Author: gyongmaman

Deep Mind Five-Star In Oaks For Kim Young-kwan

Never write-off Kim Young-kwan. It’s the golden rule of Korean racing but some of us still fall prey to it from time-to-time. Just when it looked as though the nation’s dominant trainer could go through a season without winning one of the three-year-old Classic races, up pops Deep Mind to trounce fifteen rivals and win the Oaks by eight-lengths. At odds of 23/1.

While neither were expected to win, Deep Mind wasn’t even trainer Kim’s first-string. That was Amazon Yeogeol, but under Seo Seung-un, Deep Mind bounded out of gate 14 and got across to the lead. It was a simple plan – get in front on a very wet track and let the rest of them get in trouble in the mud and spray behind. It worked.

Dae Wan Ma, Sports Seoul Trophy winner and 2nd in the KRA Cup Mile, was sent off as the prohibitive favourite but having settled in the front half of the pack, jockey Antonio Da Silva had to get to work on her a full three-furlongs from home. The response was muted and she finished well down the field.

Instead, Deep Mind galloped away from the pack for a dominant triumph. Heung Buja got closest in 2nd place ahead of Miss Fact in 3rd making for a trifecta dividend in excess of 20,000/1. Peter Wolsley’s Top Of World was 4th and Luigi Riccardi’s Mamma Roma a creditable 5th.

For jockey Seo Seung-un it was a first win in the race but for trainer Kim it was a fifth with him previously having won four consecutive editions between 2013 and 2016. It’s also a first Classic win this season for Busan-trained horse after Seoul based gallopers Global Chukje and Wonderful Fly took out the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby respectively.

Deep Mind is by Menifee and is out of Urrikot (by Creek Cat), who was bred and raced in Korea. It was the seventh race of her career and her fourth win.

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Korean Oaks Day 2019: Race-By-Race Preview For Busan & Seoul (May 19)

The 2019 Korean Oaks takes place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and a full field of 16 runners are set to assemble for the fillies’ Classic. There are 6 races in total at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 while at Seoul there are eleven races from 10:45 to 18:00.

Special Stone Korea Racing Authority

Last year, Special Stone won the Korean Oaks for Seoul (Pic KRA)

Dae Wan Ma is set to be hot favourite for the Oaks. She ran 2nd in the KRA Cup Mile having won Seoul’s Classic trial a month earlier. She’s been to Busan before when 2nd in last December’s Breeders’ Cup and she is the one to beat.

Last Sunday we saw an odds-on chance go down in the Korea Derby, however, and Dae Wan Ma is no sure thing. The beaten jockey last week was Yoo Seung-wan and he arrives in Busan with the chance to put things right on Smile Girl, winner of Seoul’s Oaks trial in April.

Peter Wolsley’s Top Of World looks firmly in the hunt as well, while Mighty Power and Amazon Yeogeol are also in contention for two trainers, Baik Kwang-yeol and Kim Young-kwan, who are in danger of having an unusually fallow Classic series. Doctor Thunder, so disappoitning in the Cup Mile, is the wildcard. Here is horse by horse for the full cards at both Seoul & Busan:

Seoul Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

  1. GEUMSEONG YEOWANG – Best of 5th from 10 starts so far. Drops back in trip having finished last on muddy track over 1300M three weeks ago. Hard to recommend here.
  2. BEST MAID – 10th behind Tri Thunder at 1300M on April 20th but was 4th on most recent effort at this distance in March. Minor money at best.
  3. ECO BROTHER – Winner on debut at this distance on wet track in December. 10th and 6th in two starts at this level since. Better draw today and outside place chance.
  4. GOLD PERILLA – Up in class having registered his maiden win at the ninth time of asking making all over this trip on April 21st. More to find in this company but solid placing chances again under good apprentice jockey.
  5. UNAK HABIO – Recent form very cold. Only possible angle is he drops back in trip and has a top jockey on board, but neither are enough to make him a recommend.
  6. BLUE FIRE – Still a maiden after ten attempts but has been very close with four runner-up finishes including last time at class and distance. Generally sits just off the pace, top jockey stays on and a big chance here.
  7. PARTY POWER – Makes her 51st start today, and occasionally picks up some minor prize money. Always runs on late but usually leaves a little too much to do and similar is likely today.
  8. NAMJJOK NARA – Her best finishes at this level have been at 1700M and while she carries a light weight here, she wouldn’t seem to have the speed to make an impact.
  9. TRI THUNDER – Winner on debut last September and has been no worse than 6th in six subsequent outings at this level. Back in trip today after a 3rd place over 1300M last time and solid claims.
  10. STRONG CUPID – Yet to finish any better than 9th in six attempts during which she’s been dropped in class to little effect. Avoid.
Selections (6) Blue Fire (9) Tri Thunder (4) Gold Perilla (7) Party Power
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 3, 4, 5, 9

