Author: gyongmaman

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 14)

This Sunday sees the Busan Mayor’s Cup, the final leg of the Stayers’ Series where Cheongdam Dokki will once again seek to see off the likes of Tiz Plan and Shamrocker to take a clean sweep off all three legs having already won the Herald Business and YTN Cups. Before that though there is a big 15-race card at Busan on Friday running from 11:30 to 18:00. With Coivd-19 confirmed cases having risen to between 40-50 per day this week, there is still no sign as to if and when racegoers will be allowed to return to the tracks. Here are the previews:

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Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Two-year-old gallopers kick of proceedings on Friday with six of the eleven engaged previously raced. (3) GALLANT WARRIOR is the on top selection in a race with many chances. The Old Fashioned colt has performed well at his two starts to date, coming off a last start fourth behind a handy type named Doctor Fashion. (7) CLEAN HIT trialed up nicely in his heat, when only having to be asked for in the last half furlong. He clocked a good time considering there was minimal urging from Lyu Gwang-hee. Busan’s leading rider You Hyun-myung will ride the colt on debut. (4) LUCAS SUN lines up for his second start after finishing midfield on debut behind World Cheonsa. The Purge colt was beaten a big margin, but his time was good and the winner looks an above average type. (5) THE FIRST FACTOR is another that finished behind a special one last start, named Winner’s Man. The filly settled better than midfield before running through the line one-paced. If she can find some improvement on top of her last effort, she can run into the money.

Selections (3) Gallant Warrior (7) Clean Hit (4) Lucas Sun (5) The First Factor
Next Best 12, 2
Fast Start 6, 10, 12

 

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

The second is an all-aged maiden for the Korean-bred gallopers where a field of ten will start over six furlongs. With very little speed engaged in the event it looks a good opportunity for (4) RAPTOR MAN to break through under new apprentice Mo Junho. The Rock Hard Ten gelding brought up his first placing last time out, when second behind Pai Blade. He looks one that appreciated the enforced break, he should be able to jump and run from gate four and prove hard to beat. (5) POWERFUL LEGEND looks capable of running into the money after finishing third last time out over this distance. The three-year-old gives the indication he is backmarker so don’t expect him to be settling in the first couple. (6) RAPIDO QUEEN will debut in the race. The Sadamu Patek filly clocked a fair time in her trial, many of these have shown limited ability suggesting she can figure at her first start. (10) HUIMANG SOYEO looks next best as she lines up for her first-up run. She trialed up well and has previously placed in similar company.

Selections (4) Raptor Man (5) Powerful Legend (6) Rapido Queen (10) Huimang Soyeo
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 4, 9

 

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

Another all-aged maiden for the Korean-bred gallopers here with a field of eleven engaged. In a race lacking depth, (9) DOCTOR KHAN goes on top after finishing third last start over this distance behind Nice One. The Menifee gelding was beaten ten lengths on that occasion but this is a much easier assignment. There should be some natural improvement with this start being his third career run. (6) SPRING FIRE is another that was beaten by a big margin when placing in an age-restricted race last time out. The Lion Santa filly finished third but clocked a time that will see her competitive against a field of this caliber. (2) MYEONGGA DAERO looks capable of running into a place with a good draw. The four-year-old has had eighteen starts, yielding just one place. He comes off a last start fourth when clocking a fair time behind Kkumeul Neomeo. (4) KING BROTHER has finished midfield at his three starts to date. He resumes in this event coming off a fair trial.

Selections (9) Doctor Khan (6) Spring Fire (2) Myeongga Daero (4) King Brother
Next Best 10, 3
Fast Start 6, 11

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The two and three-year-old gallopers line up in the fourth over 1300m, all looking for their first win. In a very even contest, (10) TWO TWO CELEB looks capable of being in the finish. The Cowboy Cal filly will carry just the 51.5kg coming off a midfield performance behind World Cheonsa. This race looks an easier assignment, where she will get the services of You Hyun-myung. (4) ECHO GOOD was slightly disappointing last time out when well thought of in a similar event. The Tiz Wonderful filly could only manage fifth, when one-paced in the run to the line never looking a winning chance. (5) ROYALIST lines up for his third start, coming off a fifth last time out over this distance. The Chapel Royal three-year-old was beaten a big margin but this looks an easier assignment. He did place behind Smart Value on debut. Flashy chestnut (9) TAPIT WONDERFUL looks an each-way play based on his two starts to date. The three-year-old placed on debut and then was beaten seven lengths when finishing fourth behind Top Of The Girl.

Selections (10) Two Two Celeb (4) Echo Good (5) Royalist (9) Tapit Wonderful
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 1, 5

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The fifth will see the Korean-bred fillies line up over 1300m. (8) DASEUNG E produced a good performance last time out when finishing second behind Wind Park in similar company. The filly sat on speed and went down less than a length, over the same distance as this event. If she can hand in a similar effort, she should go close with minimal early speed engaged in the event. (7) QUEEN VRONSKY has notched two placings from as many starts including a last start second behind Top Lucky. The filly has the ability to close over a sprint distance, the additional half furlong should be in her favour. (3) SATURDAY QUEEN went down a head last time out when second behind Blue Ember. The Any Given Saturday four-year-old maps to sit just behind the speed and be given every chance as heads turn for home. (5) CAPSTONE comes out of the same races where she finished fourth. She was somewhat one-paced through the line but is capable of figuring.

Selections (8) Daseung E (7) Queen Vronsky (3) Saturday Queen (5) Capstone
Next Best 10, 1
Fast Start 8, 10

 

Race 6: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The next best thing from a dead certainty will line up in the sixth where a compact field of eight will go over the 1400m. (3) PORRIMA lines up in a race which she should win by panels. The Old Fashioned filly is the only runner to bring any reasonable form into the race. She comes off a last start third behind Adele Classic where she was comprehensively beaten. This race looks much easier, expect her to work to the front and not be headed. (2) TRUE WARRIOR is fourth up and should be rock hard fit. He (more…)

Korean Oaks Sunday – Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (August 9)

On Sunday it’s the fillies’ turn to have their Three-Year-Old Classic as the 2020 Korean Oaks takes place at Busan. A field of fifteen will line up in the Group 2 feature which is the last race on Busan’s 5-race Sunday card. At Seoul there are 12 races from 10:25 to 18:00. See below for the race-by-race preview along with horse by horse for the Oaks:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Plenty of interest lies in the first event with eleven two-year-old gallopers, nine of them unraced taking to the track. (4) GRAY CAT trialed up very nicely early July underneath Song Jae-chul. The Cowboy Cal colt won his trial by six lengths when clocking a solid time for the 1000m. (2) LUCKY JAESAN was another one who trialed up well. The Hansen filly clocked 62.1 seconds for her heat when winning by six lengths as well. She showed early speed in her trial so expect much the same from a good gate. (11) GREEN POKJU is one of two runners that has had a run coming into the race. The Old Fashioned filly hit the line superbly to finish second behind Cobra Ball. She is likely to settle rearwards once again with the outside draw. (6) YEONGUNG DAEMA also lined up in a two-year-old event on debut when fourth behind Samantha Cheetah. She is capable of filling a place.

Selections (4) Gray Cat (2) Lucky Jaesan (11) Green Pokju (6) Yeongung Daema
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 9

 

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

A maiden open to both two and three-year-olds here. (6) MUSSANG HWANGHU came from well back to run an improved 3rd over 1200M on what was her second career start on July 18th. The slight step up in trip today can be to her benefit and she has a good chance of making the breakthrough. (7) MAKALU POWER has steadily improved over three outings to date, culminating in a runner-up finish at 1200M last start. His times have not been fast but he won’t need to improve much to be challenging here and has every chance of getting on the early speed. (11) STAR RUSH comes into contention following an improved 4th at 1200M a month ago and is another who may appreciate the small increase in distance. (1) ONE JI has been dreadful in three outings so far but looked much better when trialing two weeks ago in a fast time. Nevertheless, we’ll need to see him actually racing before we can be confident about him. The solitary debut-maker is (2) JANGSAN ENGINE and the Ecton Park filly, who has been trialing for more than a year, looked competent in her latest heat in July.

