Uncategorized

Ecton Blade & Mask Beaten But New Legend’s Successful Homecoming Continues

The Korean Derby 1st and 2nd place-getters both rounded out their three-year-old campaigns on Sunday but there wasn’t to be a successful conclusion as both Ecton Blade and Mask were beaten favourites in the respective features at Seoul and Busan. However, there is a new prospect on the Korean racing block as New Legend continued his impressive homecoming.

Mask at least ran well. In an ultra-competitive class 1 handicap over 1400M which also featured the dangerous Gangtoma and the ever-improving Morfhis, Mask met traffic at the top of the stretch but once he found his run finished smartly under Yoo Seung Wan. However, he was too late to catch winner Jangsan Power, who had stolen some lengths on the rail around the turn and ran on to score by just over a length.

Jangsan Power, an also-ran in the Derby in 2017, was registering his seventh win on his twentieth career start. Mask, Gangtoma and Morfhis filled out 2nd to 4th and all three could have a bright class 1 future.

Ecton Blade was more disappointing at Busan. The Derby winner had won comfortably on his last try at 1400M and was sent off at only slightly better than even money. However, he couldn’t go with the early pace of Perdido Pomeroy and Gasok Engine and then never quickened in the home straight as outsider Mupae took the win.

An American import, Mupae (Paddy O’Prado) won five of his first six starts but entered a 24/1 chance having been winless for in excess of a year. Keep out of trouble by Lee Hyo Sik, who rode Today so well in last week’s Grand Prix Stakes, he finished strongly down the outside to score by three-lengths ahead of Daeho Sidae and Morning Daero.

New Legend (Menifee) was bred in Korea but sent to the United States by the KRA Stud Farm to begin training and racing. He raced seven times stateside, picking up a win at Arlington Park in July of this year. He returned home in the autumn after fetching nearly 200 Million Korean Won in the sales ring, made his local debut at Busan on November 25th, scoring by three-lengths over 1300M.

On Sunday, New Legend stepped up to 1800M in race 3 at Busan and without needing to get out of second gear, cruised to a nine-length win on the bridle. It was only at class 4 level, but this stablemate of Ecton Blade – and indeed of Triple Nine – will be one to watch very closely in the New Year.

Mupae winning Busan race 5:

https://youtu.be/0Km9hJK0oFI

Jangsan Power winning Seoul race 12:

https://youtu.be/XxyMUToVn04

 

Advertisements

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 16)

Ecton Blade and Mask came home 1st and 2nd in the Korean Derby in May and the pair of them are in class 1 action on Sunday afternoon in the respective feature races at Busan and Seoul. There are 12 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 5 at Busan from 12:40 to 16:15.

Ecton Blade

Ecton Blade headlines at Busan on Sunday: (Pic: KRA)

While the Derby was at 1800M, the pair look set to be pointed at shorter distances for the foreseeable future. After winning May’s Classic, Ecton Blade ran 3rd in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup over 2000M in June, but found older horses at that distance a completely different prospect when 9th of 16 in the President’s Cup last month. However, between those two races, he returned to Busan and dropped back to Sunday’s trip of 1400M to record a comfortable class 1 victory.

South African jockey Francois Herholdt will get the leg-up on Ecton Blade in Sunday’s race 5 and the colt will be favoured to prevail with the likes of Morning Daero and Daeho Sidae likely to provide the stiffest examinations.

As for Mask, he ran 4th in the Minister’s Cup before having a couple of near-misses around two turns in September and October. A month ago he dropped back to 1400M and returned to the winner’s circle, taking out a class 2 handicap by three-lengths.

Sunday will be Mask’s first try at class 1 and it won’t be easy as he meets Gangtoma, a winner of six from ten, and who, like Ecton Blade was an also-ran in the President’s Cup but should pose a much sterner test this time. Track record holder for the distance Sanggam Mama is also among a competitive field of twelve who will contest the concluding race 12 in the capital.