 

Seoul Race 2:  Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

  1. EDWIN – Never better than 5th in six starts so far. Back in trip today but slow starter and easy to toss here.
  2. TOUR BROTHER – Looked ready to score at the end of last year and was sent off odds-on favourite in consecutive races finishing 3rd in the first of them but last in the second having hung-out throughout. Last seen running 8th over 1300M in March. Talented but unreliable.
  3. RAON HAWK – Offered very little in three starts so far and will need some significant improvement here.
  4. JEONGMUN SARANG – Ran 2nd in valuable juvenile race in September but struggled against the track’s best of his crop a month later. Disappointing 4th when hot favourite at the end of March but with a good start, can go close here.
  5. JEONGDONG SARANG – Only two starts so far – sent off at nearly 400/1 last time and ran like it. Booking of Alan Munro the positive and while he might need to get off and push, that might be enough to find the minor money here.
  6. SEOUL CITY – Getting closer across three outings and was a good and close 2nd at the distance last time having led until close to home. Can get on pace again and could go one better.
  7. WONDERFUL BRAVO – No better than 7th in seven tries and comes in after a slow 7th of 12 over this distance last time. Much improvement required.
  8. DALLINEUN ACE – Yet to offer much in the way of speed though recent some modest support two weeks ago after a promising trial. Promptly finished 9th of 12. This is weak though so improvement possible.
Selections (4) Jeongmun Sarang (6) Seoul City (2) Tour Brother (5) Jeongdong Sarang
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 2, 4, 6

 

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

  1. NONGBON JARANG – Last all the way round on debut last October and not seen again until trialling underwhelmingly at the end of March. Watching brief here.
  2. REGINA – Managed a 4th place two starts ago but struggled on latest a month ago at this trip. Has been slowly away on three of her four starts so far and is an outsider here.
  3. JACKS KHAN – Hasn’t beaten many in four attempts so far and was sent back to trial after latest effort in March. Leave well alone.
  4. JEONGMUN SAI – 3rd on debut at 1000M was followed by a 2nd place over 1300M when he led until the closing stages. Back in trip by half a furlong today and a big chance of leading all the way.
  5. WIND SKY – Much improved 2nd over 1300M last start. Will need to find more here but can be considered for further progress.
  6. BLUE BAND – “Full” brother to President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band, he’s not quite lived up to that so far with 5th and 7th from two starts. Showed prominently over 1300M last start before weakening in closing stages. Could improve at 1200M today.
  7. MEISEI DREAM – First-time state but she just scraped through a trial in the slowest possible qualifying time. Watching brief here.
  8. COLORS DE LAGO – Some high hopes on debut after a positive trial and has offered glimpses. 5th of 9 at this distance last time and can improve.
  9. SONGAM RAPUNZEL – Debut-maker. Nothing special in trials although it was run at a slow pace. Others are preferred.
  10. HAWK ARIRANG – Has shown slight but noticeable improvement across three starts so far and was 6th of 12 last time, running on creditably. Can improve again.
  11. GOLD LEVEL – Getting slightly better and comes in following back to back 5th place finishes. Top jockey on again and a chance in this company.
Selections (4) Jeongmun Sai (5) Wind Sky (6) Blue Band (11) Gold Level
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 4, 6

 