Selections (6) Mussang Hwanghu (7) Makalu Power (2) Jangsan Engine (11) Star Rush
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 1, 7

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Fair to say not the most inspiring field lines up in the third event on the card. (6) POWER MUSIC is the on top selection after finishing third last time out over the 1400m. The Winchester filly will go over the same distance where she is drawn to settle just off the speed and reel of a good sectional with minimal weight on her back. (10) SHINY QUEEN is still lightly raced enough that connections will be hoping she can show something. She improved last time out and is another that can run into the minor money. (7) IRYEO HAYEO looks capable of running a place in a much weaker assignment today. It is hard to include her with one place from twenty-five starts but this is such a weak race. (3) HOSUA is third up after finishing fourth last time out. He hit the line fairly and is another capable of running into the money.

Selections (6) Power Music (10) Shiny Queen (7) Iryeo Hayeo (3) Hosua
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 6

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only here for this handicap. (8) SAMANTHA CHEETAH was a revelation on debut, making all to win as easily as she pleased over five-furlongs. She steps up in both class and distance here but the manner of victory means she can go on top again. This is a strong race for the level though. (5) GOOD VOW also steps up in class following a maiden win in which she posted a time even faster than Samantha Cheetah’s and she too should be more then competitive at this level and will also challenge for the lead early. (7) BAEDARI CANDY too was a debut winner with a front-running performance and while she perhaps has a little bit more to find, looks right in the hunt as well. As for those with experience at this level already, (2) TANK SOCKS and (9) OUR SIMON are both proven money winners and should go close. There could be quite a cavalry charge to get the lead.

Selections (8) Samantha Cheetah (5) Good Vow (2) Tank Socks (9) Our Simon
Next Best 7, 10, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11

 

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Twelve imports face the starter in the fifth where they will go over the 1400m. (11) HAENGBOK WANGJA has been knocking on the door for quite some time and comes into the race with two runner-up performances since the break. Moon Se-young will take over from the injured Yoo Seung-wan. The Moon will have to overcome the outside gate but the horse has been hitting the line strong, suggesting he can let the Daredevil colt have time to find his feet. (2) GRAYDOL looks one that is capable of running into the money. The gelding has been hitting the line strong and gets a much better draw today. Whilst finishing in the money once from six starts, his times suggest he can figure in a weaker event. (6) VICTORY GO GO is second up and should strip fitter for the run. She was only fair first up when finishing fourth behind Level Tap, when one-paced through the line. (7) GOOD SENSE looks next best after placing in a Class 5 event, which is never ideal after commencing your career in Class 4 grade.

Selections (11) Haengbok Wangja (2) Graydol (6) Victory Go Go (7) Good Sense
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 1, 6, 7

 

Busan Race 1: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A testing little race for the imported maidens. (5) GOOD FOR YOU was a nice 3rd on debut behind Geuma Mystic, who has gone on to win again and previously finished ahead of Derby winner Save The World in a trial. She ran 8th on her re-appearance at 1300M on July 10th but that was a much stiffer race than this and she was competitive. She can win. (10) HWANHUIUI BANSEOK was a useful 3rd on debut over this distance on July 19th. He was a front-runner that day so the draw is not kind here, but he can overcome that and compete again. (2) POKPUNG EONDEOK and (9) TRAFFIC MARINE underwhelmed in their respective appearances before the shutdown but both looked good in trials and can improve here. There are also four debut-makers and among them both (4) SONIC KING IJI and (6) JESSIEUI KKUM were both trial winners who can go well first up.

Selections (5) Good For You (4) Sonic King Iji (10) Hwanhuiui Banseok (6) Jessieui Kkum
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 4, 5, 10

 

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Very competitive affair with plenty of these on the up. (4) JANGSAN BADA wasn’t detained by the lower levels for very long and steps up in class here having won two of three and finishing runner-up in the other. His latest win came in a fast time over this distance and while he carries plenty of weight again, he looks nicely in to just sit on the shoulder of the lead and finish strongly. (3) JEONGMUN BOLT was an all the way winner (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 8)

There is a 15-race behind-closed-doors card at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

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Racing is now just about the only thing in Korea – if not the only – to not be allowed customers

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old runners will line up over the short course in the first on the card. Only two of the eleven engaged have had a start, they are the on-top selections. (2) ADELE MUSTANG debuted in good style when clocking a good time on a dry track early last month. The Menifee colt settled behind the leader before failing to reel in the pacemaker going down two lengths behind Ultra Sidae. A similar performance should so the Song Moon-gil trained galloper go close. (6) TK BOY finished second on debut when running on well from a midfield position to finish second behind the impressive looking Heungbaragi. The margin was big but the winner looks something special. (11) HAPPY SOCKS looks best of the debutants coming off a solid trial performance. The filly will have to overcome the outside draw but with some early speed, should be able to cross in a race with not a lot of speed. (3) RAON THE SOX looks next best but will need to take improvement off her trial to be a winning chance.

Selections (2) Adele Mustang (6) TK Boy (11) Happy Socks (3) Raon The Sox
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 2, 5, 9, 11

 

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

Maidens here with all but one of them having raced at least once before. Best so far has been (8) MARU CASTLE, who ran a strong 2nd to Wonderful Light in a fast time on a good track on July 11th. She steps up in trip here but should be able to cope with that and can win. (9) PARAN WANGJA is one of only two in the race to have previously appeared twice. He ran well with a 3rd and a 5th either side of the shutdown and can improve today with Moon Se Young aboard for the first time. We’re scratching around with the rest though. (5) MISO GADEUK and (6) AROMA finished 5th and 6th respectively on debut over 1000M on June 21st. They didn’t go very quick but they won’t need to get much better to go close here. A word too for apprentice jockey Lim Da-bin, who takes his first race ride on (10) TEUNTEUNA. The 4kg allowance may help the colt get a bit closer than he did on debut.

Selections (8) Maru Castle (9) Paran Wangja (5) Miso Gadeuk (6) Aroma
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 8, 9

 

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

The fillies face the starter in the third where they will go over the six furlongs. (10) BAEKDUWA HALLA resumed in good style first up over the 1300m late June. The chestnut reeled off a good final sectional to finish second behind Hwa Ssi Byeok in a similar type race. (2) QUEEN LION is also second up after finishing fifth behind K.N. Power over 1000m mid-July. The filly was somewhat one-paced in the event but the time was fair, suggesting with some improvement she can figure. (7) LADY LUCKY lines up for her fourth career start after running through the line in good style last time out. The chestnut will be stretched beyond the 1000m for the first time. (6) HANSEN PRIMA looks next best coming off some fair trial performances. She will line up for her debut run from a central draw.

Selections (10) Baekduwa Halla (2) Queen Lion (7) Lady Lucky (6) Hansen Prima
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 2, 3

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This is not a strong maiden, to put it mildly. (4) GEUMA ROBUST showed some improvement on what was her second career start on June 20th, running on reasonably well for 4th over 1200M. The additional half-furlong may suit and she has as much chance as any of making the breakthrough here. (5) HOEBOK has finished in 4th on three of his four starts to date. He’s shown little in the way of speed but won’t need to do too much more in order to go close today. (7) AFLEET MARINE debuted promisingly in 3rd place behind Wonderful Storm in June but then struggled on her return three weeks ago. The step up in trip can suit and she’s worth another chance today. (9) JOEUN GWANGYE and (11) WORLD TEUKGEUP are others who can improve.

Selections (7) Afleet Marine (4) Geuma Robust (5) Hoebok (9) Joeun Gwangye
Next Best 11, 6
Fast Start 1, 11

 

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

The Korean-bred maidens line up in the fifth over the 1300m. (3) CLEAN HEART has been knocking on the door at his past couple of starts and gets an ideal assignment here. He has rattled off some good sectionals this time in and is capable of finishing over the top of them here. (8) SPRING COME is second-up after a midfield performance when first up mid-July. The chestnut’s run back in February showed that he has an engine when finishing second behind Siberia over the short course. (2) ETERNAL MEMORY placed over the 1300m first up when clocking a fair time on a firm track last start. Lee Hyeong-jong will be legged aboard the three-year-old for the first time. (4) HWARYEO is best of the rest with the remainder of the field having limited depth.

