Morfhis & Victoire Double Up In SBS Sports Sprint

Morfhis cemented his place as one of Korea’s great sprinters, edging out Black Musk and Eoma Eoma at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon to win his second SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3), having previously taken the honours in the race in 2020.

Morfhis Wins the SBS (Pic: KRA))

Eoma Eoma, racing for the first time since winning the Busan Ilbo Sprint in April, was sent off as the odds-on favourite ahead of Black Musk, the SROA Chairman’s Sprint winner. It was East Jet though who set the early pace as the other big guns opted for patience.

In the home straight, both Eoma Eoma and Black Musk launched strong challenges, but it was Morfhis, who had improved rapidly coming off the final turn under Johan Victoire, who struck the front and would not be caught, coming home half a length ahead of Black Musk, with Eoma Eoma a short distance back in 3rd.

Remarkably, the winning time was identical to the one Morfhis recorded when winning this race two years ago, when he drew the widest gate and ran on from much further back as a 23/1 chance.  This time, he was 14/1, but t hen, just as now, he was ridden by French jockey Victoire, who enthused over his mount: “It was a fantastic race and what a horse!”

While already an established class 1 performer, it was the 2020 SBS Sports Sprint win that elevated Morfhis into the elite of Korean racing. An almost ever-present in top class sprints since, he was 5th in this race last year and 3rd in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint in both 2021 and in last month’s renewal, but remarkably, before today, he hadn’t won any race since April of 2021; a 1400M class 1 handicap, run for Covid shutdown enforced reduced prize money.

On Sunday everything came right for Morfhis, as jockey Victoire explained: “He really loves to come to the inside but always has bad draws so today I was lucky with (gate) three, and I could follow the horses (Black Musk and Eoma Eoma) to beat.”

The victory was Johan Victoire’s fourth Group success in Korea and the jockey explained how much the seven-year-old means to him. “Morfhis is a very special horse to me. We know each other by heart as I started riding him since the beginning of my career in Korea. We won eleven races together which is amazing! I really love this champion horse.”

Bred by Canamer Farm in Kentucky, Morfhis [Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla (Rubiano)] fetched $35,000 as yearling at the Fasig Tipton October Sale in in 2016 before being purchased by Korean interests for $150,000 at Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Two-Year-Old sale. Now owned by Park Nam-sung, Morfhis has amassed approximately $1 Million in prize money in Korea.

Having won the race last year, Eoma Eoma repeated his 2020 finish in 3rd while Black Musk, the only four-year-old taking part, confirmed his status as potentially the next big thing in sprinting, with a game 2nd. That made Black Musk the winner of the Sprint Series with Morfhis and Eoma Eoma tied for 2nd and Raon The Fighter in 4th.

Morfhis, Black Musk, Eoma Eoma and Raon The Fighter, will all be expected to reconvene for the International Korea Sprint at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 4th. Ideally and probably against Japan and Hong Kong-trained opposition.

SBS Sports Sprint Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (June 19)

The SBS Sports Sprint highlights Sunday’s racing. See here for a runner-by-runner guide to the big race. There are 11 races on the card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 11:35 to 16:20. Here is the race-by-race:

Black Musk won the SROA Chairman’s Sprint and is the probable 2nd favourite in the SBS (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

The opening maiden is wide open, so we’ll take on the favourite. Down in the weights with an apprentice aboard, (5) BLACK INDY may well have enough about him to break through here. He has the fastest time among these for the distance and today gets a better draw than in recent starts. That should allow him to be on pace and in this a long way at what should be an each-way price. With Moon Se-young climbing aboard, (6) DONGBANGUI HON is the probable favourite. He has been knocking at the door in his latest three with a 3rd and two 4th places and while the times haven’t been fast, he has potential. (2) G STAR has tended to get a bit far back in his races but is very well drawn today to just drop in behind the speed and run on. He will be finishing well and can be a danger. (9) DIVINE FUTURES has shown steady improvement and was a good 3rd at this distance last time out on May 21st. The draw is not ideal, but he can go close. (7) MONEY STONE another in the hunt.

Selections(5) Black Indy (6) Dongbanui Hon (2) G Star (9) Divine Futures
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start5, 7, 9, 10

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

Three of these maidens raced each other at this distance on May 15th and the three of them should be at the top of the market here. The best finisher that day was (3) MIR POWER, who settled midfield but ran on well for 3rd place. The same apprentice jockey returns today – this time claiming 3kg rather than the 4kg she got that day – and she can come out on top here. The most fancied of the three in that May race and the probable favourite here is (6) M J TIME. She ran 7th in that May 15th race having been close to the pace early but was the best backed of the three, having run 2nd at this distance on April 23rd. She’s worth another chance here. (1) HAMPYEONG ACE was 4th in that race, big uptick on his first two starts and with some natural improvement can be in the mix here. Among those who didn’t go in that race, (4) WONPYEONG GWANGYA and (7) YEONHUI SARANG look the best  