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

  1. UNJU YEONGUNG – Yet to finish any better than 7th in nine attempts and it would be no surprise if that record was maintained here.
  2. RAISING ANGEL – A winner on debut last December, her worst in four subsequent starts was her only other try at further than 1000M. Nevertheless, she beat a couple of these last time and is well drawn to get on pace. A chance.
  3. BLESSING ROAD – Six starts at this level since maiden win last September with a best of 3rd. 5th behind some useful ones last time and jockey booking a plus.
  4. SPECIAL GOLD – First start since last August. She trialled adequately enough in April but others likely to be favoured first-up here.
  5. SUJEBI – Recent form has been uninspiring. Did manage a 5th place at 1000M in February but has struggled when asked to go any further.
  6. PRIVATE MAN – Still a maiden but no worse than 5th in six starts to date. Up in class after latest near miss but should be competitive.
  7. HUNTER HAWK – Finished last on his return from five months out in April. Never any better than 3rd and up against it here.
  8. P.K. JEONSA – Got promoted to this class with back to back runner-up finishes in February and March but was 8th on first try at the level on April 21st. Should be on pace and worth another chance today.
  9. VICTORY KING – Up in class today after consecutive 2nd place finishes. No worse than 6th in five outings to date. Will need to improve but not impossible.
  10. RICH RULES – Winner on debut and then 3rd in both subsequent starts at this class. Up in trip for the first time today, the draw isn’t ideal but is she gets away well, she has a real chance.
  11. MAENGSAN HERO – Yet to finish in the top three, he’s an import who has been dropped from class 4 but hasn’t found things much more amenable.
Selections (10) Rich Rules (2) Raising Angel (9) Victory King (8) P.K. Jeonsa
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 2, 3, 8, 10

 

Seoul Race 5: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

  1. DAEGUN CHEONHA – Never worse than 3rd, he got his maiden win over 1300M last start. Up in class today, he looks well in again and can win again.
  2. MALIBU GINGER – 3rd behind Crazy Wiki and M J Power over 1200M on April 20th. Previous effort at this distance didn’t go well but can be given a chance here.
  3. NEUNGRYEOK SIDAE – Class and distance winner at the end of March and followed up with 5th of 10 on a wet track three weeks ago. Apprentice jockey gets the weight back down today and she’ll be in the hunt.
  4. FLYING BOSS – Still a maiden after fourteen attempts but he’s had plenty of near-misses. However, he comes in having finished 11th behind several of these last time so has plenty of form to overturn.
  5. CHEUNGDAM GENIE – Maiden winner in February but weakened on first try at class and distance in tough company on April 13th. Worth another chance here.
  6. GOLDEN DIAL – Hung inwards throughout last start which was his first at this class. With better manner can improve today.
  7. M J POWER – 2nd behind Crazy Wiki over 1200M on April 20th, coming from well off the pace. Attempts this trip for the first time and could make for an interesting outsider.
  8. MUNHAK TIGER – First start since running 3rd behind M J Power in February and first at this distance. Can come from off the pace and finish strongly.
  9. CRAZY WIKI – Beat four of these on his way to a four-length win at this class over 1200M on April 20th. First try at this distance today, he’ll be on speed again and a repeat isn’t impossible.
  10. MATCH CAPTAIN – Struggled in the TJK Trophy last month, losing a shoe in the process. Going well before that though so don’t completely write-off.
  11. MUNHAK TSUNAMI – 4th behind Crazy Wiki at 1200M on April 20th when sent off as favourite. Today’s distance should suit better, and he can overturn that form.
  12. JEOKBYEOK SHINHWA – A winner at this class over 1400M on April 21st. He carries an additional 4kg today but could potentially repeat. Will look to come from well off the pace so draw not a problem.

(more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 18)

Saturday’s action is at Seoul where there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. French jockey Ryan Curatolo makes his Korean debut with three rides. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies and mares only here. (1) MENI GRAND is up in class following a five-length win over this distance on April 14th. That was her third career start and the victory had been coming. She led from gate to wire that day and is expected to do the same here. (4) FLOWER ROAD is up in class too after a similarly dominant maiden score last month and while she perhaps has a little more to find, should be nice and competitive at this level. (6) WONDERFUL RUBY beat a couple of these on her way to 5th place at class and distance on April 7th and should get closer today. (8) HAMYANG SANSAM and (9) CHEONROK are others in the hunt.