Selections (3) Clean Heart (8) Spring Come (2) Eternal Memory (4) Hwaryeo
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1,7, 8, 9

 

Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(4) FIRE HEART was an eye-catching winner on debut, making all for a five-length score over 1000M on a wet track on July 4th. He is up in class and distance today but he looks to have plenty more in him and can win again. It won’t be easy though as this is a useful (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 7)

It’s Korean Oaks weekend with the big race being held at Busan on Sunday. Before that there is a bumper 15-race Friday program at Busan from 11.30 to 18.00. Once more, despite other sports -and in fact everything else in Korea – now being open, permission has still not been given for racegoers to attend.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Juvenile maidens to kick off Friday’s card with seven of the eleven having raced once before. Four of them debuted in the same race over this distance on July 17th and it was (3) B.K. LOOKS who ran out the best of them, finishing in 2nd place. He had led early before being left behind by a very nice looking winner, Winner’s Man, and showed enough to suggest he has a win in him sooner rather than later. Of the others who went that day, (2) BAEK PUNG in 6th ran reasonably well and has the potential to improve here. (1) NAMED came from off the pace on her debut on June 26th to run on well for 5th place and can build on that today. Among the three first-time starters, (5) MACH TITAN looks the pick. The Hansen colt made all to comfortably win a trial under minimal urging three weeks ago. If he brings that form to the racetrack and then gets a lead again, he will be hard to beat. (6) STEADY WINNER is a half-sister to the very good Mask and warrants a close look on debut here.

Selections (5) Mach Titan (3) B.K. Looks (1) Named (2) Baek Pung
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 3, 5

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

It looks as if Djordje Perovic can have another good weekend after taking out the Korean Derby last week aboard Save The World in Seoul. The Serbian hoop will ride (9) HUIMANGUI SORY in the second where the horse comes off a good performance, when finishing second behind Doctor Fashion. The times he has clocked over the five furlongs have been brilliant, the extra furlong looks to suit him and at set weights the two-year-old looks one of the better bets on the card. (11) ACEUI GIPPEUM was good on debut when placing in a similar event. The Ecton Park filly produced one of the faster sectionals you will see for a debutant, suggesting she will appreciate the step-up to the 1200m. (1) TOP OF KOREA debuts after some handy trial performances. He needs to be respected as there looked to be more in the tank after producing some handy trials. (8) GEUMA BONNY is another on debut after running some handy trials. The Tiz Wonderful filly is likely to be outpaced early but keep her safe in your wider selections.

Selections (9) Huimangui Sory (11) Aceui Gippeum (1) Top Of Korea (8) Geuma Bonny
Next Best 4, 5
Fast Start 4

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

(1) ILNYEOM TONGCHEON debuted well at this trip in an all-filly affair on June 19th, running on for 2nd behind Final Party. She had previously made all in a trial and has every chance of going very close again today. (9) YEONGGWANGUI EAGLE returns to action here for the first time since the shutdown. He was a solid 2nd on his last start in February at this distance behind Goblin and while he only took part in one heat during the hiatus, it was a strong one and he can make an immediate impact first up today. (11) YEONGGWANGUI START looked to be on the verge of figuring things out before the shutdown. She was a touch disappointing when fading for 5th on his first try at this distance on July 10th but having not trialed since April, may have been wanting for fitness a little. She should be better today. The rest are going to need to improve but the Bart Rice-trained pair of (5) INVISIBLE MAN and (10) GENERAL ANN have both hinted at ability and can continue to develop here.

Selections (1) Ilnyeom Tongcheon (11) Yeonggwangui Start (9) Yeonggwangui Eagle (10) General Ann
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 11

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

The Korean-bred maiden gallopers line up in the fourth where they will tackle the 1300m. (9) CHOEGANG HUNTER looks toughest to beat on paper coming off a first-up second placing behind Mr. Fusion. The extra half furlong should be advantageous for the colt after hitting the line in good style. Jo In-kwen stays aboard after having a good time of it last weekend. (2) MINYEO GEOMGAEK placed on resumption as well, with the filly being put over the 1400m first up. She sat on speed last time out, something we haven’t seen from her previously. If Choi Si-dae elects to work forward again he can do so from a good draw. (6) EAGLE STAR is another speedy type who finished second last start. The gelding performed better than most expected when returning to the track last start. Djordje Perovic will be legged aboard, who holds a very good strike rate since his return to Korea. (7) WONDERFUL SMARTY looks next best after finishing fourth behind Top Lucky last time out.

Selections (9) Choegang Hunter (2) Minyeo Geomgaek (6) Eagle Star (7) Wonderful Smarty
Next Best 1, 3
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 11

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(1) CHEONGDAM DRIVE has shown improvement across three starts to date, culminating in a 3rd place over 1300M last start a month ago. He steps up slightly in trip today and that, along with the presence of Djordje Perovic aboard, may be just what it takes for him to make the breakthrough. Of those who have tackled this distance before, (6) PILSEUNG IJI has recorded the fastest time. She goes around for the fourth time since resumption with two 3rd place finishes and a fourth from her three cracks so far and should be there or thereabouts again. (11) DOCTOR MAX was beaten by Pilseung Iji two starts back but comes in here having run 3rd at this distance on July 17th. She was given a forward ride that day and while today’s draw does her no favours, she should be in the hunt for at least another place. (2) GRAND CAPTIAN and (5) GOLD MAGIC are others with potential for improvement.

Selections (1) Cheongdam Drive (6) Pilseung Iji (11) Doctor Max (2) Grand Captain
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 6, 11

Race 6: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The sixth is a tough event for punters to dissect with numerous winning chances. (4) SUSO TANK is the on top selection after finishing second over this distance last time out behind Blue Signal. The fact we know she can run a strong mile out is a plus, with plenty of these runners being tested over it for the first time today. The Tiz Wonderful filly has had three runs this time in suggesting she will be rock hard fit for her assignment. (7) JEONSEOULUI FIGHT is third-up and comes off multiple placings since resuming. The Colors Flying colt looks as if he will appreciate the mile this time around, as he has been given plenty of time to find

(more…)

Korean Derby Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 2)

It’s finally here. The generation that risked being forgotten or worse, finally gets its Derby at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. There are 12 races at Seoul from 10:35 to 18:00 while there is also a card at Busan. Racing remains behind closed doors.

Roller Blade

Roller Blade is back. But have the others left him behind? (Pic: KRA)

KRA Cup Mile winner Touch Star Man heads the field but it’s a race with at least nine live chances. Champion juvenile Roller Blade finally returns while the likes of Determination look to have been screaming out for this kind of distance.

Here are previews of all of Seoul’s Sunday races with horse-by-horse for the Korean Derby, which has a post time of 5pm in Seoul:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The Korean-bred two-year-old gallopers will kick the twelve-event card off at Seoul on Sunday. The trial of (6) WHITE CHARM last month was very good suggesting the Cowboy Cal colt can put his best foot forward on debut. With a central draw it is expected that Kim Dong-soo will work forward on the grey and find a position in the leading division. The time he clocked in the trial was good enough to ensure he is there come the business end of the race. (11) CHEONGDAM WICKED is another debutant that trialed well back in June. The Menifee filly is another likely to be fired up early and sit prominent in the run. (8) JILJU DAERO is one of a few runners engaged that has had a previous start. The colt finished fourth on debut behind the impressive Heungbaragi. (7) ELITE RULES looks a place chance at best after a trial that was fair.

Selections (6) White Charm (11) Cheongdam Wicked (8) Jilju Daero (7) Elite Rules
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 3, 6, 11

 

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

Three-year-old maidens here with all but one of them having raced at least once before. Only one of them has troubled the judges so far. That’s (8) YONGMARU GU, who ran an improved 2nd on his second outing on July 4th at this distance beaten by well thought-of Soseono Legend. In doing so, he recorded the best time of any of these who have attempted this distance and while that is an extremely modest achievement, it should be enough to put him firmly in the frame here. (6) EUNHYE PADO has shown herself capable of running a useful time as well and tries her luck in softer company today. She gets well back in her races but seems to have a good finish on her and should improve today. (11) PIEONADA got a dreadful trip but still managed to finish 5th on debut at this distance and can build on it today. As for the solitary debut-maker, (2) MYEONGMA TIME went through a couple of trials in good order, running through the line well in both of them and couldn’t really have picked a more accommodating race to debut in.

Selections (8) Yongmaru Gu (6) Eunhye Pada (2) Myeongma Time (11) Pieonada
Next Best 9, 10
Fast Start 5, 11

 

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

The third on the card has a mixture of two and three-year-old gallopers to line up over the 1300m. (7) NINE EYE comes out of much stronger events where he clocked some good times over the short course. The Menifee colt has been hitting the line in good style which suggests the 1300m should suit. Moon Se-young will be legged aboard the two-year-old for the first time, which is always a good sign. (2) GOLDEN SWITCH is second up after a midfield performance behind Hansen Choice last start. The filly’s times have been fair and with some improvement second-up, she can run into the money. (1) GOVERNANCE looks next best and with a good draw is capable of sitting closer to the speed today. She passed a couple in the straight last time out over the six furlongs. (4) ACE HAMSEONG looks an each-way chance after finishing second last time out over the 1300m. His time was only fair but with some improvement he is a chance of figuring.