Selections(3) Mir Power (6) M J Time (1) Hampyeong Ace (4) Wonpyeong Gwangya
Next Best7, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 7

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here. (7) HALLOWEEN PARTY returned from almost six months off to run 2nd at this distance on May 8th when handy throughout. That was a big improvement from when we last saw him and he won’t need to get much better to win this. The main danger is (8) MAHAMERU. She too did nothing in her first couple of starts last year but came back in April and has since run 3rd and 2nd at 1200M and 1300M. She has a strong finish on her and will be doing her best work late again here. (6) GAMDONG ENERGY has mixed her form across four outings so far but a repeat of her run two starts back which saw her 3rd over 1200M, will put her right in this. She will be on pace from the start. (3) SSAEKSSAEGI returns for the first time since January having trialed up encouragingly last weekend. (1) GEUMA NIMBLE another in the placing frame.

Selections(7) Halloween Party (8) Mahameru (6) Gamdong Energy (3) Ssaekssaegi
Next Best1, 9
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 7

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

(9) MYEONGJIN CANDY has been working towards a win across her latest three starts, culminating with a 2nd place over 1300M on May 21st having led all the way around. Despite the wide draw, she has more early speed than anything else here so should get to the front again, she has a light weight on her back, and she may take some beating. Logical second pick is (3) LAROMANEE. She has the fastest time among these for the distance, recorded when 3rd two starts back. She’ll be up on the speed too and has a strong finish on her. Those two look to be head and shoulders above the rest but (4) GENTLE RULES returns to action almost five months after her debut. She showed enough in a recent trial to suggest she can be competitive. (2) ROSE GOLD and (1) CHEONSEONGI other minor contenders.

Selections(9) Myeongjin Candy (3) Laromanee (4) Gentle Rules (2) Rose Gold
Next Best1, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 6, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

After taking a race to find her feet, (6) GOLD SWEET has finished in the top-four in each of her latest three starts, two at 1200M and one at 1300M being close to the pace each time. She should be leading here and looks hard to go past. (4) PHANTOM QUEEN was significantly improved at start number five when a close 4th over this distance in a good time on June 5th. Once more she carries a very light weight, and she can continue her development here. (3) UNJU STAR has also started to figure things out in her most recent two appearances with a 3rd and a 5th, the former at this distance. She draws nicely here to be on or close to the lead and should be aiming for at least another place. (7) HWARANG SKY and (1) ECTON POWER are others who can be targeting money finishes.

Selections(6) Gold Sweet (4) Phantom Queen (3) Unju Star (7) Hwarang Sky
Next Best1, 2
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 6

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

Kim Tae-hui is on another favourite here and (10) SKY FUTURE really does look the one to beat. The apprentice jockey’s 3kg claim takes Sky Future down 3kg from when he beat several of these on his way to 3rd place over this distance on his first try at this class on May 22nd. He doesn’t need to lead so the draw shouldn’t be a concern and he has never finished any worse than 3rd in five starts. (2) EUNSEONG MARU came home 5th in that May 22nd race and while she comes up in the weights (apprentice Kim rode her that day), she still looks nicely enough in here to go close again. (5) YESULIYA comes up in class following a good win over this distance back in March. He is in fresh following a fifteen week break and can measure up in this company. (9) MUNHAK FOREST and (1) UNJUUI BOM others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(10) Sky Future (2) Eunseong Maru (5) Yesuliya (9) Munhak Forest
Next Best1, 6
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(10) HAENGBOKAN HAMAN ran out an eleven-length winner over this distance on May 22nd on what was her second career start. That was a filly-only maiden, and she is up in class here, but the manner of that win and the winning time suggest that there is more to come, and a similar run will see her comfortably on top again. (6) PILGRIM is yet to win in nine attempts but has six top-five finishes including a runner-up finish at this class and distance two starts back. He likes to settle in midfield and then run on and can go close again. (3) POKPUNG JILJU returned from a ten-month absence to run a solid 2nd over 1200M on May 15th. That was enough to shunt him up in class here but from a good draw and under a fair weight, he can measure up. (12) KKUM NEOMEO and (4) KING BOSS the other standouts in a race with plenty of depth for the level.

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SBS Sports Sprint Full Preview

The SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) turns thirty this year and on a rare day where racing gets mainstream TV coverage in Korea – by virtue of the sponsor – Raon The Fighter may not be running, but there is no shortage of star power, with Eoma Eoma, last year’s winner, returning having missed the SROA Chairman’s Sprint, the previous leg of the Sprint Series.

Eoma Eoma (Pic: KRA)

American import Eoma Eoma emerged onto the scene just before racing suffered its first shutdown in 2020, winning his first three races in lightning quick times, before tasting defeat for the first time in that year’s running of this race. He then went on to put together another seven-race winning streak, including the 2021 SBS Sports Sprint, which was delayed until October, before Raon The Fighter emphatically ended the run in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint the following month.

