Sunday Seoul & Busan: Preview (March 5)

Fillies take centre-stage at Seoul & Busan on Sunday as the most promising 3-year-olds race for big prizes in the Sports Seoul and Gyeongnam Sinmun Cups. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

English racecards can be found here. Notes on the three overseas simulcast races are below:

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million

1. MR. FORTUNE – Winner of 3 from 5 including one at this class. First time around two turns but can make all. Big chance. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 30)

Seoul takes a weekend off and all tracks take Sunday off so it’s to Busan for Friday and Saturday racing to round out the 2016 season in Korea. There are 8 races at Busan on Friday from 11:55 to 18:00 (and plenty of pony races from Jeju).


Darryll Holland returns to Busan (Pic: Ross Holburt)

UK jockey Darryll Holland, who had a successful year at the track in 2013-2014 returns to Busan this week. He has three rides on Friday with a further eight on Saturday. English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 3: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:05 

Competitive race but while (9) PARTY TONIGHT is yet to win in four outings and up in class, he’s favoured to score here. He was just beaten a head on his first start at this distance a month ago having started poorly. If he can get away better here, he should be tough to beat. (6) MR. SPENDING beat (7) BAEKDUBONG as the pair raced 2nd and 4th over this distance on December 2nd and the former especially should be a danger again today while (1) DANCING STAR comes in following back to back 3rd place finishes, the first of them at class 1, and will be backed. (4) WINNING GILI and (5) YOUARE THE CAPTAIN look best of the rest.

Selections: (9) Party Tonight (1) Dancing Star (6) Mr. Spending (5) Youare The Captain
Next Best: 5, 7, 2, 12, 11
Rating: 1, 5, 2=11, 7
Fast Starters: 1, 7, 9
Start-200M: 9, 3, 1, 7, 8
200M-Finish: 7, 9, 10, 8, 1 (more…)

Saturday Seoul: Race-By-Race Preview (December 24)

It’s Christmas Eve! So what better to do than get out on the punt? Plenty of opportunities to do so today as well with a bumper 15-race card at Seoul Racecourse.

Big card, big fields and Slovakian jockey Jan Havlik makes his Korea debut with five rides. English race cards are here. Notes on overseas simulcast races 5-15 are below:

Race 5: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:25 

Just the one win in eleven to date but a solid 3rd place at class and distance in a decent contest a month ago makes (2) CLEAN UP WHISTLE favourite to take this. The draw should allow her to get on the early speed and make all. (4) SHINE QUEEN and (5) NHA TRANG have both shown ability and this level and can compete while (3) GOLDIE EARTH and (11) BLACK POINT are both up in class following maiden victories last time out with the latter looking more equipped here.

Selections: (2) Clean Up Whistle (4) Shine Queen (5) Nha Trang (11) Black Point
Next Best: 3, 9
Rating: 4=5=11, 2=3
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 10
Start-200M: 2, 10, 1, 4, 11
200M-Finish: 4, 11, 9, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:10 

After two consecutive 2nd place finishes, just beaten a nose last time out, (7) GEUMTAEPUNG can go one better today. He’s only won one of nineteen so far but can sit handy early, finish well and looks the one to beat. (3) GEUMGOKSEONG did actually beat him over 1200M in September and has been solid into starts since as well so must be considered while (6) NEW WHY FI and (8) J BAEK both enter following victories, the latter at this class and distance. (1) LIM FARM was an unexpected 2nd last start, just beaten a neck and will be better supported today.

Selections: (7) Geumtaepung (6) New Why Fi (3) Geumgokseong (8) J Baek
Next Best: 1, 5
Rating: 2, 8, 3, 6, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 5
Start-200M: 5, 2, 3, 6, 7
200M-Finish: 3, 11, 8, 6, 7 (more…)

Grand Prix Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (December 18)

It’s The Grand Prix Stakes 2016. Full runner by runner guide to the big race is here. There are plenty of other races going on as well. English race cards are here. Notes on every overseas simulcast race are below:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 10:40

(10) GOLDEN STEP was a much improved 2nd on his second start and can make the breakthrough here under Djordje Perovic. Gate 10 isn’t idea though so many punters may look to (1) DEO MIREO BUCHEO, another one who has shown improvement across three prior starts. Among the others with experience, (8) GEOCHIN OREUM and (9) RAON ROCKY both have 3rd places to their name while of the two debut-makers, (5) HUNTER HAWK looks the best.

