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Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 9)

Sunday sees behind closed doors action at Seoul (10 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and at Busan (6 races from 12:10 to 17:00). The only betting outlets open in Korea are at Jeju, Daegu, Gwangju, Changwon and Cheonan (advance reservation through the MyCard app required). Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) GO GO STAR picks himself here with back-to-back 3rd place finishes over this distance. She led all the way to the 100M last time out and from the inside gate we can expect a bold showing again. (2) WARRIOR THUNDER is worth some thought based on his last start where he showed improvement over 1300M. He was bumped early then worked forward to get to the inside and the lead from a wide draw. The effort – and a few rivals – caught up with him close to the line but back to 1200M and with a better gate today and he is right in this. (5) DESK TAP was a fair 4th on his first start before going wide in the wet on his second appearance at the end of March. He battled on well and could be a place line here. (6) SAENAE CHOICE and (8) RUN RUN RUN are others who can feature in the finish.

Selections(1) Go Go Star (2) Warrior Thunder (5) Desk Tap (6) Saenae Choice
Next Best8, 9
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) DAEJIUI YEOGEOL was 2nd at this class and distance back in February coming from well back and finishing strong. That came before a slightly disappointing reappearance at the end of March. We’ll give her a pass on that though as the track was wet and slippery and she was midfield before fading late. She is back in trip today and is capable of much better. The main danger and possible favourite is a debut-maker. (5) WONDERFUL TYCOON trialed very nicely in a heat where he was bumped early but ran home well for 3rd place in a fast time. If he brings that form to the races, then he will be a real factor. (7) POLKA has shown some ability and she will only need to repeat her last start performance to be in the finish when, after meeting trouble in the run, she ended up 4th. On the face of it, there’s not much to recommend about (3) GWACHEON SINSEGYE, but she did produce a good run three starts back. With likely a drier track as well as a good barrier, she can sneak some money.

Selections(1) Daejiui Yeogeol (5) Wonderful Tycoon (7) Polka (3) Gwacheon Sinsegye
Next Best9, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 7, 9

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) ETERNAL MEMORY ran a terrific race last start albeit on a very wet track. He had the same gate as today and settled midfield before running wide on the corner and then ran on strongly going down by a nostril. A repeat of that run puts him in the finish again. (8) ONLY WINNER can have a line drawn through her last start when she was on a fast and furious pace and got buffeted about. The start before, she settled handy and ran on strong for 2nd at 1400M and with a similar run she can go close here. (10) CURRERECUS didn’t run badly last time when 6th over 1400M. That came on top of a good 2nd the start before at the same trip and he looks a place line today. (2) MASTER SUNSHINE has been unpredictable in three starts so far but comes in off a good trial and could be the wildcard. (5) HAWKUI YEONGGWANG has the fastest time of any over the distance and can aim to match the 3rd place he has recorded in each of his latest two.

Selections(1) Eternal Memory (8) Only Winner (5) Hawkui Yeonggwang (10) Currerecus
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start1, 8, 6, 3

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

More than a year after his debut, (8) WONDER BLADE returned to break through in emphatic fashion over this distance on April 3rd, taking command turning into the home straight and then running on way too strong for a field that was overall probably better than this. He will be a deserved hot favourite. Indeed, the horse that ran 2nd to him that day, (11) AMAZING FOOT, looks next best again. The Hansen colt contested the lead for the opening half of the race before Wonder Blade pulled away and at level weights again, a reversal seems unlikely. (7) ENOUGH has hinted at ability across three starts so far and can aim for a place here while (3) HONEY TIGER did absolutely in his two prior outings but came back to trial in April after four months off and looked much more assured. (4) HAVE A GOOD TIME perhaps the best of a limited looking rest.

Selections(8) Wonder Blade (11) Amazing Foot (3) Honey Tiger (7) Enough
Next Best4, 9
Fast Start3, 8, 11, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(10) ROCK FIGHTER was a slightly surprising winner last start on a wet track but the manner of it certainly commands respect. He raced up on the pace that day and worked home strongly and has solid claims for a repeat today. (7) CINDERELLA just needs to get her magic slippers on, and she will be winning soon. She came close last start racing in a handy spot and working home well for 2nd and is set to be in the finish again. (9) SPEED FLYING was poorly away and then too keen last time around so we will disregard that and instead look to her previous couple of starts which were nice and encouraging. She runs on well and with better luck can go close. (6) WONDERFUL CAT is the value play here. In both his latest two, he has made good ground from wide draws and finished off well. He gets a closer barrier today and can sit just behind the leaders. (1) YES I CAN has just the one start to his name and after being slowly away he finished well for a promising 5th which he can build on here.

Selections(10) Rock Fighter (7) Cinderella (9) Speed Flying (6) Wonderful Cat
Next Best1, 12
Fast Start7, 9, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Maiden fillies only here. (9) FLAT BABE has run 2nd on both starts to date, both times beaten by good winners. On debut she led over this distance before being overtaken a furlong from home whereas last time at 1200M, she came from off the pace. Expect You Hyun-myung to keep her handy here and she’s very much the one to beat. (3) BURNING PARTY has been making progress in her latest two and was a good 2nd last start over today’s distance having led for much of the race. She draws well today and should go close. (10) HORAENGI is figuring things out as well and while she was well beaten by a good winner last start, she recorded a fast time when 2nd at this distance. (12) SECOND WIND and (13) BLUE OAK have both mixed their form so far but both have hinted at ability and with top jockeys on, this could be the day for at least one of them to put in a big run.

Selections(9) Flat Babe (10) Horaengi (3) Burning Party (13) Blue Oak
Next Best12, 2
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 12

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 35 Million

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Johan Victoire Reaches 150 Korean Wins

Johan Victoire reached the landmark of 150 winners in Korea last weekend and the popular French rider now has his sights set on continuing his success and doing his part to contribute to the post-COVID recovery of racing in the country he has come to consider his adopted home.

