The 2023 Triple Crown gets underway on Sunday when a full field of sixteen line up for the KRA Cup Mile at Busan. See here for a full preview of the big race. The Cup Mile is the last of 6 races at Busan which run from 11:00 to 15:45. There is also an 11 race meeting at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens in the opener. (7) YEOLJEONG ARGO was a much-improved 2nd at start number four over this distance on April 1st. She led almost the entire way around, ultimately going down narrowly but in a time as quick as any have managed in this field. A similar run can see her win this. The main danger is (10) MY THUNDER. She ran an on-pace 3rd on debut at this trip on March 25th and while the draw is slightly wider than ideal, she should have enough early speed to get to a prominent position. (8) TUHON TEUKGEUP has hinted at ability across two starts so far and has a time for the distance equal to that of Yeoljeong Argo. That is enough to bring her firmly into placing contention in this company. (3) AKKAENGI and debut-maker (2) SARYEONI BULLET are others with minor money hopes.
|Selections||(7) Yeoljeong Argo (10) My Thunder (8) Tuhon Teukgeup (3) Akkaengi|
|Next Best||2, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 7, 10|
Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens and seven of the twelve are racing for the very first time. We’ll take a chance on a couple of those debutantes, firstly (3) ROSE BLADE. He ran on well in his trial to stop the clock in a decent time and while the heat was perhaps a little fast due to the presence of a class 1 horse (Domination), if he brings that form to the races, he can go well first-up. (7) HAENGBOK CHUKJE went even quicker in her trial when crossing the line 2nd having sat handy throughout. That was back in February so it has taken her a while to get race-ready, but she could be worth the wait here. (9) SUCCESS SHOW ME was a little slower in his trial, but he beat a couple of these in the process and that’s enough to have him in the frame here. Turning to the experienced ones, (2) CHEONGMAUI JILJU and (10) HAERANG JANGGUN are the most likely to improve.
|Selections||(3) Rose Blade (7) Haengbok Chukje (9) Success Show Me (2) Cheongmaui Jilju|
|Next Best||10, 8|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 7, 9|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Special Weight A / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maiden fillies with two of the ten racing for the first time. (2) PHOENIX CLASS is the one to beat having followed up a positive trial with a good 2nd place on debut over 1200M on February 25th when on pace throughout. She should have come on for that run, she draws well here, and she can lead all the way this time. (1) MENI CHARM was a much-improved 2nd at start number four on April 2nd when ridden on pace for the first time. She was well-beaten by a good winner but can put in a bold showing again today. Those two look head and shoulders above the rest although (5) BARAMUI HYANGGI does have a 3rd place to her name and that alone is enough the give her at least a placing chance in this company. Debut-maker (10) BOREUM DALBIT went through two trials in fair times and couldn’t wish for a softer race to debut in. (4) RUBY AGAIN another in the minor hunt.
|Selections||(2) Phoenix Class (1) Meni Charm (5) Baramui Hyanggi (10) Boreum Dalbit|
|Next Best||4, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6, 9|
Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million
(11) HEARTBREAKER has two 3rd places from his four starts so far including his most recent on April 9th when sitting handy all the way over 1300M. He comes up in trip and what with there being an absence of early speed in this race, the wide draw shouldn’t stop him from finding a good position. He has as good a chance as any. The rise in trip may suit (3) VELOCIRAPTOR. She’s worked through the line well in her latest two appearances, finishing 3rd both times at 1200M. From a good gate, Jeon Jin-gu can pick his spot and finish well. (7) TTANBONG QUEEN significantly improved when tried at 1400M on March 24th, securing her best finish to date in 2nd in a good time. She too may benefit from a further raise in journey today. (4) HAENGBOKAN GIL and (5) STAR DRAGON among others in the placing frame.
