Donga Ilbo Trophy Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (April 9)

The first of six Queens’ Tour races across the year will take place at Seoul on Sunday as Raon First heads the field in the Listed Donga Ilbo Trophy. See here for full preview and horse by horse form comments. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00 interspersed with 6 at Busan from 11:00 to 15:40. Here are the previews:

Raon First in the clear in last year’s Donga (Pic: KRA)

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

Three-year-old maidens in the opener. (7) BEST CLONE will be the warm favourite. Since returning from four months out in January, he has run 5th and 4th in two starts back at 1300M and 1200M, racing on pace both times and stopping the clock faster than any of the others here over this distance. He should be on the speed again today and can go all the way. There is one first-time starter and (2) KING GO TAEYANG will have his backers. He went through a couple of trials, first last August and then last month and while his times weren’t fast, he wasn’t asked to do very much. Moon Se-young will attract plenty to him and from a good draw and against limited opposition, he can put in a bold showing first-up. (6) HWANGGEUMKKOT improved to 4ht at start number two over this distance on March 5th, coming from well off the pace. She can continue to improve here. (1) THIS WEEKEND and (3) BIG BLED others with the potential to get better.

Selections(7) Best Clone (2) King Go Taeyang (6) Hwanggeumkkot (1) This Weekend
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 7

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

(9) SPECIALIST has been on an encouraging trajectory, including a very narrow defeat two starts back over 1300M in February when overcoming the widest gate to race handy. He followed up with a fair 4th, again at this trip on March 17th. He comes back slightly in trip, Seo Seung-un climbs aboard, and today can be his day. There is one first-time starter and (10) HWANGU JANGSA is a two-time trial winner in February and March, leading all the way in the most recent and chalking up a quick time. If he can bring that form to the races, he’ll be in this. (7) SUCCESSFUL is optimistically named but has hinted he may be able to live up to it with a 3rd and a 5th in two appearances to date. He can be on pace here and should be going close. (5) HELLO SUNSHINE raced once last October but won a trial last month. Granted there were only four-runners in the heat, but it was a fast one and he draws well here. (6) SEONGSIL CHEONHA, much improved in his latest outing, is another to keep safe.

Selections(9) Specialist (10) Hwangu Jangsa (7) Successful (5) Hello Sunshine
Next Best6, 11
Fast Start5, 7, 9, 10

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

Three-year-old maidens. (4) MENI POCKET will start the odds-on favourite locally, based on her last start 2nd at the end of January when on pace throughout.  She’s had a couple of months off since then so comes in fresh and from a good draw will take some beating. (7) CHOEGANG NICE has the fastest time among these for the distance. While that is still not especially quick, it was recorded when she ran 3rd coming from off the pace two starts back and she should be running on strong again. (8) LUCKY HONEY has improved with back-to-back 4th places from her latest two, both over this distance and in fair times. She can also be a danger here. (2) AGAPANTHUS and the first-time starter (9) PURPLE SHINHWA are others who can be considered for the places in what isn’t a very strong race.

Selections(4) Meni Pocket (7) Choegang Nice (8) Lucky Honey (2) Agapanthus
Next Best9, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 8

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

Competitive race but we’ll side with Peter Wolsley’s (2) YEONGGWANGUITOUCH. That’s on the strength of his latest start on March 17th, when th e Tourist colt settled midfield before improving to handy and then running on for 2nd place over 1400M. He carries the same weight, draws well, and can go one better this time. (7) B.K. NUMA has a 2nd and a 3rd from her latest two, both over this distance. She went through a trial last week in which she ran a good 2nd in a good time and so long as she didn’t leaver her race there, she can go close today. (4) DAEHO NARA beat B.K. Numa as the pair ran 2nd and 3rd over this distance in an all-filly race on March 12th. She draws better today and can be a danger. (5) POWER SOUND and (11) WONDERFUL APPEAL among others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(2) Yeonggwanguitouch (7) B.K. Numa (4) Daeho Nara (5) Power Sound
Next Best11, 1
Fast Start2, 5, 9, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 3 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million