Another defeat at the hands of Raon The Fighter was followed by a class 1 reversal when odds-on favourite over seven furlongs on March. That led Eoma Eoma to be very much the second-choice when he met Raon The Fighter again for the Busan Ilbo Sprint, the first leg of the sprint series in April. Instead, after his rival stumbled at the start and then got pushed hard to rejoin the leaders, Eoma Eoma never allowed him into the race, winning by a full three-lengths. 

Eoma Eoma will be the overwhelming favourite to successfully defend the SBS Sports Sprint, while second in the market will be Black Musk. He came from over the top to hand Raon The Fighter a second defeat in the SROA Trophy on May 22nd after the favourite had earlier engaged in an energy-sapping speed-duel with Hit Yegam. Up and comer Soul Merit is highly thought-of and takes his first steps into Graded company as the probable third in the betting. Morfhis and East Jet complete the top half of the market.

The SBS Sports Sprint will be run over 1200M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Here’s a look at all ten runners:

1. EAST JET (KOR) [Strike Again – Lend (Coronado’s Quest)]

O: Kim Yeong-gi T: Park Youn-gu J: Alan Munro

20(9/4/0) KRW 739,500,000

Runner-up in this race last year, having won it in 2020 but he has had a challenging first half of 2022 with his best being 2nd to Raon First in the Segye Ilbo in January. 5th in the Busan Ilbo and then 7th in the SROA, he draws well here and Alan Munro returns to the ride. Won’t be favourite but a place chance.

2. SOUL MERIT (USA) [American Pharoah – Placentia (Bernardini)]

O: Park Nam-sung T: Park Dae-heung J: Choi Bum-hyun

10(5/0/1) KRW 211,740,000

Since returning from eight months out last year, he has won four from four and steps into elite company for the first time here. At his latest start in April, he settled back before being ridden up handy to the lead and running on for a comfortable win over 1400M at class 2 level. He won his only previous start at this distance, and he looks set to be a big player.

3. MORFHIS (USA) [Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla (Rubiano)]

O: Park Nam-sung T: Lee Gwan-ho J: Johan Victoire

36(10/7/7) KRW 1,055,800,000

The winner of this race two years ago, he showed he still has plenty left with an excellent 3rd in the SROA Chairman’s Sprint where under a ground-saving ride, he closed strongly on the inside rail, only going down half a length on the line. He’ll settle back as usual and will be running on strong again and will be in the finish.

4. CLEAN UP HAPPY (KOR) [Paynter – Dream Delight (Unbridled’s Song)]

O: CU Network T: Park Jae-woo J: Jeong Jeong-hee

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 18)

Saturday’s racing is at Seoul with 9 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Seoul

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Eight previously unraced two-year-olds get their first taste of racing here so we head to the trial videos. (3) FURIOSA led all the way around in her heat with a couple of today’s rivals qualifying behind her. The time wasn’t quick but she was on the bridle throughout, was unhurried and looked mature. If she brings all that to the races, she will win. (6) LUCKY POWER posted the fastest time of any of these in heats when finishing 5th of eight in her trial on May 13th. He was ridden a bit harder than Furiosa, but the four who crossed the line ahead of her are all experienced race winners and she held her own. That can have been a good experience and he can go well first-up. (2) NAOL HAENGBOK ran on from a wide gate for 4th in the Furiosa trial and from a good draw can go close. (5) DUSON CLASSIC and (7) TEMPLAR QUEEN others to look out for.

Selections(3) Furiosa (6) Lucky Power (2) Naol Haengbok (5) Duson Classic
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 7

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

More juvenile first-timers. There was just a nose between (2) NAOL SNIPER and (6) WONPYEONG TOWN when they trialed up together back on May 13th, crossing the line in 3rd and 2nd in fair time. Naol Sniper was perhaps doing it a bit easier and with the inside draw he is the one to beat first-up here although both should go well and will probably be at the top of the market together. (7) GIANT PUNCH hinted at ability when 4th on nine in his trial, settling handy before dropping back and then running on. He too will have backers here. (4) GLOBAL POWER ran on well for 2nd in his trial, some way behind the proven racehorse who won the heat, but doing enough to suggest he has some prize money in him at this first attempt. (1) HANGANG ACE another in the hunt.

Selections(2) Naol Sniper (6) Wonpyeong Town (7) Giant Punch (4) Global Power
Next Best1, 8
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 7

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(8) MUSTANG CHARM is probably the one to beat here having followed up three consecutive 5th place finishes with a 2nd at this distance on May 21st when handy throughout. She can settle just behind the early speed here and could prove too strong at the business end of the race. (2) PERMISSION TO WIN has shown improvement across his three outings to date, culminating in a runner-up finish over this distance on May 22nd when he settled back and finished well He draws better today and can aim to match or better here. (4) INNER PEACE ran 3rd behind Mustang Charm on debut in that race on May 21st when on pace throughout. She has four-lengths to make up here but should have come on for that run and from a good gate will be on the speed again. (12) DAECHEON CHAMP and (3) GRAY THOR others in at least the placing frame.