The breakthrough came in race 3 on Saturday on three-year-old colt Namsan Sidae, who got the best of a competitive finish by a head for owner Lee Ki-sun and trainer Park Byung-il to register his maiden victory.

“I’m very delighted” said Victoire after the race. “I just thought that I would have done it earlier but for (the shutdowns caused by) COVID. But I did it and I’m happy to do it with Namsan Sidae who looks like he can have a bright future.”

Johan Victoire debuted in Korea in 2017 and was an instant success, winning on his very first ride. There have been highs and lows since then with Group race victories in the Busan Owners’ Cup in 2019 and in SBS Sports Sprint and Busan Mayor’s Cup in 2020 interspersed with a serious fall that sidelined him for several months in the latter part of 2019.

When asked to choose his favourite winner so far, Victoire was ever the diplomat. “I can’t say which is my favourite between Dolkong, Morfhis and Tiz Plan” he said of his three Group winners. “The three of them are marvelous horses!”

As online betting remains illegal in Korea, the COVID crisis has ravaged the industry and with prize money greatly reduced, no Stakes races are currently schedule. Victoire acknowledged that it is a challenging time. “Unfortunately, things are really not easy for everyone during this pandemic. I really want to thank the KRA for doing their best for the racing industry here in Korea. I hope it will get better and back to normal soon.”

Victoire has long been a positive ambassador for racing inside of Korea. In 2019, he accompanied a CNN crew around Seoul for the network’s “Winning Post” program and then in 2020 appeared with his family as well as his friend and fellow French jockey David Breux on one of Korea’s most popular entertainment shows, showcasing their lives as jockeys. That appearance was well received to the extent that it brought the thirty-four-year-old offers of an advertising deal with a major consumer electronics brand.

There are currently five international jockeys at Seoul, and it is a strong line-up. Aside from Victoire and David Breux, they are Ueda Masashi from Japan, Britain’s Alan Munro and Brazil’s Antonio Da Silva. The latter has 221 Korean wins, putting him 3rd in the all-time list for overseas jockeys in Korea behind only Ikuyasu Kurakane and Djordje Perovic. Perovic is currently riding at Busan where he has Kurakane’s record of 347 wins in his sights. Also plying their trade at the south-coast track are Franco Da Silva, who has 212 victories, including a Korean Derby and Ioannis Poullis, who won the President’s Cup on New Legend in 2019.

Most observers acknowledge the importance of having such talent around to enable the top local jockeys to test themselves on a weekly basis. Likewise for punters, their presence adds a certain amount of quality-assurance and Victoire wants to be in it for the long haul:

“My goals here are to stay as long as possible in this country that my family and I love. I want to continue being successful and I’m looking forward to making my 200th winner in Korea.”

Seoul Sunday: Eoma Eoma vs East Jet – Race-By-Race Preview (March 28)

It’s another Super Sunday at Seoul yet no crowds will be allowed in to witness Eoma Eoma and East Jet facing each other in what should be an epic sprint tussle over the 1200M in the feature event. It remains galling that even the small and enclosed indoor Jangchung Arena in downtown Seoul was able to host spectators this weekend for a volleyball play-off series while the vast expanse of Seoul Racecourse isn’t allowed to admit anyone. It is what it is, however, and betting outlets south of (and including) Cheonan will be open at 20% of indoor seated capacity. It’s a cracking day’s racing in prospect with 15 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here is the race-by-race preview:

Eoma Eoma (left) and East Jet clash again (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Maidens in the opener with six of the fourteen going around for the very first time. Third time could well be the charm for (14) HOLIDAY CHARM. He has run on well but has arrived on the scene too late in both starts so far finishing in 2nd and in 3rd. He gets an extra furlong to play with today and while the draw is less than ideal, he can make the breakthrough. In the most recent of his races, Holiday Charm was 3rd with (9) BURUI GASOK in 2nd. That was Burui Gasok’s debut and very accomplished he looked too, leading for most of the way before getting run down late on by a good winner. He has serious claims and probably starts favourite. (8) DESK TAP ran 4th on his own debut in the same race and can aim to build on that today. As for the first time starters, there were a couple of eye-catchers in trials. (11) COMPLETE HONOR won his trial in good style while (12) MAGIC RECORD registered a fast time running on strong. Both can go well first up.

Selections(14) Holiday Charm (9) Burui Gasok (12) Magic Record (11) Complete Honor
Next Best8, 1
Fast Start5, 8, 9, 14

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Three-year-old fillies only here. (12) K N MENIQUEEN is going to be hot favourite here. While she finished well back in her first two, her times were adequate and it wasn’t much of a surprise when she won at start number three on February 5th with three of these back down the track behind her. The draw shouldn’t be an issue and she should be winning again. There are couple of others with potential. (1) SHOWMAKER ran 3rd on debut behind K N Meniqueen. That was encouraging enough to suggest there is more to come and she should be close to the pace from the inside draw here. (10) BEST CHEONSANG ran an improved 3rd at start number two in February. She has led both her races so far and will be expected to be on the early pace again. (9) GLOBAL CHEONSA was 4th in that race, continuing to show gradual improvement and looks a potential place line here along with (the solitary debut-maker (14) CHOEGANG BLACK. She ran on strong in a fast trial and could be interesting first-up.

Selections(12) K N Meniqueen (10) Best Cheonsang (1) Showmaker (14) Choegang Black
Next Best9, 2
Fast Start1, 3, 10, 13

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(5) CHEONMA TODAY showed good speed when leading all the way for back to back wins over 1200M in November and December. She weakened into 4th when tried at 1400M on February but splitting the difference at 1300M today and with the benefit of a very nice draw, she could return to the winner’s circle. The only other previous winner in the field is (8) CUPID BULLET. He was a speedy winner over 1000M on his second outing at the start of February and while up in trip here, looks set to be the main danger. (11) TAP QUALITY has been knocking on the door in his three starts so far and is one of only three in the race who has prior experience of this trip. He will be there or thereabouts again. (6) BODYGUARD and (12) HOEDURYEONG were both a touch disappointing on their respective latest outings but have hinted at ability and can aim for some money here.

