Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 13)

12 races at Seoul on Saturday with the first at 10:45am and the last at 6pm. Wrap up warm! Here are the previews:

First day of New year

The heavy artillery was out to welcome punters into the racecourse last week – It’s going to a be cold one this time around though – bring a thick coat! (Pic: KRA)

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

Only three of these have raced before and in all honesty, none of them have impressed. That said, expect both (2) O.K. DAY, on the strength of the jockey/trainer combination and (3) ROAD MAN, having not done terribly on debut, to get some backing. It is, however, to the debut-makers that we turn to for top picks. Both (1) RAON ZEUS and (7) YAHO SMART CAT have won trials, the latter in a more eye-catching fashion. (4) GANGTOMA too looked competent enough and may be considered. As always with these kind of races, keep an eye on the market.

Selections (7) Yaho Smart Cat (1) Raon Zeus (4) Gangtoma (2) O.K. Day
Next Best 3, 8
Fast Start 2, 5, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

2nd in a decent contest a month ago having been 3rd in debut in November, (4) THUNDER MARINE has every chance of going one better today. He took a while to get going from a wide draw and also hung inwards throughout last time but is pretty much in pole position here and can lead all the way. (2) NONGBON DAERO came even closer to a maiden win last time, just being beaten a nose over the distance and he is the main threat. (7) CAMP TOUCH debuted in that race behind Thunder Marine last month and although she finished 7th of 12, that was by no means a disgrace and she can come on for it here. There are a couple of first-time starts and (5) CHOWON GUNJU looks the one most likely to go well first-up.

Selections (4) Thunder Marine (2) Nongbon Daero (7) Camp Touch (5) Chowon Gunju
Next Best 9, 6
Fast Start 1, 4, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Competitive all-filly race this. (4) GEOSEN MAPUNG was sent off as odds-on favourite last start on December 19th and very nearly led all the way before ultimately ending up in 2nd. She should get on the early speed once more and can be given another chance to get it right here. (11) FOREVER WINNER came home 2nd in a similar race to this at the end of November and can overcome a wide draw to challenge once again here. (3) CITY ANGEL had a bad day when well backed last start but has shown speed and can be considered while (2) JEONGSANG MUJEOK and (10) THE PRIMA came home 3rd and 4th in a similar race in what was for both their debut on November 26th and both can look to match those today.

Selections (4) Geoseon Mapung (11) Forever Winner (2) Jeongsang Mujeok (3) City Angel
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 10, 11

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

(8) BACK TO BACK was a good winner over 1200M on December 9th and while he is up in class today, he looks to have every chance of securing back to back victories. He’ll settle just behind the early pace and can finish strongly. Joining him up in class and firmly in the hunt are (1) BOLD SHINING and (9) LEONNING STROM. Both were decent winners last start although the latter’s came at this distance and he’s favoured at this stage to make a more immediate impact at this level. (7) JAELONGI is yet to win but comes in off a quick, if unexpected 2nd place over class and distance last month and can be considered. At the other end of the experience spectrum is (2) YEONGAM ARIRANG. He was a class and distance last September and while he’s been underwhelming in two outings since, this looks the kind of race he can pick up some minor money in.

Selections (8) Back To Back (9) Leonning Strom (1) Bold Shining (7) Jaelongi
Next Best 2, 11
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 10

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

Really open contest this which could go one of any number of ways. (10) DAEGI SOKDO was a 20/1 class and distance winner on December 16th, beating three of his rivals here in the process. Can it happen again? Possibly but others will be favoured. Principal among those others is (11) RAON KINGDOM. A good winner of slightly stiffer looking contest than this one over 1200M at the beginning of December, he steps back in trip (more…)

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Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 12)

It’s Friday. It’s Busan. There are 11 races at the south-coast track with the frat at 11:30 am and the last at 6pm. Here are the previews:

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

(4) FIRE POINT was a decent 2nd on debut over the distance just before Christmas, overcoming both a bad start and losing a shoe and Peter Wolsley’s filly should overcome this modest lot. (2) B.K MASTER and (3) FAST AWAY’s latest efforts have been encouraging and they can get close today. The latter is likely to be on the early speed along with (5) HEUGSEOL GONGJU and that one too has shown a couple of glimpses of ability. (6) TRUMPET MAJOR the best of a limited rest.

Selections (4) Fire Point (3) Fast Away (2) B.K. Master (5) Heugseol Gongju
Next Best 6, 7
Fast Start 3, 5

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

Small field but with plenty of interest. Triple Nine’s little brother (6) GREAT ROCK debuted pleasingly enough with 4th place over 1300M on December 22nd and certainly looks capable of winning this. The principle danger is (3) USEUNG TEN, who took to this distance well on what was his second start a month ago. He was 3rd that day ahead of (7) INTERCEPTOR in 4th and that one too has shown promise although perhaps needs to find a bit more if he is to get a win. (2) SHUFFLE RUNNER and (5) ICE LEG others who are not without chances in a useful little contest.