(4) SARYEONI TYCHE is the one to beat here. She is yet to finish any worse than 4th in three prior appearances and enters off a 2nd place last time out in an all-filly race over 1300M on February 26th. From a good draw, she may well be ridden on the pace here and could well have too much. (6) CHROMITE’s two 3rd places both came over 1000M, but he hasn’t run badly in his two tries at this distance. Moon Se-young climbs aboard this time and he can go close. (5) CUPID CHAMP will need her latest appearance forgiven when she was slowly away from a wide draw, but prior to that was going well with a 2nd and a 3rd among her first three runs.  She can be on the speed here from a better gate and can be in this a long way. (2) CHRYSOL SMILE and (10) STAR K others who can be considered for at least the places.

Selections(4) Saryeoni Tyche (6) Chromite (5) Cupid Champ (2) Chrysol Smile
Next Best10, 9
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 11

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

(1) GOLDEN WAVE will be a hot favourite. She’s yet to finish worse than 3rd in three starts to date, with her in coming over this distance on February 10th at class 6 level when she made all. She almost repeated the trick on her first try at this class over the same distance on March 10th only to be caught in the final furlong and finish 3rd. She carries pretty much the same weight, she draws the same gate, and this time they shouldn’t catch her. The second favourite will be the similarly named (10) GOLDEN POINT. He comes back in trip following two disappointing spins around 1400M, and while he is yet to win, he is head and shoulders over most of these in that he still has scope for improvement. It’s very hard to find any form after those two. (3) ANASTASIA lost her way but is second up following a seven-month absence and could potentially improve. (4) NICE DAY and (2) GLOBAL YEOSIN others who could finish in the money.

Selections(1) Golden Wave (10) Golden Point (3) Anastasia (4) Nice Day
Next Best2, 9
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million

(6) CAMINO comes back in trip after a couple of spins around 1700M the most recent of which saw him run a good 2nd having led almost the entire way around. He ran a good time over this distance on debut and in this company, he should be on pace and potentially leading the entire way. (7) THUNDER BRAVO is yet to finish in the top-two but has only missed out on the top five on one occasion from six starts. He is another who should be on the speed or handy and can aiming for a best finish to date here. (8) CLAIR POWER ran 3rd to Camino’s 2nd when they raced each other at 1700M on March 11th. He has the fastest time of any of those who have tackled the distance before and should be aiming to at least match that here. (1) FOUR ACE and (10) AREUMDAIN SAI are among others in the placing hunt.

Selections(6) Camino (7) Thunder Bravo (8) Clair Power (1) Four Ace
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 7

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

(11) GEUMA DEFT got demoted to 2nd in the stewards’ room on debut before putting things right on his second start in January. He came up to this class and distance on March 12th and was beaten into 2nd as favourite having worked hard to lead. He comes up in the weights and doesn’t draw ideally again, but he looks well worth another chance here. The main danger is the only one drawn wider in the shape of (12) HWANGU DAEJANGGUN. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem for hm though as he closed strongly to win on debut over 1200M on March 24th. He comes up in class but down in the weights and he should measure up.  The rest will need an uptick in form. (3) DOCTOR PENTAGON was slowly away last start before running on for 6th. He has posted decent times and from a good draw, can sit behind the speed and run on. (1) FASHION FORCE ONE and (7) THUNDER FURY are others who perhaps have a bit more ability than their latest couple suggest.

Selections(11) Geuma Deft (12) Hwangu Daejanggun (3) Doctor Pentagon (1) Fashion Force One
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start2, 7, 11, 12

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

Fillies (and one mare) only here. (3) URUS QUEEN got her maiden win in fine style over this distance on March 5th when she staked the leader in the early stages before taking command in the final furlong. She comes up in class here and slightly in weight, but she comes into a good gate, and she can repeat. (2) ILDONG BAKSU has raced four times and finished 3rd four times. The most recent of those was her first try at this class over 1300M on March 12th when she led for must of the way around. She should lead again and will surely be in it a long way once more. (1) LADY TAEPUNG Is another who comes up in class following a maiden win on her latest appearance, in her case over this distance on March 11th. Her times have been nothing special so far, but she won that one handily enough and she can be competitive here. (6) ARGO GONGJU and (5) SONGAM ARCHGIRL are others to keep safe.