Earlier at Busan, New Legend will get the chance to show what he is made of. Though Korean bred, the Menifee colt began his racing career in the United States, winning a maiden special weight contest at Arlington Park in July. The three-year-old returned to Korea in the autumn and was an easy winner over 1300M three weeks ago. In Sunday’s race 3 at Busan, he steps up to 1800M and runs straight into the in-form Challanhan Miso for his first real local test. He will be expected to come through it.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRA 24 Million

(6) K ZONE may be a fourteen-race maiden but recent forms reads well and having been knocking at the door for some time now, he could go through it today. (10) ROAD WOMAN also looks to be figuring things out and comes in after a career best 3rd. She should be on pace early and can go all the way. (3) AQUA STROM returned from five months off to run a good 4th a month ago and should be in the hunt. (1) MEGA CITY and (4) A ONE HAMMER others who should go close.

Selections (6) K Zone (10) Road Woman (3) Aqua Strom (4) A One Hammer
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 4, 8, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here and only four of the twelve have raced before. Three of those four look promising though including probable favourite (2) DIA PARK. She ran 3rd on debut at this distance a month ago, having led early. She’s well drawn to lead again and this time may not be caught. (12) MENI STAND overcame some heavy bumps at the start to run 4th on her first outing and can build on it today while (5) GEUMSEONGHWANGJE ran a solid 5th first-up in October before weakening over 1300M on reappearance three weeks ago. Back at the minimum trip today, he’ll go better. Of the first times, (4) SANGGAM CHEONGJA looks the pick having won a trial in good order although (8) DAECHEON VOW also showed some promise.

Selections (2) Dia Park (12) Meni Stand (4) Sanggam Cheongja (5) Geumseonghwangje
Next Best 8, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 4 ,5

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Juvenile imports chasing a substantial prize here and there’s a proven winner among them. (10) CATS MIRACLE led from gate to wire over this distance on debut on November 10th and is favoured for a repeat today. (9) DONGBANG JIJON and (5) PRO HAMSEONG came home 3rd and 5th respectively when they raced each other at 1300M on November 18th. It was the latter’s debut, and both should be contenders here. (2) TRIPLE KHAN has run 5th and 3rd in two outings to date and is well drawn to lead and continue his development. There are two first-time starters and of them, (8) MIGHTY M looks best having caught the eye in two trials to date.

Selections (10) Cats Miracle (5) Pro Hamseong (8) Mighty M (2) Triple Khan
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 10

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Maidens here and (7) STRIDE UP comes with a pair of 4ths and a 2nd from three starts to date. He steps back to the minimum trip here and looks to be the standout by some margin. (8) FIRENZE HILL has hinted at some ability across two efforts, both at this distance and looks to have potential to step up but the rest of them will need to show something they’ve so far kept concealed if they are to challenge. (6) MAX THUNDER does have a couple of 3rd place finishes to her name and while she put in a poor effort last time, she’s had a couple of months off and trialled up adequately since. (9) HAE WANG (more…)

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

There are 12 Saturday races at Seoul with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Here are the previews:

(단신2) 출발 참관 프로그램 (2)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Weak maiden to begin with. (5) CAMPING MANIA has been well-backed for both her starts so far off the back of a trial win in late summer. She’s finished in mid-pack both times and she ran greenly, hanging inwards in her latest effort. If she can fix her manners, she should have the ability to win this under a top jockey. Going on bare results, (4) JEONGMUN K has a pair of 3rd place finishes from his latest two and is one of several for whom just a bit of improvement today can result in a win. (11) QUEEN FORCE ONE is the only one in the field who has run 2nd and will also attract some support. She beat (10) JILPUNGGACHI last time out, the latter making his debut and can improve today. (3) CHEON GI ran well on debut and while he’s struggled in two since, can be given another chance here.

Selections (5) Camping Mania (10) Jilpunggachi (4) Jeongmum K (3) Cheon Gi
Next Best 11, 8
Fast Start 5, 11

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

Maiden fillies only. (7) LUCKY SOCHEON stepped up to this trip on November 10th and was beaten less than a length into 2nd place. She’s not the fastest of starters but can finish well and can go one better today. 3rd in that race was (6) M.J. TOWN. She didn’t get the best of trips that day but took to the distance well and has every chance of cutting into the three-lengths that Lucky Socheon had on her. (10) GEOM HONG has run 4th and 3rd in two outings so far, showing promise. She’s likely to try to get forward early and despite the wide draw, if she can find a good spot, she can go close. (4) SAMAE STAR didn’t take to 1700M last time and should be better today while the only first -time starter, (5) OUR SIMON, trialled up well in November and jockey booking is a plus.

