Day: April 1, 2023

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 2)

Sunday sees the first Group race of the season in the shape of the G3 Busan Ilbo Sprint on the south coast. Eoma Eoma and Raon The Fighter will square off in a true heavyweight match-up. See here for full preview and horse by horse form comments. The Busan Ilbo is the final race of 6 at Busan on the card which runs from 11:00 to 15:40. There is also an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00. With the weather forecast set for rain from Tuesday, it may be the last chance this year to visit one of the Seoul area’s cherry blossom festivals, which is open at the racecourse from 10am to 9pm.

Eoma Eoma defends his Busan Ilbo Sprint title on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

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

A small field of three-year-old maidens contest the opener. (1) SMARTY FIGHTER is the pick with a best of 2nd from three starts so far with the other two both ending in 5th. His 2nd was at this distance in February when racing from handy throughout and from a good draw, he can win here. The main danger is (3) SSEULMO. He was a much-improved 3rd at this distance on March 5th when leading for much of the way around. He will be on pace again and he could well hold them all at bay. There are two first-timers and it may be worth considering them (7) HEART K and (5) MUNHAK EAGLE both posted fair times in their respective trials and if they bring that form to the races, they won’t be too far away here. (6) NEMO SPIRIT perhaps the most likely of the other experienced ones to improve.

Selections(1) Smarty Fighter (3) Sseulmo (7) Heart K (5) Munhak Eagle
Next Best6, 8
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 8

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

Three-year-old maidens. After winning a trial, (2) SINHAE MANGCHI has been 3rd in both his starts so far, both over 1200M and both times racing handily. He comes into his best gate to date, comes up slightly in trip, and with some natural improvement third-up, today can be his day. (5) SEUNGNIUIYEONGUNG won a trial before finishing 3rd on debut back in December when settling back and running on over this distance. It’s been fifteen weeks since we’ve seen him but he’s been in regular work since the start of February and can put in a bold showing today. (1) JORDAN FIGHTING has a 4th and a 5th in two appearances so far. He had a hard time from the widest gate on his latest outing and can go better from the inside today. (4) POWER PLANE and (3) DOCTOR PANGPANG others in the hunt in a race of many chances.

Selections(2) Sinhae Mangchi (5) Seungniuiyeongung (1) Jordan Fighting (4) Power Plane
Next Best3, 8
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

A maiden featuring seven fillies and one gelding. (7) BARAMSAL is the one they need to beat. While yet to finish in the top two in seventeen attempts, she has seven top-five finishes including two 3rd places among her latest three, most recently overcoming gate twelve to run close. She looks very nicely in here to settle a little closer than usual and today looks like her best chance. (1) EUNHYE GAMUN parted company with her jockey coming out of the gates on what was set to be her fist start in over a year on March 5th. She completed the course rather smartly without her partner and had previously trialled up well so is probably worth taking a chance on here. The only other one apart from Baramsal with a placing on her record is (6) TOUGH YEOJE. She tends to get a long way back but is another who benefit from this small field. She has the fastest time among these for the distance and should be aiming to get on the board. (5) MENI CHARM and (3) RAON JUMP other potential improvers in a weak race.

Selections(7) Baramsal (1) Eunhye Gamun (6) Tough Yeoje (5) Meni Charm
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

(5) QUEENS LANDING will be one of the shortest priced favourites of the day. She comes in off back-to-back 3rd place finishes, both over this distance and most recently on March 12th when she beat a couple of today’s rivals having settled midfield and finished well. In this company and from this gate she can be on or close to the speed and she should prove too good. (10) ACE A MOCA ran 6th on debut over this distance on February 17th when overcoming a wide gate to get to the lead before weakening late. She gets that widest barrier here, but with some natural improvement from that debut, she should be close. The form falls off after that. (4) WONDERFUL SMARTY beat Ace A Moca when 4th in that February 17th race. She was subsequently well beaten by Queens Landing on Mach 12th but can go better today. (9) SEOGYEONG DAERO and (2) UNJU GLOBAL others perhaps in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Queens Landing (10) Ace A Moca (4) Wonderful Smarty (9) Seogyeong Daero
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

It’s hard to go too far past (5) BEAT UP here. His win came at this distance last November on his return from nine months off and he followed it up with two 3rd place finishes from his first two attempts at this level, again both at the 1200M. He could only manage 6th when favourite at 1300M on February 25th but back down in trip and in this company, he will take some beating. (2) LUCKY BOUNCE comes up in class following an all the way score over this distance on February 26th. He comes down in the weights, draws well, and should measure up in this company. (6) SUPREME STAR remains a maiden but has never finished outside of the to-five in eight attempts including his first try at this class on March 5th. She carries a light weight and can maintain her consistent record here. (10) WONDERFUL TIZZY comes up in class and along with the returning (3) BARAMUI GEOM – also up in class – is in the hunt.