Selections: (10) Golden Step (1) Deo Mireo Bucheo (9) Raon Rocky (8) Geochin Oreum
Next Best: 5, 3
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 9, 10, 1, 8, 6
Start-200M: 9, 10, 1, 8, 6
200M-Finish: 2, 12, 10, 9, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 11:05

(10) DANBI comes in having been 4th in both her last two starts and despite the outside gate, really should be getting a career best finish here. She can win against underwhelming opposition. Main danger could come from the other side of the gate as (1) ENDLESS LOVE also finds herself in against weaker opposition than she’s used to and she too should be getting her best finish to date. (2) FIRE BALL has been one-paced but reliable so far and can find the money while other factors may be (5) UNAK HABIO and (9) LITTLE WING.

Selections: (10) Danbi (1) Endless Love (2) Fire Ball (5) Unak Habio
Next Best: 9, 6
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 5, 10
Start-200M: 10, 2, 3, 5, 8
200M-Finish: 4, 10, 2, 1, 5 (more…)

Queens’ Tour Final Leg: Runner-By-Runner Preview

The 2016 “Queens’ Tour” to find the champion filly & mare of the year comes to an end at Busan this afternoon as 13 go in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup. And it could be a big day for Irish trainer Thomas Gillespie with his Ms. Margaux set to be among the favourites for the race. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:35 to 17:05 and 11 at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00. English race cards are here.


Ms. Margaux won at Busan in September. She goes in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour today (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Here’s a full run-down of the field. Click “More” at the bottom for previews of Busan races 4 & 6:

Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday November 20, 2016 (16:15)

1. Santa Gloria (KOR) [Menifee – Pupil (Unbridled)] 3 (11/3/1/2) – Seo Seung Un
5th in the Korean Oaks behind Ottug Ottugi, she was 4th in the Jeju Governors Cup behind the same filly and Touch Flying. Little to suggest that this distance will suit but we’ll call her an interesting outsider.

2. Halla Chukje (USA) [Gottcha Gold – C D Player (Montbrook)] 5 (31/5/6/2) – Lee Hyeok
A front-runner who’s likely to set the pace, she won a strong class 1 rce at Seoul over this distance in April before running 2nd to Bichui Jeongsang in the Ttukseom Cup. Two disappointing outings since mean she won’t be strongly backed here.

3. Hay Queen (USA) [Hold Me Back – Jacks Touch (Touch Gold)] 4 (19/4/6/2) – Park Eul Woon
2nd in last year’s KNN Cup and 5th in this race, she struggled in the Ttukseom Cup this year and doesn’t enter in the greatest of form. She’ll be among the outsiders.

4. Mighty Gem (USA) [Macho Uno – Shimmer (Pulpit)] 4 (15/5/3/3) – Kim Hye Sun
Solid class 1 competitor at Seoul although her only outing since July was a disappointing spin around 1800M at the end of Sepembr. She looks up against it here.

5. Touch Flying (KOR) [Colors Flying – Jeongtongseong (Lassigny)] 4 (11/6/3/0) – Jo Jae Ro
Probably Seoul’s best chance, she won four consecutive races across the spring and early summer including making all over 1800M in the listed Ilgan Sports Cup. 2nd to Indian Star in the Jeju Governors Cup last time, beating Ottug Ottugi and Santa Gloria. She’ll set the pace and could pull off a surprise.

6. Supreme Magic (USA) [Looking At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] 4 (16/5/3/2) – Yonekura Satoshi
The shock winner of the KNN Cup warrants respect here as does her 6th place in the Korea Sprint in September. She is a closer and while the distance is new for her, she has to be given a chance.

