Author: gyongmaman

Breeders’ Cup Sunday Busan & Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (December 4)

The title of Champion Juvenile will be decided on Sunday as a full field of sixteen two-year-olds go to post for the Breeders Cup (1200M KOR-G2) at Busan. The big race is race 6 on a 6-race card at Busan from 12:15 to 16:40. See here for a full preview of the big race. There is also an 11-race meeting at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Morfhis goes in the feature although the grand galloper faces a weighty task in a competitive class 1 finale. Here are the previews:

SBS Sprint winner Morfhis is in action at Seoul (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens open proceedings with five of the twelve racing for the first time. We’ll side with experience though and (8) SAENAE KHAN, who ran an on-pace 2nd on debut over this distance on October 15th stopping the clock in a fast time. He should have come on for that run and can go one better here. Of the debut-makers, (1) CANDY GLOW looks to be the pick. She ran 3rd in her trial in a fair time all the way back in August. She draws very well here and Moon Se-young – who is in a bit of rut by his standards – being aboard is sure to guarantee her plenty of attention. (4) GEUMSEONG SIDAE has finished 4th in both his starts so far, both at 1000M and both in good times. A repeat will see him in the finish again today. (7) FINAL CHUKJE and (11) RAON AIR FORCE are other potential improvers.

Selections(8) Saenae Khan (1) Candy Glow (4) Geumseong Sidae (7) Final Chukje
Next Best11, 2
Fast Start4, 6, 8, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens, this time with seven of the twelve racing for the first time. (3) NAEGILUI QUEEN ran 4th on debut over this distance in a fast time on October 30th, racing on pace throughout. She draws very nicely to lead again and can go all the way. (9) TIZ INDY was 2nd on debut on October 23rd in the same time as Naegilui Queen achieved. She has a slightly harder ask here from the wide draw, but she looks set to be the main danger. Of the debutants, (5) DREAM PLAY looks the pick. He was on pace in his trial, crossing the line a very close 2nd in a fair time. If he brings that form to the races, he can be competitive. (1) GOLD MIGHTY draws a much better gate than he did when 6th on debut and improvement can be expected. (8) SEONGEUN CROWN another who could make progress.

Selections(3) Naegilui Queen (9) Tiz Indy (5) Dream Play (1) Gold Mighty
Next Best8, 11
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another set of juvenile maidens but with only one first-timer starter. (7) HAYAN WANGJA was a well beaten runner-up behind Farciarz at start number two on November 5th when breaking well before being shuffled back and then running on strongly. The same apprentice jockey keeps his weight nice and low here and he can go one better, facing as he does nothing like that day’s winner this time. (1) NAOL TANK was a solid 4th on debut at 1000M on November 6th, settling back and finishing off well at odds in excess of 130/1. He comes into a better gate today and can be a danger. The solitary debut-maker has Moon up so will have backers. (4) DANGCHAN DAEBO trialled up fairly in November having been very slowly away but finishing off well and the 1200M may suit first-up. (11) MAGUMA was an improved 5th at start number two and along with (10) JARITHAN JAYU, is one who could potentially improve.

Selections(7) Hayan Wangja (1) Naol Tank (4) Dangchan Daebo (11) Maguma
Next Best10, 2
Fast Start2, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Three standouts here. (1) NICHOLAS G. ran a good 2nd on debut before being sent off as favourite for his second start over this distance on October 28th. He was on pace that day, ultimately coming home in 3rd place and third-up today and from a good gate, he can be ready to win. (6) YEONGGWANGUI ACE won a trial before beating a couple of these on his way to 2nd place in debut in a fast time over 1000M on October 28th with the highly thought-of Seobu Bigstep the winner. He should have derived benefit from that run and with some natural improvement, can be a danger here. (8) RAON THE HARLEY debuted at this distance on November 5th, stalking the leader and running on for 2nd in a good time. He too should have come on for the run and can be a factor. (10) SKY PUNCH and debut-maker (5) NAMYANG BOLT are others to keep safe.

Selections(1) Nicholas G. (6) Yeonggwangui Ace (8) Raon The Harley (10) Sky Punch
Next Best5, 11
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 9

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

It’s hard to look too far past (1) ARGO TAP. He has been consistent across four starts so far, with his best being a 3rd place over 1000M at start number two back in July. He has had two months off since his latest on-pace showing over this distance, he draws well today and Moon Se-young rides. (9) TANGJA has the fastest time for the distance among these. Despite the wide draw, he can get on pace and should be in this a long way. (2) GOLDEN LUCKY has shown improvement across three starts so far and comes in off a 3rd place finish over this distance on November 5th when settling midfield. She is nicely drawn here and shapes as a chance. (7) TWO ACE scored his best finish to date when 2nd over this distance on November 6th. He comes up a full 4kg in the weights without an apprentice claim, but a repeat isn’t impossible. (5) GRACE LEE another in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Argo Tap (9) Tangja (2) Golden Lucky (7) Two Ace
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

It’s not often we do this, but we’ll take a chance on the solitary debut-maker here. (6) WONDERFUL CHARMER is out of a good race mare and trialled well at the end of October crossing the line an unhurried 2nd. This is not the toughest of races to debut in and a winning start is possible. (11) SPEED MAST has a best of 2nd from thirteen outings, recorded three starts back over 1300M. The draw does him no favours here as he goes best when on pace, but he shouldn’t be too far away. (2) NALA has also managed a runner-up finish, in her case two outings ago over 1000M. She draws nicely here, doesn’t carry much weight, and has claims. (3) AGAIN HELEN and (9) PLAY THE INDY other possible in a race without much depth.