Selections(8) Mustang Charm (2) Permission To Win (4) Inner Peace (12) Daecheon Champ
Next Best3, 1
Fast Start3, 4, 10, 12

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) SUNGAN TOUCH comes up in class having scored his maiden win at start number four over 1200M on May 14th when leading from gate to wire. At the start before he registered a fast time at this distance when 3rd having overcome a wide draw. This is harder but he should be on the lead again and may take some beating. (8) BYEORAK comes back in trip following a couple of spins around 1700M. His sole win came at this trip and he looks nicely in here. (11) THE REAPER remains a maiden after ten outings but has four runner-up finishes to his name, including his latest over 1200M at this class on May 22nd. His running style means the wide draw won’t be an issue and he can challenge late here. (1) MIR BEST tries class 5 for the first time following his maiden score last month. In his case, it came at this distance and from the inside gate here, he should be able to drop in behind the early speed and challenge. (6) THUNDER HORSE another in the placing frame.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 17)

The weekend’s racing gets underway on Friday at Busan where there are 8-races from 12:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

You Hyun-myung looks set to be the jockey to follow at Busan on Friday

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens and it looks extremely ordinary. Without much confidence, we’ll side with (3) DOCTOR PENTAGON, who has at least posted the fastest time amongst these at the distance. He should be close to the pace in this small field and he can run on. The solitary debut-maker (2) HAENAM JJANGDOL went through two trials, and in the second of them ran on fairly for 3rd in an acceptable time. He won’t need to improve much on that to be competitive first-up here. (8) GAWONUI BIT is the only entrant here to have a top-three finish to his name, something he achieved then 3rd over 1000M in December. He races for the first time since January but looked well in a trial last Friday and if he brings that form to the races, can go close. (6) POLE TO WIN will be backed by virtue of the trainer/jockey combination while (7) WONDERFUL OCEAN another who can place.

Selections(3) Doctor Pentagon (2) Haenam Jjangdol (8) Gawonui Bit (6) Pole To Win
Next Best7, 1
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 8

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

More maidens here and it’s hard to go past (10) ANY LINE. Third-up this preparation, it seems he is finally figuring things out with a good 3rd over 1400M on May 29th when handy throughout. He has posted fair times at this distance in the past and with You Hyun-myung climbing aboard looks ready to win at last. (8) TAKE ADELE actually has a 2nd place to her name, the only one in the field to do so. That came three starts back over 1300M and while she is up in the weights here with no apprentice engaged, she should be on or close to the early speed and can be in this a long way. (9) FUSION QUEEN made two starts in spring 2021 before being out for almost a year. She finally returned on May 86th and ran adequately for 5th of nine over 1300M. She should have come on for that run and can get closer today. (12) BAEDARI GANGHO and (1) SEUNGRIUI BULGIL among others who can be in the minor money frame.

Selections(10) Any Line (8) Take Adele (9) Fusion Queen (12) Baedari Gangho
Next Best1, 6
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 8

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A number of these come up in class following maiden wins at their respective latest starts and at least a couple of them look set to measure up at this level. (4) SEOBU TEUKGEUP is one of them. She made all to win very easily over this distance on May 20th. She draws the same good gate today, comes down slightly in the weights, and the manner of that victory suggests that there could be more to come here. (2) JEONGMUN DRAGON returns to action for the first time since last October. The last time we saw him, he was coming from off the pace from the widest gate to win well over 1000M but he absolutely blitzed a trial in May. He can put in a bold showing first-up here. (10) ARTIE’S GAL was a winner at this class and distance on her latest start on May 27th when she sat behind the leader before grinding the victory out late on. She does come up 2kg for that but she’s rarely far away and looks a place chance again. (12) HAVANA JANE and (6) GOLDENTHUNDERBOLT among several others who could enter the calculations.

Selections(4) Seobu Teukgeup (2) Jeongmun Dragon (10) Artie’s Gal (12) Havana Jane
Next Best6, 5
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 9

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Very competitive race with several having strong claims. (10) WONDERFUL FILE has raced just seven times and has only missed the top-four on one occasion. At her latest start on June 3rd, she ran 3rd on her first try at a mile having been prominent throughout. She should have benefited from that experience and has as good a chance as any here. (6) SAEROUN HAMAN has also been consistent in her short career so far, finishing in the top five in all five outings. She comes up to this distance for the first time having run on well for 3rd over 1400M at this class on May 15th and there is no reason why it can’t suit. (9) HOLLYWOOD QUEEN was the winner of that June 3rd race at class and distance, beating Wonderful File. She doesn’t come up too much in the weights as a result and she will be running on strong again. (3) I WILL BE FREE and (1) JIN MARK can also enter the calculations.

