Author: gyongmaman

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 21)

There are 11 Sunday races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. The day’s feature is at Busan in the shape of a “Road To G1” event over 1400M which features the likes of Haeya, Perdido Pomeroy, Drop The Beat, Diferent Dimension and the returning Macheon Bolt. Only Seoul is on overseas simulcast so here are the capital’s previews:

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

(4) NEUL SACHAN is a rare runner by one of the most popular Korean racehorses of the early 2000s, Baekgwang and she looks a decent prospect too. 3rd on debut over 1000M a month ago running on nicely, she can benefit from the additional trip today and can win. Main danger is (3) RAON MIRACLE, who already has a 4th and consecutive 3rd place finishes at this distance. She’s not been quick but looks like she has a win in her at some point. (9) CHEON BYEOL and (11) FLYING HERA came home 6th and 6th respectively when they raced each other over the distance on December 16th. For both it was their second career start and for both it showed improvement and they can go close today. (8) SINUITAB is more experienced and while limited, she could match the 4th she managed behind Neul Sachan last time.

Selections (4) Neul Sachan (3) Raon Miracle (9) Cheon Byeol (11) Flying Hera
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field here but it’s nicely competitive. (8) EAST KINGDOM led for much of the way over this distance on what was his second career start on December 16th only to ultimately have to settle for 2nd place and he has every chance of going one better today. (3) DUSON WANGJA has been getting closer across three starts so far, culminating in 3rd at 1200M last time and should take to the additional half furlong well. Both outings so far for (4) RAON SIRIUS have been at this distance and his 3rd place last time was promising while (2) DREAM INDY steps up in trip following 3rd on debut over 1000M and maybe has a little more to find. (6) CHEON MONG, also up in trip after coming 2nd over 1000M when favourite last month, is another in the frame.

Selections (8) East Kingdom (3) Duson Wangja (4) Raon Sirius (6) Cheon Mong
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 2, 4, 6

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A class 6 winner at the distance on November and then a close 2nd on his first try at this class on Christmas Eve, (9) GEUMSUN YOU is the one to beat here. He was favourite last time but it was sloppy conditions and this time he should make no mistake. (11) SHARP KAYLAN has performed creditably in two goes at this level so far and steps back up the distance at which he registered his solitary victory to date and can push the favourite. (1) SISPUMA WINNER and (4) BROWN BOMBER enter having run 3rd and 4th over class and distance on December 17th and should be in the placing frame again with (6) MALAKAS, up in trip following an decent 2nd place over 1000M last month also in with a shot.

Selections (9) Geumsun You (1) Sispuma Winner (11) Sharp Kaylan (4) Brown Bomber
Next Best 6, 8
Fast Start 8, 9, 11, 12

Race 4: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) THE QUEEN GRACE was an easy winner on debut back in September but her only start since then was in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at the end of October. She didn’t go well, fading without trace in the closing stages, but returns here following twelve weeks off and provided she gets a good start – and she’s ideally drawn to do so – she can return to winning ways here. Not an easy race though and (4) GOLD LEG could thwart her. She almost led the whole way around in a similar contest over 1300M on Christmas Eve and dropping back to the minimum today, should be a threat. (1) MENI PARK showed some early talent but had a troubled 2017. She trialled up very nicely in December though and jockey booking catches the eye. (7) ROYAL ACE struggled last time but is worth another go in this company today while it’s a similar story for (8) NAMWON QUEEN.