Selections(6) Wonderful Charmer (11) Speed Mast (2) Nala (3) Again Helen
Next Best9, 10
Fast Start2, 9, 8, 11

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

Fillies and mares only here. (8) SHINE ON ME ran out a good winner on debut over 1000M on October 16th when handy to the speed throughout. She comes up in class and in distance here, but neither should be insurmountable, and she can maintain her 100% record. (1) INNER PEACE comes in having won at class and distance on October 30th when on pace. She comes up a full 4.5kg in the weights but that’s balanced somewhat by an excellent draw. She has four to-three finishes from six starts and should be there or thereabouts again. (7) DUSON CLASSIC worked hard to get to a forward position from a wide gate before weakening in the closing stages over 1300M on November 6th. The slight drop in trip and the better draw should be more in her favour here. (3) MYEONGJIN CANDY and (11) TROT QUEEN others with minor money hopes.

Selections(8) Shine On Me (1) Inner Peace (7) Duson Classic (3) Myeongjin Candy
Next Best11, 10
Fast Start1, 3, 7, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) I LOVE HANSEN was a good winner over 1200M at class 6 level in September before running on pace but weakening for 5th place on his first try at class and distance on October 7th. He has since been back to trial, which he won making all in a fast time, and he can be given another chance to come out on top today. That will mean overturning the form on (11) GREAT GO, who ran 3rd in that October 7th race. She has since run 4th over 1300M and while she draws wide, she carries a very light weight and can be a danger. (5) OMEGA GIRL remains winless after thirty-one attempts but has ten top-four finishes, including a last start 3rd at this class over 1300M. She can settle back and run on here. (6) CHOEGANG DUDEURIM and (10) THUNDER CROWN are among others firmly in the placing hunt.

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Fantastic Kingdom Can Sweep Juvenile Slam on Sunday

Fantastic Kingdom can complete an unprecedented sweep of all the year’s top juvenile races when he bids to add the Breeders’ Cup (1200M KOR-G2) to his three already bagged trophies at Busan on Sunday afternoon. But with an embarrassment of riches among the juvenile ranks this year, any victory is going to be hard-earned among a full field of sixteen, who have already racked up twenty-six race victories between them.

Fantastic Kingdom and Jeulgeounyeojeong will clash again on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

First to deal with those who are not there. Betelgeuse has been sent a different route, tackling 1800M and winning up at class 4 level last weekend as he is targeted to emulate stablemate Winner Star’s successful Derby campaign. Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy winner Saenae Town likewise swerves the race having only returned to training just over a week ago.

Of the sixteen who will line up on Sunday as Busan and Seoul’s best two-year-olds meet for the first time having been in separate races for the lead-up, eight are from the home track and eight have travelled down from Seoul. Very few could be said to be without a chance but the one to beat is FANTASTIC KINGDOM.

After running 3rd on debut, Fantastic Kingdom won second-up and then preceded to win the Busan Rookie Stakes, the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes and the Gimhae Mayor’s Trophy, all over 1200M. He steps up to the 1400M for the first time but is well drawn and will be hard to beat again.

Seoul’s Rookie Stakes was won by GIANT PUNCH, who ran on after racing handy to the lead. He hasn’t raced since his 3rd place in the Munhwa Ilbo Trophy on October 2nd when he was hampered slightly at the start before settling midfield and running on well. He will need some luck from the relatively wide barrier but looks suited to 1400M.

Filly JEULGEOUNYEOJEONG was a winner at this distance in a fast time in class 4 company at the end of September before running a huge race when a close 2nd to Fantastic Kingdom in the Gimhae Mayor’s Trophy. She’s never finished any worse than 2nd and is a big chance here.  

Then there is SUN DRAGON. A winner at class 5 over 1300M, he led almost the entire way around in the Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy, only to be denied by Saenae Town in the shadow of the post. He gets a fantastic draw on the inside here and he shouldn’t be ruled out.

Plenty of others are in the money frame as well. LUCKY SUN is the only one in the race with an unbeaten record as he comes in two for two with the second of those having been over this distance. Another 1400M winner is NAOL SNIPER. Along with SPEED YOUNG, who was 2nd in the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes, he was the wide draw to contend with but can’t be ruled out.

The Breeders’ Cup is the concluding race on a six-race program at Busan on Sunday with a local post time of 16:40. There are also eleven races at Seoul on Sunday.

Selections: (5) Fantastic Kingdom (11) Giant Punch (6) Jeolgeounyeojeong (2) Lucky Sun

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 3)

The capital city’s December schedule gets underway on Saturday with a 10-race program from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews for what threatens to be a snowy day:

There probably won’t be this much snow

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile filly maidens in the opener with three racing for the first time and all of them tackling the six furlongs for the first time. (8) COMPLETE ANGEL will be a warm favourite. Having won a trial, she ran 6th on debut and then an improved 4th on her second start, both at 1000M and both in good times. The additional furlong shouldn’t be an issue and she won’t need to improve very much to win this. (3) MOONHAK EDEN also won her trial but could manage no better than 8th on debut on September 17th. She has had a couple of months off since then, draws well and can be a different prospect today. (2) FOUR ACE was quick on debut in August but had a tough time second-up a month later. She has been back to trial since then and looks worth another chance here with the additional distance likely to suit. (4) SEONGSIL PINK can also improve on her debut performance while of the first timers, (5) SPO BULPAE looks the most likely to make an immediate impact.