Selections(3) Urus Queen (2) Ildong Baksu (1) Lady Taepung (6) Argo Gongju
Next Best5, 9
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 9

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

(8) MAHAMERU’s third win had been coming and it duly arrived on February 24th when he settled right back and flashed home from well off the pace to score comfortably over a mile at this class. He comes up a full 4kg in the weights, but he looks ready to tackle two-turns again and he is the one to beat. (10) WONDERFUL WORLD has won over this distance at the lower levels and comes in off a strong 2nd at this class and distance on March 12th when she beat three of these having settled midfield and run on. Given her style, the draw won’t be a problem and she can continue her consistent run of form here. (11) GALLANT WARRIOR returned from five months out to run 2nd to three-year-old Triple Crown contender Speed Young at class and distance on March 3rd. He comes up 2.5kg in the weights here and draws a touch wider than ideal as he likes to get forward, but he can go close. (4) K K WON and (5) CHEONNYEONUIYAKSO among others in the placing hunt.

Selections(8) Mahameru (10) Wonderful World (11) Gallant Warrior (4) K K Won
Next Best5, 1
Fast Start4, 6, 9, 11

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Competitive race but we’ll go with (1) G MOTION to get back to winning ways. He has had to deal with wide gates in his latest two but comes into a much better one today, as well as coming back in trip. He can sit just off the pace – or even lead – and today could be his day. (9) KKANGDORI enters in good form with a 4th and a 2nd from her latest two, most recently over this distance on March 12th. She barely comes up in weight and should be running on strong again. (10) MAGLE DAY got his maiden win at this distance two starts back before finishing 5th of nine on his first try at this class a month ago. He may need a touch of luck at the start but if he can get forward, he can go better today. (8) HIDDEN BRAIN and (7) FUN CRAZY among others who shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

Selections(1) G Motion (9) Kkangdori (10) Magle Day (8) Hidden Brain
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start3, 8, 9, 10

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

It’s hard to go past (8) HAPPY FEVER here. Having got right back, he ran on swiftly for 4th place over 1200M on March 12th and under an even lighter weight today and with an extra furlong to play with, he’s going to be very difficult to hold out. (5) PRO CONSUL has been on pace in both of his latest appearances at a mile and 1800M before weaking. Under today’s conditions he comes back down in the weights and the drop in trip makes him an interesting prospect here at potentially an each-way price. (7) DOCTOR FASHION and (6) ONNURI JILJU came home 4th and 5th respectively when they raced one another at class and distance back in February. Both should be in the placing frame here. (11) BUSANHANG GALMAEGI is perhaps a bit better than his recent form suggests and can be given another chance, despite the wide draw.

Selections(8) Happy Fever (5) Pro Consul (7) Doctor Fashion (6) Onnuri Jilju
Next Best11, 4
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 11

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(5) TES GO DAEBO was narrowly beaten in 2nd when sent off as favourite at class and distance on March 11th.  He was second up that day having returned from eleven months out in February and this time he can be peaking fitness wise. He is up 2kg in the weights, but he draws well and should have too much. (2) WONDERFUL INDY has won his latest two, most recently at class and distance on March 4th when sitting handy and proving too strong. He comes up a full 4.5kg in the weights but should be equal to the task and from a good draw can go well again. (4) RAON AMERICAN was a class 5 winner over 1300M two starts back before running 2nd on his first try at this class and distance on March 12th when settling midfield and running on. He too comes up slightly in the weights but should be close again. (3) SEONGSIL MONEY doesn’t exactly win out of turn but has a lot of experience at this level and can place in this company. The up in class but down in weight (10) LONDON SKY is another to take note of.