Selections (7) Lucky Socheon (10) Geom Hong (6) M.J. Town (5) Our Simon
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 2, 6, 9, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens and all except one have raced before. (8) DOKDO YA was an improved 2nd when stepped up to this trip for his second career start on November 11th. He was beaten five lengths by a good winner, but it was enough to suggest he can win soon himself. He’s likely to try to get on pace here and will be joined by (6) LUMINESCE who ran 3rd on debut at this distance a month ago having been prominent through out and looks well in here. (10) PRIVATE MAN hasn’t been the best of starters but has finished off nicely in both tries so far. (1) FAMILY HOPE and (9) P.K. JEONSA are other potential improvers.

Selections (8) Dokdo Ya (6) Luminesce (10) Private Man (1) Family Hope
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 6, 8, 9

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / RW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with only two of the twelve having raced before and it’ one of that pair who will start as favourite. (4) PRIMA NIKE ran 3rd on debut on November 17th having led for much of the way. She’s drawn ideally to lead again and should go all the way. Of the first-timers, (3) NONSTOP FLYING won a trial last month while (7) KISS IN THE PARK and (12) SOMETHING NOBODYNO also hinted at a bit of ability in their respective heats. (1) HANYANG NURI and (6) COLORFUL JOY trialled up together and both have the ability to run well first-up. As ever with this kind of race, watch the market for additional clues.

Selections (4) Prima Nike (3) Nonstop Flying (12) Something Nobodyno (7) Kiss In The Park
Next Best 6, 1, 7
Fast Start 3, 4, 5, 10, 12

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

(1) BEST BULLET has won his latest two in fine style, the most recent of which was a three-length score at this class over 1200M. He carries an additional 4.5kg but drops back in trip and could complete a hat-trick here. (3) GLOBAL QUEEN is a winner of two from seven and comes in with a pair of 2nds and a 3rd at this level. She should lead here and will be in the mix at the end. (10) DANCING BLADE too has proven competitive at this level and shouldn’t be far away while (2) EONEU MEOTJIN NAL improved significantly last start and can continue that momentum here. (7) SURFING POINT is better than last time and is another who could find the places.

Selections (1) Best Bullet (3) Global Queen (10) Dancing Blade (7) Surfing Point
Next Best 2, 4, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 7

Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) SA SA is up in class following an all-the-way win over the distance on November 10th and has every chance of following up in this filly and mare only handicap. She’s joined at the level for the first-time by (9) HOMECOMING who gets promoted having run 2nd in both her two outings to date and should be competitive. (6) RAON WILLIAMS and (10) (more…)

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

Racing’s back. 11 Friday races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00:

Busan Racecourse

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

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

Juvenile maidens to begin with and only three of the twelve have raced before. (7) NAKITA was sent off as odds-on favourite on debut on November 16th on the strength of a solid trial win. She was beaten into 2nd but the time was good, the run competent and the winner impressive so she’s well worth another chance here and is likely to be strong favourite. The other two didn’t show much although (12) ACE BOOM, 8th behind Nakita, may improve so the newcomers are likely to be the biggest threats. Trial eye-catcher was (2) GREAT WIN, who looks ready to go after coming through a heat in good order two weeks ago. (3) YEONGSEONGFIGHTING and (1) QUEEN OF ADELE others who could go well first-up.

Selections (7) Nakita (2) Great Win (3) Yeongseongfighting (12) Ace Boom
Next Best 11, 1, 8
Fast Start 2, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens with only two of this set of twelve having run before. Of the pair, (10) BUSAN MISO ran 3rd (behind Nakita from race 1) on debut last month and if nothing else will be much shorter than the almost 400/1 odds he was sent off that day. Among the first-timers, (8) YEONGGWANGUI KISS is half-sister to Cheongu, winner of five from fifteen and who ran in races Japan, Dubai and Singapore and also Segi Gangja, six from twenty-three and a stablemate with Thomas Gillespie. She trialled well and looks set for a positive debut. Form Kim Young Kwan’s barn, (2) YAKSOKDAERO is bound to be backed while (9) MUNHWA SIGNATURE is another who may attract attention.