Selections(8) Complete Angel (3) Moonhak Eden (2) Four Ace (4) Seongsil Pink
Next Best5, 10
Fast Start5, 7, 8, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(4) RAON THE QUALITY has hinted at ability across three starts so far with a 4th over 1000M her best. At her latest start at this trip on November 5th, she got a bit far back from a wide draw before rallying and from a much better gate this time, she can go much closer. (1) WONDERFUL TIZZY’s latest two outings have been much better than the bare fact of her 6th placed finishes suggest, posting a time faster than any of his rivals here have managed for the distance. An apprentice takes 3kg off his back and from a great draw he should be a big factor. (10) WONDERFUL MUSIC has only missed the top-five on one occasion from six starts. Her latest two have been her best with 2nd and 3rd place finishes both at 1300M and both times having led. The draw is not ideal but if she can find a handy position, she can be in this a long way. (9) CHOEGANG MIRAE was well-backed on his return from six months out at the end of October but didn’t make an impact. He can strip fitter here. (6) CHIMING BOY another in the frame.

Selections(4) Raon The Quality (1) Wonderful Tizzy (10) Wonderful Music (9) Choegang Mirae
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

It’s hard to look too far past (6) GLOBAL KANGTA here. He’s shown steady improvement across four starts to date culminating in a 3rd place over this distance on October 29th when settling midfield and running on, stopping the clock in a good time. A similar run here would make him hard to beat. (8) SPRING WATER has shown significant improvement in his latest two appearances, both over 1200M and both times leading for much of the way around. He can be on pace again here and be in this a long way. (1) STAND BY ME returned from eight months out to run 6th of twelve in a good time over this distance on November 13th. He should strip fitter for that run and get closer here. (7) RAON THE FLATTER and (2) ARCH RIVER are among others who can be in the placing frame.

Selections(6) Global Kangta (8) Spring Water (1) Stand By Me (7) Raon The Flatter
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start2, 4, 6, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Another warm favourite here in the shape of (7) MAGIC HOUR. A winner on debut over 1000M in October, he then ran a creditable 5th of eleven in the Listed Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy at this distance on November 6th. He comes back into shallower waters today and should prove too strong. (3) KING MOUNTAIN is yet to win in twelve attempts but has several near misses including a good 2nd place at class and distance in September. He likes to be on pace so is drawn well here and can be in this a long way. (2) POWER K returns to action for the first time since March. Before his lengthy layoff he was a winner over 1000M at class 6 level before running 3rd at 1200M and 1300M at this class. He looked well when leading in a November trial, crossing the line in a fast time and a bold showing first-up here is possible. (8) BEAT UP is up in class following a good maiden win at his distance last time out. (5) DESK TAP another in the minor money hunt.

Selections(7) Magic Hour (3) King Mountain (2) Power K (8) Beat Up
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 7

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Fillies only here and (8) MENI GOLD gets the nod. She stepped up to this distance last time out on what was his second go at this level, and he ran well, finishing a close 4th in a good time having sat handy throughout. With the small field the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and he can win here. (4) BOLD AGAIN is rapidly up in class having won her latest two at 1200M and 1300M, racing prominently in both and proving too strong. This is harder again, but she comes in very nicely weighted and from a good draw can get to the lead and stay on. (1) MAGIC GRACE is a three-time winner and was given her chance in the Korean Oaks this summer. She has won at this distance and can be a danger here. (7) CUPID JUMBO and (2) BS ENERGY others in the hunt.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 2)

December’s racing kicks off on Friday with a 9-race card at Busan from 1230 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies in the opener with seven of the twelve racing for the first time. (6) SEVEN QUEEN debuted over 1200M on November 6th and raced fairly for 6th of ten. She should strip fitter for that experience and just about goes on top here. First time starter (5) HARMON was on pace in her trial crossing the line in 3rd place in a good time. She draws well to get forward here and if she can bring similar form to the races, she can go close. (1) THEIA has been through three trials since the summer and has held her form. Th most recent of those was last week when she settled handy and ran on and she should be nice and race-fit first-up. (12) YONGSANG UNGI and (3) DAEHO NARA among others in the frame.

Selections(6) Seven Queen (5) Harmon (1) Theia (12) Yongsang Ungi
Next Best3, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Since returning from almost a year out in October, (2) YEOSU TORNADO looks to be figuring things out. He’s run 4th in both his two starts since coming back, both at this trip and both in decent times. He draws nicely here, can settle just behind the early leaders and third-up he can prove too strong. (4) BLUE ICON has shown steady progress across three starts so far, culminating with a 2nd place last time out over 1000M when handy throughout. She comes up in distance for the first time but that shouldn’t be an issue and she can be a danger here. Also up in trip for the first time is (6) NINE FORCE ONE. She has a best of 3rd from her three outings and she too should be close. (5) SEOGYEONG DAERO and (8) DOCTOR KONGDOLI are other placing hopes.