|Selections||(11) Heartbreaker (3) Velociraptor (7) Ttanbong Queen (4) Haengbokhan Gil|
|Next Best||5, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 7, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Special Weight A / KRW 25 Million
(1) SAVANA CHARLIE will be the favourite here. He has run 4th in both his latest two at 1300M and 1400M, coming from off the pace both times. This is not an especially intimidating field and similar efforts to those two should see him win. The main danger is (8) ZEROBAEK FIVE. She may be yet to finish in the top-two in thirteen attempts, but she has picked up minor money finishes in comparable company before, including last time when an on-pace 5th. She is one-paced but that should be enough to see her on the board here. (10) HERO QUEEN does have at least a 3rd place finish to her name. In this company, she should be passing plenty late on if not already on pace. (9) RED TAEPUNG and (4) HAMPYEONG FIGHTER are others who can be considered for the minors.
|Selections||(1) Savana Charlie (8) Zerobaek Five (10) Hero Queen (9) Red Taepung|
|Next Best||4, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5, 10|
Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(4) YEONGGWANGUI ACE comes in having run 3rd to Betelgeuse in the Busan Classic Trial over this distance on March 19th, just over four-lengths behind the KRA Cup Mile favourite. He skips the Cup Mile and comes here instead and from a good draw and under a light weight, he is the one to beat. The main danger will break from the adjoining gate. (5) GRAND SUN returned from eleven months out to win over 1300M at class 5 level in February before running 2nd in a double-quick time over this class and distance on March 24th, starting slowly and settling back before running on. Third-up this preparation, he can be peaking fitness-wise, and he has strong claims. (1) K.AI enters off a good 4th place over 1200M on March 19th and from a much better gate can match or better that here. (2) B.K. NEW MOON is up 3kg in weight following a rather unexpected class and distance win at the end of March but shouldn’t be dismissed. (3) MAN OF THE STAR among others in the frame.
|Selections||(4) Yeonggwangui Ace (5) Grand Sun (1) K.Ai (2) B.K. New Moon|
|Next Best||3, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 8|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(1) COMPLETE FORCE gets the nod here. He comes in off a 3rd and a 2nd from his latest two, both over class and distance and both times overcoming wider gates to get to a forward position. He does come up in weight here but that’s balanced by a better draw, and he is the one to beat. (7) BARAMUI GEOM returned from five months out to run 3rd at class and distance on April 2nd, racing handy and briefly hitting the lead in the straight. He should strip fitter for that run and should go close here. (5) NEVER AGAIN comes up in class following a maiden win at 1200M on March 26th when coming from off the pace. He’s going to need to go quicker in this company, but he comes down in weights and still has scope for improvement. (10) SECRET PLAY and (9) DANDI among others in the money frame.
|Selections||(1) Complete Force (7) Baramui Geom (5) Never Again (10) Secret Play|
|Next Best||9, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 6, 9|
Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1800M) Special Weight B / KRW 40 Million
We’ll take a chance on (10) SUCCESS TIME here. She’s only raced four times and got her win two starts back over 1200M before running 2nd in a quick race over 1300M on her first try at this class on March 31st. She comes up in the weights here and significantly in trip, but there is no reason the latter can’t suit, and she has a chance. (5) DOCTOR PERO will probably be favourite based on his experience at both class and distance which has seen him land a 2nd and a 3rd in his latest two starts, settling midfield and running on. He too carries his fair share of weight, but he won’t need to improve on those very much to win this. (6) PATRIOT ran a close 4th on his first try at this distance just two weeks ago having led. He carries the same weight and will probably be on pace again and can be in this a long way. (1) SMILE KING and the up in class and in trip (3) HAPPY BLUE are others to consider.
|Selections||(10) Success Time (5) Doctor Pero (6) Patriot (1) Smile King|
|Next Best||3, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 6|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(5) KING DIA ran out an easy winner on debut over 1200M on March 4th before running 2nd on his first try at this class and distance on April 2nd having led almost the entire way around. He carries plenty of weight, but draws well again, and should have too much for this field. (11) GEUMA ALLURE is a non-winner of ten but still shapes as the one most likely to get close to what will be a short-priced favourite. She comes in off a desperately close 2nd place over 1200M on March 25th when finishing well. The wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem and she should be running on strong again. (4) ORGALIM was a class and distance winner on March 4th when settling towards the front of midfield and running on. The time wasn’t quick, but he draws nicely again and can be considered. (8) LEGEND K is up in class but down in the weights and can be competitive. (2) YESULIYA another to keep safe.