Selections (7) Nine Eye (2) Golden Switch (1) Governance (4) Ace Hamseong
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 8

 

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

(9) GAJA PLAN was an impressive all the way maiden winner over 1000M on July 5th on what was her third career start. She is up in both class and distance today but while the draw may not be as favourable for her getting an easy lead, she has claims again. (8) GOLD FIELD also got her maiden win at her latest start, albeit for her it was the fifteenth time of asking. So long at class 6 would suggest the transition to the higher grade isn’t going to be easy, however, the time she ran was faster than all but one of her rivals here have achieved at this distance and she must be given another chance. Another up in class is (1) GLORY FIGHTER. She remains a maiden but has finished 3rd on three occasions. Moon Se Young rode her on the most recent of those and sticks with her today. She should be competitive. As for those with experience of this level already, (2) YEOLRIN MUN ran out a solid 2nd over 1400M on July 5th. He has won at this distance already and is nicely drawn to get to the lead once more.

Selections (2) Yeolrin Mun (9) Gaja Plan (1) Glory Fighter (8) Gold Field
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 2, 5, 6, 9

 

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

Ten Korean-bred gallopers line up in the fifth where the majority of the runners appear to be out of form. (9) RIDE LUCKY is the one engagement that brings a last start win into the race, which he brought up at start two. He will carry the same weight with the claim of Moon Sung-hyeok being applied. He showed plenty of speed first up when clocking a good time for this grade. (1) NONGBUI SUCHEAHWA looks to map in the first four in running. Kim Yong-geun will be legged aboard for the first time, with the filly drawn the inside for her ninth assignment. She has placed on four occasions from eight starts and this looks weaker than previous assignments. (8) MENI STAND is second up after a reasonable performance when finishing fourth behind Songnam Tiz first up. The Menifee filly should improve off the run, 1200m is not an ideal distance with her best performances over 1000m. She will need to start running out a strong six furlongs (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (August 1)

Saturday is Korean Derby Eve in Seoul and there are 15 races (sadly behind closed doors) running from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Mask Gaon Champ

Mask, seen here denying Gaon Champ in the Sports Seoul a couple of years ago, returns on Saturday (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old gallopers will kick proceedings off as they line up over the short course. With ten debutants lining up it is always hard to know what they are hiding up their sleeve. Whilst saying that, we are happy to elect (6) BLACK CHARM as the on top selection, who is one of two gallopers who has had a start. The Testa Matta colt flew from the tail on debut when near last on the home turn, to finish third behind Fort Seuone. The danger lies with how far back he gets but if he is in touch, he should go past these. (10) CHIEF INDY will be watched with interest as he lines up for his first start. The colt was not overly asked for in his trial and will have the services of Moon Se-young. (8) LUCKY CLUB finished midfield behind a very handy type in Heungbaragi last time out where they clocked a good time. He looks an each-way chance in the event. (7) ADAMS APPLE looks next best of the debutants coming into the race. The Hansen filly clocked a reasonable time on a dry track, with some improvement out of the trial she can run into the money.

Selections (6) Black Charm (10) Chief Indy (8) Lucky Club (7) Adams Apple
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 3, 9, 10

 

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A big prize on offer for imported juveniles (and Happy Birthday to the two southern hemisphere runners who turn three today but remain eligible). (6) AUCKLAND SOCKS went up against another promising newcomer, Legend Day, on debut on July 19th. He came off second best over 1200M but should have come on for the experience and looks nicely in here. In the same race, (2) GEOMISON ran 7th in the same race which was somewhat disappointing after he debuted well behind Mighty New, who has since won again, in June. He should be on speed early though and dropping back to 1000M may help. There are some promising first-timers. Moon Se Young rode Auckland Socks two weeks ago but this time gets on (5) SIRIUS A for top trainer Park Dae-heung. The Malibu Moon colt trialed up solidly, if unspectacularly three weeks ago. Most impressive in trials though was (7) BALVENIE, who after qualifying in April went through another in June. The Will Take Charge colt won both and looked especially well in the second of those.

Selections (6) Auckland Socks (7) Balvenie (5) Sirius A (2) Geomison
Next Best 4
Fast Start 2, 4

 

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

The third on the card is a speedy affair where the Korean-bred maidens will up over the six furlongs. Expect (2) SHADOW QUEEN to fire out of the gates hard and take up the running. She looked the winner at the furlong pole last time out before being reeled in by Shiny Fire. She should be better for the run and punters know they will get a good sight with her racing pattern. (6) THUNDER K also felt the pinch late last start but clocked a reasonable time considering the race he is lining up in. He is another one that will end up in the leading division early on. (11) ULTRA ANNIE showed enough last preparation to suggest she will be one of the improvers in the event. The filly will be suited by the drop back to the 1200m after having enough in the latter stages of the 1400m event she lined up in last start. (3) BIANCA showed improvement last time out and looks a place chance at best.

Selections (2) Shadow Queen (6) Thunder K (11) Ultra Annie (3) Bianca
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 6, 11

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(10) TONGIL JILJU showed significant improvement when running 2nd over this distance on July 12th at what for him was start number six. In doing so, he recorded the fastest time that any of these have set over 1200M and it’s not impossible he could come from off the pace to win today. (11) CUPID BISANG has been more consistent across her five outings so far. Her best came on debut at 1000M and the test for her will be if she can get to the lead – where she really needs to be – without using too much energy; a tough ask from the outside gate. Nevertheless, she shouldn’t be far away. (6) CHEON CHONG ran 4th behind Tongil Jilju three weeks ago and like that one, could finally be figuring things out. (9) ROAD ROSE has at least troubled the scorers on one occasion and looks nicely in here. (8) ANYANG HORANGI has good speed from the gate – at least compared with the rest of this lot – and should get to the lead/ The question is how long she can hold onto it.

Selections (10) Tongil Jilju (11) Cupid Bisang (6) Cheon Chong (8) Anyang Horangi
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 8, 9, 11

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The three-year-old colts and fillies will line up in the fifth where there looks a handful of chances engaged. (4) DOKDO SARANG goes on top after finishing second on debut behind Raon Fashion. The Colors Flying filly let down with a nice turn of speed and whilst the time for the 1200m was not all that fast, it should be good enough to figure once again here. (11) A. P. PATEK is another that resumed in good style to finish second behind J.S. Power. The colt is likely to slot over after the start and stalk the leaders, before being asked for by Kim Yong-geun at the top of the straight. (6) HAECHAN has led and capitulated at both of his runs to date. He didn’t go down by a big margin last time out, at his second run back he should show improvement. (8) CHOTOMA debuts after some very handy trials. If he breaks cleanly it will be interesting to see what he can do. Keep him safe on an each-way basis.

Selections (4) Dokdo Sarang (11) A. P. Patek (6) Haechan (8) Chotoma
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 5, 6, 9

 

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

Just the fillies going here. (9) HAPPY MONTH has gone close on a number of occasions without having made the breakthrough. He ran a decent 4th at the distance last time and (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 31)

It’s finally Korean Derby weekend. The big race is at Seoul on Sunday but before that there is a 15-race card at Busan on Friday running from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Deep Mind 2019 Korean Oaks

Last year’s Korean Oaks winner Deep Mind goes around at Busan on Friday (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(3) TWO TWO WILD THING and (6) DREAM STEALTH ran home 4th and 5th, a considerable margin behind excellent winner Winner’s Man on debut on July 7th. Two Wild Thing stumbled on leaving the gate while Dream Stealth raced wide and green throughout so both had their excuses and both should have come on for that run. On the same day two weeks ago, (8) DAEHO PYEONGJEONG also debuted with a creditable 3rd place at this distance. Jo In-kwen climbs aboard this time which can be to his benefit and he looks nicely in here. There are three first-time starters and among them, (5) BANJIUI GIJEOK looks the most promising first-up. She is a half-sister to a number of winners and the jockey/trainer combination is worth taking note of. She led early in her trial before dropping back and then running through the line well (with Dream Stealth behind her) and a she should go close.