Selections(10) Wonderful File (6) Saeroun Haman (9) Hollywood Queen (3) I Will Be Free
Next Best1, 7
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 7

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

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Captain Yankee Adds Minister’s Cup to Cup Mile

Captain Yankee produced a late burst of speed to deliver an emphatic win in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday, adding to his KRA Cup Mile victory in April and all but confirming his status as Champion Three-Year-Old.

Captain Yankee and Jo In-kwon acknowledge the Seoul Racecourse crowd (Pic: KRA)

Having finished 3rd in the Derby, Captain Yankee was sent off as third in the betting market behind that day’s victor Winner Star while punters also kept faith with Complete Value, the beaten favourite in both the Cup Mile and Derby.

As he had done in both previous Triple Crown races, Seungbusa set out to make all, allowing jockey Jo In-kwon to settle Captain Yankee in midfield and steadily improve as the sixteen-strong field made their way off the back and towards the final turn in the ten-furlong test.

The distance was new for every horse in the race and Seungbusa, who had battled on well for 3rd in the Cup Mile and 2nd in the Derby, this time gave way with just under two-furlongs to run as Complete Value struck the front. His lead would be short-lived though and once Captain Yankee pounced at the furlong pole, there was only going to be one winner.

Flying The Champ, who didn’t run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown closed strongly for 2nd, three-lengths behind the winner, while Complete Value held on for 3rd ahead of Saryeoni First. The 94/1 outsider appeared on the scene from nowhere having been last for most of race but posted a final furlong time quicker than any other runner including the winner. Winner Star was never a factor and finished in 7th.

Captain Yankee is by Old Fashioned, who stands privately in Korea at Challenger Farm. He is out of Can’t Rezist (by Action This Day) and was bred by Lee Kwang-lim. The Minister’s Cup was his seventh race start and his fourth career win.

The Minister’s Cup win saw Captain Yankee’s new rating stand provisionally at 80 which will mean he will be able to race at least once at class 2 level. That’s the same as Touch Star Man was awarded following his Minister’s Cup win in 2000M and they both had similar form coming into the race.

With the Triple Crown series coming to an end, so too do Graded races restricted to three-year-olds. A return to Seoul for November’s President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) is the probable long-term target for Captain Yankee.

Next Sunday, the Sprint Series continues with Eoma Eoma set to return in the SBS Sports Sprint (1200M KOR-G3) at Seoul Racecourse. Raon The Fighter is not expected to run, but Black Musk, who came over the top to win the SROA Chairman’s Sprint last month, as well as East Jet and 2020 winner Morfhis are all in line for starts.

Minister’s Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (June 12)

Sunday sees the final leg of the 2022 Korean Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup. Click here for a full preview of the big race. The Cup is the highlight of a 10-race Sunday program at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 11:35 to 16:30. Here is the race-by-race:

Might Cup Mile winner Captain Yankee appreciate the 2000M of the Minister’s Cup? (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maiden three-year-olds to open the card. (5) CHADOL RUN will be the favourite based on his 3rd place over this distance on May 15th when he settled back in a similarly small field and then ran on well. He has previously posted a faster time at this distance and in this limited company looks the one to beat. (3) CASH BACK has two 3rd places to his name including at this latest start at this distance on March 6th. That’s enough to put him in contention here and he comes in fresh and down 3kg with an apprentice claim. (1) JEWELRY BEST was an improved 4th and from the inside gate can drop back and run on here. (4) BARAMSAL and (2) TIGER ZONE other potentials.

Selections(5) Chadol Run (3) Cash Back (1) Jewelry Best (4) Baramsal
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

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

(3) FLASH THUNDER went back to trial following his debut race in March and looked assured on his return when leading for much of the way around over 1300M on May 14th. He should have come on from that, will benefit from the slight drop in trip, and from a good draw can lead all the way this time. (1) POSA POSA has mixed his form across eleven starts to date with the best being a 2nd place over 1400M back in March. An apprentice claims 3kg here and from a good draw, he should be in this a long way. (2) MIGHTY ANN ran an improved 3rd at start number three over 1200M on May 14th. She looks nicely in here and won’t need to improve much to match or better that finish. (4) BIG ENERGY has found some consistency in his latest starts with a 3rd and two 4th placed finishes. He has run fair times at this distance and from a decent draw looks to have a chance here. (6) BURUI SINHWA has been back to trial since his latest outing and looked well enough when running 2nd in a fair time in a decent heat in May.

Selections(3) Flash Thunder (1) Posa Posa (2) Mighty Ann (4) Big Energy
Next Best6, 7
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 8

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(10) WIND CROSS has shown consistency across his four starts so far culminating in a runner up finish at this distance at his latest start on April 24th. He has the fastest time among these at the distance by some margin and looks hard to go past here and will be a hot favourite. (1) HOLLYWOOD PARTY did improve at start number two, running 5th of ten over this distance on April 29th. She draws nicely to get a soft run to the lead and should be going closer today. (9) SINUI JEONSA ran 3rd behind Wind Cross in that April 24th race. Unlike the favourite, he has raced since and while he didn’t go well that day, weakening badly after leading, he can be given another chance in this company. (4) PRETTY CHARM has hinted at ability across her four outings so far and along with (7) SORI TAPEUNG looks a place chance here.

