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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…)

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

This Sunday sees one of the year’s highlights; The Busan Mayor’s Cup. In the past it’s brought us clashes between Tough Win and Dongbanui Gangja, Dangdae Bulpae and Smarty Moonhak. This year Clean Up Joy and Triple Nine are set to face each other alongside a host of big names in the “Summer Grand Prix”.

Tough Win Busan Met 2013

Tough Win was a two-time winner of the Busan Mayor’s Cup  (Pic: KRA)

Before that though we have a busy Friday of racing on the South coast as Busan hosts 10 Friday races from 14:30 to 21:00. Notes on simuclast races below:. 

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

1. GOP DDA – 5th in her trial, well behind the winner.
2. YEONGCHEON HERO – 3rd in trial behind Testa Magic. Trainer usually does well with 2-year-olds and he is sure to be backed.
3. TESTA MAGIC – Won her trial very comfortably. Big chance first-up.
4. ADAMARIS – Average time in trials but it was a slow heat anyway so few clues there.
5. EURO GONGJU – The only one of the seven who has raced before. Her 6th of 11 was in no way a disgrace and she may well have come on for it.
6. CHOEGANG SEONBONG – Just scraped through qualifying and will need a big improvement to compete first-up. (more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 25)

Big Sunday of racing coming up in Korea. No Stakes races but full fields and plenty of punting interest. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05. English racecards are here. Notes on races for overseas simulcast are below:

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

1. OUR CAT – 4th behind Yeol Queen at the distance in April and followed up with a 5th last time. Matching those would be par today.
2. SEONGEUN MARU – Started his career really well but went off the rails at the end of last year. Latest two have been more encouraging.
3. JEONGAN KINGDOM – Disappointed when favourite in May but bounced back with 3rd over 1000M three weeks ago. Trialled up nicely last week and in the hunt here.
4. YEOL QUEEN – Two very solid efforts so far at this level and one of the main contenders here.
5. SOKDO SHINHWA – Comes in after two good showings at 1000M. Should be near the early pace and can place. (more…)

International Sunday: Preview (June 4)

It’s a Group race double-header at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Black-type is up for grabs in the Ttukseom Cup while one race later it is Korea vs Japan in the SBS Sports Sprint. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Success Story Busan Ilbo 2017

Success Story winning May’s Busan Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)

Both races are part of a series. The Ttukseom Cup gets the “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares underway while the SBS Sports Sprint is the 2nd leg of the “Sprint Series” which will culminate in the international Korea Sprint in September.

The winner of the first leg of the Sprint Series returns here and could well be favourite. Success Story made his name with a pair of 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016 and having returned to winning ways over 1800M in February, got the better of a strong field in the Busan Ilbo Cup on the south-coast last month. Only one other participant from that 1st leg tries his luck again; that’s Perdido Pomeroy, who won this race last year but has struggled for form since.

Japan sends two. Kimon Avalon, who finished 5th in the race last year, returns to the peninsula to try again but there will be more attention paid to 6-year-old mare Party Dress who operates at JRA level at home. It’s the Korea-based one that will be fancied though with 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, in-form Doraonpogyeongseon and Brian Dean’s Choegangja all set to be well-backed.

The Ttukseom Cup, named after the district of downtown Seoul that was home to the racecourse before it moved to its present site in the satellite city of Gwacheon, is one of six Korean races included in this year’s international “Blue Book” and there are ten fillies and mares vying for the Black Type it confers – not to mention a 228Million Won first prize.

US import Haeya went down to her first defeat in April but looks to be the one to beat in the 1400M test. Form comments below:

Race 8: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) / KRW 400 Million

1. INDIAN STAR – Stakes winner at this track last October. Narrowly beaten last time out at this distance, she’s a fast starter and should be in the mix at the end.

2. MIGHTY GEM – Ended last year in great form but hasn’t looked right in three starts so far this term. Strong finisher but looks up against it here.

3. HAEYA – Suffered her first defeat in April, fading late on. That was her first start since January after lots of setbacks. If she’s right, she will be hard to beat.

4. GOLD BLUE –Won consecutive races in January and February but two subsequent class 1 starts have been at long distances. Very strong finisher, so long as she doesn’t leave too much to do, she could be in the hunt late on. (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (May 6)

It’s a sunny – albeit very dusty – morning in Seoul. 11 races in the Korean capital today from 10:45 to 18:00. English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

1. YEONGDONG DAERO – Offered few clues when last of 11 on debut a month ago.

2. UNAK HABIO – Up in class following a win and a 2nd place over this distance. Will need more here but not impossible.

3. STORM NAVY SEAL – A A$70K purchase from Inglis Yearlings last year, he debuts here. Average in trials.

4. RAON CONDOR – Yet to follow-up her winning debut, she is though up in class today having never been worse than 4th in six class 5 attempts. Can go close again.

5. DAEHAN CHEONHA – Best in three starts so far is a 5th. Matching that would be a good performance. (more…)

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…)