to win again. (10) BOOSTER ROCKET was a winner over 1400M at class 4 level last October before running 3rd on her first try at this class and distance on January 28th when on pace throughout. The draw is not ideal here but with some luck at the start, she can mount a strong challenge again. (4) TAP QUALITY comes up in class after a gate-to-wire win over 1400M on January 14th. He still carries his fair share of weight but should be competitive in this company. (8) CHOEGANG PARTY and (6) LUCKY WORLD among others with claims.

Selections(5) Tiz Barows (10) Booster Rocket (4) Tap Quality (8) Choegang Party
Next Best6, 3
Fast Start4, 7, 9, 10

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies and mares only here and an excellent chance for (8) JAY TROSS to get back to winning ways. She has consistently run fast times at this distance and has been up against some stiff competition in recent outings. She likes to settle back and finish strongly and with Moon Se-young aboard today, she will be favourite. (5) COMPLETE ANGEL has won her latest two to get rapidly promoted to this class, leading all the way both times. She comes up to this trip for the first time but she draws well to be on pace again and can be in this a long way. (4) RANUT also comes up in class and distance having overcome the widest gate to get on pace and win over 1200M on Christmas Day. She is nicely weighted and drawn and is another one who can be competitive in this kind of race. (3) YOUNGYOUNG SOCKS is yet another up in class. In her case, she won over this distance on January 15th when settling handy and running on strongly in a good time. A repeat of that performance will put her in the finish again. (11) MENI ACE another up in class and another to keep safe.

Selections(8) Jay Tross (5) Complete Angel (4) Ranut (3) Youngyoung Socks
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 7

Seoul Race 10: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) THUNDER HORSE doesn’t exactly win out of turn but he has been showing signs in his latest two of being ready to strike again. He comes in follow a 3rd and a 4th both at this class and distance and both times settling midfield and running on. Under today’s handicap conditions, he comes down in the weights and today can be his day. That will mean overturning the form on (8) DEVIL K, who beat Thunder Horse as the pair ran 2nd and 4th respectively at class and distance on January 14th. He too comes down slightly in weight although there is a swing in Thunder Horse’s favour, and he can keep his positive run of form going here. (7) BUL HWASAN was a slightly unexpected class and distance winner on January 8th when coming from well off the pace. The same apprentice coupled with today being a handicap keeps the weight nice and low and a repeat can’t be ruled out. (5) GIANT INDY and (3) FEDERAL KING among other placing hopes.

Selections(4) Thunder Horse (8) Devil K (7) Bul Hwasan (5) Giant Indy
Next Best3, 2
Fast Start1, 5, 8, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 1 (1800M) Special Weight B / KRW 110 Million

(8) RAON THE FIGHTER is the second highest rated horse in Korea with only Winner’s Man, who he ran 2nd to in both the Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes, on a higher mark, and the highest trained at Seoul. While a trip to Dubai may have been a more productive use of February than this nondescript class 1 affair, it is a prep for a potential rematch with Winner’s Man when the Stayer Series begins in April. After his last run in the Grand Prix Stakes in December, he came back into full work at the start of this month. He gets a new jockey with Lim Gi-won picked to partner him this campaign and while he carries 60kg, more than he has done before, the set weight scale means he doesn’t give away as much weight as he might have done. Today is not the target and he may not be at 100% but he is capable of setting a tempo that the opposition here can’t match, and it would be a big surprise if at 1800M, he was to be beaten. (12) SOUL MERIT perhaps has the best chance of an upset. He was one of plenty of these who raced each other at class and distance on January 8th and while he could only manage 2nd, is worth another chance today. (9) HEUNGROK DAEBU won that race on what was his first try at class 1 and he can go well again. (4) HEUNGHAENG JILJU and (3) MIGHTY WHO others in the minor money hunt.

Selections(8) Raon The Fighter (12) Soul Merit (9) Heungrok Daebu (4) Heunghaeng Jilju
Next Best3, 1
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 8