Selections(10) Wind Cross (1) Hollywood Party (9) Sinui Jeonsa (4) Pretty Charm
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start1, 9, 10, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Tricky race. We’ll take a chance on (10) ONLY WINNER. True, he has been anything but a winner in fifteen starts so far, but he has eight top-four finishes to his name, and he runs on well. The wide draw shouldn’t be an issue and he can be considered here. The probable favourite is (12) JISANGUN. He can mix his form but has posted some decent times over 1200M and 1400M. This is his first try at 1300M. He does tend to go best when on pace so he may need a touch of luck in the early stages from the widest gate, but he has the speed to get a good position. (3) BARAMGWA HAMKKE had a poor day at the office on his latest start back in April. He has since been back to trial which he won, making all in a fair time, and from a good draw can be back to some semblance of form today. (7) WONDERFUL STORM and (9) DESK TAP others in the minor money frame.

Selections(10) Only Winner (12) Jisangun (3) Baramgwa Hamkke (7) Wonderful Storm
Next Best9, 5
Fast Start5, 9, 11, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and (4) YASAENGHWA looks the one to beat. She got her maiden win at start number two over this distance on April 29th when she sat handy early, before taking the lead turning into the home straight, and then running away from the field to score as easily as she pleased. She then ran a good 2nd on her first try at this class over 1400M. She comes back in trip, gets a much better gate and should be hard to get past. (9) PYEONGHWA CHUKJE comes up in class after registering her maiden win on her third career appearance on May 13th when she led early, then sat handy, before rallying strongly. Nicely weighted here, she should be challenging for the early lead and can surely measure up at this level. (11) NAMED enters off back-to-back 4th places at this class and has run a decent time from a wide draw over this distance before. (3) BORAMI beat Named two starts back and while up 4kg from her 4th place at 1200M on May 13th, can be considered too. (2) PICTURE JASPER another in the placing hunt.

Selections(4) Yasaenghwa (9) Pyeonghwa Chukje (11) Named (3) Borami
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start3, 4, 9, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(9) SOJUNGHAN DANGSIN got promoted to this class without a win but showed she belongs with a runner-up finish at class and distance on May 8th when she was in 2nd place the entire way around. Like a number of others here, she is very nicely treated by the handicap here and has every chance of getting that maiden win today. That applies to (2) K N POST too. It took her a couple of goes to figure things out, but she gets promoted to this level following back-to-back runner-up finishes over 1200M. Her style has been to go back and then tun on and the extended trip today may just suit her. (3) NINE EYE is another maiden but has run 2nd on no fewer than five occasions. He hinted at a return to form when 4th over 1300M at his latest start on May 28th and he can be close here. (7) SMART POWER and (8) GOLD WING are others who can enter the calculations.

Selections(9) Sojunghan Dangsin (2) K N Post (3) Nine Eye (7) Smart Power
Next Best8, 4
Fast Start5, 7, 8, 9

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Small but competitive field. (4) LINE BREAKER comes up in class having secured her maiden win over 1300M on May 15th. That win had been coming as she had been getting progressively closer and while this is harder, she has run well at this distance before. She should be on pace and can win. (5) CHEONNYEONUIGUREUM is yet to win in a full twenty-three starts but has twelve top-five finishes and has been a model of consistency of late. She overcame the widest draw to run a very good 5th at this distance last time out on May 29th and she will be there or thereabouts again today. (6) GREAT CAPTAIN comes up in class having made all to win over 1300M on May 8th. Just like Line Breaker, that win had been coming and she should measure up at this class especially with the same apprentice who partnered her last time, claiming 3kg. (9) GOSUUI POWER and (2) ECHO LADY among others who can go close.

Selections(4) Line Breaker (5) Cheonnyeonuigureum (6) Great Captain (9) Gosuui Power
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start3, 4, 6, 9
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Minister’s Cup 2022 – Full Preview of the Final Leg of the Triple Crown

The Korean Triple Crown of 2022 reaches its climax on Sunday afternoon and while the Triple Crown itself isn’t on the line, champion three-year-old honours very much are as KRA Cup Mile winner Captain Yankee and Derby winner Winner Star are among a full sixteen-strong field in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2).

Winner Star won the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Captain Yankee was a 40/1 winner of the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan on April 17th, launching a late run to thread through leaders Complete Value and Seungbusa to score. Winner Star was an impressive winner of the Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul on May 15th, swooping from a handy position and winning by two lengths from Seungbusa and Captain Yankee.