Selections (6) The Queen Grace (4) Gold Leg (1) Meni Park (7) Royal Ace
Next Best 8, 9
Fast Start 3, 4, 6, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not exactly one to get the pulses racing this but at the same time, tricky enough to make it interesting betting-wise. None of these are very good but three of them did come home 2nd, 3rd and 4th over the distance on December 23rd. (5) NANGMAN STAR was the best of them that day, ahead of (3) WIDAEHAN BALJAGUK and (4) BAEKDU POWER but there was only a length separating them and all three should have a good chance of going close here. (2) SAMDA BULKKOT also comes in having been 3rd at the distance last start. He is a slow starter but has shown he’s capable of staying on and passing plenty late on and he could figure in the closing stages. However, the early pace should be set by (7) ONNURI ALBA. He was slowly away but ultimately ended up leading on his first try over this distance on December 9th. He finished 4th but showed the distance suits and given a more forward ride today, he could just be the one to win.

Selections (7) Onnuri Alba (2) Samda Bulkkot (3) Widaehan Baljaguk (5) Nangman Star
Next Best 4
Fast Start 6, 7

Race 6: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(10) GEUMA FORTE was a bit lacklustre last time but he’s a two-time winner at this distance, if not at this class and he does look the best in here. He’s run once a month since debut so may be in need of a spell, but he’s hardly alone in that and has every chance of winning this. Moon Se Young will give him a patient ride and look to swoop late. Trainer An Byung Ki had a great 2017 and while his 2018 has begun in ordinary fashion, his (6) ARGO AWESOME looks in the frame here. He returned from almost six months off to run 3rd over 1200M a month ago and looks ready to take on two turns for the first time, most likely leading from the gate. (4) SHUMA and (7) HAPPIEST are both up in class having run 1st and 3rd at the distance on December 16th. Shuma looks to have potential for more. Also up in class is (8) MAMBO KHAN. In his case he’s up in distance too but he’s won two from four so far and can be considered. On the other hand, (9) NALSSAEN GANGHO has only won one of his twenty-three previous starts but he looks to be coming into some form with 2nd place in a very similar class and distance race last time.

Selections (10) Geuma Forte (9) Nalssaen Gangho (6) Argo Awesome (4) Shuma
Next Best 8, 11, 1
Fast Start 3, 6, 8

Race 7: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Dare we put (4) REAL GULCH on top? She’s raced eighteen times prior to today and remains a maiden yet has finished 2nd on no fewer than six occasions – all of them within her last eight outings. They include last time at class and distance on December 16th when she beat 3rd place (5) HANBIT NARA (another win-dodger) by two lengths. We’ve said this a couple of times before but really, she’ll not get a better chance of a win. (10) PHOENIX HEART is up in class following his maiden win on what was his first try at the distance on Christmas Eve. He had to battle for it and should be competitive here. (3) LONG WAY returned from a three-month spell to run 5th at the distance last time and can improve today. (6) CHICAGO ART struggled in stiffer company than this last time but scored a good 2nd at the distance the time before. (8) JANGBI CHEONBOK is up in class following the narrowest of victories at this distance and while he probably has a bit to find, there’s not too much to fear here.

Selections (4) Real Gulch (10) Phoenix Heart (3) Long Way (6) Chicago Art
Next Best 8, 5, 2
Fast Start 1, 6, 9

Race 8: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

With a 3rd and two 2nd places from his three outings so far and beaten by decent types on each occasion, it’s time for (5) RICHARDOFNEWSTEAD to make his own breakthrough today. He should be leading from gate to wire. It’s hard to imagine him being beaten but (6) JANGSAN BEARS put in a creditable showing in 4th on debut and could improve. (7) USEUNG TEUKKI too didn’t do anything wrong on his first start. (8) MORFHIS has been a touch disappointing in two efforts so far despite relatively high expectations. It’s early days though and he should be looking for a to-date best finish here. There are a couple of debut-makers with (3) CHOEGANG GOSU looking the better of them in trials.