Selections(5) Cheonma Today (8) Cupid Bullet (11) Tap Quality (6) Bodyguard
Next Best12, 4
Fast Start5, 8, 11, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) ACE PRINCE remains winless but has finished in the top five in all four of his starts so far. He enters having run 4th on his first try at this distance last time and looks nicely in here to make the breakthrough. Expect him to be on pace from the start and go all the way. (5) CHAMPION GAMUN will be challenging for the early lead. He has shown progress over his own four outings prior to today and steps up to 1400M for the first time with claims to go close. (6) POWER MUSIC beat a few of these on her way to 5th place over 1700M on February 5th. That was her first start since August but she already has a runner-up finish to her name at this distance and should be a danger here. (1) ETERNAL MEMORY was further back in that same race but expect better dropped back to one turn. Even further back was (3) GEUMA SWIFT. The time before though he ran on well from the back over 1200M and can be given another chance today.

Selections(9) Ace Prince (5) Champion Gamun (6) Power Music (1) Eternal Memory
Next Best3, 12
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9
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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 21)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00. The meeting is open to the public but attendance must be booked in advance through the “MyCard” app. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

We’ve watched plenty of trials putting together the preview for the first event as all twelve runners are on debut! (10) ILHANG DALMA goes on top on the strength of her trial. The Simon Pure two-year-old jumped well out of the gates and was not pushed out entirely, just hands and heels from Kim Ok-sung who will partner her on debut. She clocked a good time and she was professional in her actions. Gyeongbudaero filly (3) GLORY KHAN clocked a good time when qualifying, she was green up the straight with her rider having to change hands with the whip as she had a tendency to lay in. If she puts it all together she looks a winning chance. (6) LONDON QUEEN looks to stride out nicely and responded to the persuader in good style in her heat. She is another each way chance based on her trial performance. (7) TEUKGWON was another who looked good in her trial and a forward showing would not surprise.

Selections(10) Ilhang Dalma (3) Glory Khan (6) London Queen (7) Teukgwon
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start1, 7, 10

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

Competitive looking maiden but (4) THE KING BLADE did enough on debut when 2nd behind a very fast looking Oxford King to warrant top pick here. That was all the way back in July but he looked in good shape when trialing up two weeks ago and the additional furlong may benefit. After an inauspicious debut in February, (5) SAENAMUI BYEOL seemed to benefit from the enforced hiatus as he returned for the summer season looking much more like a racehorse and recorded a 2nd and 3rd. The latter was at this distance and he led until the closing stages. He’ll be on pace again and should go close. (8) ACE PRINCE also had a promising summer campaign and looks nicely in to at least challenge for the places here. (9) ROSEDAY MARINE and (12) GEUMA COLOSSAL are others who can go close.

Selections(4) The King Blade (5) Saenamui Byeol (8) Ace Prince (9) Roseday Marine
Next Best12, 6
Fast Start4, 5, 9

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

The Korean-bred maidens will line up over the 1200m in the third event. The improvement from (5) GRAY CAT was noticed last start when sitting closer to speed before finishing third clocking a good time for this grade. Song Jae-chul can navigate from a suitable gate, position him in the first few in running before unleashing at the top of the straight. (10) MYEONGJIN DAY debuted in good style last month finishing third behind Grand Castle. The Any Given Saturday colt has been dealt a blow with a wide draw, with some natural improvement however he should be treated as a winning chance. (3) MILLENNIUM POWER finished third on debut when trying to lead throughout. The three-year-old looks the likely leader and it will be a case of whether there’s enough improvement to allow him to hold on. (4) NONSTOP WINNING has the five starts under his belt, yielding two minor placings including a third at his last start. He gets some relief in the weights with Lim Da-bin being legged aboard on Saturday. 

Selections(5) Gray Cat (10) Myeongjin Day (3) Millennium Power (4) Nonstop Winning
Next Best2, 11
Fast Start3, 4, 6

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

(3) TANK SOCKS receives no penalty for her win at class and distance back on October 16th and looks nicely in to score again. That win had been coming with two runner-up finishes preceding it and she can come from off the pace and finish strongly here. (11) RAON BLOOD is also a class and distance winner having led from gate to wire back in August. She was a bit ordinary when 7th of 14 a month ago but if she can overcome the wide draw to get to her favoured forward position today, then she is in with a shout. (5) SUPER LUCKY BOY has already shown that he can be competitive at this level and is likely to be on speed early from a good draw. (7) HANIL MOA is up in class following a fast win on what was a wet-assisted track. She will need to improve if she is to challenge for the win here but could aim for some minor money.

Selections(3) Tank Socks (11) Raon Blood (5) Super Lucky Boy (7) Hanil Moa
Next Best6, 1
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 10, 11

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

Korean-bred maidens once again in the fifth where they will go over the 1300m. (9) MORNING NEWS is the on top selection after finishing second on debut. The Federalist filly exhibited a good turn of foot on debut coming from a midfield position to finish second behind Mir Captain. The extra half-furlong should be beneficial to her chances. (5) EUNHYE PADO showed improvement at her third start back in August. She hit the line strong over the 1200m with Park Eul-woon in the saddle, he will partner the daughter of Tiz Wonderful once again. (3) GANGHWA CHEONYEO had had six starts to date yielding just the one minor placing, which came last start back in August. She was given time to find her feet on that occasion before hitting the line in good style. There are quite a few backmarkers in this race who wouldn’t want to get too far back. (4) SUN WINNER looks next best after finishing fourth last time out back in August when one paced through the line.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 20)

For the time being racing can continue in Korea and can continue with racegoers in attendance. Over the past week the government has raised the social distancing requirements to “level 1.5”. At this level, fans can continue to attend sporting event but attendance is capped at 30%. However, the number of new virus cases per day has already reached the number at which “level 2” will be activated, so when the government makes its next announcement – possibly over this weekend – it seems likely that once more fans will be locked out.

