Day: March 18, 2023

Classic Trials Sunday at Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (March 19)

Sunday is Classic Trials day in Korea with the Sports Seoul Trophy in the Capital and the Gyeongnam Shinmun Trophy on the south coast offering the three-year-old crop a big prize on their way to the Triple Crown, the first leg of which is just six weeks away. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 11:00 to 15:40. Here are the previews:

Seungbusa won last year’s Sports Seoul Trophy before going on to place in two legs of the Triple Crown (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens in the opener. (5) BANFF went through plenty of trials before debuting on February 19th and he gave a good account for himself over this distance, coming out of the widest gate to sit midfield and then run on for 3rd. He should have come on for that run, he draws well here, and he can win. (10) FLY DAY has a 5th and a 3rd from two appearances so far, both times settling midfield and finishing off well. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem, an apprentice keeps his weight light, and he should be challenging late again here. (8) MIR POINT has a 2nd place to her name over 1000M and comes in off a solid 4th place at this distance on February 12th when he led for much of the way. He should be on pace again, and in this a long way. (6) CLAIR QUEEN and (7) JEOLDAE GACHI among others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(5) Banff (10) Fly Day (8) Mir Point (6) Clair Queen
Next Best7, 12
Fast Start4, 8, 7, 12

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens. (1) CHEERFUL LIFE looks to be the one to beat. After running 5th on debut in December, he has since run 2nd and 3rd in two tries at this distance, beating a couple of today’s rivals in the process. He has raced on pace in both those and is beautifully drawn so to do again, and he can win. (5) BLACK VOLT came from a wide draw and from off the pace to run 3rd over 1300M on February 10th. He also has a 2nd to his name at 1000M and should be a threat today doing his best work late. (9) HONOR LORD returns for the first time since last September. He trialled up three times between December and February, winning two of them and posting good times, and must be taken seriously first-up here.  (4) SANGSANGGEUISANG has steadily improved across three starts so far, with a 4th place at 1300M on February 19th his most recent. He can sit behind the speed here and run on with every chance of a money finish. Debut-maker (2) UNJU BONNEUNG stopped the clock in a good time in his trial and a bold first-time showing is possible.

Selections(1) Cheerful Life (5) Black Volt (9) Honor Lord (4) Sangsanggeuisang
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start1, 3, 8, 9

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

A maiden restricted to three-year-old fillies. The form doesn’t exactly leap off the page, so we’ll go with (4) BARAMUI HYANGGI, who has shown promise when running 5th and 4th in her first two starts, most recently at this distance on February 4th. She drew wide in both those races but gets a much better gate this time, her carried weight remains nice and light, and she has as good a chance as any here. (8) SEMYEONG LADY has run fairly in five starts so far with her best being a runner-up finish over 1200M in December. She also has the fastest time among any of these for the distance and she should be on pace and in the frame here. (1) HERO GANGJA has been 5th in both starts so far, racing on pace both times. She draws well here and should be aiming for improvement. (11) TUHON TEUKGEUP and (7) DAMJAENGI ARGO among others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections(4) Baramui Hyanggi (8) Semyeong Lady (1) Hero Gangja (11) Tuhon Teukgeup
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start1, 4, 8, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

Fillies (and one mare) only in this age open maiden and it’s a tricky race where the form is unconvincing, but plenty are plausibly in with a chance. Without much conviction, we’ll go with (6) AQUA MAGIC. She has two 4th places on her record including last time out when she was on pace and beat a couple of today’s rivals. She has the fastest start and may get an easy run to the lead here. If she, does, she may prove hard to pass. (7) PHANTOM QUEEN is two starts into a comeback following almost six months out. She weakened over 1400M last time out but should be better back at a trip at which she has the fastest time of any of these. (5) GREEN LEGEND hasn’t shown an awful lot in two starts so far but draws a good gate this time and can be competitive. (8) RICH COWBOY returned from almost two years out in December and ran an adequate 5th place. She can improve on that here. (1) PURPLE STAR returns after almost a year off and trialled up well enough to suggest that in this limited company, she can be competitive.

Selections(6) Aqua Magic (7) Phantom Queen (5) Green Legend (8) Rich Cowboy
Next Best1, 4
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

(2) ARGO MUJEOK was a beaten favourite over 1200M on February 25th when he was a touch slower away than normal. He does have a 3rd place on his record at this distance and from a good gate and with Antonio climbing aboard, he can be given another chance (5) BADAUI KKUM had a hard time from a wide draw over 1400M at his latest start on February 19th. He was going well prior to that tough and looked to be knocking on the door of his first win, consistently going close. He comes back in trip today, gets a 2kg apprentice claim and draws well. It could be fifteenth time lucky. (6) SPEAR GOLD and (7) SEOUL SPURT both come in following improved 3rd place showings in their latest and can build on their respective momentum here. (1) CANDY GLOW another in the placing frame.

Selections(2) Argo Mujeok (5) Badaui Kkum (6) Spear Gold (7) Seoul Spurt
Next Best1, 11
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 9

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

Fillies and mares only here. (2) SPECIAL ROAD looks the one to beat. She got her maiden win at start number two over 1200M back in December and has since finished 3rd and 5th in two attempts at this class, both over six-furlongs. She comes up in distance and in the weights today, but that’s balanced by Franco climbing aboard and from a good gate she should be on pace and can lead all the way. (6) CUQUENAN registered her maiden win at this distance in December. She drew wide for her first crack at this class on January 13th and ran on fairly for 5th. She has had nine weeks off so comes in fresh and can get closer here. (4) WONDERFUL OCEAN enters off a 3rd place in a curious race over 1300M on February 10th (won at big odds by Statice, who also goes here). That marked a return to form after a couple of indifferent runs and she can build on it here. (10) QUALITY QUEEN and (7) DALEHOLRINGWANGDAE among others in the minor money hunt.

Selections(2) Special Road (6) Cuquenan (4) Wonderful Ocean (10) Quality Queen
Next Best7, 12
Fast Start2, 7, 9, 10

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

Fillies and mares only and (5) RAON EMPIRE will be hot favourite. After a 3rd and a 2nd from her opening two starts, she got her maiden win at the third time of asking over 1200M on February 11th when handy throughout. She comes up in class and slightly in trip here but this half-sister to Raon The Fighter should have far too much for her rivals. (7) WIDAEHAN HANMA got her maiden win two starts back and then ran a good 2nd on her first try at this class over 1400M on February 4th with a couple of today’s rivals behind her. She only comes up 1kg in the weights and can be close again. (9) JANGBI MUJIGAE is yet to finish any worse than 5th from five starts so far and has a 4th and a 3rd from her two attempts at this level, both times going back and running on. She has a strong finish on her and can be running on again late here. (11) DAUL QUEEN and (1) MAPARAM among others to keep safe.