Selections(2) Yeosu Tornado (4) Blue Icon (6) Nine Force One (5) Seogyeong Daero
Next Best8, 7
Fast Start4, 5, 6, 9

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

A competitive race. (7) HIDDEN CHARLIE is probably favourite. She is yet to win in fifteen attempts but has had some near misses including a decent 2nd over this distance two starts back. She comes in having run 5th over 1400M last time out in what was a very close finish and a good time, and today can be her day. (1) USEUNG YEOGEOL is another non-winner but comes up in class after a couple of solid runs at this distance. Her times have been good and under a very light weight, she can measure up here. (10) MARKAB is up in class following a good win at this distance on November 11th when he sat handy and ran on strongly. He has the challenge of a wide draw today but can be competitive. (3) GAMDONG ENERGY and (4) SEOBU QUEEN among others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(7) Hidden Charlie (1) Useung Yeogeol (10) Markab (3) Gamdong Energy
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 11

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) WORLD FLOWER is yet to win in twenty-one attempts but has no fewer than eleven top-five finishes to her name including last time out in an all-filly race over this distance when she settled back and ran on for 2nd. She can do similarly here and will be a big danger late on. (9) SMARTY DOLPUNG comes in off a smart 2nd place over 1400M on November 6th when close to the pace throughout. She comes up 2kg for that but is still nicely weighted and can be on pace and in this a long way. Also on pace should be (6) GOLD ROSE. After a winning debut, she lost her way a little but was a solid 5th last time out and could be coming back into form. (1) HONOR QUEEN and (10) FIRST PARK are among others to consider for the places.

Selections(7) World Flower (9) Smarty Dolpung (6) Gold Rose (1) Honor Queen
Next Best10, 4
Fast Start1, 6, 8, 9

Busan Race 5: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

It’s time for (11) YONGCHEON to get back in the winner’s circle. He comes in off back-to-back 3rd place finishes, both at this class and distance and with three of today’s rivals down the track behind him on November 11th. He draws wide but his racing style suggests that shouldn’t be too much of a problem and he is the one to beat here. (6) INSATIABLE has struggled a little in two attempts at this class since getting her maiden win three starts back. She comes up in trip today and it could be what she needs to back in form. (2) WISH LUCK led over 1800M last time out before weakening badly in the closing stages. She is a winner at this distance though and can be given another chance today. (5) DIA FORCE and (8) ALPHA HEART are among other sin the minor money frame.

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Raon The Spurt Dominates Gyeongnam Cup as Raon Empire Expands Grip

After a campaign of mainly coming off second-best when it really counts, Raon The Spurt finally got her reward in the shape of a big Group race win as she dominated the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2) at Busan on Sunday afternoon, securing the final leg of the Queens’ Tour for herself and the overall series title for stablemate Raon First.

Raon The Spurt and Choi Bum-hyun have time to celebrate (Pic: KRA)

Golden Power won all three legs of the Triple Tiara, with Raon The Spurt trailing her home in 3rd in the Luna Stakes and then 2nd in both the Korean Oaks and the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. Since the end of that series Raon The Spurt had maintained her form better, winning back-to-back races at 1800M and 1200M before running second to Wish Me in the Jeju Governor’s Cup and punters accordingly sent her off as the favourite as the three-year-old pair faced off with their seniors.

Those favourite backers never had a moment’s cause for concern as Raon The Spurt broke well from the plum draw of gate three and quickly got to the lead. Jockey Choi Bum-hyun was able to set a tempo to suit and it proved too hot for the rest as Raon The Spurt cruised to a six-length win in a very fast time.

As for Golden Power, she began as second favourite, but at no stage did she look a danger, settling back and making it up to fifth in the home straight before ultimately weakening and crossing the line in ninth.

Jeju Governor’s Cup track-record breaker Wish Me was sent off as third-favourite and under Antonio Da Silva, was hurried along from her nightmare draw of gate sixteen to loop the field and take the early lead. That gamble was her only chance of prevailing and the question was how long she would stay on after such an early effort over an unfamiliar distance. She ran gamely but would ultimately run out of steam in the home straight, finishing seventh.

Calm Strong, the KNN Cup winner, also drew a poor barrier for a front-runner, having to navigate to the front from gate fourteen and while she was able to race prominently throughout the back straight, she was one of the first to be beaten.

Stepping up to get closest to the winner on the line were 19/1 chance Flat Babe, who settled back under Franco Da Silva and gradually improved as the race went on. She came home in second-place, two-and-a-half lengths clear of Eodigana, a Smarty Moonhak filly who won over the distance in last year’s Triple Tiara final leg. She set off in excess of 80/1.

Raon The Spurt is by Raon’s own stallion Musket Man and out of Japanese-bred mare Tomiken Spring (by Suzuka Mambo). Owned by her breeder, Son Chun-soo of Raon, she is trained by Park Jong-kon. Her victory propels Musket Man to the top of the Leading General Sire rankings despite having just 274 starters throughout 2022 compared to 899 for now second-placed Cowboy Cal. It’s not necessarily only Musket Man’s influence, but also Raon’s attention to early pre-training on their uphill track at their Jeju training centre staffed with not only some very good local, but some skilled overseas grooms too, that is coming together to pay huge dividends.