Selections (10) Busan Miso (8) Yeonggwangui Kiss (2) Yaksokdaero (9) Munhwa Signature
Next Best 3, 5
Fast Start 2, 3

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

More maidens and not much experience to go around. The ones drawn out wide look the best with (11) HALLA HWANGHU having run a decent 5th of 12 on debut last month looking set to go on to potentially score here. (12) GHOST RIDER exceeded expectations first-up in the very same race, finishing 4th and can go well too. (10) THUNDER RAIN has raced twice, improving last time out and with a bit more progress today, can get close. The others are all going to need to show something they haven’t as yet manages. (1) AMORIS and (9) B.K. VICTOR look the most likely.

Selections (11) Halla Hwanghu (12) Ghost Rider (10) Thunder Rain (1) Amoris
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(6) GABO DAY has run 3rd on both attempts so far, the latest of which was at this distance. He only needs a top three finish to move up in class and he should be exiting the bottom level with a comfortable win here, most likely leading all the way. (8) B.K. THUNDER registered his best finish to date with 2nd place last start at this distance three weeks ago and can follow up here. (3) B.K. GAMBOL has a pair of 3rd places among four efforts so far and is another who can challenge the favourite. (9) SECRET LEGACY and (10) HANEOLUI BIT look best of the rest.

Selections (6) Gabo Day (8) B.K. Thunder (9) Secret Legacy (10) Haneolui Bit
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 2, 6, 9

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

(8) REVERSE SWEEP steps up in class having run 2nd in both efforts so far, both of which were at this distance. There is little to fear here though, and he could well be going one better. (6) FLYING DANCER was a winner on debut and while he only managed 5th on his fist try at this class, he can build on it here and looks to be the main danger along with (more…)

Triple Nine’s Grand Prix

He’s finally done it. At his fourth attempt, Triple Nine has won the Grand Prix Stakes. The four-time President’s Cup winner saw off Cheongdam Dokki, Today and Dolkong. Here it is:

It was another super performance from the oh-so-reliable six-year-old and in winning, Triple Nine broke the US$4 Million barrier in prize money and shows no signs of losing any of his ability. Jockey Lim Sung Sil put in a solid ride (the 1 Million Won he was fined for overuse of the whip in the home straight notwithstanding) while it was another remarkable training performance from Kim Young Kwan’s team, who also managed to get Today home in a surprise 3rd place.

Some thoughts on the race a day later. Aside from Triple Nine, Cheongdam Dokki showed character to fight back after being headed in the straight.  He went significantly slower up front than last year (conditions playing a role in that) controlling the race well. The distance is not his best but he almost did it.

Triple Nine KRA 1

Triple Nine wins the Grand Prix (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Today only qualified for the race by virtue of the points Korean-trained horses are awarded for participating in overseas and his 3rd place at Kranji in the KRA Trophy over 1200M was enough to get him in. Prior to the race, most debate was about whose race he was likely to ruin – would it be Cheongdam Dokki’s by engaging him in a speed duel in which they would both cook themselves? Or would it be by getting on the way of a horse trying to muster a strong finish when he inevitably weakened?

Soon after the start though, when jockey Lee Hyo Sik took a sit behind Cheongdam Dokki, there was a creeping realisation among observers that Today was in the race in order to win. At odds of 60/1, he came very close.

Had Dolkong drawn a barrier, things may have been different. From gate 16, Antonio Da Silva was never able to get into a comfortable position and had to spend the entire race at least three wide. He was still only beaten by just over two lengths in 4th. His career having been blighted by injury, Dolkong is a massive talent. He heads now to Meydan for the Dubai Carnival where there is every chance he will run very well.

Triple Nine KRA 3

Two other horses in the race are also scheduled to go to Dubai. Dolkong’s stablemate Choego Money was reasonably prominent throughout but didn’t quicken late on while Bart Rice’s Buhwarui Banseok had an off-day. Both may show their true ability in different conditions at Meydan.

Thomas Gillespie’s Great King ran well for 5th place while looking to the future, Moonhak Chief ran well in 6th, a full seven-lengths clear of the next one home, and was the best of the three-year-olds in the race. Who’s to say though that the future won’t involve Triple Nine once more? He’s now done it all. Don’t rule him out of doing it again.