This time they have an additional furlong to contend with as well as a maximum field of sixteen. In addition to Winner Star and Captain Yankee, Seungbusa, with a 3rd and a 2nd from Cup Mile and Derby returns, as does Complete Value, last year’s champion juvenile, who was sent off as favourite for both races, finishing 2nd and 6th. A bold showing in the final leg can’t be ruled out from the son of Girolamo and he could end up being sent off as favourite again.

Wow Wow and Tiz Barows produced strong Derby performances and may appreciate the additional distance while among those who skipped one or both of the first two legs of the series, Beomi Naeyeo Onda and Burui Geom look perhaps the most likely to step up.

Beomi Naryeo Onda will be ridden by Franco Da Silva, one of four foreign jockeys to have rides in the race. Djordje Perovic will partner Winner Star, as he did in their Derby success, while Johan Victoire will be aboard Tiz Barows, and David Breux on Nubi Gangja.

The Minister’s Cup is race 8 on a 10-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Here is the horse-by-horse:

1. FLYING THE CHAMP [Cowboy Cal – Thebignbadestbunny (Smart Strike)]

5(2/1/1) KRW 62,800,000

O: Kim Hyeong-sun T: An Woo-sung J: Park Jae-i

Class 5 winner over 1400M at Busan before stepping up to 1800M at class 4 and running 2nd to Burui Geom. Top jockey comes up from Busan to ride him and a money finish is possible.

2. TEN BAGGER [Cowboy Cal – Sugar Victory (Peace Rules)]

9(2/0/0) KRW 45,800,000

O: Kim Myung-sik T: Kang Sung-o J: Lim Da-bin

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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 11)

There are 9 races at Seoul on Saturday from 10:45 to 18:00. All betting locations are open with admission available on the gate. Here are the previews:

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

Tricky maiden for three-year-olds to open with but we’ll side with the favourite. (6) MAGIC MOCCASIN has two 4th place finishes and a 3rd from three starts so far with the 3rd coming at her latest start at this distance on May 7th when handy throughout. It wasn’t a fast time but she draws well here to get to the lead and she won’t need to improve too much on that performance to win. (5) CLASSIC STAR ran a solid 3rd on debut in an all-filly race on April 16th. She should have benefited from that experience and with some natural improvement can run well again today. (1) CHANCELLOR improved at start number two on May 1st when running on pleasingly enough at this distance for 3rd and from a great draw on the inside, he can aim to bank some money. (2) LONDON MYEONGGA has the fastest time among these at the distance and can be competitive from a good draw. (7) K N TIZWON among others with placing claims

Selections(6) Magic Moccasin (5) Classic Star (1) Chancellor (2) London Myeongga
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start3, 4, 5, 6

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

More three-year-old maidens. (8) DAPHNE unseated her jockey coming out of the gate when coming out of the gate having been sent off as favourite at this distance on May 29th. She was due to be first-up that day following almost six months out and had trialed nicely. She completed the course under her own steam that day and as long as that didn’t take too much out of her, she can be given another chance here. (1) DAECHEON BEAUTY has improved across three starts so far, culminating in 2nd place last time out at this distance on May 14th when on pace throughout. He draws the same gate today and can go well. (7) GANA FASHION was a good 2nd on debut at this distance on May 15th when settling forward, then dropping back and running on. She was well beaten by a good winner but it was encouraging nonetheless and a repeat of that run will see her in the finish again. (11) TOP POSITION and (3) CHAPEL PRINCESS can enter the calculations too.

Selections(8) Daphne (1) Daecheon Beauty (7) Gana Fashion (11) Top Position
Next Best3, 6
Fast Start3, 6, 7, 8

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A weak maiden but accordingly a very competitive one with no standouts but plenty of possibles. We’ll take a chance on (7) BARO QUEEN, who carries a lighter weight and draws a better gate than in her recent outings. She has two 3rd places to her name, has enough early speed compared with the rest of these to get to the front, and she has as good a chance as any. (1) QUEEN OF RACING has been relatively consistent across her most recent starts. She too draws well to contest the early lead and she will be in this a long way. (2) BURUI JILJU has mixed his form in his four starts so far but has hinted at ability with his 3rd place in a fair time over 1200M two starts back. He has tended to get a bit far back in his races but the additional half furlong today may suit. (6) TIZ FIGHTING and (9) EUREKA among others in minor money contention.

Selections(7) Baro Queen (1) Queen Of Racing (2) Burui Jilju (6) Tiz Fighting
Next Best9, 4
Fast Start1, 6, 7, 9

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

(8) JAY PHOENIX debuted with an encouraging 3rd last December but didn’t reappear until May 8th when he made all to win by a full nine-lengths over this distance. He comes up in class today but the manner of that victory suggests that there is more to come and he has to go on top here. (3) COMPLETE TIME looks the logical second-pick. She races for the first-time since March 13th when she came from a wide gate to run 3rd in a fast time at this distance. She draws better here and even comes down slightly in the weights, and she can play a big role. (5) BLOOD MOON also gets a better draw than she did when 5th on her first try at this class on May 8th and can go closer today. (6) LONDON SKY has two 4th place finishes in two attempts at this class, both over today’s distance and both in times good enough to make him a contender here. The up in class (4) HWIPARAM another who will be on the early speed and who can be considered.