So Raon The Spurt won the race and Raon First the series for Son Chun-soo and his Raon organization. Raon First is expected to head to the Grand Prix Stakes on December 11th, where she will be joined by Raon The Fighter, the Korea Cup runner-up and KRA Cup Classic winner. The latter is then scheduled for a tilt at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The Raon Empire is building momentum.

Next weekend, the Champion Juvenile will be crowned with the running of the Breeders’ Cup (1400M KOR-G2) at Busan. Then on December 11th it’s the traditional final Group 1 of the season, the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1), with Raon going in with both barrels, at Seoul Racecourse.  

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup Sunday: Busan & Seoul Race-By-Race Preview (November 27)

The Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the Queens’ Tour for fillies and mares highlights Sunday’s racing program. A full field of sixteen, including nine who have travelled down from Seoul, will contest the 2000M main event, which is the final event on a 6-race card at Busan that runs from 12:15 to 16:40. See here for a horse-by-horse preview of the big race. There are also 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here is the race-by-race:

Golden Power and Raon The Spurt, who clashed in the Triple Tiara series, meet again in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens in the opener with six of the twelve racing for the first time. (4) SOMETHING LOST trialled up very pleasingly on October 28th, getting a smooth start and then cruising around in a fast time without being asked any questions. The experienced Wildly Romantic passed him at the end but it was a very good showing, he draws very nicely and if he can bring that form to the races, he has every chance first up. Experience follows this time. (7) CHALLANHAN BULKKOT ran a solid 3rd place on debut on October 30th, when settling in midfield and running on for 3rd. She draws a slightly better gate and can benefit from that experience. (1) DAEBAK SOCKS can also benefit from his debut on October 22nd when on pace throughout and ultimately running 4th. He draws the same inside barrier and can get closer. (8) MIGHTY SSEN was slowly away on debut but still posted a fair time. He has since looked good when returning to trial and can go better today. Returning to the debut-makers, (11) UPTOWN WHIZ won his trial and is entitled to support first-up.

Selections(4) Something Lost (7) Challanhan Bulkkot (1) Daebak Socks (8) Mighty Ssen
Next Best11, 9
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens but with just two first-timers. (1) YUKWAEHAN SARANG won a September trial before finishing 2nd on debut over 1000M on October 9th when settling midfield and running on. The additional furlong can suit, and she can win. (11) META BLADE looks to be the main danger. After running 2nd on debut over 1000M, she stepped up to this distance on October 16th and dead-heated for 4th. Both times she has come from off the pace, so the wide draw shouldn’t be a problem and she is sure to be working home well. Along with Meta Blade, the only other one to have previously tackled the 1200M is (5) WINNER YOUNG. His form is identical to that of Meta Blade with a 2nd at 1000M followed by a 4th at this distance. He can sit midfield and run into some money again here. (4) LONDON ACE and the first timer (4) MYEOLKONG other minor money hopes.

Selections(1) Yukwaehan Sarang (11) Meta Blade (5) Winner Young (4) London Ace
Next Best4, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 5

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(11) UCHEONGRYUNG has shown significant improvement in his latest two, finishing 4th and 2nd, at 1200M at 1300M. The wide draw isn’t ideal, but his style isn’t to lead, and he has a good finish on him compared to his rivals here. Kim Yong-geun climbs aboard and today can be his day. (2) GOOD CABO ran 6th behind Ucheongryung’s 4th on October 2nd having led for much of the way around. He draws nicely here, the same apprentice jockey keeps his weight nice and low, and he can be looking to get closer this time around. (9) BAEKDU MEOTJAENGI comes up in trip after two promising spins around 1000M. She has been on pace both times and will probably aim to get forward again. She can be in this a long way. (7) YEONHUI SARANG and (8) HWANGOO GANGJA others in the placing frame.

Selections(11) Ucheongryung (2) Good Cabo (9) Baekdu Meotjaengi (7) Yeonhui Sarang
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 9

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens open proceedings on the south coast with four of the eleven racing for the first time. There will be a warm favourite in the shape of (7) CHANGCHANG DAERO. He’s raced twice so far, both at this distance and finishing 4rh and 5th when settling midfield and running on. Both times have been good, and he won’t need to improve very much to win this. There isn’t much obvious speed in this race so he may be taken to the front. (6) ARTHUR KING IJI was behind Changchang Daero on what was his second start on October 2nd. He drew wide that day but again, his time was perfectly adequate for the distance, and he can improve here following eight weeks off. Among the first timer starters, (3) BLUE MORE and (11) HWANGWOO MONEY both showed prominently in their trials. Neither time was that fast, but this is a nice race to debut in and bold showings first-up shouldn’t be discounted. (8) B.K. NUMA another potential improver.