GRAND PRIX STAKES 2018: FULL PREVIEW (Seoul Race-By-Race – December 9)

Triple Nine will bid to make it fourth-time lucky when he lines up for the 37th Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Among a strong field of sixteen runners, he faces Cheongdam Dokki, who has bested him twice already this year, as well as Korea Cup runner-up Dolkong in the season-finale at the rarely used distance of 2300M. The Grand Prix Stakes is race 9 (16:45 local time) of an 11 race Sunday card at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. 

triple-nine-2-alex-cairns

Could it finally be Triple Nine’s time in the Grand Prix? (Pic: Alex Cairns)

 

Three-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine has finished 4th, 2nd and 3rd in the last three editions yet Korea’s biggest domestic prize has eluded him up until now. The feeling is that this is his best – and possibly final chance. Cheongdam Dokki came out on top when the pair met in Busan in July’s Mayor’s Cup and then at Seoul in the KRA Cup Classic on October. However, a year ago the younger horse was odds-on favourite for this race which he led at a furious pace before weakening slightly late on as Triple Nine and two others ultimately came past.

Triple Nine was the big winner from the barrier draw. Emerging from gate 2, he will be able to run his own race. The front-running Cheongdam Dokki will have to get across from gate 14 to get to his desired position on the lead and will have to get past Triple Nine’s sprinting stablemate Today to do so. He certainly has the early speed to successfully accomplish it, but at what potential cost late on?

It would be wrong to describe this as a two-horse race though. It isn’t. Since 1997, only two betting favourites have prevailed and while real long-shot winners are rare it is a race which punters find tricky.

Dolkong is no longshot. Possibly the most talented of the lot, an injury-plagued career has seen him restricted to ten starts of which he has won six. He’s met Cheongdam Dokki three times and has beaten him twice including when running 2nd in September’s Korea Cup. Both distance and draw are a slight concern for him, but few come in to the Grand Prix with everything in their favour. If he can run to his best – and trainer Simon Foster has shown nothing but confidence in him – he is more than capable of downing both Triple Nine and Cheongdam Dokki.

Buhwarui Banseok ran a huge race in 5th last year and he returns once more with a likely strong late run. Up and comers Road Winner and Moonhak Chief will also have plenty of eyes on them. Most eyes though will be on Triple Nine as he seeks to cement his legacy by finally winning the biggest one of all.

Race 9: Class Open “Grand Prix Stakes” (KOR G1) 2300M Weight for Age / KRW 800 Million

