Racing Previews

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 21)

It’s Friday! It’s Busan! 10 races on the South Coast from 14:30 to 21:00. English racecards are here, notes on races for overseas simulcast are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. GAMUNUI YEOWANG – 10th on debut behind Black Fine.2. BOUND TODAY – Solitary star was in November last year. Trialled up averagely.
3. S PARIS – Offered little in three goes last year. First start in nine months. Looked ok in trials.
4. CHEONJI RHYTHM – Slow in both outings to date.
5. HANEOLUI GISANG – First timer. Not quick in trial but knew what to do. Top stable.
6. ROYAL RIVER – Debut-maker. Trial wasn’t quick but did enough.
7. NEULPUREUN DRAGON – Only beat a couple home on debut.
8. MIO – Faded on debut over 1300M. Should much better at the minimum today.
9. SEOGANG JILJU – First start today. Trialled up behind Pocket Rocket.
10. POCKET ROCKET – Debut-maker who looked competent in trial.
11. BLACK FINE – 7th and 5th in two stars to date. Drops to 1000M for the first time and surely has a good chance. (more…)

Choegangja & Zentenary Set for Kranji KRA Trophy

Two Korea-trained horses, Choegangja and Zentenary, are in Singapore for the annual running of the Korea Racing Authority Trophy which will be held over 1200M at Kranji this coming Sunday. As in previous years, the race will be broadcast live – without betting – at Seoul & Busan Racecourses during the local Sunday afternoon cards.

Choegangja

Choegangja, on his way to victory last year, is in Kranji (Pic: Ross Holburt)

The Korean contingent has generally not found this race to be easy and this year looks set to be no exception as they face a strong local challenge attracted by the S$250,000 purse. Zentenary has drawn gate 1 while Choegangja will break from gate 8. Here’s the field (full card at the Singapore Turf Club website here):

trophycard

This year there’s no excuse for lack of local knowledge as both horses are in the care of Brian Dean, the former Singapore based trainer who has just finished up training in Seoul. Additionally, unlike previous runnings of this race, it was decided this time to put local Kranji-based jockeys on board the two horses and accordingly Oscar Chavez, who partnered El Padrino in his second Asia Challenge Cup at Seoul Racecourse in 2015, will ride Choegangja while Malaysian Kasim A’Isisuhairi gets the leg-up on Zentenary.

Choegangja (USA) [Silver Train – Sweet Sizzle (Distorted Humor)]

The pick of the two, he blossomed after moving to Brian Dean at the tail-end of his three-year-old season, winning five races in a row and moving from class 3 to class 1 in the process. He finally came unstuck when missing the break in the SBS Sports Trophy at the start of June, resenting the kick-back and ultimately finishing last but can be forgiven for that. A US bred, Choegangja was a $40,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton 2-year-olds in training sale in May 2015.

Zentenary (USA) [First Defence – Celestic (Sky Classic)]

A $30,000 buy from OBS 2-year-olds in training sale in 2013, the now 6-year-old has won 6 of his 31 starts with one of them coming at class 1, an all-the-way effort last Christmas Eve. He’s been up and down in six outings in 2017 with two 3rd places being the best including last time out on June 18th, over this distance of 1200M.

 

Seoul Sunday – Minister’s Cup Day: Race-By-Race Preview (July 16)

The final leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown takes place on Sunday at Seoul Racecourse with the winners of the Cup Mile, Derby and Oaks all taking their chance in the Minister’s Cup. Sunday sees 11 races at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00 and 6 at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40.

FinalBossDerby

Final Boss won the Korean Derby (Pic: KRA)

Derby winner Final Boss is the favourite. He was Champion Juvenile last year but arrived at the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile (Korean Guineas) in Busan in April looking anything but himself. He still ran 5th as Indian King took the honours ahead of Royal Ruby and American Power.

Back home in Seoul in the Derby in May, Final Boss once more didn’t make things easy for himself. He dawdled at the back of the field in the early stages of the race and once he launched his late challenge, veered violently across to the stands-side rail. Regardless, he hit the front in the final furlong and raced on to win by an easy three lengths. Royal Ruby and American Power once more came home in 2nd and 3rd.