This weekend should be completed without issue. Reservations must be made through the MyCard App. There is an 11-race card at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maidens to start the day with and seven of the twelve are racing for the very first time. One of those, (2) FIRST EDITION is set to be hot favourite. He made all for an emphatic trial win back in the summer and while quite a bit of time has passed since then, he won’t need to do too much to win here. From gate 2 he should lead from the start and he probably won’t be caught. Fellow first-timer (5) NAMDO QUEEN also won her trial. It was considerably slower than that of First Edition but it does have the benefit of being recent, having come at the end of October. She carries a light weight and should go close. (12) YEOSU TORNADO looks like the best of the rest of the debut-makers at this stage while among those with experience, (6) BEAUTIFUL KING perhaps has most scope for immediate improvement.

Selections(2) First Edition (5) Namdo Queen (12) Yeosu Tornado (6) Beautiful King
Next Best1, 10
Fast Start2, 12

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The maiden gallopers line up over the short course in the second. (9) THALE NOI lines up for start five after a lackluster performance mid-October. The filly looked as if she will benefit from the run, and the drop back to the 1000m looks to be in her favour as well. Djordje Perovic has been named on the galloper which is a plus as well. (2) B.K. POWER lined up for her debut last start when capitulating in the run home over 1200m. She trialed up in good style over 1000m in September, with the run under her belt and the drop back to 1000m, she may be well suited. (1) ANGEL WIND comes off a fifth last start when sitting on speed in the early stages. Mo Junho will take 4kg off her back, she looks an each-way chance. (5) ROYAL CHANT lines up for his debut after winning his qualifying trial. The Chapel Royal colt was not fully asked for in his trial when leading throughout, going on to win by two and a half lengths.

Selections(9) Thale Noi (2) B.K. Power (1) Angel Wind (5) Royal Chant
Next Best8, 6
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 9

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

First-time starters from Kim Young-kwan’s stable always attract plenty of attention and (7) SPEED MATCH is likely to be no exception. The Shackleford colt won an October trial in good fashion, a big improvement over an effort earlier in the month, and he if he continues to improve then he should be a big player here. He’s not necessarily the winner though. (2) HAPPY WIND beat three of these on her way to 2nd place at this distance on October 23rd. It’s true that she has been inconsistent across her six outings to date but that performance last time was encouraging and a similar run today will see her go very close. (4) RAON THE MILLION was 7th in that same race on what was his racing debut and he can build on that solid effort today. (10) ETERNAL HERO also enters following a pleasing enough debut in July when 4th over 1000M. He trialed up adequately in September and can play a role here.

Selections(2) Happy Wind (7) Speed Match (10) Eternal Hero (4) Raon The Million
Next Best1, 11
Fast Start7, 10

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

It’s fair to say the fourth on the card is a rather weak maiden event. (4) INDIAN PARTY goes on top on the basis of his successive placings at his last two starts. He’s a speedy type who should benefit dropping back to the 1200m after finishing third over the 1400 at his past two starts. Expect a positive ride from Djordje Perovic. (2) LUCKY MAGIC is yet to place from seven starts but did clock a relatively quick time last time out when finishing fourth behind Good Socks. From barrier two expect him to camp on the leaders’ coattails before being asked for at the top of the straight. (11) RAPIDO QUEEN lines up for her third starts after a disappointing effort last time out when last in a field of fourteen. She missed the kick before being urged along by Lee Hyo-sik and never looking comfortable in the run. Her debut in August was much more encouraging, when sitting in the first half of the field before plugging away to finish fourth. (7) HAVE A GOOD TIME rounds out the top four after finishing eighth on debut. This assignment looks easier but he would still have to improve significantly to be a winning chance.

Selections(4) Indian Party (2) Lucky Magic (11) Rapido Queen (7) Have A Good Time
Next Best8, 9
Fast Start4, 8

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

(6) HANEUL ULLIM gets another crack at class 6 despite having won at it back in October when the stakes money was reduced across the board. He came from well back that day, running on pleasingly and the additional half furlong today shouldn’t be a factor. He will be the strong favourite. Both (7) A ONE PLUS and (10) DONGNAM BULPAE come in off pleasing debuts in which they finished 4th and 5th respectively, both of them over this distance. Both should be in the hunt for at least a place finish today. (1) SEUNGNI TOUT has a runner-up finish to his name from back in June. He struggled when sent up to a mile the following month but is capable of getting closer today. He may well lead in a race with little early speed.

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Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 15)

There are meetings at both Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:00) on Sunday. Both meetings are open to the public with attendance capped at 30% of the indoor capacity, however, advance reservations must be made through the MyCard app. Here are the race-by-race previews for Seoul with Busan selections at the bottom:

East Jet (minus Alan Munro) goes around in Sunday’s Seoul feature (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Korean-bred maidens kick of proceedings Sunday morning where the majority of the field is on debut. We are excited to see (3) RUNNING KING line up for his first race start after some handy trials. The two-year-old’s most recent trial had him hard held winning a trial and clocking a very respectable time. Moon Se-young will ride the promising type. (11) GRAND STAR is another who trialed up well leading into his first start. He has drawn wide which may prove problematic over the short course for Lim Gi-won. (4) M J BEST is another on debut coming off a fair trial when clocking 62.2 seconds for the 1000m on a good track. Whilst he brings the fastest trial time into the race he was put under full pressure by Song Jae-chul who will ride him today. (5) GREAT HANSEN looks another who is capable of performing well at her first start. Kim Yong-geun will partner the filly from a central draw.