Selections (5) Banjiui Gijeok (3) Two Two Wild Thing (8) Daeho Pyeongjeong (6) Dream Stealth
Next Best 7, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 5

 

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

Three-year-old Korean-bred gallopers line up in the second event where there is a lack of early speed. (1) BEODEUL BARAM looks to get every chance from the inside gate. The Min Jang-gi trained filly finished third on debut when powering to the line going down less than a length behind Morning Thunder. (3) SUN ALPHA comes off a handy performance last time out when finishing third behind Wind Park. The Thunder Moccasin colt will line up over the same journey and with some improvement looks one of the main chances. (11) ALPHA HEART showed improvement at her second start. The filly is one that has shown a lack of speed out of the gates suggesting Jo In-kwen will need to stay in touch with the leading division to be a winning chance. (10) CRONUS looks next best after finishing behind the place getters last time out over the six furlongs. Kim Young-kwan and Seo Seung-un combine, which is a partnership that can never be ignored.

Selections (1) Beodeul Baram (3) Sun Alpha (11) Alpha Heart (10) Cronus
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 2

 

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

Lots of lines have to be drawn through latest performances here if we are to be able to pick anything to win this. (1) GABO TODAY will tempt plenty given the stable and the jockey who gets on him today. The manner of his capitulation last start when looking well placed was concerning but he should have come on for it and in this company is worth another chance. (2) AMAZING GIRL resumes for the first time since February. She had run in a couple of 4th place finishes at 1000M and steps up beyond the minimum trip for the first time having hinted at some promise in a trial earlier this month. (7) NICE ONE and (9) CHOEGANG CUPID are others who have shown something in recent trials that they are yet to show on the racetrack and who have the potential to improve today. (4) HIT JACKPOT may have an extremely unimpressive resume at first glance, but he has actually run the fastest time of any of these at this distance and the addition of You Hyun-myung in the saddle should be a plus.

Selections (1) Gabo Today (4) Hit Jackpot (2) Amazing Girl (7) Nice One
Next Best 9, 5, 6
Fast Start 4, 5, 7, 9

 

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

 

The Korean-bred maidens go over the 1300m in the fourth event, where plenty of these gallopers have been given numerous chances to break through previously. (11) ADELE CLASSIC looks hardest to beat coming off two good performances since resuming late June. The colt clocked a quick time for this class last start, expect him to work forward early under Jo In-kwen. (1) PORRIMA looks the main danger after trying to lead throughout last time out before finishing third behind B.K John. She has shown speed at her first two starts so with the inside draw she is likely to be the one to catch halfway up the straight. (2) DARUI BADA looks a place chance in a field lacking depth outside of the aforementioned runners. She hit the line well last time out, if she can settle closer she can run into the money. (3) HUIMANG SOYEO looks next best in a race that doesn’t inspire.

Selections (11) Adele Classic (1) Porrima (2) Darui Bada (3) Huimang Soyeo
Next Best 5, 9
Fast Start 1, 3, 11

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maiden fillies here. Four of these faced each other over this distance on July 17th and it was (5) SECOND WIND who came out the best of them with a front-running 2nd place finish behind Great Good. That was a strong performance and suggests she has a maiden win in her sooner rather than later – it could well be here. (11) ACHIM BIT came home 3rd in that race having led for much of the way. She will have to (more…)

The Korean Derby – All The Winners So Far

The delayed 2020 Korean Derby will finally be run at Seoul Race Park this coming Sunday. The three-year-old Classic, originally scheduled for its usual spot in May, is in its 23rd year.

D3

Power Blade won the Korean Derby in a monsoon downpour on his way to the 2016 Triple Crown (Pic: KRA/Ross Holburt)

Except for an enforced stoppage during the Korean War – and this year’s COVID-19 hiatus – racing has been running on the peninsula continuously since the 1920’s but while those early years saw horses racing each other, it wasn’t exactly the kind of horse racing we’re familiar with today. Many horses weren’t even thoroughbred and with no Studbook or organised breeding to speak of, there was little point in having a Derby for three-year olds.

The establishment of a domestic thoroughbred breeding industry and the introduction of the private ownership of race-horses – and therefore prize money – changed all of that. The late 1980’s and early 1990s saw the creation of big Stakes races and, with the breeding industry reaching some maturity, finally in 1998, the Derby was run for the first time. In 2007, the Korean Triple Crown Series was inaugurated with the Ttukseom Cup, Derby and Minister’s Cup making up the three Classic races. Indeed, in that first year, J.S. Hold swept the lot.

The following year, as the first set of foals sent to Busan after the track’s opening in 2005 reached maturity, the KRA Cup Mile at the Southern track was re-designated as the “Korean Guineas” and replaced the Ttukseom Cup as the first jewel in the crown. The filly Sangseung Ilro won the first two legs in 2009 and Jigeum I Sungan won the Derby and Minister’s Cup in 2012, but it took until 2016 and Power Blade for a horse to win all three under the new set-up.

In the twenty-two editions of the Derby run so far, fourteen colts and eleven fillies have taken the prize which for its first three years was run over just seven furlongs before moving up to its current nine in 2001. However, with the Derby and Oaks now being run on consecutive weekends, there is little prospect of a filly entering, let alone winning the Derby any time soon.

When the first crop of foals to be sent to race exclusively at Busan reached three-years of age in 2008, the Derby – and other major Stakes races – became open to horses from both Seoul and Busan. Since then, raiders from the South have won eight out of twelve times:

Here is a list of the winners so far:

2019: Wonderful Fly [Tiz Wonderful – Butterfly (Pioneering)] – Moon Se Young – A dominant all the way winner under Moon Se Young, he was unplaced in the Minister’s Cup but bounced back to win two more races in the 2019 season. Remains in training and is racing at class 2 level.

2018: Ecton Blade [Ecton Park – Vying Ty Grr)] – Franco Da Silva – Another “Blade” winner for owner Kim Byeong-jin and another winner for trainer Kim Young-kwan with Franco Da Silva becoming the second foreign jockey to win the race. Menifee’s five-year winning streak was ended by the Ecton Park colt. Ecton Blade won just one more race after the Derby and was retired to Stud at the end of the 2019 season.

2017: Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] – Choi Bum Hyun – The famously unruly Final Boss ended up on the Grandstand rail but still had enough about him to somehow pull off a victory. He won nine of his twenty-two races in total and was officially retired in a snowy ceremony earlier this year.

2016: Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmachong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – He became the second horse, after J.S. Hold, to sweep all three legs of the Triple Crown and the first with it in its current form of the final leg coming just a month after the Derby. Went on to have a sensational career which included solid performances in Dubai as well as a Grand Prix Stakes win. Retired through injury in 2018, he is now at Stud and covered 70 mares in the 2020 Breeding season.

2015: Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae – The 4/1 second favourite ran out a two-length winner over Triple Nine. It would, of course, be the latter who would go on to have the greater career. In fact, Yeongcheon Ace would never actually win another race. He is retired now and covers the occasional mare.

2014: Queen’s Blade [Menifee – Harboring (Boston Harbor)] – Kim Yong Geun – The second filly in as many year’s to win the race and the second in a row from trainer Kim Young-kwan. Despite only finishing 5th in the KRA Cup Mile, she began as favourite and romped the Derby by ten-lengths. Like Speedy First, she too followed up comfortably in the Oaks. In 2015, she returned to Seoul to win the Group 3 Jeju Governor’s Cup. She has had one foal reach the races so far.

2013: Speedy First [Menifee – Speedy Deedy (Victory Gallop)] – Kanichiro Fujii – The first filly to win since Sangseung Ilro, she went on to win the Oaks at Busan in August but aside from an ill-advised trip to the USA, only raced once more after that. Now a broodmare, both of her foals to reach the track so far have been winners. Jockey Joe Fujii went on to win a Korea Cup and Korea Sprint and now rides the JRA circuit in his native Japan.

2012: Jigeum I Sungan [Ingrandire – Solmaru (Mujaazif)] – Moon Se Young – A horse who as just got better and better since winning the Derby at generous odds a year ago. He went on to win the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Trip Crown in October before coming back as a 4-year old to win the Owners’ Cup  and run 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes. Now stands at Stud.

2011: Gwangyajeil [Vicar – Hurricane Havoc (Jade Robbery)] – Oh Kyoung Hoan – He skipped the KRA Cup Mile and went straight to the Derby. It paid off as he was an easy winner. Injury meant he only ran twice more and was retired to Stud at the end of his three-year old season. Bred by the late Im Sang Yun, who also bred J.S. Hold.