Selections(7) Changchang Daero (6) Arthur King Iji (3) Blue More (11) Hwangwoo Money
Next Best8, 2
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 7

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(6) BOSS BABY has been knocking at the door for some time and comes in off a 2nd place over 1200M and a 3rd over 1700M. He has run well at this distance too with the fastest time among any of these who have tackled it, recorded when 4th from gate twelve three starts ago. He can settle midfield here and can prove too strong. (7) NAOL KING raced twice this spring, registering a 2nd place over 1300M in the second of them. He hasn’t appeared since, but he looked very well when winning a trial two weeks ago and when on pace throughout and if he can bring that form to the races then he s a chance first-up here. (11) SARANG DAMOA has seven top-five finishes from twelve starts including each of her latest four. The draw shouldn’t be a problem as she has a fast finish on her, and she can maintain her consistent record today. (10) DEVIL K and (2) BLUE KAISER others in the hunt.

Selections(6) Boss Baby (7) Naol King (11) Sarang Damoa (10) Devil K
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start1, 5, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with four of the ten racing for the first time. We’ll take a chance on a first timer namely (4) BACKTOTHELEGEND. He went through two trials, improving significantly in the second of them when he was on pace and stopped the clock in a fast time. He is out of Soseono, a good racehorse herself in Korea, and she can go well first-up. Of the experienced ones, the most convincing is (6) ONNURI CHUKJE. Unfancied on debut following a slow trial, he ran a solid 5th of twelve over 1000M on October 28th, running on well. He should have come on for the experience and the extra furlong can be in his favour. (1) HAPPY BLUE debuted at this distance on November 6th and while he only beat one home, it wasn’t a bad performance, and he can strip fitter for the run. Of the debut-makers, (10) CAPTAIN COMMANDO improved significantly in the second of two trials. (7) HANGANG SAVER another who can improve.

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Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup: Full Preview as Raon The Spurt and Golden Power Take on Wish Me and Calm Strong

The Queens’ Tour reaches its conclusion at Busan on Sunday afternoon with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) and while the leader of the series and the nation’s top filly or mare, Raon First, isn’t in attendance following her President’s Cup heroics two weeks ago, a solid field of sixteen will take their chance. Golden Power and Raon The Spurt bring their Triple Tiara rivalry on to the senior stage while Group winner Calm Strong and Wish Me return.

Wish Me was a spectacular winner of the Jeju Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

It’s been a long series, kicking off all the way back in March, when Raon First won the Donga Ilbo Trophy (1800M Listed). She then followed up in the Ttukseom Cup (1400M KOR-G2) in June but put in an uncharacteristically poor run in the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan the following month. Following a four-month hiatus, the series returns with Raon First still atop the standings and even in her absence, only Wish Me, runner-up in the Ttukseom and KNN Cups, is able to catch her.

Wish Me won the non-series Jeju Governor’s Cup (1400M KOR G3) in track record setting time in October. Both distance and her wide draw will be a question mark here, but she is sure to be among the favourites.

The KNN Cup was won by Calm Strong, another who is done no favours by the draw. She followed up that victory with another at class 2 level over 1800M in August and can’t be ruled out.

When the first leg took place, Golden Power and Raon The Spurt were simply a pair of promising three-year-old fillies.  Since then, Golden Power has won all three legs of the Triple Tiara series while Raon The Spurt ran 3rd in the opening leg and then 2nd in the remaining two. They take on their elders here and Raon The Spurt is the one who may just find more improvement.

The Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup is the concluding event on a six-race program at Busan on Sunday with a local post time of 16:40. There are also eleven races on Sunday at Seoul. Here is a full run-down of all the runners:

1. ECOPIA – A winner up to 1800M at class 3 level when on pace but well back behind Calm Strong and Wish Me in her latest two. Drawn well to lead but an outsider.

2. GREEN DARC – Winner over 1800M at class 3 at Seoul two starts ago but well back when slowly away on latest outing. Can sit handy and run on but others favoured.

3. RAON THE SPURT – Never out of the top four and runner-up to Golden Power in the Oaks and Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup and to Wish Me in the Jeju. Great draw, the distance should suit, and she is a real chance.

4. BURNING PARTY – Won a trophy race at 1800M in a fast time in April but races here for the first time since May. Trialed very nicely, she is a wildcard here. Goes best on pace.

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 26)

Saturday’s racing is at Seoul with 10 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies in the opener with all but one racing for the first time.  The experienced one goes on top though. (8) PHOENIX SERVE won a September trial and was sent off as favourite on debut at this distance on October 30th, leading for much of the way around before ultimately coming home in 3rd in a good time. She should have come on for that run, can be on pace again and this time can win. Plenty of the debut-makers showed well in their trials. They include (11) MILLION PARTY who sat handy and crossed the line as runner-up in her heat having drawn a similarly wide gate to today. (7) TOUCH CHARM was similarly on pace when trialling in October, also crossing the line in 2nd in a fair time and a bold showing can be expected first up. As ever in these kinds of races, keep an eye on the market where (5) FINE DAY and (1) BADEN BADEN will also be expected to feature prominently.