Selections (1) Meni Grand (4) Flower Road (6) Wonderful Ruby (9) Cheonrok
Next Best 8, 2
Fast Start 1, 3, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Small field and a likely strong favourite in the shape of (6) PRIMA NIKE. She’s been knocking on the door since debut with a 3rd and no fewer than four 4th place finishes. Up against softer company today, she should get it right. Accordingly, she’ll be hot favourite. (1) HWARYONG looks clear next best. He ran 4th on debut in February, hanging wide all the way round and while he’s not raced since, he went well in a trial at the end of April and if he brings that form – and improved manners – to the track, he can go close. It’s slim pickings beyond those two with (2) DAEDAE SONSON and (8) GYEONGGUKJIMA perhaps having most potential to improve.

Selections (6) Prima Nike (1) Hwaryong (2) Daedae Sonson (8) Gyeonggukjima
Next Best 5, 7
Fast Start 4, 6, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A maiden for three-year-olds only and it’s not very strong. (6) ANYANG JAGUAR, with an improved 4th place last time in better company than this is the slight pick. He can settle just off the early lead and finish strongly. (12) HEY DREAMER last raced in September last year when he was 2nd in a similar race to this. He trialled competently two weeks ago, and the jockey booking is notable. (4) GREEN CINDY hasn’t done too much wrong in two starts so far and can also be considered for improvement. In such a weak race it’s worth looking at the first-timers. There are three of them and (8) KING SON, who trialled nicely on a wet track at the end of April looks to have the best chance first-up.

Selections (6) Anyang Jaguar (12) Hey Dreamer (8) King Son (4) Green Cindy
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 4, 8, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) HOPE KINGDOM has a 2nd place to his name and comes in off the back of a good 3rd place at 1300M on April 20th. He’s one of five here who tackle two-turns for the first time, and it may well suit. (3) TAP MUSIC was 4th in that race last month on what was just his second career start and he too steps up in trip with solid hopes here. (1) KING OF EAGLE is the other one in the field who has a runner-up finish in his account already. He enters following a solid 4th place at 1300M last month and should be competitive again. Of those with experience at the distance, (7) CHOEGANG PARTY looks the best. He ran a close 3rd on his first try at it on April 26th, coming from well off the pace to finish well and should go close again.

Selections (4) Hope Kingdom (7) Choegang Party (1) King Of Eagle (3) Tap Music
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 1, 4

Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(8) RAON MIRACLE beat a couple of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on April 14th. She remains a maiden after twenty attempts but has been getting closer and the assistance of Alan Munro today could be what she needs to get over the line in front.  (11) RAISE ME UP and (6) BLACK GINGA came home 4th and 5th respectively in that same race and while they do have a couple of lengths to make up on Raon Miracle, they can be (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 17)

After last week’s Derby in Seoul, attention switches to the South Coast and the fillies as the 2019 Korean Oaks takes place at Busan Racecourse this Sunday. And it’s at Busan where the weekend’s action gets underway with 9 races on Friday running from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

RH7_3495

Former Busan Champion Jockey Kim Yong Geun is one of a number of Seoul-based riders in town for this Sunday’s Oaks (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) MAJOR PUNCH debuted all the way back last September but had a number of setbacks before finally returning three weeks ago and running 2nd over 1000M. She’s up in trip today and will be one of many looking to get on pace early but she should have too much for this field. (8) TOHAM IMPACT ran 3rd behind Major Punch last time and is set to be a danger again while (4) TIZBE ran well for 4th on debut a month ago, beating a couple of these in the process and can build on it here. (9) TWO TWO SIMON and first-time starter (11) GIJEOGUI JILJU are others who should be in the hunt.

Selections (1) Major Punch (8) Toham Impact (4) Tizbe (11) Gijeogui Jilju
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 1, 8, 9, 11, 13

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

(5) ULTRA POWER is up in class following a two-length score at this distance to secure his maiden win on what was his fourth career start on April 19th. He made all that day and is nicely drawn to get to the lead again with potential for another win. Just shy of a year separated (12) JEONGUIUI GITBAL’s first and second career starts. He came back with a flourish though, registering a five-length victory over this distance on April 12th. He came out of the same wide gate that day and while this is tougher, a repeat isn’t impossible. (2) GAMDONGUI SUNGAN remains a maiden but joins the other two up in class following a couple of near-misses and should be competitive at this level. Of those who have class 5 experience already, (3) YEOWANGUI TANSAENG and (9) NORMAL CLASSIC look the most capable.