2010: Cheonnyeon Daero [Creek Cat – Doneitmyway (Northern Flagship)] – Park Geum Man – Money Car, winner of the KRA Cup Mile was sent off the favourite but got sucked into a speed duel with the sprinter Seonbongbulpae in the early stages. Still, the favourite had a considerable lead entering the final furlong. He was spent though, and Cheonnyeon Daero, a 30/1 shot, chased him down and caught him on the line. Money Car was never the same again and only ran once more. Cheonnyeon Daero went on to finish second in the Minister’s Cup – the final leg of the Triple Crown. A horse with a bad case of seond-itis – he finished 2nd 14 times during his career, he was retired in early 2012 and will go to Stud.

2009: Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – Jo Sung Gon
– The filly, a shock winner of the KRA Cup Mile a month earlier made it two in a row for Busan. She couldn’t maintain her form over the whole year, however, and went down to a shock defeat in the Oaks in August before returning for a creditable third in the Minister’s Cup, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown in October. Went on to win two more Stakes races as a four-year old before being retired from racing in January 2011 for broodmare duties.

2008: Ebony Storm [Buster’s Daydream – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Shim Seung Tae – Two years ago was the first time that Busan’s best three-year olds were invited up to Seoul to contest the Derby and it was one of those visitors, Ebony Storm, the longest shot on the board, who took victory in a monsoon downpour. Ebony Storm continued in training until the age of 8.

2007: J.S. Hold [Ft. Stockton – Hwangsangjiljoo (Passetreul)] – Moon Jung Kyun – Widely considered the best Korean bred horse ever. J.S. Hold landed the inaugural Triple Crown injuring himself in the final race and not returning to the track. He retired with nine wins from ten starts and stood at Stud, passing away in 2017.

2006: Baengnokjeong [Slew O’Green – Lesu Run (Proper Reality)] – Hwang Soon Do – The rank outsider at over 80-1 on Derby day, Baengnokjeong was at the time, the longest priced horse to win the Derby.

2005: Saebyeok Dongja [Fiercely – Cheongpa (The Rodgers Four)] – Chun Chang Ki – Raced on at the top-level for three more years. His jockey, Chun Chang Ki became a trainer and sadly passed away of cancer in 2012.

2004: Mupae Gangja [Didyme – A Heun A Hop Kan (Kinsky)] – Kim Hyo Seob – One of the top colts of this decade, Mupae Gangja won ten of his sixteen races including the Chairman’s Trophy and Minister’s Cup along with the Derby in 2004.

2003: Habidongju [Silent Warrior – Kahwa (Zoffany)] – Park Tae Jong – The last filly to win until Sangseung Ilro in 2009.

2002: Haeam Janggun [Didyme – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Lim Dae Gyu – Ronde foaled her second Derby winner in as many years with this filly who won eight of her fourteen races and gave the late Lim Dae Gyu a Derby victory.

2001: Haetpit Maeul [Mujaazif – Ronde (Toast The Champ)] – Ji Ha Ju – Starting a run of three consecutive years of filly triumphs was Haetpit Maeul. Now a broodmare with some success.

2000: Haekdol’pung [Lost Mountain – Swift Diplomacy (Nice Pirate)] – Park Tae Jong – Korea’s most successful ever jockey got his second straight Derby win on the favourite. It was tight though, with Haekdol’pung getting the verdict in a three-way photograph. Sire Lost Mountain died in 2009.

1999: Manseokkkeun [Fiercely – Komplication (Kris. S)] – Park Tae Jong – Yes, he really did have three consecutive ‘k’s in his name. Park Tae Jong got the first of his three Derby winners on the colt whose sire, Fiercely, died in 2009.

1998: Useung Yegam [Happy Jazz Band – Man Jang Dae()] – Song Seok Hen – Nine of the 14 runners in the first Derby were fillies and the favourite Useung Yegam, whose dam wasn’t even in the studbook, took the honours by a length.

Morfhis Downs Dokki Blade, Eoma Eoma To Upturn Sprint Ranks In Shock SBS Win

Morfhis  swooped late to score a stunning victory in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul, diving home to deny Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma under a fine steer from jockey Johan Victoire.

SBS Sports Sprint 2020

Morshis gets up to debu Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint

Busan Ilbo Cup top two Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ renewed hostilities disputing the lead in the early stages of the six-furlong G3 race, the second leg in the 2020 Korea Sprint Series.

Gaon Champ would quickly capitulate at the top of the stretch and it seemed upstart Eoma Eoma would pose the only threat to Do Kki Blade. That was to reckon without Morfhis whose stunning late show saw him duck inside to snatch victory at the death by a head.

Morfhis is a five-year-old American bred gelding by Stephen Got Even and and out of the Rubiano mare Chinchilla. He was a $150,000 purchase from the OBS 2017 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds. The win was his eighth in twenty-three runs and takes him on to career winnings of KRW 739 Million. For jockey Victoire it was his second Korean Group win following his success on Dolkong in last year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup while it was a first for trainer Lee Gwan-ho.

The win was notable on a number of fronts. Morfhis, who up until now was seen as a solid dependable class 1 campaigner with a strong finish who specialises at seven-furlongs, now finds himself in the top echelon of Korean sprinters and a serious contender for September’s Korea Sprint (should that race take place).

It also provided the rare sight of a top level Korean sprint race by a horse coming from well off the pace. While Doraonpogyeongseon, who won this race in both 2017 and 2018, was by no means a front-runner, he would usually emerge from a relatively handy position. Two furlongs out on Sunday, Morfhis was still in 11th place.

While beaten, Do Kki Blade confirmed his place among the elite and still has every chance of going on to claim the overall Sprint Series win but another big story coming out of the race was the emergence of Eoma Eoma. The three-year-old entered the race having not had to face a serious challenge in three prior outings yet despite drawing an unfavourable gate, only went down by less than half a length on the line after an excellent ride by Song Jae-chul.

Gaon Champ and Simjangui Godong both had off-days but will be expected to bounce back while the ever awkward Global Captain missed the start before running on well. At their best, all three can be winning chances in future feature races.

The calendar may now be up in the air for all these horses. The Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy was originally supposed to be the first leg of the Sprint Series in March. It is now tentatively scheduled for August 23rd. Then there is the Korea Sprint itself, still scheduled for September 13th.

Whatever happens in terms of the schedule, there is plenty to look forward to with these sprinters.

SBS Sports Sprint Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (July 26)

Arguably the most intriguing race in recent Korean racing history goes to post on Sunday afternoon in front of a spectator-less Seoul Racecourse, but fortunately live on television, in the shape of the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. There are 14 races at Seoul from 10:25 to 18:00 as well as 5 at Busan from 12:15 to 15:50. Here are the previews:

KRA Busan Ilbo Do Kki Blade Gaon Champ

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old colts and fillies kick off proceeding where they line up over the short course. (3) HWANGGEUM POWER is one of only two runners that have had a previous run. The Limitless Bid filly finished fourth on debut when settling well back from a wide draw and subsequently running on well. The on-fire Moon Se-young will be legged aboard her this time around and she will jump from a much better draw allowing her to settle closer. (6) HAPPY DAY trialed well and can figure at her first start. The Tiz Wonderful two-year-old clocked 63.6 seconds for the 1000m on a dry track, which reads relatively well for this race. (8) VICTORICA looks next best clocking a slightly slower time in her trial. She is a Colonel John filly who wasn’t fully urged in her trial. (1) STORM ROAD is the other runner that has had a previous start. She also gets a better draw today and can settle closer in the run.

Selections (3) Hwanggeum Power (6) Happy Day (8) Victorica (1) Storm Road
Next Best 2, 7
Fast Start 6, 7

 

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

Twelve three-year-old maidens go around here and it is not a strong race, to put it mildly. Ten of them have raced before but the only one to trouble the placing judges so far is (6) MAKALU POWER, who ran 3rd on what was his second outing on July 11th. It wasn’t a fast time but he won’t need to improve very much at all in order to feature here. We’re going to side with a debut-maker. (3) JANGSAN SASUDAE went through three trials and while it would be wrong to say he caught the eye, he showed improvement over the course of them and hit the line well in the latest of them. The other Korean born foal from his dam has won three from twelve and this s a very soft race to debut in. (11) SIMON STORM ran on reasonably well on debut and may improve. The other debut-maker (4) COLORS ONLY also has to be given a chance in what is the weakest company she will ever face. Her trial was a very slow one all-round so doesn’t offer too many clues but she looked competent enough.