Selections (5) Richardofnewstead (8) Mofphis (6) Jangsan Bears (7) Useung Teukki
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 5, 7

Race 9: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

After a 4th place on debut in September, (7) ROAD WINNER has won two in a row by a combined nine-lengths. He’s up in class today and slightly in distance too but neither should be too much of an issue. He doesn’t lead early in his races, but he has a strong finish and he can complete a hat-trick of victories here. This is by no means a bad race though and it’s his stiffest test so far. (1) SAMJUNG TAPIT enters off back to back 3rd places at class and distance in similar strength contests and will surely play a role again. Likewise, (3) CHEONJAEILU’s recent form reads well. (4) MIGHTY SSING is up in class and distance and while he won’t be among the favourites, he should be on the early pace and could spring a surprise. Competing with him for the early lead is likely to be (10) YEOKJEONUI USEUNG, who is similarly up in class and distance following a smart victory over 1200M last month.

Selections (7) Road Winner (1) Samjung Tapit (3) Cheonjaeilu (10) Yeokjeonui Useung
Next Best 4, 11, 12
Fast Start 1, 4, 10, 11

Race 10: Class 1 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 110 Million

(1) DONGCHONUI ACHIM has had a bit of a stop/start career but he is a solid sprinter and while the 2nd place he achieved over 1200M in December was in one of the weakest class 1 races in recent times at Seoul, this one isn’t especially stiff either and he could well go one better. (5) TAEYANGWANG came back into form on his latest at this distance last month, beating (8) GANGSEONG DAEGUK in the proves. Both should be in the frame. (6) JANGSAN COWBOY steps back in trip and may benefit. (7) JEONMUHUMU won his last start at this distance in October and if he can get on the early lead, should be a threat. (9) BRIGHT CAT is up in class following a four-length win at the distance seven weeks ago. He’s very nicely weighted and he shouldn’t be out of his depth.

Selections (1) Dongchonui Achim (8) Gangseong Daeguk (5) Taeyangwang (6) Jangsan Cowboy
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 7, 11

Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Competitive race to finish up with. (12) BEST TEN and (3) SCARLET WITCH came home 3rd and 4th when they raced each other at class and distance on November 18th. Neither have run since but both come in here looking to be leading contenders with Scarlet Witch marginally favoured to get on the early pace and go all the way. (1) SENTA POBA steps back in trip after enduring a chastening time at 1700M last month and should be much more comfortable today. (8) GWACHEONUI HAMSEON races for the first time since a strong 3rd in a better race than this n November and must be considered. The up in class (5) SIN DOLGYEOK is another in the frame.

Selections (3) Scarlet Witch (12) Best Ten (8) Gwancheonui Hamseon (1) Senta Poba
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 3, 5, 7, 11
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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 20)

Saturday racing at Seoul sees 12 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews: 

Race 1: Class 1 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not a strong race to begin with so we’re going to be looking for improvers. (9) POP STREET only finished 6th of 12 on debut at the end of November but it was a decent time in a reasonable race and came off the back of a good trial too. With Moon Se Young taking over in the saddle today, he’ll probably be favourite and for good reason. (5) SARYEONI THUNDER only beat one home in a poor showing last start but has had eight weeks off since and previously ran a decent enough 4th so can be considered for improvement. (7) POWER KOREA is more experienced and steps back in trip after a creditable effort over 1700M. He’s one-paced but if he gets a good start, could feature. Of the rest, (6) BARAM KING and (10) HUNTER HAWK look most likely.

Selections (9) Pop Street (5) Saryeoni Thunder (10) Hunter Hawk (7) Power Korea
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 5, 7, 8

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Seven of the twelve are first-timer starters and we’ve some potentially good ones among them. All three of (1) RAON PRIMER, (7) BAEKSAN FORCE and (10) GULCHARMNAMSUP won their trials and look to be the leading contenders. The latter was the most visually impressive, so we’ll go with her but the other two have every chance as well. If we prefer ones who have already raced, (12) BEST CHAPEL and (8) BOEUNUI KKUM debuted together at the distance on December 23rd. In slow conditions, they came home 2nd and 4th respectively and both should be in the frame again. (11) STAR SOCKS was a full twelve lengths behind a good winner on her debut on Christmas Eve but nevertheless managed a good 3rd place and can can’t be completely ruled out.

