There’s a double helping of Group race action at Seoul Racecourse this Sunday as both the Sprint Series and Queens’ Tour hold their second legs.
Eight of the eleven-strong field for the SBS Sports Sprint Trophy (1200M KOR-G3) ran in the first leg of the Sprint Series, the Busan Ilbo Sprint on April 2nd, among them all top-six of that day’s finishers. That of course includes RAON THE FIGHTER, last year’s Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes runner-up, who has dropped back to the sprinting ranks this term and crushed the field in Busan last month, winning by five-lengths. The five-year-old Bayern entire will be a short-priced favourite to prevail again.
Korea Sprint winner EOMA EOMA was the disappointment in Busan. Sent off at only marginally longer odds than Raon The Fighter, he was handy in the early stages but didn’t respond in the home straight and finished in 6th place, nine-lengths behind the winner. With Moon Se-young suspended, Yoo Seung-wan climbed aboard and the winner of this race two years ago will once more be sent off as second favourite.
Eoma Eoma is not the only previous winner in the field. In fact, MORFHIS has won this race twice, in 2020 and in 2022 both times, as is his style, coming from off the pace to rattle home strongly. Johan Victoire, who rode him to both those victories is aboard again and while he hasn’t raced since running 3rd behind Eoma Eoma and Jangsan Laser in February, Morfhis can never be ruled out in the SBS.
BEOLMAUI STAR was 2nd in the Busan Ilbo, leading for most of the way before being powerless to repel Raon The Fighter in the final furlong and a half. He will be supported on a place line again while SSONSAL and YES PERFECT, 3rd and 4th last month are others from Busan who have travelled to the capital with solid placing chances.
Just over an hour earlier, fourteen of the top fillies and mares in the country will go in the second leg of the Spring and Summer portion of the Queens’ Tour, the Ttukseom Cup (1400M KOR-G2). The first leg, the Donga Ilbo Trophy over 1800M on April 9th was won by EODIGANA, giving jockey Lee Dong-ha his first big race win. Unfortunately for the young rider, a broken collarbone suffered the following week means he doesn’t get the opportunity to keep the ride and Antonio Da Silva climbs aboard for the first time.
Eodigana warrants respect but she won’t be the favourite. That status will probably belong to RAON THE SPURT. She skipped the Donga Ilbo in order to take her chance against Winner’s Man in the Herald Business (2000M KOR-G3) on April 16th, running a creditable 4th. She was a very quick winner at this distance in March and while the draw is a touch wide, she may take some beating here. Lim Gi-won, who also rides Raon The Fighter, has a big chance of big double.
The main danger to Raon The Spurt may be her own stablemate. (11) RAON FIRST began the year as the undisputed top filly or mare on the country having won the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) against the boys last November and while ratings-wise that is still true, she showed that she isn’t invincible in the Filly and Mare only ranks when running 2nd to Eodigana in the Donga Ilbo Trophy. She won this race last year though and a repeat would be no surprise.
FLAT BABE ran disappointingly in the Donga Ilbo but was a strong winner at class 1 level over 1800M in February when she beat Winner’s Man in the latter’s tune-up for the Herald Business. While further distances may be her forte, she’ll be in with a chance here. Perhaps the most intriguing entrant is three-year-old CARPE BABEL. Thomas Gillespie’s Carpe Diem filly has raced just five times, winning her latest two and from a great draw, she also gets a weight allowance.
The Ttukseom Cup is race 8 on Sunday with a local post time of16:10. The SBS Sports Sprint is race 10 with a start time of 17:30.