Selections(5) Beat Up (2) Lucky Bounce (6) Supreme Star (10) Wonderful Tizzy
Next Best3, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(10) HANEUL JEWANG ran out a class and distance winner on March 5th when settling midfield from the widest gate and running on strongly. He comes up 3kg as a result, but Franco stays aboard, and we know the wide draw won’t be a problem. He can win again. (3) SPECIAL HERO was 4th in a decent time at class and distance on March 10th. She draws much better today and can match or better here under a light weight again. (7) SAVAHA comes up 2kg in the weights from his runner-up finish at class and distance on February 24th when he led for much of the way around. Expect him to be on the speed again and to be in this a long way. (6) PLAY THE INDY is up in class despite being a maiden but that makes him well weighted and he has run times that can be competitive in this company. (2) OK STAR another to keep safe.

Selections(10) Haneul Jewang (3) Special Hero (7) Savaha (6) Play The Indy
Next Best2, 1
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 7

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

(5) KING DIA went through several trials before finally arriving at the races, but it was worth the wait as he ran out a six-length winner, having led all the way around over 1200M. He comes up in class and in distance, but neither should be an issue, and he can win again. It’s fair to say that (3) CUPID BISANG doesn’t win out of turn but he is ultra-consistent and has been in the top-four in each of his last five starts. He likes to be on pace or handy and he should be playing a role in the finish again. (7) HIGH GRAND is up in class having prevailed by three-lengths over this distance at start number six on February 25th. That win had been coming and he’ll be competitive among this lot. (8) RIVER TAEYANG and (1) GEUMSEONG SIDAE among others who can enter the calculations. 



Busan hosts the first real heavyweight clash of 2023 on Sunday, and it really doesn’t get much bigger as Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes runner-up Raon The Fighter drops back in trip to renew hostilities with Korea Sprint winner Eoma Eoma in the Busan Ilbo Sprint (Sunday April 2: Race 6 G3-1200M).

Eoma Eoma (Pic: KRA)

Raon The Fighter was mightily impressive in smoking a Class 1 field over 1800M in early March and seemed set for a rematch with Winner’s Man, who downed him in the closing stages of both the Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes last season, in the Herald Business at Seoul later this month. Instead, he returns to the sprinting ranks and a rematch with the horse he made his name by beating, Eoma Eoma.

That was all the way back in late 2021 during that year’s late season crowded Stakes schedule when RAON THE FIGHTER downed the odds-on Eoma Eoma by a remarkable six-lengths to maintain what was then an unbeaten record in style. Eoma Eoma returned the favour in this race last April, but the pair have not met since.

EOMA EOMA himself has come a long way since then, winning the Korea Sprint on international day last September, famously downing Japan-trained Raptus to win the Korea Sprint (G1-1200M) at Seoul last September before rounding out his season at Busan with a narrow win over Dauhan Jilju in the Kookje Shinmun (Listed-1400M). His only start of 2023 so far, saw him comfortably see off a class 1 field under handicap conditions at Seoul in February.

Raon The Fighter (Pic: KRA)

The draw favours Eoma Eoma. He has gate seven while Raon The Fighter has to contend with the widest gate (fifteen, although in reality fourteen following the scratching of Dolkong) but such is the brilliance of Raon The Fighter that at his best, he may well have the beating of Eoma Eoma again. At this stage it is hard to say who punters will even make favourite, let alone who will actually win.

The others are not necessarily just racing for 3rd place although the betting market will certainly reflect that. YES PERFECT hauls himself into the reckoning after a super win at the distance in March and of the favourites do over-race, he will be coming back to them late on. SSONSAL, DAMANGUI GIL and DAEHAN JILJU look the best of the rest.

Not among the starters is Dolkong with the nine-year-old having suffered a recurrence of his sesamoid injury during trackwork on Thursday. All hopes are now that he can be saved and finally retired.

1. DAEMANGUI GIL – 3rd in last October’s Kookje Shinmun (Listed-1400M) he has since scored three consecutive runner-up finishes at Class 1 level at distances between 1200M and a mile, being beaten by Ssonsal and Yes Perfect. Likes to settle back and run on, he will be finishing strongly and is a place chance.

2. BEOLMAUI STAR – Ended his three-year-old campaign in fine style with back-to-back class 1 scores over 1200M and 1400M before being slowly away then ridden up hard and wide before weakening over a mile on his only start this term in January. He hasn’t raced since then but looked very quick when winning a trial in early March. Can be on or close to the pace from a nice draw and in this a long way.

3. DAEHAN JILJU – An excellent 4th in the Korea Sprint (G1-1200M) was followed up with 2nd to Eoma Eoma here in the Kookje Shinmun (Listed-1400M) with the latter needing every yard to catch and pass him. Failed to fire from the widest gate in the Segye Ilbo (Listed-1200M) in January but draws better today and with a better start can get closer.