Selections (10) Gulcharmnamsup (1) Raon Primer (12) Best Chapel (7) Baeksan Force
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 1, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) WONDEFUL CHAMPION has gone well across four starts so far and while his best was on his debut, his 4th place last time out at class and distance stands him in good stead to make the breakthrough here despite the fact he’s coming in following ten weeks off. That race was a bit stronger than the one in which (9) SPECIAL STONE scored a really good 2nd place on debut the week before Christmas and she should be the main danger. (1) HUIMANGUI NALGAE and (8) RAON GANGHO came home 3rd and 4th in what was a (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 19)

There are 11 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) DAEDONG GISANG was a much improved 2nd when tried at this distance for the first time on December 22nd and shapes to figure here. (1) GHOST WARRIOR was well back in that race but got an unfortunate trip and can be given another chance having been close before. (5) SHARP BELL looked sharp when returning from six months out two weeks ago, running 3rd over 1000M. She’s back up to a distance at which she has performed well in the past and she looks in contention. (2) ADELE HERO steps back in trip and may improve after encouraging recent runs while (3) CHANGE KHAN raced three times without distinction last year and returns from six months off. Her barrier trial didn’t catch the eye, but the jockey booking does. There is one debut-maker, (6) GASOK SPEED. She was good in trials and has to be given a chance first up here.

Selections (4) Daedong Gisang (1) Ghost Warrior (6) Gasok Speed (5) Speed Bell
Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 3, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) UNSEOK has improved over the course of three starts so far and beat a couple of these on his way to 2nd place over the distance last time. True, he was a long way back behind the winner that day, but that winner has gone on to strike again and Unseok looks the one to beat here. (3) WONDERFUL STORY and (4) YONGGU came hoe 5th and 6th that day and could improve but a bigger danger may be (7) BAEKDU JEONGGI. Thomas Gillespie’s colt has a 3rd and 4th from two starts so far and steps up in trip for the first time today and it may well suit. (2) I’M YOUR STAR will be expected to improve as well.

Selections (6) Unseok (7) Baekdu Jeonggi (2) I’m Your Star (4) Yonggu
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 5

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

Not a strong race this so we’re going to give another chance to (4) RARARA. She could only manage 7th of 12 last time but it was a significantly stiffer contest than this and she had plenty of bad luck along the way. With a better trip today, she can win. (7) (more…)

J.S. Hold, First Korean Triple Crown Winner, Has Died

J.S. Hold, who in 2007 won the first ever Korean Triple Crown, has died. The 14-year-old passed away on January 6th from complications of colic on Jeju Island, where he had been living since his retirement in 2008. 

J.S Hold

J.S. Hold 2004-2018. Here winning the Minister’s Cup in 2007 (Pic: KRA)

J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwansangjiljoo (Passetreul)] made his debut on Minister’s Cup day in October 2006 in the very first race on the card, a juvenile allowance over five furlongs. He finished 4th, a full fifteen lengths behind the winner Ganghomyeongjang. Although already, by Korean standards of the time, a physically impressive specimen, there were few indications that J.S. Hold would never be beaten again. His and Ganghomyeongjang had unfinished business.

The first win arrived a month later in a similar juvenile contest. Third in the betting, J.S. Hold went straight to the front this time and never looked back, winning by an eye-catching fourteen lengths. Another facile victory in December, this time a six-length score over Gi Ra Seong and Top Point, both of whom would go on to be multiple winners themselves, saw J.S. Hold head into 2007 as one of the favourites for the new Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown series, intended to bring more of a sporting aspect into racing in Korea, would take two existing contests on the calendar, the Ttukseom Cup and Minister’s Cup and make them into races for three-year-old domestic bred horses, joining the Korean Derby, which would be in its tenth year, as a Triple Crown.