Selections (5) Ultra Power (12) Jeonguiui Gitbal (2) Gamdongui Sungan (3) Yeowangui Tansaeng
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 3, 5, 9, 12

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

Three-year-old maidens here with only five of the fourteen having raced before. Three of those five did reasonably well so we’ll cover them first. (7) YESULUI GYEUNGJI was perhaps the most impressive, running a useful 3rd in a competitive race at this distance on April 19th. HE can have learned from that and can push on here. (10) PAGEUKCHEON too did nothing wrong when 4th on his own debut back in January and while he has had one or two setbacks since, returns here in good shape and can go well. (14) VEGA THUNDER came from off the pace to run 2nd at the beginning of April. She was scratched from a scheduled run two weeks ago when she refused to load into the gate but has since passed her stalls test and if she jumps, she should be close. As for the first-timers, (8) NANSAN YEOJE and (2) PAI BLADE looked best in trials.

Selections (7) Yesului Gyeungji (10) Pageukcheon (8) Nansan Yeoje (2) Pai Blade
Next Best 14, 1
Fast Start 4, 8, 10, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) YEONGGWANGUI CHEER ran an improved 2nd last start on April 19th (beaten by Ultra Power who we saw in race 1) by two-lengths with a couple of these behind him. Under Kim Yong Geun today, he’ll likely look to get forward early and can go one better. (11) CHANGE BACK was 3rd in that race, three-lengths back and can get closer today although the main danger may ultimately be (2) ZET KING. He was an improved 2nd on April 12th and from gate 2, can sit handy and finish strongly. (1) DYNAMIC BOLT and (3) HAENGBOK KOREA are others who should be in at least the placing frame.

Selections (9) Yeonggwangui Cheer (2) Zet King (11) Change Back (3) Haengbok Korea
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 9

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(12) FUSION PARK has been 3rd in both his latest two outings at 1300M and a mile. He was a beaten favourite last time, but Bart Rice’s colt looks worth another chance to get things right today. (14) NAEGA SAEGANGJA is another who has found himself beaten when market leader, but he’s ever been worse than 4th in five outings to date and surely maintains that record today. While the wide draw does him no favours, he has generally run in stiffer company than this and a breakthrough is not impossible. (1) SMART WINNER and (7) USEUNG STORY are both better than their latest respective results suggest and can improve here while (5) LEGACY is the wildcard. His solitary start was more than a year ago, but he looked handy enough when trialling up in April and the jockey/trainer combination will tempt some.

Selections (12) Fusion Park (14) Naega Saegangja (1) Smart Winner (5) Legacy
Next Best 7, 11
Fast Start 2, 3, 5

Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(9) JOY OF LUCK was last seen running 8th in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown. Neither company nor distance seemed to suit that day but back in class 4 and back at 1300M, he should be far happier and looks the one to beat. (10) OCEAN PHOENIX (more…)

Johan Victoire Joins The 100-Club

Johan Victoire has become the latest foreign jockey to ride 100 winners in Korea.

Johan VictoireThe French rider reached the milestone when guiding 3/1 chance Fast Fashion to victory in race 4 on Korean Derby day at Seoul Racecourse last Sunday.

Victoire debuted in Seoul in July of 2017 scoring success with his very first mount and has maintained a steady stream of winners ever since.

The 100 came up just after he passed 920 rides in the country making for a win rate of almost 11%.

Victoire now lies in 8th place on the all-time foreign jockey list in Korea which is led by Ikuyasu Kurakane, way out in front in 347, followed by Djordje Perovic on 238.

Of the foreign jockeys currently riding in Korea, Franco Da Silva leads with 156 followed by Masa Tanaka on 133 and Antonio Da Silva on 129.

Victoire is one of three French jockeys licensed at Seoul right now with he and David Breux joined this month by Ryan Curatolo, who is beginning an intial four-month license.