|Selections||(5) King Dia (11) Geuma Allure (4) Orgalim (8) Legend K|
|Next Best||2, 6|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6, 7|
Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(10) GANGSEO GIANT will be a short-priced favourite for this having beaten a couple of these on her way to 3rd place at class and distance on March 10th when racing handy throughout. She comes in at the same weight, Seo Seung-un remains aboard, and the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem. (8) RAON THE FLASH won at this distance at class 4 level in March before running 3rd on her first try at this class when dropped back to 1200M. It was a fast time, and she had a couple of today’s rivals behind her, and she shapes as the logical second choice here. (2) HANEUL JEONSA comes in off a good 2nd place at class and distance when coming from well off the pace and under a similar weight and from a good draw can go close again at an each-way price. (11) GREAT CAPTAIN ran 6th behind Gangseo Giant in that March 10th race. He draws the same gate today but comes down slightly in weight and can get closer this time. (6) JATNAMUGIL another better than his latest outing suggests.
|Selections||(10) Gangseo Giant (8) Raon The Flash (2) Haneul Jeonsa (11) Great Captain|
|Next Best||6, 7|
|Fast Start||4, 6, 8, 10|
Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Small field and a clear favourite. (5) SUPREME STAR got his maiden win at start number nine last time out at this class and distance when settling back and running on. He comes up a full 3kg in the weights as a result, but this opposition looks less testing, and he should be winning again. (6) MY WANGJA will be second favourite. That’s die to his win over this distance at class 6 level two starts back which entitles him to have a line drawn through his first try at this class on March 25th when he weakened having been on pace over 1700M. He too will benefit from the more amenable opposition. (8) NEW SMART has never won but has plenty of experience at this level and can be competing for a place. (1) STAR PRINCESS and (7) SINUI BANJEON among others who could find minor money in a limited field.
|Selections||(5) Supreme Star (6) My Wangja (8) New Smart (1) Star Princess|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 7, 8|
Busan Race 6: Class Open (1600M) KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) Special Weight A / KRW 700 Million
The opening leg of the 2023 Triple Crown. (4) BETELGEUSE is the highest rated in the field and has the greatest breadth of experience. He skipped the big juvenile races last autumn instead facing older horses at a mile and especially 1800M. He returned to face and defeat his contemporaries in Busan’s Classic Trial in March, and he will be favourite to win here. (8) NUT PLAY was a fast-finishing 4th in Seoul’s Classic Trial, running out of track at the end of the 1400M. He has twice won at a Mile and while the extended trips of the Derby and Minister’s Cup may be more to his liking, he will be rattling home here. (7) SOMETHING LOST won Seoul’s Classic Trial, making all. He is the only unbeaten horse in the race and while he has never gone further than 1400M, he’s handled every step up so far with aplomb. He should be on pace and in this a long way. (2) SPEED YOUNG was last year’s champion juvenile by virtue of winning the Breeders’ Cup. He was a very good class 3 winner at a mile in March and a repeat of that puts him right in this. (14) DOKKI BULPAE among many others with potential for improvement.
|Selections||(4) Betelgeuse (8) Nut Play (7) Something Lost (2) Speed Young|
|Next Best||14, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 7, 14|
Seoul Race 7: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(2) WONDERFUL TIZZY may be yet to win from nine attempts, but he should be a warm favourite to put that right here. He ran a good 2nd place at this distance at class 6 level two starts back before running a fair 5th of ten in his first try at this class over 1200M on April 2nd and against what is a limited set of opponents (this is the second division of the same very weak handicap that made up race 6), today should be his day. (3) HEEMANG WARRIOR does have a win on the board. That was achieved at 1700M, and since then she has raced three times more at that extended trip with the best of them her latest on March 25th when 5th. She draws nicely here and carries a light weight. (1) ROAD ACE should be able to get forward from the inside gate among this small field and can be a danger. (7) CLOUTER and (5) CAMP SAVER perhaps the best of a limited rest.