By the time they got to the first race, the Ttukseom Cup over 1400M in April, J.S. Hold was hot favourite having added a further three easy victories between January and March up to the Derby distance of 1800M by a combined twenty-four lengths. It was evident, this was no normal Korean racehorse.

Second-favourite for the Ttukseom was Ganghomyeongjang, who since defeating J.S. Hold on what was both of their debuts, had managed to avoid him while accruing three more victories of his own. It was a mismatch. Moon Jung Kyun on J.S. Hold allowed Ganghomyeongjang to lead from the gate but went past him at the top of the stretch and eased away to a seven-length win.

The Korean Derby followed in May and it was expected to be a formality. It was but the manner of it was still astonishing. J.S. Hold left the field in the back straight and cantered home uncontested with the margin on the line eleven lengths. Ganghomyeongjang had to settle for 4th with Natural Nine and Namchonuijijon – who would both go on to have long and successful careers, in 2nd and 3rd.

With the Triple Crown being modeled at that time on the British version rather than the American, the final leg wasn’t until October, almost five months after the Derby. Accordingly, J.S. Hold was sent out in July against older horses. Chief among them Myeongmun Gamun, who would go on to win the President’s Cup twice, and Secret Weapon also firmly established in the Seoul elite. Punters sent J.S. Hold off as the odds-on favourite and he duly delivered. striking the front two furlongs out and romping away to win by five lengths.

It was then, however, that J.S. Hold, until now reasonably sound, began to experience leg problems which added to a nagging, if not serious, eye issue. Plans for a further prep race for the Minister’s Cup were shelved and it became touch and go as to whether he would make the big race itself. He made it and despite his problems being well-documented, began as long odds-on favourite, such was his perceived superiority. This time it wasn’t so straightforward.

The pace in the 2000M race was set, as expected by Ganghomyeongjang with J.S. Hold slowly away but improving up the back to move up into 2nd place at the top of the stretch but with still four-lengths to make up. This time though he didn’t cruise past Ganghomyeongjang as if he wasn’t there. This time Ganghomyeongjang was still very much there. Still there as they passed the furlong pole and still there at the 100M. J.S Hold was game though. With Ganghomyeongjang all out, Moon Jung Kyun found just a little more and the Ttukseom Cup and Derby winner finally got his nose in front just 30 metres from the line. He crossed it almost a length in front and history was made. J.S. Hold had won the Triple Crown.

He wasn’t fit though and his trainer later admitted that he probably shouldn’t have run. One month after the race, J.S. Hold was diagnosed with tendinitis and accordingly didn’t run in the President’s Cup (won by Myeongmun Gamun, who he had so easily defeated), or the Grand Prix, In fact, he never ran again, In June of 2008, he passed a qualifying trial and was entered in a Class 1 handicap but he never made it to the final declaration stage. In October of 2008, almost exactly one year after his great triumph, J.S. Hold returned to Seoul Racecourse on a race day to be officially retired. He and jockey Moon Jung Kyun cantering down the home straight and through the finish line to the exceptionally rare sound of warm applause from the assembled ranks of usually cynical punters (the full ceremony can be watched at this link).

What would happen to J.S. Hold began a welcome discussion into the care of retired racehorses in Korea. Prior to his retirement ceremony it was noted that with little interest in using Korean bred stallions – even a Triple Crown winner – for breeding, his future may not be secure and a minor uproar ensued in the local racing media. Guarantees were swiftly made for him by his owner, which were honoured, and he lived his remaining years in retirement on Jeju Island, covering a few mares each year until succumbing to illness at a sadly still relatively young age.  A handful of his progeny are racing today. The discussion that was started has  continued to the point where, almost ten years later, things still have a long way to go to be perfect and, like other places, horses’ post-racing fates still depend on what their owners can or will do for them, but the days of having to automatically fear the worst, are over.