 

 

Wonderful Fly Sensational In The Derby

The 2019 Korean Derby was turned into a one-horse procession as Wonderful Fly got the jump on his rivals early and and powered away to win the nation’s top three-year-old race by a near-record 13-lengths at Seoul Racecourse last Sunday.

Wonderful Fly KRA

While Global Chukje was sent off as a prohibitive favourite, the KRA Cup Mile winner was scarcely a factor. Breaking from an unfavourable gate he was wide the entire way around and could only run on for share of the minor money.

Wonderful Fly has similar bad luck with the draw down in Busan but from a perfect gate 5 this time, the result was never in doubt even if jockey Moon Se Young didn’t quite do as he was told.

“It wasn’t my instruction to lead” said trainer Park Dae-heung, “I wanted to be close but not in front. But I trust this jockey. It turned out he was right”.

Most of the other pre-race fancies such as True King and Glitter also struggled to play much of a role and so it was left to outsiders Simuangui Godong and Power Windy to fill out 2nd and 3rd, the latter coming from a seemingly tailed off last at the top of the stretch.

They finished the race an entire two-seconds after the winner, however.

Wonderful Fly Derby KRA

For trainer Park Dae-heung it was a first Derby in his twenty-third year of training. For Moon Se Young it was his third triumph in the race.

Wonderful Fly is a colt by Tiz Wonderful and out of Butterfly (by Pioneering).

The final race in the 2019 Korean Triple Crown series is the Minister’s Cup over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 16th.

2019 KOREAN DERBY – FULL PREVIEW (May 12)

The 22nd running of the Korean Derby (KOR G1) takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon (race 9 of 11 races which run from 10:45 to 18:00). Global Chukje, the dominant winner of the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the 2019 Triple Crown at Busan last month, is set to be hot favourite to score a repeat in the second jewel against fourteen rivals over 1800M.

Horse by horse comments for the Derby are followed by race-by-race for the rest of the Seoul card and then selections for Busan:

Seoul Race 9: KOREAN DERBY (1800M)

  1. DELTA BROTHER – Didn’t run as a juvenile but has won two of four starts this year, with his latest being a front-running victory over 1700M in April. It was only at class 5 so he is still relatively untested, but it showed good potential.
  1. DO KKI BLADE – Only start this term was a good win over 1700M at class 4 level on April 13th when he made all to win by three-lengths. Plenty of potential for improvement. He’ll want to be on pace from the start but has got the ideal draw to do it. There’s a bit of hype around this horse but it could be justified, especially after the draw.
  1. POWER WINDY – Takes his chance having run 2nd to True King at this distance on April 12th having previously racked up back to back wins at shorter. Ran on well that day but will need to find significantly more here.
  1. GABO DAY – Got wiped out coming out of the gates in the KRA Cup Mile but his 45/1 odds that day were likely fair anyway. A class 4 winner but only up to 1300M, the distance is a question too. Outsider again.
  1. WONDERFUL FLY – (KRA Cup Mile 7th) – Won his first two last summer but then suffered some injury setbacks. Showed promise when 2nd on his return over 1400M in March before running a creditable but unthreatening 7th in the Cup Mile. Ran on pleasingly enough from an unpromising position and could be one under the radar here. Multiple champion jockey Moon Se Young takes the ride.
  1. ENDURANCE – Just the one win from six starts so far, he comes in having run 2nd at class 5 over 1300M a month ago. Despite his name, his one attempt around two turns didn’t go well so there are question marks over the distance too. Likely to attempt to get close to the early speed and stay on as long as possible. Outsider.
  1. JANGSAN JOY – Has won twice over a mile at Busan and comes in here following back to back 3rd-place finishes at that same distance at class 4 level, beaten by useful ones both times. Had a couple of setbacks which makes this his first start since February. From a top stable and jockey Franco Da Silva won this race last year. Settles behind the early speed.
  1. DAEJI CHAMP – Two wins as a juvenile but yet to come out on top this term. Runner-up twice to promising filly Doctor Thunder over a mile in January and February. Latest effort saw him 3rd, again at a mile, at class 4 level a month ago. More needed here. Another likely to head for the front from the gate.
  1. WONDERFUL EVIL – Ran 5th in the Seoul Classic trial in March, coming from well-back to finish the quickest of all, but swerved the Cup Mile in order to win over 1700M at class 4 level, once more coming from of the pace. Could be coming into form at the right time and there could be more to come. Live outsider.
  1. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Only debuted in January and after finishing 3rd in his first two, went on to win his next pair, including a wild score over 1700M at class 5 on April 20th when he went so wide, he almost ended up climbing the grandstand. A Korean Derby has actually been in that manner in the past – Final Boss in 2017 – but you’d think he’ll need better manners in order to prevail here.
  1. GAON FORCE – Well backed for the Cup Mile having run a close 3rd in Seoul’s Classic trial in March but was one of a number who was severely hampered coming out of the gate and he accordingly never figured. He’s won 1700M
  1. TRUE KING – A little later coming onto the scene than most rivals, but he was a winner at this distance when he beat Power Windy on his way to scoring by two-and-a-half lengths at class 4 level in April. That puts him right in the hunt. Tucked in behind early lead and finished well. More improvement possible.
  1. GLOBAL CHUKJE – (KRA Cup Mile Winner) – The winner of the KRA Cup Mile, he cruised to the front early that day and won with a full eight-lengths to spare. He’s also a standout winner at class 3 level over 1700M and has shown plenty in the way of speed. He’ll be favourite and won’t need to improve too much to win. He doesn’t need to lead but there will always be question marks about such a wide draw.
  1. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – (KRA Cup Mile 5th) – Likeable colt who could thrive on the distance. 4th in the Sports Seoul and then 5th in the Cup Mile but both were perhaps too short. Easy gate to wire winner over 1700M at class 4 in January. He has a chance.
  1. GLITTER – (KRA Cup Mile 4th) – Solid but unspectacular 4th in Cup Mile but he does hold a 3rd place in a fast class 3 race over 1800M – albeit on a wet track – which may stand him in good stead here. Needs more and will have to do it from the widest gate but can’t rule out the stable. Settles mid-position.