  1. ULTRA ROCKET – A very solid 4th behind Triple Nine in the President’s Cup having won a Trophy race at 1800M on interntional weekend in September. Beaten by Choego Money at 2000M in the summer. He’s perhaps not quite of the elite and sneaking some minor prize money would be an excellent result.
  2. TRIPLE NINE – Maybe not as naturally gifted as a Cheongdam Dokki or a Dolkong but just so reliable. He comes in having completed his fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup and tries to get fourth time lucky here. He can run his own race, settled close to but not on the early speed and he will make up ground late on. The gold standard of Korean thoroughbreds, this could be his year and he is slight favourite.
  3. CHAMP LINE – First start since July when he was 9th of 13 behind Cheongdam Dokki in the Busan Mayor’s Cup. A very solid horse who perhaps hasn’t quite managed to live up to his early promise. He’ll run well but perhaps isn’t quite at the level of the favourites.
  4. TOSCONOVA CAT – Well back in the Korea Cup in September before running 3rd to Choego Money at this distance at the end of September, albeit ten-lengths in arrears. He dropped back to 1400M for a class 1 win in October. Still only 3-years-old, he has promise but he will be an outsider.
  5. CHOEGO MONEY – He won at class 1 over this distance by nine-lengths at the end of September but disappointed when favourite in a tune-up for this two weeks ago at 1800M. While solid at class 1, he is unproven at the elite level and he carried a light weight in that September win. That recent performance will likely deter plenty, but he can still be a wildcard here.
  6. ROAD WINNER – A winner of five from seven so far, he’s very much on the way up. Won the JRA Trophy on international weekend in September before taking out a class 1 handicap in October, both at 1800M. This is unchartered territory both in terms of distance and calibre of opposition, but he can acquit himself well. Could challenge to get on pace early and can place.
  7. MOONHAK CHIEF – Seoul’s new great hope, he ran 3rd to Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the KRA Cup Classic in October. He ran on very nicely and should get today’s trip. Well drawn to sit in the middle of the pack and finish strongly, this may be a year too soon, but he will get plenty of backing for at least a place.
  8. BUHWARUI BANSEOK – Ran very well in this race last year for 5th place, finishing the strongest of all. He’s been up and down since then and was 5th behind Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine in the Busan Mayor’s Cup before winning his lead up race to this in October. His jockey is riding the track in a race for the first time but is very capable. A real chance of bettering last year.
  9. STEALTH – Never really got going in the President’s Cup last month when he ran 8th but he is a nice horse and he will run on for the whole 2300M. Has beaten a few of these recently and he could run into some prize money as others tire later. He will go right to the back and close.
  10. GREAT KING – Struggled in the Korea Cup here in September but came back into form with a four-length win over Royal Ruby at Busan a month ago. He was front-runner that day and is likely to be on pace early again here. He ran well enough at 2200M in September so should stay on with an outside chance of placing.
  11. TODAY – A stablemate of Triple Nine. More renowned as a sprinter, he qualified for this by virtue of the points he accrued by running 3rd in the KRA Trophy at Kranji, Singapore this summer at 1200M. Never raced at further than a mile although he did win on his only try at it. A likely fast starter who surely won’t win at this distance but may cause some issues for Cheongdam Dokki early.
  12. ADELEUI CHUKJE – Has established himself as a solid class 1 competitor and is in-form and likely to appreciate the distance. He won a lead-up race for this over 2200M at Busan in late September but was getting weight that day and this will be significantly stiffer.
  13. ROYAL RUBY – He was 2nd in the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2017 and ran 2nd to Great King at odds in excess of 40/1 on his latest start. Has good experience of Seoul and he should thrive at this distance. He will go back at the start and look to close strongly. Top half finish can be expected. Trainer Peter Wolsley won the race with Bold Kings in 2015.
  14. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – While he may have lost a little of his shine with his run in the Korea Cup, he still finished 4th and then returned to the winner’s circle in the KRA Cup Classic in October, beating Triple Nine for the second time this year. He set some brutal fractions in this race last year before ultimately being bested late on. The draw is not ideal as he will want to get to the front. If he can do that without using too much energy, they may not catch him this time.
  15. SAENGIL GIPPEUM – Seems to have been around forever even though he is only five. Generally takes his chances in the big races but it’s been a long time since the most recent of his eight wins and he’ll be a big outsider here. Jockey Choi Eun Gyeong gets her first ride in the race.
  16. DOLKONG – First start since running 2nd in the Korea Cup in September. Through his injury-interrupted career he’s met Cheongdam Dokki three times and beaten him twice. The distance may not be optimum for him, but it isn’t for many of these, including Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine. If he is absolutely right and runs to his best, he can win.

Verdict: This is billed locally as (2) TRIPLE NINE vs (14) CHEONGDAM DOKKI and it may well turn out to be although if (16) DOLKONG brings his best, he is capable of beating both of them. Cheongdam Dokki will do his best to get across from his wide draw and take the lead and then it will be up to everyone else to try and get past him. As ever the rarely used distance makes it a fascinating contest and while the favourites will most likely contest the finish, the likes of (8) BUHWARUI BANSEOK may have a say late on. Up and comers (6) ROAD WINNER and (7) MOONHAK CHIEF may find this is a year too soon but will also be expected to beat plenty.

Selections (2) Triple Nine (14) Cheongdam Dokki (16) Dolkong (8) Buhwarui Banseok
Next Best 6, 7, 13, 10
Fast Start 6, 10, 11, 14

Here is the race-by-race for the other 10 races at Seoul:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies to begin with and all but one have raced before. There aren’t any real standouts but (3) SENTOSA looks most likely having run competently across three starts to date with the best being 3rd place in a quick race at this distance in October. From gate 3 she can gain control early. (7) SONGAM BARBIE was just beaten a neck into (more…)

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

It’s Grand Prix Eve!! The big race is at Seoul on Sunday afternoon with the likes of Triple Nine, Cheongdam Dokki and Dolkong set to contest the traditional season-finale. We;ll have a full runner-by-runner guide 24 hours from now. In the meantime, it’s turned very cold on the Korean peninsula the past couple days but racing will be taking place on Saturday as usual in the capital with 13 races from 10:45 to 18:00:

Start

A reminder of warmer months – it’s freezing in Seoul now!