J.S Hold 2

If I may conclude by being self-indulgent for a paragraph or three, J.S. Hold was the horse who got me into Korean racing. By the time of his Triple Crown, I had been living in Seoul for a couple of years and visited the racecourse every few weeks for a recreational punt but while admiring the gleaming facilities, I wasn’t especially impressed by the racing itself and preferred to spend most weekends watching football and getting my racing fix by punting on races back home.

Then J.S. Hold came along. I happened to be at the track during one of his prep races for the Ttukseom Cup and noticed that this was a very different beast to the usual lot. This was, to put it bluntly, a racehorse – something I might have seen at Newmarket (or at least Yarmouth). A few months later I was with a group of friends (yes, I did have some) on Minister’s Cup day and the moment he went past Ganghomyeongjang in the final strides was the moment I was hooked. This was racing – this was sport. A couple of weeks later I started this blog, the header image of which is still a picture taken that day.

J.S. Hold wasn’t the first superstar Korean-bred racehorse and in the years since others have come through, notably his successor in winning the new Triple Crown, Power Blade. But J.S. Hold was special and he won’t be forgotten.

Trial Reports: Jan 12/13 (Royal Ruby, Goliath Marine, Lucky Nova)

Seoul – January 12 (4 trials)

US import Malibu Bulpae (Malibu Moon) ran on very strongly to cross the line eight lengths ahead of the rest on what was a very cold morning in Seoul. He arrived in Korea last June and this was first time qualifying.

Argo Hwanggeumkkot (Louis Quatorze) blitzed his heat, finishing 12-lengths and two full seconds clear. The five-year-old got his solitary victory in January last year but struggled in six attempts at class 3 and last raced in September.

Class 2 horse Special Joy (Kitten’s Joy) won heat 3 easily but will need to do another starting test having been very slowly out of the gate. He last raced in September.

Cupid Lady (Peace Rules), sent back to trial having finished a tailed off last over 1800M in November, won the final heat comfortably. She’s won four of nine in total

Busan – January 13 (4 trials)

Turnpike (Corinthian) looked very comfortable winning his heat at Busan last Saturday. Peter Wolsley’s four-year-old has won 4 of 15 and last raced in September 2017. In the same trial, David Millar’s Sillaui Dalbam (Menifee) finished off nicely for 2nd. He last raced in August 2017.  They passed a tiring Black Shield (Einstein) who led from the gate. Kim Young Kwan’s three-year-old filly is yet to make her racing debut.

Lucky Nova (Vicar), who won four of her first five races between May and August last year re-qualified. She ran a close 2nd in her heat to Lucky Time (Street Hero) , who had a very promising season as a three-year-old in 2016 but suffered setbacks in 2017.

Goliath Marine (Volponi), 4th in the 2016 Grand Prix Stakes was sent out for a tune-up easily winning his heat. He last ran in the President’s Cup in November, his 8th of 9 completing a disappointing latter half of the year for him. Royal Ruby (Chapel Royal), 2nd in both the KRA Cup Mile and Korean Derby and 4th in the Minister’s Cup re-qualified in the same heat. He hasn’t raced since the final leg of the Triple Crown last July.

Three-year-old filly S S Young (Spicule) was a very comfortable winner of the first heat of the day, making all on the bridle. She is yet to race.

(Trials take place at Seoul Racecourse on Friday mornings and Busan Racecourse on Saturday mornings, commencing at 10:20am).

 

Weekend Round-up: New Citadel, Today Begin 2018 With Wins

New Citadel and Today were the biggest names in action this past weekend in Korea, the pair beginning strong favourites for their respective assignments at Seoul and Busan.

Today was an easy winner of Busan’s Sunday feature, tracking early leader Gasok Engine under just over a furlong out before cruising past for a three-length victory. Today (Drosselmeyer) moved on to eight wins from ten starts and is looking a fine sprinter althugh he has won at a mile too.