Selections(8) Phoenix Serve (11) Million Party (7) Touch Charm (5) Fine Day
Next Best1, 9
Fast Start1, 7, 8, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maidens again, this one open to colts and gelding as well as fillies, and all have raced at least once. Following an indifferent debut, (9) SECRET PLAY has put in back-to-back 3rd place finishes, the latter at this distance on October 16th when coming from off the pace and stopping the clock in a good time. Given his running style, the wide draw shouldn’t matter, and he has solid claims here. (6) POWERFUL HWASEONG has mixed his form across four outings to date. Two starts back he ran a strong 3rd in fast time at this distance when settling just behind the early speed. In his latest outing he was drawn wide and was slowly away and from a better gate can be given another chance today. Those are the two standouts. (11) LEGAL HIGH has improved across three starts so far, culminating with a 3rd place over 1000M when running on well a month ago. She comes up in trip for the first time and can go close. (7) THUNDER BRAVO and (10) GHOST CHARM others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(9) Secret Play (6) Powerful Hwaseong (11) Legal High (7) Thunder Bravo
Next Best10, 3
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 7

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

One hundred and eleven starts for just six top-three finishes among this lot. (3) HAPPY NICE appears to have taken to this distance with a 3rd and a 4th in her latest two outings, most recently beating a couple of today’s rivals on October 29th when handy throughout. She comes in under the same weight, draws well and can win. (11) MY GONGJU has two 3rd places to his name and comes up in trip following the most recent of them over 1400M on October 16th. He has finished off his races adequately enough and the additional trip can suit. (8) HANI has knocked on the door a few times and her 5th place behind Happy Nice last time out when she came right from the back of the field in the straight, puts her into contention here. (10) NEOREUL EUNGWONHAE is the only runner in the field to have a 2nd place finish to her name and she along with (2) EURO GANGJA are other potential placers

Selections(3) Happy Nice (11) My Gongju (8) Hani (10) Neoreul Eungwonhae
Next Best2, 1
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 7

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Two juveniles come up in class having run out impressive winners on their respective debuts and they will be at the top of the market here. (2) DOKKI BULPAE will be the one expected to prevail. Having made all in a late September trial in a fast time, he sat handy on debut before running on for an easy win without much effort. There should be plenty of improvement still to come and he’s the pick to maintain his 100% record. (5) BEST SUN went through a couple of additional trials before debuting but went well when he finally did on October 31st, he similarly sat handy before running on hard to win easily. Neither the class nor the distance rise should be a problem. (4) GEUMSEONG SPEED was a winner over this distance at class 6 level two starts back before running 3rd on her first try at this level when drawn wide and slowly away. She was a long way behind a good winner but from a better gate can give herself more of a chance here. (8) AL SIMON and (7) LONDON QUEEN among others in the minor money frame.

Selections(2) Dokki Bulpae (5) Best Sun (4) Geumseong Speed (8) Al Simon
Next Best7, 9
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 7

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

Tricky handicap here. We’ll take a chance with (7) BICHUI DAERYUK, who has the fastest time among these for the distance, recorded two starts back when runner-up. She weakened a little having raced forward over 1400M last time out, but she is back in trip today and third-up this preparation may well be peaking. (10) GOLDEN HONOR is yet to win from five attempts but enters in good form with a 4th and a 3rd from his latest two at 1300M and 1400M. He likes to settle back and run on strong, so the wide draw isn’t a concern, and he has every chance here. (2) NEW CHEONGPA made all to win over this trip at class 6 level on October 1st before being ridden hard to get on pace from a wide draw before tiring over 1400M on his first try at this class. From a much better gate, he is worth another chance here. (1) HUIMANG CHAMP comes in off a couple of midfield finishes from his latest two, but his beaten margins haven’t been big, and an apprentice takes his weight down today. (6) CLASSIC STAR another who can enter the calculations in a competitive race.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

The Queen’s Tour reaches its conclusion this weekend with sixteen fillies and mares going to post for the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup at Busan on Sunday. Before that though, the south coast track kicks off the weekend action with a 9-race card on Friday from 12:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies in the opener with eight of the twelve racing for the very first time. We generally like to side with experience in these kinds of races and (2) ALPHA BRAVO just about allows us to do that. She ran 5th of twelve on debut on October 21st, racing on pace throughout and from a good draw and with some natural improvement, she can be the one to beat here. The main rivals are first time starters. (7) SPECIAL ROAD went through three trails, improving significantly in the third of them when crossing the line 2nd in a fast time. An in-form apprentice jockey takes her weight down and she can put in a bold showing first-up. (1) GOLDEN PLUS too raced prominently in her trial, also finishing 2nd in a good time. She gets a great draw on the inside and should be kept safe here. (3) WONDERFUL TOP looks the most likely of the others with prior experience to improve while (10) GREEN CHIEF is another debut-maker who hinted at ability in trials.

Selections(2) Alpha Bravo (7) Special Road (1) Golden Plus (3) Wonderful Top
Next Best10, 4
Fast Start1, 2, 5, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

The second division of the juvenile filly maiden, this one with six of the twelve making their racecourse debuts. Experience gets the nod again in the shape of (2) SKY SHOT. Having trialled well, she ran a good 4th on debut over this distance on October 21st, starting slowly and then settling back before running on strongly and beating two of today’s rivals. If she gets an even slightly better start here, she won’t need to improve much, if at all, to win. (11) WIND TALKER was an on-pace 2nd in a fair time in her trial. She has the challenge of a wide gate for her debut here, but the Pegasus Farm homebred looks nicely in. (1) WORLD FIVE is a half-sister to World Day, a winner of nine from nineteen. She led in her trial, ultimately crossing the line 5th and from a very good draw, can be on pace and go close first-up here. (6) SEOGWI FLASH finished last on debut behind Sky Shot but the time was such – and with the standard of today’s opposition in mind – that she can go much better this time. (12) WORLD CLASS CAT another who can improve on an indifferent debut.