Selections(3) Running King (11) Grand Star (4) M J Best (5) Great Hansen
Next Best2, 1
Fast Start3, 6

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

(2) ADAMS APPLE ran a good 4th on debut back on August 1st He showed decent speed in a front-running performance and has as much chance as any of making the breakthrough today. The main danger looks to be (8) CAREER HIGH who, one slightly disappointing showing aside, has shown speed and ability with a 3rd and a 2nd, the latter of which was over 1300M. She’ll aim to come from just off the pace and should be going very close. (6) WONDERFUL MAGIC was an improved 3rd at this distance back in August. The First Dude colt led for much of the way around that day and is nicely drawn to get to the lead again here. (11) SONGAM PLAYER began her career pleasingly and while she hasn’t races since June and offered few clues in a trial last month, can be considered for a place in this company. (3) KKANGDORI finished back in the pack on debut in August but it was a fast run race and she had previously looked good in trials.

Selections(8) Career High (2) Adams Apple (6) Wonderful Magic (3) Kkangdori
Next Best11, 7
Fast Start2, 6, 7, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Not the most inspiring maiden you will see with a few of these gallopers well tried. (1) MAX DAERO lines up for her sixth starts and gets a good opportunity to breakthrough with the inside draw. The filly has an abundance of early speed and looks a big chance to jump and lead all the way. Choi Bum-hyun will ride the three-year-old for the first time. (5) ABOUT SOMETHING brings form lines into the race that suggest the filly can win. She comes off a last start third behind A. P. Patek which reads well for an event such as this. Expect her to keep in touch with the leading division before being present at the top of the straight. (6) GLOBAL SUN comes off a midfield performance where she got shuffled back from a wide draw before making up late ground. She looks capable of running into some minor money. (8) GO GO GO lines up for his third start after finishing fifth at both outings to date. He has hit the line strong at both starts and will need to be positioned closed to the speed to be considered a winning chance when they swing for home.

Selections(1) Max Daero (5) About Something (6) Global Sun (8) Go Go Go
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start1, 4, 5, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Not the strongest of maidens this. The jockey/trainer combination will probably be enough to make (5) BLACK CHARM the favourite. He hasn’t been especially exciting, but his form has been adequate enough and he’s been making ground at the end of all three of his races so far suggesting that the additional trip today can be to his benefit. (11) RUFFIAN PARK already has experience of this distance and comes in off a 3rd and a 4th place finish. He tends to come from well back and so long as he doesn’t leave himself too much to do, he looks right in this. (9) GONGJAK WANG has been inconsistent across seven starts so far but the 4th place he scored at this distance in August was the fastest time for any of these over 1400M and he needs to be taken seriously. (1) BEST STORM and (6) AMAZING QUEEN are others who should be aiming to at least place. There isn’t much in the way of early speed in this race (to put it mildly) so the latter may well get a soft lead.

Selections(5) Black Charm (11) Ruffian Park (9) Gonjak Wang (6) Amazing Queen
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start4, 6

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

Plenty of chances in the fifth where a field of twelve will line up over 1400m. (5) ONE AND ONLY looks a main player based on the filly’s recent runs. She finished fourth last time out behind a handy one in George Queen. This looks an easier assignment, combine that with the claim she may be able to sit on speed and hold on. (2) K. N. POWER comes off a good maiden win at her second start. She takes the dramatic step up to 1400m at her third start which appears to be the query hanging over her. In saying that, if she can settle on speed and produce a similar spring home, she will be hard to beat. (11) RAIN K has had five starts spaced apart since debuting mid-2019. The Lion Metal filly has finished in the top four on four of her five starts and comes off a third behind Arirayo back in August. With the wide draw she may be forced to settle further back than where Shin Hyoung-chul would like to position her. (3) BOMNALUI GIEOK finished second in this grade also back in August. The three-year-old is yet to break maiden status but has finished in the money seven of his nine starts to date.

Selections(5) One And Only (2) K. N. Power (11) Rain K (3) Bomnalui Gieok
Next Best4, 9
Fast Start2, 5

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

(4) SPEED HEUKRYONG beat a number of these on his way to an excellent class and distance win back on August 22nd in a fast time. Just last month he could only manage 6th at the same distance but once more in an extremely swift time. If he runs to that mark again, he can win here. He is though carrying a full 5kg more than that August victory. (5) FEDERAL CAT was 5th in that race and followed up with a 2nd place at 1200M in October. He continues to benefit from a light weight with an apprentice jockey knocking off 4kg and he could take advantage here. (7) WHITE COMET was 4th in the August race but similar to Speed Heukryong, has plenty of weight to carry again. Of those who didn’t go in the August race, (6) YEOLRIN MUN is up in class following a good win over 1200M in August. He has previously shown ability at this distance and should be competitive today. Draw a line through the performance of (3) BIG FACE when only beating one home last month. He’s better than that and should be closer today.

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 14)

There are 12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10.45 to 18.00. The meeting is open to the public but advance reservation must be made through the “MyCard” app.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

We kick the program off with an 1000m event for the Korean-bred maidens. (5) DREAM PELLA trialed up in good style clocking a quick time when compared to his counterparts engaged here. The Take Charge Indy gelding was somewhat green in his trial, he should be able to get on speed from a central draw and be in the finish. The trial of (1) RAON PINK was encouraging when working through the line in good fashion. The Park Jong-kon trained filly will line up for her first start with an inside draw. (4) SPRING COME drops back to the 1000m where he has previously placed. The chestnut should bring some residual fitness into the race from his three starts back in the mid-part of the year. (7) GEUMGUKHWA trialed up fairly and looks a rough place chance with not much separating the remainder of the field.

Selections (5) Dream Pella (1) Raon Pink (4) Spring Come (7) Geumgukhwa
Next Best 8, 12
Fast Start 4, 5, 8

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

Having won a trail, (8) YEONGGWANGUI MISO put in a strong effort for 3rd on debut over 1000M on August 22nd. She ran through the line strongly that day and with the additional trip looking set to suit, the Hansen filly looks the one to beat here. (2) FEDERAL STRONG was a much improved 2nd on what was his second career start at the end of August. He once again benefits from an apprentice jockey giving him a nice allowance and should go close once more. (7) BLACK SILVER has shown at the front in both her latest two appearances. She should be on speed again here and can hold on for at least a place. (1) USEUNG HWANHUI and (11) AROMA are among others with potential to improve.