At Seoul, New Citadel had to work much harder for victory on what was his first start sicne running 2nd to Cheongdam Dokki in the KRA Cup Classic last October. He was sent (more…)

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 14)

Bitter cold gave way to snow on Saturday but Sunday should be fine and there’s plenty of racing to keep us occupied at both Seoul and Busan. New Citadel and Sinjo Daehyeop face off in Seoul’s feature race while Today is favourite to land his eighth win in ten outings in the main event at Busan. Seoul runs 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 and Busan 6 from 12:40 to 17:05. The previews follow but first here’s a picture of jockey Park Tae Jong participating in the Olympic Torch relay in Incheon this past week:

Park Tae Jong torch

Prk Tae Jong carries the Olympic flame (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Moon Se Young may not be champion jockey now for the first time that anyone can remember but he looks nailed on to win on what will be his first ride of 2018. (1) THE JIJON has a 2nd, 3rd and a 4th in three outings to date and surely leads all the way to get it right this time. (3) YONGUI JUDO and (4) M.J. CAPTAIN have shown glimpses of ability so far and look the most likely to chase the favourite home – and give him problems if he slips up. As for the others, (2) SPEED HWANGNYONG didn’t really do anything wrong on debut last month so he gets another chance here while (11) GAJA GAJA returns to action for the first time since last July, trialled up in a reasonable manner and has the new champion jockey, Djordje Perovic on board. 

Selections (1) The Jijon (3) Yongui Judo (4) M.J. Captain (11) Gaja Gaja
Next Best 2, 5
Fast Start 1, 4, 5, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

This looks a much more open affair. Not a huge amount of experience on show but one or two have shown promising signs. Chief among those is (4) BAEKDUI TAEYANG, an improved 4th when stepped up to this trip in his second start on December 2nd. (5) ACE CANT goes at 1300M for the first time today and looks as though he may benefit from it. (6) EMERALD KING struggled in what was a slightly harder race than this time when resuming from an eight-week spell having previously run close at 1200M and can go better here. (3) LAST CONCERT and (8) MENI SMART are others in the hunt.

Selections (4) Baekdui Taeyang (5) Ace Cant (8) Meni Smart (6) Emerald King
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million 

(4) JEJUI HEUKSEON was a good 2nd on debut (albeit ten-lengths behind an impressive winner) at this distance in November. She was unable to follow up two weeks later in a stiffer contest at 1200M but looks in good shape to go close in this all-filly affair. More experienced is (8) FIRST QUEEN and she’s not been too far away in recent efforts. She tends to leave herself just a little too much to do but could get it right here. (7) CHEON YUN and (1) KYU JEU came home 4th and 5th at the distance last time and can figure while (6) TAMNA YEOSIN comes in off an encouraging run over 1000M last time and can improve.

Selections (4) Jejui Heukseon (8) First Queen (6) Tamna Yeosin (7) Cheon Yun
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

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

Wide open this one and although there are a couple up in class coming off good wins in the shape of (7) CHAPEL ACE and (9) PRIMO, it’s going to be the ones who have experience of this level who are favoured. (10) SWEETLY HUMOR was a good 2nd, having briefly led close to home, over the distance on December 17th and can at least match that today, likely leading from the start. (2) HANSEONG KING also comes in having placed at the distance last time while (11) LIVE POWER drops back in trip after a good 2nd at 1700M back in November. (8) GWACHEON TUHON was well back behind Sweetly Humor last time but has done enough in the past to warrant a further look.

Selections (10) Sweetly Humor (2) Hanseong King (11) Live Power (9) Primo
Next Best 8, 6, 12
Fast Start  

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

(5) SAUVIGNON looks a likely warm favourite in this fill. A maiden winner at the distance in November, she then ran a good 4th on her first try ay this class a month ago. This field looks eminently beatable. (2) VICTORY STAR finds herself up in class here despite remaining a maiden. Two 3rds and a 2nd see her promoted but there’s little to (more…)