It’s cherry blossom season. The annual festival kicks off at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday and runs for the next nine days with the “blossom street” open until 9pm each evening. There are also 10 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:35 to 18:00. It’s not the strongest card in history, but here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Juvenile maidens in the opener. (8) MR QUALITY ran 2nd on debut in January when on pace throughout, before disappointing second time out when drawn widest of twelve and struggling to find a good position. Widest of eight should prove less taxing, David Breux climbs on, and he is the one to beat. (6) GLORY AND HONOUR was an improved 4th on her latest appearance on February 25th over this trip. She draws well here and should be aiming to get closer. (4) LEGEND K has a 3rd place to his name over 1300M two starts back and that’s enough to put him in contention in this modest company. He too will probably be on the speed. In such a weak race it is worth giving a chance to the first timers. (5) JEONGSANG HIT took several goes to qualify but finished in midfield in her latest, stopping the clock in a fair time and could beat a few here. (1) ZETTA MASTER perhaps the best of the rest.
|Selections||(8) Mr Quality (6) Glory And Honour (4) Legend K (5) Jeongsang Hit|
|Next Best||1, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 6, 8|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maiden fillies. The form is pretty hapless, so we’re prepared to overlook (8) TES MARY’s latest couple and instead go on her 3rd place at this distance back in January when she settled back and ran on. It was a slow race, but she won’t need to be fast to win this and she has as good a chance as any. (1) YEOLJEONG ARGO was 5th on debut and while she was dreadful on her reappearance in January, she ran fairly enough to finish midfield from a wide gate on February 18th. She has been running close to the pace and crucially she draws inside here, which should give her an easy run to the front. In such a weak race, it’s possible that nobody will catch her. (7) CUPID CHIC has the fastest time among these for the distance and although that is very much a relative term here, it’s enough to give her a chance. (4) HWANGWOO CHOEGANG didn’t run terribly on debut and along with debut-maker (3) MAGU is another potential placer.
|Selections||(8) Tes Mary (1) Yeoljeong Argo (7) Cupid Chic (4) Hwangwoo Choegang|
|Next Best||3, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 3, 6|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million
(4) DAEHEUNG CLASS will be favoured to score in this maiden. He has shown steady improvement across his recent outings, culminating in a 2nd place over 1300M on March 5th when he settled off the pace and ran on well. He can sit back again here and should prove too strong. (3) WONPYEONG CHUKJE looks the logical second best. He too has shown steady improvement, in his case across four starts so far and he registered a 3rd place over this distance on February 25th. The time was glacial, but he won’t need to improve very much to get even closer here. (2) CATS WOMAN has mixed her form across her nine races, but she ran 3rd at this distance two starts back and shouldn’t be far away here. (1) YAMUJIN SAEGANGJA and (8) ACE TIARA others in the placing frame.
|Selections||(4) Daeheung Class (3) Wonpyeong Chukje (2) Cats Woman (1) Yamujin Saegangja|
|Next Best||8, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 5, 8|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(6) EUNHYE looks set to be a warm favourite here. His solitary win came four starts back and before he missed ten months. He is two starts into his comeback and has impressed with a 3rd and a 2nd so far, both at this class and distance and both times settling midfield and running on. Third-up he should be peaking fitness wise and today should be his day. (9) CHEOLLICHONG is a decent type who may be yet to win in eighteen attempts but has nine top-five finishes including five 2nd places. She comes down 2kg on her last start 4th on March 4th and while she may find one too quick again, she is firmly in the placing hunt. (5) BEST FALCON was 3rd in that March 4th race ahead of Cheollichong. She too comes down in the weights, she should be on pace and she can be in this a long way. (2) COMPLETE LUCKY and (3) CLAIR BEST among others in the hunt.
|Selections||(6) Eunhye (9) Cheollichong (5) Best Falcon (2) Complete Lucky|
|Next Best||3, 4|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 5, 9|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
We’re going to need to overlook some bad last starts here as none of this lot managed better than 6th on their respective latest appearances. (4) ANYANG POKKYEOKGI is still a maiden but got promoted to this class with two 3rd places followed by a 2nd, all at 1200M. She was away badly on her first try at this class, again at 1200M on March 4th but from a good draw, can be ridden handy here and is worth another chance. (9) JILJU DAESE was 2nd on debut before winning at start number two last October. She didn’t reappear until February 26th when finishing midfield on her first try at class and distance. She should strip fitter for that run and has solid claims. (5) GEOLJAK MAN ran 2nd at class and distance two starts back. He tends to leave himself a bit too much to do but does have the fastest finish among these and can go close here. (3) WONPYEONG GWANGYA and (7) VIENTO others in the minor money hunt.