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (June 10)

The final leg of the 2022 Triple Crown, the Minister’s Cup will be run on Sunday at Seoul but the weekend’s action gets underway at Busan with an eight-race card on Friday running from 12:00 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Busan Friday

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens in the opener and it’s hard to go past (8) HUIMANG PUNCH. She debuted last October, beating just one home and then didn’t reappear until a trial in April. She was encouraging in that heat to the extent that she was well-fancied on her return to racing on May 13th when an on-pace 2nd at this distance. Her time for the 1200M was faster than any of the others here have achieved and she should win. (2) MORNING MUSE improved to 3rd place on her latest start on May 20th when she overcame a wide draw to sit handy and then ran on. She comes into a better gate today and can go close. (5) PURE MAGIC debuted in that May 29th race, running a solid 5th. He should have come on for that run and with some natural improvement can go closer this time. (6) EURO STAR and (1) WONDERFUL TRICKS among others with scope to improve.

Selections(8) Huimang Punch (2) Morning Muse (5) Pure Magic (6) Euro Star
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start2, 5, 7, 8

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

More three-year-old maidens. It’s not a strong field so we’re willing to take a chance on one of the two first-time starters. (3) WIDAEHAN HAMAN enters having won a May trial in which she looked assured, breaking well and then responding to urging late on and running through the line well. The time wasn’t fast but she demonstrated enough to suggest a bold showing first-up is possible. (7) SEOGWI CHUKJE was an improved 3rd at start number four on May 6th when settling back in the field and running on. An apprentice keeps her weight very light and she can place again. (1) STAR MATTA was well-backed on debut on May 8th having won a trial in April in a fast time. While he settled handy, he didn’t quite see the race out and ended up only beating one home. He should have benefitted from that and could be a different prospect today. The other first-timer, (2) SILVER ROAD, trialed fairly and along with (6) TAP STAR is another to consider.

Selections(3) Widaehan Haman (7) Seogwi Chukje (1) Star Matta (2) Silver Road
Next Best6, 8
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 8

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

(1) WONDERFUL BOBCAT enters in consistent form with a strong 2nd last time out when close to the pace over a mile. He has run well at this distance too and draws very nicely here to drop in behind the early speed and run on. This is his fourth start since returning from almost a year out and he could be peaking here. (10) MY SONG was a much-improved 2nd at her latest appearance on May 13th when she sat handy and ran on and while a long way behind a good winner, a similar run today will see her in the finish. (11) QUEEN’S DAERO beat both Wonderful Bobcat and My Song when 2nd at this distance on April 15th. That was her best result in eight starts so far and while she could only manage 6th behind My Song on her re-appearance last month, she should be competitive here. (3) RHIANNON POINT and (2) BLUE CAPTAIN are among others in the placing frame.

Selections(1) Wonderful Bobcat (10) My Song (11) Queen’s Daero (3) Rhiannon Point
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 10

Busan Race 4: Class 5 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) WONDERFUL SECRET comes in having won just the once but with no fewer than eight top-four finishes from twelve starts. That includes his latest on May 13th when at this class and distance he beat three of today’s rivals on his way to 2nd place having settled midfield and run on behind a good winner. From a good draw he will be on pace here and is the one to beat. (7) CENTUM THOR is yet to win in sixteen attempts but is ultra-consistent with thirteen top-five finishes. He has run good times at this distance and was 5th in the May 13th race. He comes down slightly in the weights here and can be competitive. (1) ADELE BOSS was 3rd in that same race having led for much of the way around. That was his first try around two turns and he should benefit from it. (3) DIA FORCE and (6) B J’S TERMS are others to take into consideration.

Selections(2) Wonderful Secret (7) Centum Thor (1) Adele Boss (3) Dia Force
Next Best6, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 6, 7

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

A maiden winner at this distance two starts back at class 6 level, (5) INDIE MAGIC ran a solid 3rd on his first try at this class on May 1st when settling back in the field and steadily improving. He looks to have scope for more development and from a fair gate will probably be a bit closer to the speed this time around and he can win. The biggest danger may well be his stablemate. (10) PURPLE MANGO comes up in class following an all the way score at this distance on May 15th. While the draw is not ideal, she can get forward again and a Rice-quinella looks a real possibility. Also up in class is (4) INTO MARINE. He similarly made all over this distance on March 4th and comes in fresh after three months. He comes down in the weights, draws well, and can go close. (8) SPICE INDIE and (3) JEONGDEUN-RO others in the frame.

Selections(5) Indie Magic (10) Purple Mango (4) Into Marine (8) Spice Indie
Next Best3, 1
Fast Start1, 5, 9, 10
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