7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) [A.P. Warrior – Leagacy’s Silver (Robyn Dancer)] 4 (18/7/1/2) – Song Jae Chul
Winner of a couple of decent races earlier this year, she finished the lowest in the KNN Cup among those who return today. An also-ran in the KRA Cup Classic last month, she’s among the outsiders here. Stablemate of Hay Queen.

8. Naesarang Damyang (USA) [Super Saver – Marina De Chavon (Exploit)] 4 (18/2/2/3) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
A stablemate of Touch Flying and she is very much the second-strong. Still at class 3 level in Seoul, it’s tough to see her making much of an impact here.

9. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The Moon (Deputy Minister)] 5 (26/7/10/2) – Lim Sung Sil
She fell in last year’s KNN Cup and didn’t return to action until May this year. Yet to return to the winner’s circle but she’s raced in tough company 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup and 2nd in the KNN, she will once more be a danger here.

10. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] 3 (14/7/3/1) – Choi Si Dae
She hasn’t won in four starts since winning the Korean Oaks in July. All of those outings have been in top company, including the Korea Sprint but despite the Oaks win over 1800M, there is little to suggest she suits 2000M. That said, her quality should see her beat plenty of these and she has a chance. As always she will will try to lead from the gate.

11. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) [Wildcat Heir – Persimmon Honey (Colonial Affair)] 5 (23/8/5/3) – Jo Sung Gon
A closer, she won the Ttukseom Cup in June butgot a bad trip in the KNN Cup in July before struggling in the Korea Sprint in September. It’s not going to be easy for her here but she can’t be completely ruled out.

12. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Oratorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] 4 (12/5/3/1) – Yoo Seung Wan
4th and 5th in the Ttukseom and KNN Cups respectively, she was then an easy eight-length winner of a class 1 race at Seoul at the end of August She hasn’t raced since then so comes in fresh, will sit handy and has a chance.

13. Ms. Margaux (USA) [Midnight Lute – Sixtyone Margaux (Cozzene)] 5 (28/3/10/8) – Kim Yong Geun
A convincing class 1 winner over this distance in dreadful conditions in September before finishing runner-up to former stablemate Macheon Bolt over 1400M a month ago. She is a closer and at 2000M, she is the one to beat.

For races 4 & 6 click “More”


Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 19)

12 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:50 to 18:00. English race cards are here and notes on races 5-12 are below:

Race 5: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 13:40  

Two stand-outs here. (4) WHIZ SPARK was all over the place last time out, finishing the race on the grandstand running rail yet still managed 3rd place. She was sent back to trial, which she came through comfortably and has to be fancied here. If she fails to run in a straight line again, (3) SAMJEONG MAGNUM looks most likely to take advantage. She was slightly disappointing on her first try at this class a month ago but wasn’t beaten by much and gets another chance here. The top two look superior but (5) GINNY ACE, 6th behind Whiz Spark last time, can improve while solid runs are capable from (6) SILVERGRAY CAT and (8) HAENURI.

Selections: (4) Whiz Spark (3) Samjeong Magnum (6) Silvergray Cat (8) Haenuri
Next Best: 6, 9
Rating: 4=6, 5, 9, 3
Fast Starters: 4, 5, 6
Start-200M: 6, 4, 5, 3, 2
200M-Finish: 9, 10, 5, 3, 2

Race 6: Class 4 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 14:25

Competitive race and it’s about time (9) RAON ROUIS added to his two victories on what will be his tenth career start here. Last time out at 1200M he led until the closing stages before being well-beaten by a good winner and back at 1000M today, he can lead all the way. Also looking to lead will be (8) DAESEONG MALLI, who beat five of these when finishing 2nd on what was just her second career outing on October 22nd and she can continue her development here. (5) PICO TIME is up in class following a dominant four-length win over the distance last month. She has a strong finish and will one to watch out for in the closing stages. (3) NABOM CASTLE comes in looking for softer opposition after a couple of chastening outings at domestic class 4 and may improve while (6) APPALACHIA BOM perhaps hasn’t shown his best yet.