Selections (3) Jangsan Sasudae (6) Makalu Power (4) Colors Only (11) Simon Storm
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 4, 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million 

The Korean-bred maidens will go over the short course in the third event. (8) P.K. DOLPUNG is the on top selection after clocking a quick trial. He resumes for his first run since January where he finished fifth behind Miracle Icheon. He has finished close-up on numerous occasions and is an each way chance. (3) JOY OF KING resumed in good fashion last start when third over the 1000m. The Federalist gelding hit the line in good style, if he can hold a position in the first half of the field he looks a main player. (4) CHEONSANGUI YEOIN debuted in good style over the 1000m when working across from a wide gate, before running on well in the straight. She can find a position with less effort from a good draw and do her best work late. (10) OVER ACHIEVE is second up after finishing midfield behind Gaja Plan earlier this month. She looks capable of running into the minor money.

Selections (8) P.K. Dolpung (3) Joy Of King (4) Cheonsangui Yeoin (10) Over Achieve
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 2, 11

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only in this class 5 affair and all of them are pretty useful and all have a chance to win. Both (3) FORT SEUONE and (9) GEORGE QUEEN come in having won their respective debut races last month. George Queen made all and was the quicker of the pair and while they have an additional furlong to tackle today, she was finishing strongly and could well win again although with plenty of speed on her inside, the wide draw may not be to her favour. Fort Seuone looks suited to this distance and also has strong claims. (2) HANSEN CHOICE returned from the shutdown to win well over 1300M on June 20th, leading all the way around. She will also be challenging for what’s set to be a quite contested lead here. The other last start winner is (6) SOARA YEOJANGGUN who led all the way over 1400M but does perhaps have a bit to find against the speedier types that she faces here. OF the ones with experience at this level, (7) SAEROUN BOBAE and (1) LUISA came home 2nd and 4th when they raced each other in a similar all-filly race over 1300M on June 21st. Both came from behind the pace and Luisa especially looks as though she has scope for improvement.

Selections (9) George Queen (1) Luisa (7) Saeroun Bobae (3) Fort Seuone
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start  

 

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

There is pace-a-plenty in the fifth event on the card. (9) JEONJEONGSAGEUM showed ability in her first few starts before the racing hiatus. The Tiz Wonderful filly won her last start in January in good style and has since trialed well, clocking 61 seconds flat for the 1000m. Lim Gi-won, who knows the filly well will be aboard her once again. (7) GLOBAL GOLD resumed in good style when winning late last month. He has shown plenty of speed at his last couple of starts and when he has sat on speed, seems to do his best work. His time last start wasn’t the fastest but with some slight improvement he can be considered a winning chance once again. (4) WINNER BLUE is second-up after placing behind Captain Best last time out. He is another on-speed type who has drawn well for his eighth start. Antonio Da Silva sticks with the Old Fashioned gelding which is a positive. (10) WINNER TEMPLAR resumes and gets the services of Moon Se-young first up. The lightly raced four-year-old is yet to break maiden status but has placed on three occasions from four starts. She trialed up fairly last week, the draw looks her biggest obstacle.

Selections (9) Jeonjeongsageum (7) Global Gold (4) Winner Blue (10) Winner Templar
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 9, 11

 

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

The Korean-bred three-year-old gallopers face off in the second event where the majority of the field is lightly raced. (4) INDY QUEEN is the on top selection after a good debut five weeks back. The Indie Band filly finished second behind Power Gate when sitting behind the leaders before letting down in good fashion. The 1200m should suit her chances and she has drawn well once again. (11) WISE GIRL has put a couple of good trials together. The Officer filly has been handed a wide draw to overcome on debut. If Iaonnis Polluis can find a position one of the fence she can be considered an each way chance. (8) THALE NOI lines up for her second start after finishing fifth on debut. The Ecton Park filly capitulated last start in the final stages, but should strip fitter for the run. (10) GENERAL ANN went over this distance last time out finishing fourth behind Honor Queen. She will need to improve to be considered a winning chance but is capable of collecting some prizemoney once again.

Selections (4) Indy Queen (11) Wise Girl (8) Thale Noi (10) General Ann
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 6, 10, 12

 

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A field of imported maidens go around here with a big prize on offer and precisely half the field racing for the very first time. Of the experienced ones, (3) SUN BOOM is the only one to have hit the board so far, running 3rd on June 27th over this distance. It wasn’t a hugely impressive time and while he is well drawn to get on pace again, others are favoured today. (1) SPRING KING did little on debut all the way last December but having had a few months off, looked very sharp in a trial at the beginning of this month and comes straight into contention. (10) CHANGSEONG HIT and (12) JANGSAN GOLD finished 5th and 6th when they raced each other over 1200M on June 21st. Both should improve here with Jangsan Gold perhaps having the greater potential. Of the first time starters, (5) MIGHTY CHIP and (9) MUNHAK MOON are the standouts. Both won their trials in competitive times and both should be going close first up here.

Selections (1) Spring King (5) Mighty Chip (12) Jangsan Gold (9) Munhak Moon
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 9

 

Busan Race 3: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) WORLD TODAY is up in class and distance following a smart win over a mile at class 4 on July 5th. He already has a runner-up finish to his name over 1800M and is likely to be on pace here with solid claims to win again. (2) THE SABER is an intriguing entry. The Trappe Shot colt has just the three races behind him and steps up in class having won over 1300M in a fast time on June 26th. He ran on strongly that day though so while it is a big step up in distance, he may well be equal to it. (5) CURLIN FANTASY comes in having run a very good 2nd place behind the progressive Samseong Dokki. He is yet to win in nineteen attempts but that was a very good showing and he can place again. A number of the others failed to catch the eye on resumption over 1400M on June 21st. They will of course have all needed that race and (9) MALIBU BYEOL is perhaps the most likely to progress.

Selections (7) World Today (2) The Saber (5) Curlin Fantasy (9) Malibu Byeol
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

The Korean Class 4 gallopers line up in the seventh over 1300m. (2) RAON HANNIBAL is the on top selection based on what she did last preparation. She was somewhat disappointing when first-up five weeks back but she should improve off that run, along with her connections hopefully getting a bit more work into her. She’s a winner of three races from ten starts, including one in this grade. (3) BIG CLASSIC looks another one with some more-than-average ability. The lightly raced four-year-old has had five starts yielding two wins and two minor placings. She has led at her past three starts so from barrier three we anticipate she will take up the running and prove hard to run down. (12) THANK YOU MOTHER lines up for her second-up run after finishing second when running on strongly last start. She has been dealt the carpark draw and will need some luck to find a position early. (5) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM was a winner when resuming and lines up in a tougher event. He carries just 52.5kg and with gate five looks one that can run into the minor money.

Selections (2) Raon Hannibal (3) Big Classic (12) Thank You Mother (5) Cheonnyeonui Baram
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 6, 9

 

Busan Race 4: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

An even assembly of runners line up in the fourth where they will go over the six furlongs. (4) FIRST CHANGER is the on top selection after trialing up in great fashion on two occasions. Whilst the trials were quite some time ago, it shows us that the Two Step Salsa colt appears to be back to his best. He has won four races from ten starts and whilst his past couple of race starts have been disappointing, he looks forward enough to win this event. (6) BANJIUI YOJEONG was disappointing when resuming, in fact it was the first time the four-year-old has not collected a cheque when going to the races. It was a rather handy race he lined up in last start and this looks a much easier assignment. Seo Seung-un jumping aboard also gives us some confidence. (10) HAWK KING is a very capable racehorse on his day. He trialed up in good fashion back in April and lines up for his new preparation in this event. He has performed well over the six furlongs previously. (11) WONDERUL LION is another first-up runner. She has had the one start in Class 2 company where she finished midfield behind Seongsan Simon. With just the 51.5kg on her back she should be able to work forward as per normal and be there at the business end.

Selections (4) First Changer (6) Banjiui Yojeong (10) Hawk King (11) Wonderful Lion
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) MONEY ZIF was a class and distance winner on June 28th, coming from off the pace to score in a creditable time. He went up in the ratings because of that but an apprentice jockey takes a couple of kilograms off and he remains competitive here. A surprising winner at this level was (4) FIORE over 1700M on July 4th. It was a front-running performance but others are favoured today. Three of these raced each other at class and distance on June 21st. (2) HWANGGEUM HAE finished the best of them in 4th place behind Looking Good. He’s drawn well to get to the front here and looks a big danger. (6) SUPER ECTON came from well back to run home a strong 5th in that race. He has won at this distance already and will likely once more go back early and look to pass plenty late on. (5) JACOB went into the shutdown having run a solid class and distance 3rd. He hasn’t trialed since April and comes in here as the wildcard.