Selections (8) Yeonggwangui Miso (2) Federal Strong (7) Black Silver (1) Useung Hwanhui
Next Best 11, 9
Fast Start 4, 7, 11

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

Another maiden event where winning chances look limited. Debutant (6) HI HI trialed up in good style and is the on top selection. The Tourist colt clocked 61.1 seconds in his heat when showing early speed. Lim Da-bin will take 4kg off his back on debut suggesting he can jump, lead and potentially win. (9) MAD BLADE showed improvement at his second start when finishing fourth over this distance. This field looks no stronger than his most recent assignment back in August suggesting he can fill a place. (3) RAON THE FIGHTER trialed up fairly in September and lines up for his first race start today. The Bayern colt has drawn well and he looked as if he had more to give in his trial. (1) GABO SARANGHAE has finished just behind the placegetters at his past two starts. From the inside, Jo Jae-ro can grab onto the leader’s coattails and get a nice trail into the race.

Selections (6) Hi Hi (9) Mad Blade (3) Raon The Fighter (1) Gabo Saranghae
Next Best 7, 12
Fast Start 6, 7, 9

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

Tricky little maiden this with plenty coming on off encouraging performances in their respective latest starts. (5) FLYING STEED has recorded the fastest time of any of them at this distance and has been consistent across his two starts to date finishing 5th and 4th. He’s come from off the pace both times and if Choi Bum-hyun can get him into a position within striking distance at the top of the stretch, he has a good chance of taking the honors here. (1) FINAL ACE similarly ran on well for 3rd place over this distance last start and can be a placing threat again. (2) DREAM FASHION capitulated early at his latest effort at 1400M but back down in trip is probably worth another chance here – he has the second fastest time among these for the distance. (9) PERFECT POWER was a much improved 2nd back in August and can build on that today while (6) ETERNAL MEMORY is another in the hunt.

Selections (5) Flying Steed (1) Final Ace (2) Dream Fashion (9) Perfect Power
Next Best 6, 3
Fast Start 1, 6, 9

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

The fifth is a maiden event for the Korean-breds who will take on the 1300m. (1) HAECHAN looks a big chance for Moon Se-young to notch another winner. The three-year-old handed in a good performance last start in August when second behind Chotoma. The Federalist colt has early speed, from barrier one it may be a jump, run and win affair. (9) CHEONGDAM YEOGEOL looks one that can potentially improve today. The filly finished just behind the placegetters last time out back in August. She may have to settle rearwards before improving her position in the mid-stages. (11) ANYANG HORANGI handed in her best performance to date last time out when third behind Cupid Bisang over the six furlongs. She looks best suited to work forward and sit in the leading division. (6) CHEON CHONG is another who had his most recent run back in August. The three-year-old finished second behind Potential

Energy over this distance. A similar performance to that of last start will see him in the money once again.

Selections (1) Haechan (9) Cheongdam Yeogeol (11) Anyang Horangi (6) Cheon Chong
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 1, 6, 9, 11

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

(11) KING ACE began his career in fine style at the start of this year with a 2nd place and a win, the latter and all the way effort over today’s distance. That was on February 15th and while he hasn’t raced since, he did look very sharp in a late September trial. The draw may not be ideal today but he could well have too much for this field. (3) BAEKDUWA HALLA is up in class following a good win at 1200M back in August. The time wasn’t especially quick but after taking command late on she ran on for a very comfortable victory and should be competitive at this level. (9) BAEKSAN THUNDER is yet to win in eight attempts but come sin off back to back 3rd place finishes and has claims to match that again here. (1) ATHENA V and (12) LAST MAGIC are others who should be firmly in the hunt for prize money.

Selections (11) King Ace (3) Baekduwa Halla (9) Baeksan Thunder (1) Athena V
Next Best 12, 7
Fast Start 3, 6, 7, 11

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

The Class 4 gallopers will line up over the two turns in the seventh event where there is minimal early speed suggesting a muddily run race. Expect a positive ride from Moon Se-young aboard (10) JANGSAN TANK. The chestnut performed well last time out when motoring home in good time to finish third behind Global Socks last month. He should take improvement from the run and it looked as if he is ready for the two turns now. (4) STRONG QUEEN has previously shown a liking for the two turns, she could be the improver here after a lackluster performance last month. The Colors Flying filly is yet to break maiden status but has placed on five occasions from nine starts. (12) FANTASTIC COMBI drops back in class and will carry top weight. The five-year-old has run some honest races over the two turns previously and should be considered in your wider selections. (9) HANSEN BAROWS is somewhat of a non-winner but on his day can run into the money. Ueda Masashi is likely to be forced to settle him towards the rear from a wide draw.

Selections (10) Jangsan Tank (4) Strong Queen (12) Fantastic Combi (9) Hansen Barows
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1, 5, 9

Race 8: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) LUCKY JAESAN was a super impressive winner on debut, completing the five-furlongs in a sub one-minute time. She’s up in class today as well as in distance but neither should be a worry and from gate five she should be on top early and lead all the way. (12) MENI STAND and (11) LUCKY CLUB came home 3rd and 4th respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on August 2nd. Both should be competing for the minors today with Lucky Club perhaps likely to overturn that form. (1) DALRINEUN BITKKAL remains a maiden but has shown himself capable of competing at this level and is another who can place, while (4) SOSEONO LEGEND is up in class and while less than impressive in an October trial, should be able to handle herself at this level.