Selections: (9) Raon Rouis (8) Daeseong Malli (5) Pico Time (3) Nabom Castle
Next Best: 6, 1
Rating: 3, 4=8=9, 1
Fast Starters: 2, 6, 8, 9
Start-200M: 8, 9, 6, 3, 7
200M-Finish: 1, 4, 5, 12, 8

Click “more” to read on…

Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:10  (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 5)

There are twelve races at Seoul on Saturday with the first at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. English language race cards are here. Notes on races 5-12 below:

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:40 

Nice competitive one to start with and (8) WINNER BLACK came from off the speed to land 2nd place, beating (6) GOLD JANGGUN by a length in the process, over 1300M a month ago. The latter will be on speed today and both will be competitive with Winner Black slightly favoured once more. (2) SARYEONI WIN was an encouraging 4th on debut last month and can build on that today while (4) GOLDSTAR HILLS, who beat Saryeoni Win in trials, has shown improvement in two starts so far and is to be considered. The very experienced – although without a win in thirty outings – (9) FOUR J is also capable of scoring some money from off the pace.

Selections: (8) Winner Black (2) Saryeoni Win (4) Goldstar Hills (6) Gold Janggun
Next Best: 9
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 1, 6, 7
Start-200M: 1, 6, 2, 5, 4
200M-Finish: 4, 8, 2, 9, 6

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:25 

Another competitive race and while (9) DREAM MISS could only manage 7th when well fancied in a decent all-filly race over this distance at the end of September, she gets another chance here. She is a front-runner but although she weakened that day, back at 1000M today, she is the one to beat. On the other hand (4) THANKS BEAN may prefer further but will be dangerous under Imran Siddiqui while (7) SANGBIGUN is up in class following his maiden win at this distance three weeks ago and looks to have potential for more. He is another who will look to lead early. (3) YONGWANG SIDAE doesn’t enter in form but should have the beating of a few of these while (6) HANIL ENSEMBLE similarly can compete for the money.

Selections: (9) Dream Miss (4) Thanks Bean (3) Yongwang Sidae (7) Sangbigun
Next Best: 8, 10
Rating: 9, 1=10, 7, 4
Fast Starters: 6, 7, 9, 10
Start-200M: 9, 6, 10, 7, 1
200M-Finish 2, 9, 3, 10, 5

Seoul Race 7: Class 5 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 15:10 

Four of these enter this filly & mare contest having been winners last time out and it is (5) BOUNDING PARK, a visually impressive eleven length winner at this distance on October 1st, who is the pick to score again. However, her numbers haven’t been that impressive so far and she is up in class so there is plenty of reason to oppose too. Among the other last-time winners, (10) PHILLANIKE looks the most likely. She too caught the eye making all to win by no fewer than twelve lengths at 1200M last month and while the gate is not ideal, can win again. (3) SAETBYEOL ACHIM and (7) ECTON GAYA are proven money winners at this level and both should be aiming to improve on the 4th places they scored last time out. (8) GOODMORNING FUSION, an unexpected winner at this class on October 1st will get more respect this time.

Selections: (5) Bounding Park (10) Phillanike (3) Saetbyeol Achim (8) Goodmorning Fusion
Next Best: 1, 7, 9
Rating: 5=10, 3=8, 7
Fast Starters: 3, 5, 10
Start-200M: 3, 10, 5, 2, 8
200M-Finish: 6, 7, 8, 4, 3

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 16:00 

Two wins from four so far and a strong 2nd last time at domestic class 4, (3) SILVER HERO looks the pick here sent in against potentially weaker imported opposition. He’ll be on speed early and can go all the way. There are two promising imports sent in against him though. Both (11) DORAON NARI and (12) ANOTHER SMART ONE were 2nd on their respective debuts in early October with Doraon Nari perhaps showing a little bit more, albeit over 1000M. Those two will also want to be on speed early and can be competitive. (6) GONE WALKABOUT was 4th on debut behind Doraon Nalri and can build on that here while (9) CLEAN UP HERO looks the better of two debut-makers having shown some glimpses of talent in an October trial.