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

A weak maiden to begin with and (1) BLUE FIRE has shown enough across four starts to date to suggest he can live with better company than this and should really be making the breakthrough. He should be able to get an easy lead here and go all the way. (6) CHEONJI GISANG was a much-improved 3rd last time out at this distance and if he continues to progress here, he can better that (8) PUNGMUNEURO too has been getting lately and comes in off the back of consecutive 4th place finishes. (5) HARD PRINCESS and (7) SPECIAL BIRD look best of the rest.

Selections (1) Blue Fire (6) Cheonji Gisang (8) Pungmuneuro (7) Special Bird
Next Best 5, 3
Fast Start 1

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) CHEONGDAM QUEENS ran a good 3rd place at this distance in October and then led part of the ay round over 1300M last start before weakening. Dropped back to the minimum today, she can win. (2) JILPUNG GANGJA raced three times without distinction in spring and early summer. She’s been off since June but has trialled up twice over the past month looking in much better order and is set to be much improved first-up here. (9) SEMYEONG GISANG improved on his second start a month ago and while he’s yet to show much in the way of speed, can continue his development here. (7) WHITE VELVET has offered little in three outings so far but raced very keenly over 1300M last time. He may be better dropped back in trip today. (8) ULTRA MISSILE has got two 3rd placed to his name and offered a hint of coming back into form with a 5th place on his most recent start.

Selections (3) Cheongdam Queens (2) Jilpung Gangja (7) White Velvet (8) Ultra Missile
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 9, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Maiden juvenile fillies with six of the twelve racing for the first time. It’s the experienced ones who will be favoured. (1) SAMAE JILJU ran 2nd on debut, well-beaten by a good winner, but showing enough to suggest she has plenty of potential. From the inside gate she’ll be on pace early and can win. (3) CHARON BLADE also ran well for a 2nd place of her own four weeks ago and is the main danger for a bang in-form stable. (5) GREEN SARANG improved to 2nd on what was her second outing on November 10th, finishing just over four-lengths in front of (10) HAE SAEM CHAN in 4th The latter may well overturn the form here. The wonderfully-named (2) HORSE QUEEN looks best of the rest.

Selections (1) Samae Jilju (3) Charon Blade (10) Hae Saem Chan (5) Green Sarang
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 1, 3, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens with six of the ten racing for the first time. The ones with experience haven’t really impressed with only (3) DAE YONGWANG and (4) DASHING CANOE hinting at any ability. That means we’ll turn to the newcomers for top picks with (10) ECO BROTHER looking the best. He looked competent when just being beaten a head in a fast trial last month and if he runs like that in an actual race, he’ll win. (2) DRAGON BOAT similarly caught the eye in his heat as did, to a slightly lesser extent, (7) IL MARE. As ever in these races, the market may end up being the best guide.

Selections (10) Eco Brother (2) Dragon Boat (4) Dashing Canoe (3) Dae Yongwang
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 7, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens and this time seven of the ten have raced before. (3) RAON PATRICK is one of those and he raced abysmally, standing flat-footed in the gates and losing a lot of ground. Accordingly, he was banned for two months and ordered to do two trials. He did them and moreover, he made all in both of those trials. We should see a very different horse today than the one we saw in September and he’s the one to beat. Luigi Riccardi’s (2) MAMMA ROMA has hinted at ability across two starts so far and drops back in trip after a useful 4th last time out. She’ll be a threat as will (7) BLADE STORM, who raced greenyl on debut in October but still managed to finish 3rd. Among the first-timers, (6) GREEN CINDY caught the eye in trials.

Selections (3) Raon Patrick (2) Mamma Roma (7) Blade Storm (6) Green Cindy
Next Best 1, 8
Fast Start 3

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

(6) HANIL DALBIT has run well in two starts at this level since getting his maiden win in August. He’s had eight weeks off since his most recent start, when he was beaten less than a length over 1000M and back up in trip today, he’ll be the one to beat. (8) BEST EVER was a five-length winner on debut in October but ran poorly when favourite on his return last month. There were excuses involving a poor start and the horse resenting the kickback and it’s too soon to write him off. If he runs like he did on debut, he’ll go close. (2) REVELSIMMARD and (3) GLORY VERN both come in off useful latest starts and should be in at least the placing frame while (7) GOD OF SOCKS is up in class after a solid (more…)