Selections (5) Lucky Jaesan (1) Dalrineun Bitkkal (4) Soseono Legend (11) Lucky Club
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 4, 5

Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

The ninth on the card is a competitive affair for punters to dissect. (10) COMPLETE CAPTAIN is establishing himself as a nice galloper. The Forest Camp three-year-old has won three and placed on three occasions from six starts. The Park Jae-woo trained galloper sits on speed in his races so look for Lim Gi-won urging his mount forward as soon as the gates fly back. (1) P.K. JEONSA comes off successive placings in this grade over sprint distances. He’s a consistent type who should be able to kick up from an inside draw and sit in the first half of the field. (4) CHOIN GANGJA lined up in the Korean Derby last time out when well beaten over the two turns. He drops back to the six furlongs and should account for himself well. He was always a couple of lengths behind the topline two-year-olds but should be one who goes through the grades as he gets deeper into his racing career. (7) SIMPLE STYLE has won his past two starts which have been over 1300m. He wasn’t knocked about in a September trial and it will be interesting to see what he can do race day. Punters should treat him as an each-way chance.

Selections (10) Complete Captain (1) P.K. Jeonsa (4) Choin Gangja (7) Simple Style
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 10

Race 10: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(2) BLUE MACARON made all for an excellent win at this distance on August 22nd in a time that, track condition aside, would be competitive in a Korea Sprint. That was her second win in her last three starts and she looks to have more in the tank. If she runs anywhere close to that performance from last time, she won’t be beaten. (11) LOOKING FIRST is up in class after a pair of solid wins over 1200M. His times haven’t been especially fast but he’s done what he has needed to do with plenty in hand and can go close here. (4) CLEAN UP BELLA is a front-runner who has done most of his recent work at 1400M. He will likely challenge Blue Macaron for the early lead and is certainly capable of running a time. Joining them on the early speed could also be (9) SINGSING MARY, a winner at class and distance in July and who also warrants some respect here.

Selections (2) Blue Macaron (11) Looking First (4) Clean Up Bella (9) Singsing Mary
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 9

Race 11: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

The imports line up in the eleventh where the majority of the small field are still awaiting their first win. (8) GLOBAL SOCKS looks hardest to beat coming off a last start win in good time. His win was over the 1400m and there was no penalty as part of the Covid relief arrangement. Moon Se-young will be legged aboard once again and is likely to sit just off speed in the small field. (3) JANGSAN GOLD put the writing on the wall last start that she is close to breaking through. The Goldencents filly clocked a quick time when finishing second behind Echo Victor over the 1200m. She carried just the 52kg and should sit prominent in the run from gate three. (2) GANGNAM MAN has placed at his past two starts including a run over this distance. He produced a fast sectional last time out, he will be aided if the pacemakers clap the pace on early. (1) SARYEONI WINNER looks next best with the good draw. The filly has finished in the top four on four occasions from the five starts.

Selections (8) Global Socks (3) Jangsan Gold (2) Gangnam Man (1) Saryeoni Winner
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

Race 12: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Classic form has held up well this year so far and that bodes well for (12) WHITE QUEEN. She won the Luna Stakes, the principle Korean Oaks trial over a mile and while she weakened in the fillies’ classic at 1800M, dropping back to 1400M today should be in her favour and she can return to winning ways. The main danger is (9) RIDE LUCKY. The Forest Camp gelding has won three of four starts so far and while he is up in both class and distance today, he is extremely well weighted and should be going close. Similarly carrying a light weight is (10) ALL BAEK, who has made all to win her latest two and steps up in class today. (3) GEOMPO and (8) MUDO are other capable animals in what looks like a very solid affair.

Selections (12) White Queen (9) Ride Lucky (10) All Baek (3) Geompo
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12

Behind Closed Doors, Low Stakes, No Wagering Racing To Start Friday

Racing – of a kind – will resume in Korea on Friday with both the thoroughbred tracks at Seoul and Busan, as well as the pony racecourse on Jeju hosting race meetings. The meetings will take place behind closed doors for significantly reduced prize money. There will initially be no wagering either locally or internationally. Races will only be held on Fridays.

Following a four-month hiatus in the first half of the year, racing was abandoned again at the end of August. The purpose of these race meetings is to support connections and horsemen who have kept horses in work throughout the prolonged shutdowns. It was felt that offering prize-money – albeit at a significantly reduced level – was the best way to distribute the money while keeping the industry ticking over so it is in the best shape possible if and when a normal resumption becomes possible.

Class 1 thoroughbred races – the top level of racing – will have a total purse of 40 Million Won (compared to 110 Million normally) while Class 6 – the lowest level – will keep its usual purse of 22 Million Won. Across all levels there will be a more even distribution of prize-money among place-getters with each winner receiving 33% of the total purse compared to 58% in normal circumstances. Thoroughbred races will be run over three distances only; 1200M, 1400M and 1800M. All races will be run under allowance conditions with set weights according to ratings bands.

Races will begin at Seoul at 9am. Although closed to the public, race cards will be published on the KRA’s official website as will results and (hopefully) race videos.

Korea unexpectedly lowered its social distancing alert to “level 1” earlier this week. This has enabled spectators to return to baseball and football stadiums and means there is an outside chance of some spectators being admitted to the track from the first week of November (racing needs other sports to have successfully completed at least two weeks of fans in attendance). If this were to happen, then more normal weekend racing with wagering would be able to resume. We have been here before though.

Four-Time President’s Cup Winner Triple Nine Has Been Retired

Triple Nine, a record-breaking four-time President’s Cup winner and Korea’s all-time leading money earner, has been retired. The eight-year-old last ran in the Herald Business Cup in June and with racing in Korea on another indefinite hiatus, the decision was taken to retire him.

Triple Nine (Picture: Alex Cairns)

With fifteen wins from thirty-three starts in Korea and 4.7 Billion Won (US$4Million) in prize money, Triple Nine retires as one of the most successful and significant horses in local racing history. He won five Korean Group 1 races, including an unprecedented four consecutive Presidents Cups from 2015 to 2018 as well as the Grand Prix Stakes in 2018.

Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, and placed by owner Choi Byung-bu with trainer Kim Young-kwan at Busan, Triple Nine ran 2nd on debut as a juvenile in late November of 2014. He then won four in a row before being beaten by Yeongcheon Ace in the Korean Derby the following May. He would be runner-up again in the final leg of that year’s Triple Crown with stablemate Rock Band besting him in the Minister’s Cup.

Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle for the 4th time (Pic: KRA)

There weren’t many more setbacks. In October of 2015, Triple Nine turned the tables on Rock Band to secure his first President’s Cup, a race he would go on to make his own. In the 2016 edition he defeated another stablemate, the Triple Crown winner Power Blade before equaling Dangdae Bulpae’s feat of three wins in the race in 2017 with Power Blade once more coming home in 2nd place. A year later he came from off the pace to score his historic fourth win in what is, Derby aside, the richest race restricted to Korean bred horse.

Triple Nine didn’t only run well against his fellow Korean-bred horses though. He finished in 3rd place behind the Japan-trained pair of Chrysolite and Kurino Star O in the inaugural Korea Cup in 2016 and was again the best of the locally-trained runners in the international race a the following year when 4th to London Town.

In early 2017, Triple Nine joined Power Blade in travelling to the Dubai World Cup Carnival. His 2nd place on his Meydan debut coupled with a 4th and a 5th in Group company earned him a spot in the Godolphin Mile and while that was a race too far, he had proved he could hold his own internationally, a precursor of what was to come from Korea-trained horses both in Dubai and at the Breeders’ Cup in subsequent years.

Across his career, Triple Nine also picked up victories in the Gyeongnam Ilbo and Busan Owners’ Cups but the one that appeared to be eluding him was the Grand Prix Stakes, the traditional season-ending finale in December. He finished 4th in 2015, 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2017. In 2018, he got it right, overhauling Cheongdam Dokki and Today in the closing stages to claim victory at the fourth time of asking. Future stars Dolkong and Moonhak Chief were 4th and 6th.

That would ultimately prove to be his final victory. Injury kept him out for the entire 2019 season and while he reappeared earlier this year to run a creditable 3rd in a tune-up race, racing’s enforced shutdown then intervened. His 8th place in the Herald Business behind Cheongdam Dokki in June and then the second shutdown meant that Triple Nine’s racing days were over.

“Triple Nine has had a huge influence on my life” said owner Choi Byung-bu. “He is like a child to me and I am sorry he can’t end his career in a flashy way. I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have supported Triple Nine”.

That “flashy way” would have been an official retirement ceremony on a Sunday afternoon during racing at Busan Racecourse that as a Group 1 winner, Triple Nine would have been entitled to. Instead he quietly exits the scene, initially to Challenger Farm, which is also home to imported stallion Cowboy Cal.

Touch Star Man Too Good In Minister’s Cup as Korean Racing Shuts Down for a Second time

Two and a half months of behind closed doors action was brought to an end of Sunday when Touch Star Man confirmed his status as Champion Three-Year-Old by adding to his KRA Cup Mile win with victory in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse. Following the conclusion of the meeting, Korean racing entered its most uncertain period since the Korean War with the sport going on indefinite hiatus from September after a rise in Coronavirus cases ended any prospect of any spectators – and therefore betting – being permitted for the foreseeable future.

A strong winner of the KRA Cup Mile in early July, Touch Star Man was never a factor in the Derby earlier in August though did rally late on to make it into 5th place. He was dominant in the 2000M Minister’s Cup, however, always racing prominently before leaving his rivals trailing in the home straight to record a four-length win.

It was an extremely turbulent race. After long-shot Miracle Icheon refused to leave the gates, Touch Star Man was involved in an incident himself when he crossed sharply causing a chain reaction that disadvantaged A To Z, Complete Kingdom and Top Day to all be impeded. Jockey Seo Seung-un picked up a five-day ban and was perhaps a touch fortunate that the incident was so early in the race and that his ultimate winning margin was so great.

More was to come on the second corner when at the back of the field, Derby runner-up Raon Tough Man took it upon himself to suddenly try to hurdle the inside rail. He achieved it and continued running on the empty inner-track but left jockey Choi Bum-hyun requiring hospital treatment for three fractured ribs after a heavy fall.

Thankfully the rest of the race passed off without incident and Touch Star Man [Testa Matta – Useung Touch (Menifee)] proved his superiority in the home straight. He moves on to five wins from nine starts. For jockey Seo Seung-un, it was a third win in a Classic race, having taken the KRA Cup Mile on Cheongnyeong Bisang in 2014 and the Korean Oaks on Deep Mind in 2019.

As for trainer Kim Young-kwan, Touch Star Man was his fifth Minister’s Cup winner. His previous ones were Namdo Jeap in 2009, Dongseo Jeongbeol in 2011, Rock Band in 2015 and Power Blade in 2016.

One of very few positives to come out of this wretched year is that the three-year-olds got to have their Triple Crown races (although the fillies have missed out on the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, the final leg of the “Tiara” which was scheduled for this coming Sunday).

This year’s juveniles look set to miss out on most, if not all the rest of the season but at Seoul, they gave us a glimpse of what to look out for in next year’s Triple Crown in the inaugural running of the “Rookie Stakes”.

Thirteen juveniles went around in the 1200M test and it was Heungbaragi [Old Fashioned – Grand Marketing (After Market)] who led from gate to wire, just as he had done on debut a month ago. Will he get further? Which of the ones he beat will emerge as threats as the distances get longer? And what about Busan which was due to run its first big juvenile race later? Those are questions about which we can only speculate on the answers.

So what now? The new shutdown will encompass at least all of September and will likely include the Chuseok holiday in the first week of October. After that things will be dependent upon whether there has been an improvement in the Coronavirus situation to the extent that there is a real prospect of spectators being allowed on course or if the legislation to legalise online wagering is making progress.

The majority of KRA staff have been placed on furlough three-days a week, however, trackwork is for now continuing as normal so that if things do go well, the horses are ready to race right away with just a week’s notice to be given for resumption.