Selections: (3) Silver Hero (11) Doraon Nalri (12) Another Smart One (6) Gone Walkabout
Next Best: 8, 9
Rating: 10=11, 12, 3=4
Fast Starters: 3, 11, 12
Start-200M: 12, 11, 10, 7, 3
200M-Finish: 11, 10, 2, 3, 6

Seoul Race 9: Class 4 / 1300M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 16:30 

Brian Dean’s (6) JANGSAN ROCKY has won two of his last three, just getting up by a head in a competitive race over 1400M at domestic class 4. He’ll be on pace early and should have the beating of most of these. Another Korean-bred is the main danger. (9) SO ARA YEOWANG came from just behind the pace to record victory over 1200M at domestic class 4 a month ago. She’s won four of eleven to date and there looks to be more to come. Among the imports, (3) HWAGANG was an encouraging 5th on debut beaten by (7) TODAY WINNER, who was much improved. (5) HIPPOCRENE and (8) GUKJE MYEONGPUM are best of the rest.

Selections: (6) Jangsan Rocky (9) So Ara Yeowang (3) Hwagang (7) Today Winner
Next Best: 5, 8
Rating: 2, 9=12, 6, 1
Fast Starters: 1, 2, 6, 7
Start-200M: 7, 6, 1, 12, 10
200M-Finish: 5, 3, 9, 4, 8

Seoul Race 10: Class 5 / 1700M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 17:00 

(4) HONEY BUTTER NINO has disappointed in both his last two starts but does get another opportunity here. If he can get on speed early he can go well and he is sure to be well bet once more in what is a competitive race. (1) CHUL AE and (8) CALL ME JK are both up in class despite neither having yet won but both should be competitive here while (9) SONOGONG and (10) SEUNGNISARANG look best of an average rest.

Selections: (4) Honey Butter Nino (1) Chul Ae (8) Call Me JK (9) Sonogong
Next Best: 10, 6
Rating: 9, 4, 2=3, 7
Fast Starters: 4
Start-200M: 9, 7, 3, 5, 2
200M-Finish: 5, 3, 4, 10, 7

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 60 Million / 17:30 

(10) JANGSAN CITY could only manage 5th when coming from off the pace in a solid race at this class over 12000M on October 1st and back to 1400M today he can get it right. Brian Dean’s (2) OFFI SAEMI looks the main danger coming in after a solid 3rd place over 1200 in a tough race three weeks ago and likely to be ridden forward early today. (11) PRETTY BOY and (8) ÉCLAIR HUMOR ran 2nd and 3rd over class and distance on October 9th and both have potential to repeat today while (3) ON THE STAGE has been a surprise winner of both her last two outings and must be given some respect here.

Selections: (10) Jangsan City (2) Offi Saemi (11) Pretty Boy (3) On The Stage
Next Best: 8, 1
Rating: 3, 1, 11, 5=10
Fast Starters: 2, 3, 4, 8
Start-200M: 4, 8, 3, 6, 2
200M-Finish: 1, 2, 10, 11, 3

Seoul Race 12: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 75 Million / 18:00 

(8) CHEONHABI was 5th when favourite in a tight finish over 1700M on October 9th. He drops back to 1400M today, will be on speed early and is one of three standouts here. (4) BLUSHING VOW returned from five months off with a good win at class and distance on October 1st and can follow up here. He will also want to be upfront early on. (5) HUGHES ROAD is two starts into a comeback following a six-month absence. He showed improvement last time at 1900M and should come on more today. (2) GIANT KILLER and (9) STORYTELLING should also show well.

Selections: (8) Cheonhabi (4) Blushing Vow (5) Hughes Road (9) Storytelling
Next Best: 2, 3
Rating: 8, 3=5, 4, 10
Fast Starters: 4, 8
Start-200M: 8, 4, 1, 5, 6
200M-Finish: 3, 8, 4, 2, 6