Selections(5) Tes Go Daebo (2) Wonderful Indy (4) Raon American (3) Seongsil Money
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 9

Seoul Race 8: Class Open (1800M) Donga Ilbo Trophy (Listed

The first leg of the Spring and Summer component of the Queens’ Tour for fillies and mares. (10) RAON FIRST is the best filly or mare in the country having run 3rd in the Korea Sprint and then won the G1 President’s Cup. Those races were at 1200M and 2000M respectively showing her versatility and at her best she should be untouchable here. She does have the tendency to throw in the odd howler though as when she missed the kick on her only start of 2023 so far in the Segye Ilbo Trophy, ultimately finishing 3rd behind worse horses.  That opens the door to (3) FLAT BABE, a big improver of late, who comes in having beaten Winner’s Man among others when scoring at Busan at class 1 level over this trip in February. She was getting plenty of weight that day, which she doesn’t benefit from here, but she seems in peak form. (1) SURE WIN is the only one who doesn’t get lumbered with 58kg – by virtue of being the only three-year-old in the race, she just has 52kg on her back. She draws well and has won two of her last three and can step up here. (5) IRON MUSKET and (4) CALM STRONG among other possibles.

Selections(10) Raon First (3) Flat Babe (1) Sure Win (5) Iron Musket
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 7

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 60 Million

This is a tricky race. Without much confidence we’ll side with (7) FAST TRACK to back up his win at this class over 1800M on March 11th when he made all. He doesn’t need to lead although he should be too far away from the pace, and he can win again. He does come up 3kg in the weights though and that could let in the main danger (4) SWEET JUICE BAR. He has posted fast times for the distance and comes in following a solid 3rd place over 1800M on February 26th. He draws well and surely goes close again. (11) MORNING PRINCE had a hard time in the Sports Seoul Classic Trial three weeks ago when slowly away and never making ground. At the start prior to that though he won over this distance at class 5 level and warrants another chance here. (8) NONSTOP GISANG and (6) GLOBAL LUCKY among other money hopes.

Selections(7) Fast Track (4) Sweet Juice Bar (11) Morning Prince (8) Nonstop Gisang
Next Best6, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 10, 11

Seoul Race 10: Class 4 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 60 Million

(11) GLOBAL BOBAE came from off the pace to score well at this class over 1200M on February 25th. He has only raced once at this trip before, finishing 5th in a decent time at class 4 level, but his running style suggests that he is ready for another go, and neither the additional 2kg on his back or the wide draw should inconvenience him. (3) MUNHAK STORM comes in off a win over this distance on March 4th when close to the pace all the way. He comes up in class here but drops a full 4.5kg and draws well. He should be in the hunt. We can draw a line through the latest from (8) LAST PUNCH over 1800M. Back down in trip, he should be a very different prospect today. (7) GREAT THUNDER is another up in class but down in weight and may make for some each-way value. (5) GRACE QUEEN another in the frame.

Selections(11) Global Bobae (3) Munhak Storm (8) Last Punch (7) Great Thunder
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 9

Seoul Race 11: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(4) RAON TAP MAN is going to be a warm favourite here. He beat most of these when winning at class and distance back in December before running 3rd over 1400M in February when leading until the closing stages. Today’s conditions enable him to carry a light weight and he draws very well to lead all the way again. (2) JANGSAN CLEAR returns to action for the first time in almost eleven months. He was a winner of five from nine before the layoff and looked very well when winning a March trial. This is his first class 1, and he will obviously need the race, but he is nicely weighted and well-drawn, so a bold showing is possible. The weight is a concern for (5) EAST JET but this is the kind of company the former Group winner can be competitive in. (9) CLEAN UP HAPPY and (3) IRON SOCKS others to look out for.

Selections(4) Raon Tap Man (2) Jangsan Clear (5) East Jet (9) Clean Up Happy
Next Best3, 1
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 9