Verdict: A really competitive renewal of the Korean Derby sees (13) GLOBAL CHUKJE set to start a prohibitive favourite on the back of his demolition job in the KRA Cup Mile a month ago. He is the best horse at this stage and all things being equal, he’ll win. However, there are one or two doubts, not least the draw and it’s not impossible he could find himself in trouble in the straight. If that happens then the front running (2) DO KKI BLADE, the big winner from that draw, could be the one to take advantage leading gate to wire but also that one’s stablemate, the improving (5) WONDERFUL FLY, who can run his own race from gate 5. Then there is Kim Young-kwan’s (15) GLITTER, who can be expected to stick to Global Chukje like glue throughout. The long-shot play could be (9) WONDERFUL EVIL, a really good winner over 1700M last month and with potential to improve further still.

Selections (5) Wonderful Fly (13) Global Chukje (15) Glitter (2) Do Kki Blade
Next Best 9, 12, 14
Fast Start 1, 11, 12, 13

Here’s the race-by-race for the rest of the Seoul Sunday card:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Filly maiden to begin with. (4) CRAZY QUEEN came from just behind the early pace to run a strong 2nd on what was just her second start and first at this distance on April 14th. She’s well drawn to get to the front here and can win. (1) SONGAM BARBIE has been knocking on the door for a while and steps back up in trip in good shape to be competitive while (5) BINNANEUN RUBY too has been consistently close and could make a breakthrough here. (2) SUNSHINE MARINE and (8) JANGGUNUI SIDAE were both a touch below par last time but could improve here.

Selections (4) Crazy Queen (1) Songam Barbie (5) Binnaneun Ruby (8) Janggunui Sidae
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 3, 4, 9

Race 2: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) SPEED BELLE was a good winner in a fast time over 1000M on April 13th and steps up in class here with solid claims of a repeat. She raced promisingly over 1300M before so should have few problems with the trip today and can lead all the way. (2) LOOKING GOOD looked anything but when weakening on his latest start. He had a win and a 3rd place before that though, the latter at this class, and is worth another chance off six-weeks break. (7) HANEUL ACE beat Looking Good last time on her way to 5th on what (more…)