So to Sunday and stretching out to 2000M in the Minister’s Cup, a distance none of the 12 runners have tackled before. That surely won’t be a problem for Final Boss who looked ready to go round again after the Derby. Nor should it be for Royal Ruby and American Power who could well end up filling out the places in all three legs of the Triple Crown.

Across the first two legs of the Crown, only one filly took her chance. This time there are four and they’re the top four place-getters from last month’s Oaks. That race produced a record breaking trifecta dividend as longshot Jejui Haneul enabled Kim Hye Sun to make history as the first Korean female jockey to win a Classic. She goes again, however, it is the runner-up that day, Bright Star who could turn out to be the best of them.

All in all though, the race looks set up for Final Boss to confirm his position as the standout of his crop. Notes on all Seoul races are below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
1. SPECIAL BIG C – 7th behind Little Wing last start but looks to have potential for better. Placing chances.
2. UPDATE – Woeful in first few outings but getting the hang of it now. Minor money chances.
3. NANGMAN STAR – Not beaten many in three goes so far.
4. WIND POWER – Not too far away in recent outings and should be looking to match career best of 4th.
5. LITTLE WING – Beat Special Big C last start and can look for the places again.
6. YAHO WORLD STAR – 8th of 11 on debut a month ago. Needs a bit of improvement before he can be considered.
7. SACHEON DAESEONG – Best finish to date a 5th over 1000M. 7th of 11 on first try at this distance at the end of May.
8. MIGHTY COOL – Underwhelming so far but from an enterprising stable so may improve.
9. BEST MISSION – Best of 4th from five. Plenty to find here.

(more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (July 15)

Two Korea-trained horses touched down in Singapore early Friday morning ahead of the KRA Trophy race which will be run at Kranji on Sunday July 23. Michael Lee at the Singapore Turf Club covers their arrival here and here.

Back in Seoul there is an 11 race Saturday card from 14:00 to 21:00. English racecards are here. Notes on all simulcast races are below:

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

1. DAE CAIN – First-time. Dam has produced four who reached the track all of them recording at least one win. Was slow in trials.

2. STORMY – 8th on debut a month ago behind the three others who have raced before and also go here. Didn’t disgrace himself though and can progress here.

3. BEST DOLPUNG – First foal from dam who won two from 20. Didn’t stand out in trials.

4. MAJJABEUN SON – Well back in trials, not much to recommend first up.

5. MONE FLYING – 4th of 11 at this distance on debut beaten by Macha Bucha and The Rose. Started slowly but finished very well. Could get closer today.

6. THE ROSE – 3rd behind Macha Bucha and ahead of Mone Flying on debut. In frame again for a repeat.

7. MACHA BUCHA – The favourite. 2nd on debut on June 17th, beating the three others here with racing experience. Should win this.

8. AREUMDAUN SOPUNG – Best of the debut-makers. Looked competent when 2nd in a decent trial last month. Hansen’s first Korean crop looks promising.

9. RACE BEATER – Average in trials, watching brief first up. (more…)

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

There are 10 races at Busan on Friday with the first at 14:30 and the last at 21:00. UK jockey JP Guillambert will have his first Korean rides. Notes on all simulcast races below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. BUGYEONG DAEBAK – First time starter. Looked competent in trials and great chance to score first-up.
2. HWANGGEUMBITYEONGU – Ten starts so far with a best finish of 5th. May suit being back to minimum trip today but won’t be favoured.
3. MIR KAN – Yet to go any better than 7th in seven attempts. Tough to support here too.
4. LUCKY ADELE – Debut-maker. First foal out of dam who was undistinguished on the track. Average in trials but top trainer & jockey combination.
5. MAKGANG BOLT – Best of 4th among five slow efforts to date. Will need to improve.
6. SARANG MISO – 8th foal from dam, 5 of the others have won. Trialled up in decent fashion and could go well. First start today.
7. YES QUEEN – 1 7 starts so far. Comes in following three consecutive 5th place finishes and no reason why she can’t repeat.
8. DALKOMHAN INSAENG – One of few in this field who has come close before. Should go close again here. (more…)

Busan Mayor’s Cup 2017: Triple Nine & Clean Up Joy (And More!) – Full Preview (July 9)