|Selections||(4) Anyang Pokkyeokgi (9) Jilju Daese (5) Geoljak Man (3) Wonpyeong Gwangya|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 8, 10|
Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 40 Million
(2) GRAND STAR is the banker favourite of the day. A class and distance winner in January when handy throughout, he dropped back to a mile for his latest outing on February 11th when from a wide draw he settled midfield and ran on. An apprentice claim brings him down to lower weight than he carried when he won, and from a good draw, he should take some beating. (6) BLACK CHARM enters off a good 2nd place at class and distance on February 25th when running on well. He carries the same weight, comes into a slightly better gate, and should be in the hunt again. (8) SAINT LUCCA comes up to two turns for the first time. He is somewhat one-paced but has passed plenty late on at shorter so may be working home well today. (4) SMART BLUE and (7) ANOTHER LEVEL are others to keep safe on a place line.
|Selections||(2) Grand Star (6) Black Charm (8) Saint Lucca (4) Smart Blue|
|Next Best||7, 1|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 7, 8|
Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 40 Million
The second division of the Class 5 1700M. It’s trickier than the first wo we’ll go with one at odds in the shape of (2) SSANG OK RU, who comes up in class having got his maiden win at this distance on February 26th, making all. He gets no favours with the weight scale, but he draws very nicely and while he may not have it all his own way to quite the same extent this time, he has every chance at a probable each-way price. (9) GOMANARU comes up to two turns for the first time having finished off his races well. He is yet to win in seven tries but this can suit, and he should be there or thereabouts. (1) PERFECT GUN MAN beat a couple of these on his way to a class and distance 4th place on March 4th. It’s fair to say he’s mixed his form since reaching this class but from the inside gate, he can go close again. (10) BLACK GUN and (6) WONDERFUL HAWAII others in the minor money frame.
|Selections||(2) Ssang Ok Ru (9) Gomanaru (1) Perfect Gun Man (10) Black Gun|
|Next Best||6, 5|
|Fast Start||2, 8, 9, 10|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 60 Million
A small but competitive field. (2) KING HONOR returns to action for the first time since last November when 5th of ten over a mile. He has gone well around the two turns before and while he comes up in the weights here, he trialled up fairly in March, he should be on pace and he can win. (6) LUXURY CAPTAIN comes in off a solid 3rd place over 2000M on March 4th when settling midfield and running on. He once more carries his fair share of weight but he is top-rated in this by some margin and he can be competitive. (8) WHITE CHARM returns to action for the first time since last September. He has placed at this level twice and looked well when trialling two weeks ago. (5) BYEORAK and (4) JANGSAN GUARD are others with claims.
|Selections||(2) King Honor (6) Luxury Captain (8) White Charm (5) Byeorak|
|Next Best||4, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4, 8|
Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
A very competitive race and another race in which recent form needs to be forgiven. (2) TAEYANGTAGO has won only once in twenty-four appearances, but she is a consistent type and enters off a 4th place at this class on March 11th when settling towards the rear of midfield and finishing off well. She continues under a light weight, draws well, and while back in trip, has every chance here. (4) TOUGH GUY’s latest two have on the face of it, not been good, but the margins haven’t been huge. From gate four, he can be expected to be on pace here and can return to some form. (11) DOKKAEBE too needs a line drawn through his latest but is another who consistently runs fair times at the trip and for whom the wide draw shouldn’t bee too much of a problem. (7) NAMSAN CHOCOLATE and (1) CHOTOMA others who could potentially arrest a string of underwhelming finishes.
|Selections||(2) Taeyangtago (4) Tough Guy (11) Dokkaebe (7) Namsan Chocolate|
|Next Best||1, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 10: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
(7) HEUNG DREAM has proven very competitive at this level with a 3rd and two runner-up finishes from his latest three appearances. They were all over 1200M but he has won at this distance in the past and while he carries plenty of weight, he looks the one to beat. (4) ASPEN TAEYANG didn’t appear to enjoy a spin around 1800M for his first class 2 appearance at the end of January. He has some excellent performances in his record at this trip though and this should suit much better. (1) GEUM ROYAL comes in off a smart class and distance 3rd place on February 18th. He is another who has some quick times over 1400M and should be kept safe here. (6) ECHO BILL and (8) MUNHAK KING among others in at least the minor money frame.
|Selections||(7) Heung Dream (4) Aspen Taeyang (1) Geum Royal (6) Echo Bill|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 4, 6, 7|