|Selections||(2) Wonderful Tizzy (3) Heemang Warrior (1) Road Ace (7) Clouter|
|Next Best||5, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 5, 6|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
There will be yet another short-priced favourite here and it is hard to go past (4) RAON THE GOLD. She beat four of today’s rivals on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on March 26th when settling handy and running on. That continued an upward trajectory across her latest few appearances and while up 1.5kg, she looks ready to win. (7) TAURUS QUEEN comes up rapidly in class having won her latest two, most recently at this distance in February. She has had twelve weeks off since so comes in fresh and down in weight, she can measure up. (11) ICE STAR came from well off the pace to run 3rd behind Raon The Gold in that March 26th race. Once more he carries plenty of weight, but the wide draw shouldn’t be an issue and he can run on. (3) HWA SSI BYEOK was 4th that day but has the fastest time of any of these over the distance on his record and he can be a factor. (10) HWASUBOON another potential placer.
|Selections||(4) Raon The Gold (7) Taurus Queen (11) Ice Star (3) Hwa Ssi Byeok|
|Next Best||10, 1|
|Fast Start||4, 8, 9, 10|
Seoul Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Competitive race. (11) ECTON JILJU was a class and distance winner on April 1st when sitting handy throughout and then proving too strong in the closing stages. He comes up a full 3kg in the weights and has the challenge of an even wider gate, but he can be equal to both and can win again. (6) DOKKAEBE was 2nd in that race, having started as the betting favourite. He too was close to the pace throughout and ultimately finished a length and a half in arrears. He gets a 2kg weight swing as well as a better draw and it may be enough to turn things in his favour. (9) GLOBAL POWER comes up in class following back-to-back runner-up finishes over this distance at class 5 level. He comes down 4kg in the weights and that should make him competitive here. There is a two-year-old imported filly making her debut. It’s a tough ask for (1) VICTORY HIT against older experienced horses, but she acquitted herself well in a trial and might be of each-way interest. (3) WONDER K another in the hunt.
|Selections||(11) Ecton Jilju (6) Dokkaebe (9) Global Power (1) Victory Hit|
|Next Best||3, 4|
|Fast Start||3, 5, 6, 11|
Seoul Race 10: Class 4 (1700M) Special Weight B / KRW 60 Million
(7) GIANT PUNCH would have been intended to as a starter in the KRA Cup Mile at Busan today having won the Rookie Stakes and then being 3rd in the Munhwa Ilbo last autumn. He has lost his way a little since and was last seen running 6th of twelve in the Seoul Classic Trial. He ran fairly on his only previous try at two-turns – a 4th over 1800M at this class in January – he evidently has plenty of talent and he can return to winning ways today. (11) BURUI SINHWA beat Giant Punch when 3rd in that January race at 1800M. He disappointed on his only start since but is worth another chance here. (3) CHEONGSAN YEONGUNG enters off three consecutive runner-up finishes at this class around the two-turns and while that has brought him up progressively to top-weight here, he can be competitive. (5) BLACK CHOCOLATE is up significantly in trip but can measure up while (4) WONDERFUL TYCOON is another to consider.
|Selections||(7) Giant Punch (11) Burui Sinhwa (3) Cheongsan Yeongung (5) Black Chocolate|
|Next Best||4, 2|
|Fast Start||5, 7, 8, 11|
Seoul Race 11: Class 1 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million
(2) COMPLETE VALUE was runner-up in last year’s KRA Cup Mile and it is fair to say that he has mixed his form since. We’ll draw a line through his latest which was at 1400M against a very quick set of sprinters and instead go on his runner-up finish over this distance two starts back when as is his style, he got to the front and led for much of the way (he couldn’t do that against the speedsters last time). He carries a light weight, draws well, and can go all the way this time. (10) LORD BAN was a 10/1 winner on his first try at this class over a mile on March 26th when he got the jump on the field at the start, and they never came back to him. He tackles 1800M for the first time and won’t have it so easy from the wide draw, but he is not to be readily dismissed. (1) BOLT MAN comes up in class following a good win over this distance on March 11th when coming from off the pace. He comes down significantly in weight and can be competitive, especially if Complete Value and Lord Ban get into an early speed tussle. (3) NAMSANUI BYEOL and (11) GLOBAL SOCKS among others who can enter the calculations.
|Selections||(2) Complete Value (10) Lord Ban (1) Bolt Man (3) Namsanui Byeol|
|Next Best||11, 4|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 9, 10|