Last December Clean Up Joy bested Triple Nine to win Korea’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul. Since then Clean Up Joy has harvested listed races against inferior opposition in the Capital while Triple Nine was taken to the Dubai World Cup where despite the Godolphin Mile being a race too far, he managed to acquit himself admirably. There are 6 races at Busan from 13:25 to 17:40 and 11 at Seoul from 11:45 to 19:00

Clean Up Joy YTN Shamrocker

Clean Up Joys wins this year have been dismissively easy. It’s going to be much harder on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Their paths now collide in what is often called the “Summer Grand Prix” over 1800M at Busan. All eyes will be on the start. A notoriously troubled starter, at Seoul Clean Up Joy (Purge) has special dispensation to begin in the widest gate and not having a horse on his outside has settled him down enormously in his most recent appearances. At Busan he is afforded no such special treatment and indeed in last year’s race, he blundered coming out of gate 5 and could only rally late for an eventual 4th. This time he is in gate 2 but most seem to think that under Djordje Perovic, Clean Up Joy can overcome.

As for Triple Nine (Ecton Park), the two time President’s Cup winner has had a rest since arriving back in Korea in April and cantered through a trial last week looking in shape and ready to go. It’s not necessarily a two horse race though. The Thomas Gillespie trained Champ Line (Curlin) enters on a five-race winning streak and only looks to be getting better. He has a great draw and could well be a factor.

Then there are the up and comers. Kiwi trainer David Miller saddles the highly thought-of I’m Your Father (Tiznow) in his first Group race and the colt is not without a chance. Not is Triple Nine’s stablemate Mupae (Paddy O’Prado), who has won five of six starts to date.

It’s set to be the hottest race of the year so far and should offer plenty of clues ahead of the 1 Billion Won international Korea Cup, which will be run over the same distance in Seoul in September. Race cards are here and form comments for the whole card at Busan are below:

Selections: Race 1: 8 2 4 3 Race 2: 11 7 6 1 Race 3: 1 6 4 5 Race 4: 5 2 6 7 Race 5: 2 10 7 1 Race 6: 9 11 2 7
Race 1: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. NORTHERN VICAR – Maiden win at the 7th time of asking in April but only beat one home on first try at this class three weeks ago.
2. SWAG – Landed maiden win on Good Friday and was 2nd last start over 1000M. Hasn’t gone well at further than the minimum in the past but in the frame here.
3. MUNHWA DAERO – Up in class following maiden win over 1300M last time. That win had been coming and there’s not too much to fear here. Repeat not impossible.
4. WIDAEHANGWANGGYONG – Yet to win but has come close on several occasion including latest two. Steps back in trip from a mile today and should come close again.
5. CHEONJIGAEBYEOK – Struggled in three efforts since maiden win saw him promoted to this level.
6. RED SIREN – 4th at class and distance last start and should be looking to at least match that today.
7. SEONGGONG PLAN – Not beaten many in four attempts at this level.
8. YEOKJEONUI GIHOE – A winner on his second start on June 9th, beating two who have since gone on to perform well. Up in class and distance today but a real chance.

(more…)

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

The day before The Busan Mayor’s Cup sees a full Saturday card at Seoul Racecourse. There are 11 races from 14:00 until 21:00. English racecards are here, notes on simulcast races below:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million 

1. BICHEON OGONG – Only beat one home in a slow effort on debut and no reason to recommend just three weeks on.

2. SUPER FIELD – Debut-maker today. 5th in his trial in a slow time and a watching brief is to be taken first-up.

3. BAENONGI – Slow in all three outings so far and no grounds for support today.

4. BAIKAL JEONSA – Apprentice Kim Deok Hyun rode his first winner on just his second race ride last week and could get his second here. 2nd last time and this is his to lose.

5. DUSON EYE – 5th on debut but had a hard time when up to 1300M on reappearance. Back at 1000M and with a better draw today, he can be better.

6. CHOWON GANGJA – Lucky not to have to requalify after a slow last of 11 on debut at the end of May. The only way is up.

7. HONEY BAROWS – Disappointed when odds-on favourite over 1300M a month ago. Has weakened in all four races so far so no surprise she’s finally tried at the minimum. Big chance.

8. BEST GEOPO – A full eleven months between first and second starts and he was much better on his return running 4th of 9 on June 11th. Can improve again. (more…)