Selections(2) Sky Shot (11) Wind Talker (1) World Five (6) Seogwi Flash
Next Best12, 8
Fast Start1, 5, 10, 11

Busan Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maiden, this time open to colts and geldings as well as fillies. Four of the nine race for the first time. There is some decent experience though. (1) YEOSU FIGHTER was sent off as favourite over 1000M on October 23rd and was on pace before ultimately finishing in 2nd. That was his second appearance and with similar improvement today, he can come home on top. (9) FAST FURY also demonstrated significant improvement at start number two on October 28th when almost leading from gate to wire but having to settle for runner-up. The wide draw shouldn’t be a problem in this small field, and she has every chance of going one better. (4) YEONGGWANGUI TANK comes in having run in two juvenile Listed races, nothing a good 4th in the first of them. Returning to shallower waters, the Hansen colt can go close here. Among the first-time starters, (8) TIANBONG QUEEN looks the best having put in a fair time in her trial. Returning to experience, (7) HEY MORNING improved when 6th behind Fast Fury at the end of last month and can continue to make progress here.

Selections(1) Yeosu Fighter (9) Fast Fury (4) Yeonggwangui Tank (8) Tianbong Queen
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 9

Busan Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

More maidens. (9) PHANTOM ACE shapes to be a warm favourite based on his last start 2nd place over this distance on October 28th when he was slow away before being ridden hard to sit behind the leaders and then ran on well. He won’t need to improve much on that to win this. (7) VICTOR BASIUM keeps getting sent off at short odds and keeps on finding a couple too quick, finishing between 3rd and 5th in each of his six career starts. He likes to be on pace, an apprentice jockey takes 2kg off his back, and he can be aiming for a career best finish to date here. (3) HWANGU FIGHTER has been consistent across four starts so far. She likes to sit midfield and run on and while she may not win here, she can keep her 100% record of finding at least the minor money. (2) BOOMY STAR and (4) MACH WONDER others with potential placing claims.

Selections(9) Phantom Ace (7) Victor Basium (3) Hwangu Fighter (2) Boomy Star
Next Best4, 5
Fast Start7, 8, 9, 10

Busan Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

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Raon Giant & Doctor Oscar Dominate Juvenile Filly Trophy Races

The juvenile filly division had their big day at Seoul and Busan on Sunday and Raon Giant and Doctor Oscar both ran out dominant winners of their respective track’s feature races.

Raon Giant spread the field out in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy (Pic: KRA)

Raon Giant was only sent off as second favourite for the Gwacheon Mayor’s Trophy (1200M Listed) at Seoul with punters giving the previously unbeaten Fire Girl the nod at the top of the market.

Fire Girl wouldn’t play much of a role though as Raon Giant quickly looped across from gate ten to seize the initiative under Moon Se-young and opened up a lead that she never looked like relinquishing. Fire Girl was close in the early stages, as was the well-supported Global Changa, but they couldn’t keep up with the tempo Raon Giant set and she was ultimately three-lengths to the good at the line.

Furiosa, a 50/1 chance, ran on from the back for a fast-finishing 2nd while Medici Wolf, who had taken a sit behind the early pace, ran on solidly for a creditable 3rd. Raon Giant moved on to three wins from four starts.

Trained by Park Jong-kon and bred by her owners, Raon Giant is by Raon’s own stallion Musket Man and out of Raon Bold (by Big Brown). Raon Bold was a $65,000 purchase from the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2011 and did her racing in Korea, winning three times. Raon Giant is her third foal to make the racecourse with the other two, Raon Beat and Raon The Teukgeup both winners too.

The widest drawn filly at Busan also ended up victorious in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Trophy (1200M Listed).

Doctor Oscar was overlooked for favourite status in part for having drawn gate fourteen while the highly thought-of Atlas, third in last month’s Areumdaun Jilju Stakes against the colts, had the benefit of gate two.

Doctor Oscar was an easy winner at Busan (Pic: KRA)

Under Choi Si-dae, Doctor Oscar made extremely light of being drawn in the car park and sat handy early before taking things up approaching the first corner. She shrugged off early challengers Hansen Cod Girl and Dream Of Queen and ran on to match Raon Giant with a comfortable three-length score. 25/1 chance Magic Class was 2nd while Atlas was 3rd.

Doctor Oscar is by Old Fashioned and is out of Jangsan Yeoje (by Peace Rules) a Korean-bred who won three races. She is a “full” sister to Doctor Fashion, a winner of seven from nineteen races. She was bred by Lee Yong-dae of Youngmun Farm and was purchased by owner Kwon Hyeok-hui for 45 Million Won at the 2021 KTBA October yearling sale.

Next weekend it’s the turn of the older fillies and mares with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) at Busan on Sunday. While the nation’s top mare, Raon First won’t be there following her President’s Cup heroics last week, Raon will be represented by Raon The Spurt. Triple Tiara winner Golden Power will also be in attendance while KNN Cup winner Calm Strong and Wish Me, who won the the Jeju Governor’s Cup in track-record breaking style, are among others scheduled to be in the starting gate.