Selections (2) Hwanggeum Hae (6) Super Ecton (1) Money Zif (5) Jacob
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 2, 9

 

Busan Race 5: Class 1 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP has the fastest time of any of these at the distance although that came when he was chasing home Blue Chipper, who was in the process of smashing the track record. He ran 2nd to the progressive Ssonsal when giving away 5kg over 1400M two weeks ago and it may be that the weight plays a role again. If it does, then (8) PRO CONSUL could be the one to take advantage. The lightly-raced four-year-old was sensational when beating a decent class 1 field over this distance on June 26th and looks well set for another score here. (2) KING OF GLORY ran well for 3rd in the Busan Ilbo Cup last month over 1200M but eschews the second leg of the Sprint Series in Seoul this afternoon to take his chance here. (3) DIVIDE WIND ran 8th in that race and the stablemate of Baengmunbaekdap can get closer today.

Selections (8) Pro Consul (6) Baengmunbaekdap (2) King Of Glory (3) Divide Wind
Next Best 1
Fast Start 5, 8

 

Seoul Race 9: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Class 5 runners go over the two turns in the ninth event on the card. (7) CHOEGANG SINGI is yet to break through for his first win but has shown an appreciation for the middle distances. He clocked a good time when resuming over the two turns, finishing fourth behind Cheonnyeonui Godo. The Chapel Royal gelding should take improvement from the first-up run. (3) GLOBAL WANGJA has been promoted to Class 5 company after finishing second behind Coin Blade when first-up. It’s a considerable step up to the 1700m which is unchartered territory for the Colors Flying gelding, but he has been settling off speed running on strongly. (9) GAZUA is another that has shown some good performances over the two turns. He lacks early speed so look for him closing late. (1) GAROSUGIL is next best and capable of running into the money, where he goes over the two turns for the first time.

Selections (7) Choegang Singi (3) Global Wangja (9) Gazua (1) Garosugil
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 7, 8

 

Seoul Race 10: Class Open (1200M) SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) / Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million

  1. GAON CHAMP – Last year’s winner is so consistent and having drawn gate 1 shouldn’t have to go around a horse. Narrowly beaten by Do Kki Blade in Busan, he has every chance of overturning that form.
  2. SSONSAL – The only challenger from Busan and a super class 1 winner over 1400M earlier this month. The absolute elite class may find him out though.
  3. SPRING BACK – Good sprinter. Finished behind Morfhis last start and 4th to Blue Chipper in last year’s Korea Sprint. Perhaps has a bit to find.
  4. MUNHAK PRINCESS – First start since January 2019 and while trials have been consistently fast, she’s very much been thrown in the deep end here.
  5. MUNHAK WINNER – Hasn’t won beyond Class 2 and well back in the Busan Ilbo. Plenty to find here.
  6. DO KKI BLADE – The logical favourite after that Busan Ilbo win. He’s drawn a much better gate this time so it should be easier for him to be on pace and he’s a big chance.
  7. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Didn’t get much luck in Busan but beat both Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ in January. Not impossible.
  8. MEDICI GLORY – Lightly raced four-year-old returned for the first time in over a year to run 5th behind Morfhis a month ago. Talented but this is tough.
  9. EAST JET – Class 3 winner over this distance in June but this is massive step up in competition.
  10. EOMA EOMA – The wildcard faces his first test. Shown brilliance in his three wins from three starts and drops in weight here. The question is can he adapt to the intensity of this class – or can he in fact bring his own and blow them away?
  11. GLOBAL CAPTAIN – Super on his day. Ran uncontrollably wide on his latest start in February and then had a hard time showing enough manners to re-qualify. Unpredictable so hard to be confident first-up.
  12. MORFHIS – Very good class 1 horse. Wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem as he can just follow the leaders. Whether he has enough explosive pace to blow past them is another matter. Probably not.

 

Verdict: The Korea Sprint winner will almost certainly emerge from this race. (10) EOMA EOMA could be something special but going on the knowns, rather than the unknowns, (1) GAON CHAMP and (6) DO KKI BLADE are the ones to beat.

Selections (1) Gaon Champ (6) Do Kki Blade (10) Eoma Eoma (7) Simjangui Godong
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 11

 

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another event over the two turns in the eleventh. (11) HIDDEN SOCKS resumes over the 1700m coming off a superb trial. He ran into some handy types at his first four starts including Blue Chiton and also Determination on debut. Moon Se-young will partner the chestnut as he resumes, based on this being his easiest assignment to date he looks the one to beat. (3) ECHO BILL finished off strong when resuming to finish third behind Shu Leub. With a good draw jockey Johan Victoire may be able to get the Daredevil colt to settle closer to the speed. He is yet to win but looks as if he is building to one shortly. (10) HWANGGEUM LUCKY is another import that is yet to breakthrough. He is first up since February and gave followers some confidence in a recent trial when winning his heat, it was a good time considering the short course is not a strength of his. (12) BIG TRIPLE is a last start winner over this distance, he broke through at start six. He settled off speed last time out before finishing off well. He will have to carry 57kg from the outside gate this time around.

Selections (11) Hidden Socks (3) Echo Bill (10) Hwanggeum Lucky (12) Big Triple
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 5, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 12: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(8) BRIGADIER GENERAL ran out a good winner at class and distance on June 27th, scoring by four-lengths. The handicapper certainly noticed him and he carries a whopping additional 5.5kg today. That may prove too much for him to repeat but he should be close. (2) MR. TURNER was the horse four-lengths in arrears in 2nd place that day. The turnaround in weights today should mean he gets closer and could win. He will go back early and finish strong. (9) FLASH JET and (1) EMORY SOCKS came home 4th and 5th respectively when they raced one another at class and distance on June 20th. Both came from well back in the field to run on very well and both look firmly in the hunt today. The wildcard is (3) EVER THE CHAMP. He was a battling winner at this class over 1700M in back in January taking the late developer’s record to three wins from his latest four. He hasn’t raced since and performed only fairly in a May trial. Kim Young-geun stays aboard though and he must be considered. In a race with absolutely nothing that likes to lead, he may get to the front very easily and dictate his own pace.

Selections (9) Flash Jet (8) Brigadier General (2) Mr. Turner (3) Ever The Champ
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 3

 

Seoul Race 13: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

They will go like the clappers in the thirteenth event with over half the field considered on-speed runners. (9) MY HAWK goes on top after finishing second behind the handy East Jet when resuming. He is a winner of four races from fourteen starts with a handful of minor placings. He settled midfield last start suggesting Ham Wan-sik can take a sit behind the leaders if need be. (1) BEYOND OVER clocked an impressive time for the 1400m last time out when first-up. With another handy draw she can sit on the coattails of the leaders before reeling off a fast last 400m in the event. (6) DADDY GLORY will make her first appearance since November last year. She trialed up in good fashion last week when clocking 60.6 for the 1000m, winning her heat. She has won three and finished in the top four on nine occasions from eleven starts. (12) RUNNING BOX gets a horror draw but on her day is capable of winning a race like this. She finished third behind East Jet last start where they clocked a good time. Moon Se-young taking over is a big lead for punters.

Selections (9) My Hawk (1) Beyond Over (6) Daddy Glory (12) Running Box
Next Best 10, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11

 

Seoul Race 14: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Very tricky race to conclude the card. (11) TOP BRAIN is an established class 2 competitor and while he is inconsistent, he looked very well in a trial in May and can go close here. A couple of starts back, he beat the very consistent (7) CHOEGANG GOSU. The five-year-old doesn’t win out of turn but can be relied upon to run well and can add to his impressive placing record here. (6) TAP FASHIONED ran well for 3rd behind Gaenari Song over 1200M a month ago and stretching out to 1400M may be to his benefit here. (12) RED BLADE struggled when beaten over 1900M by (8) FLYING FORD among others last month. He should have come on for that run though and the drop back in trip can suit. (9) BANYA DONGHAENG came from well back to run 4th at class and distance on June 27th and he can match or better that today. (5) DAEGUN JEPAE was lame last time so put a line through that. At his best he is a real contender and arguably the one to beat in a wide open race.

Selections (5) Daegun Jepae (11) Top Brain (7) Choegang Gosu (6) Tap Fashioned
Next Best 12, 2, 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 10