Selections (6) Great Rock (3) Useung Ten (7) Interceptor (2) Shuffle Runner
Next Best 5
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) MISS TANK hasn’t exactly been quick, but she’s shown competence in each of three outings so far, finishing no worse than 4th. Each time she’s led for at least part of the race and will be favoured this time to hold on all the way around. None of the others with experience have demonstrated any talent yet although (3) APRIL STAR did at least improve last time. That leads us to strongly consider the two first-timers in the race. Both (4) BIG FOOT and (5) SINGAEBYEOK trialled up well and couldn’t really ask for a better race to debut in so we’ll put them in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Selections (1) Miss Tank (4) Big Foot (5) Singaebyeok (3) April Star
Next Best 6, 7
Fast Start 1, 4

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(2) QUEEN THE QUEEN was a well-backed 3rd on debut and returns here following just over two months off and should be firmly in the hunt here. However, there is a dangerous looking debut-maker here. (7) SWEET PARK won a trial in fine fashion three weeks three weeks ago and looks very nicely in here first-up and we’ll make her the pick. Fellow first-timer (5) KOREAN QUEEN looked decent enough when trialling up behind an established horse at the end of last month and could play a role in the finish too. Among the remainder, while neither (1) VIP KING nor (6) PERFECT BOSS have shown much in the way of speed so far, both look to have potential to improve here.

Selections (7) Sweet Park (2) Queen The Queen (5) Korean Queen (1) VIP King
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 1, 7

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

(5) HIDDEN CHAMP was an exceptionally handy winner over 1300M before Christmas and which he is up in class here, he looks the type who’s going to love the distance and is set to be a strong favourite here, likely leading all the way. There are a couple of other (more…)

Luigi Riccardi Trains First Korean Winner

It hasn’t taken Luigi Riccardi very long to get among the winners in Korean racing. On Sunday afternoon, Rocket Queen won the 1700M race 7 giving the Italian trainer his first Seoul success with just his second runner.

Luigi

Luigi Riccardi on the Korea Racing Broadcast Channel following his first win

Rocket Queen actually has a history with foreign trainers having previously being with Brian Dean and giving the Australian trainer his final Korean winner last June. She’s one of 17-horses in Riccardi’s fledgling Seoul barn and on Sunday was sent off as 2nd favourite for the Class 3 handicap. And under jockey Jeong Jeong Hee, Rocket Queen made all for very comfortable four-length score.

Riccardi came close to adding another later one race later with his only other runner of the weekend, Choego Money having to settle for 2nd in race 8.

The 49-year-old Riccardi arrived in Seoul last autumn having previously trained extensively in Europe and held assistant trainer positions in the United States. He and Australian Simon Foster became the 2nd and 3rd foreign trainers to be based at Seoul following Brian Dean who spent a year here between 2016 and 2017.  Foster too has sent out a total of three runners so far and is in the process of building up his stable.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 7)

The first Sunday of 2018 sees a big day of racing on the peninsula with both Seoul and Busan running cards. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 from 12:40to 17:05. Here are the previews:

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

(6) MORAN DONGBEAK has shown enough cross five prior outings to just about justify favouritism here. He ran on well for a good 2nd place, his best finish so far, over the distance on November 11th and returns here after eight weeks off with a good chance of getting his maiden win. (7) ILGAKSU and (11) JOEUN NADEURI also come in having shown improvement in their latest outings and look to have a bit more in them while (8) SAE DIXIE couldn’t follow up on a decent 2nd place she secured in October when she reappeared a month later but gets another chance today. There are two debut-makers, both from the same stable but the one we are focused on is (3) TRIPLE HAPPY, who won a trial nicely enough and could go well first up – as ever with the debut-makers, keep an eye on the market.

Selections (6) Moran Dongbeak (7) Ilgaksi (3) Triple Happy (11) Joeun Nadeuri
Next Best 8, 12
Fast Start 4, 7, 8

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-olds only and (10) KING POSE was a well-beaten 3rd last start but ran pleasingly enough then and in two prior outings, to suggest he has a win in him and it could arrive today. He’ll settle behind an early pace that’s likely to be set by (3) HANIL GANGJA and (12) J.S. STORM. The latter was leading close to home last time but had to settle for 2nd while Hanil Gangja has finished 4th in both outings to date and can improve today. (6) THUNDER GREAT also showed promise when running 2nd in an admittedly slow contest at this distance at the start of December. His time that day was exactly the same as that of (7) SUN BOLT in his qualifying trial and this debut-making gelding is another to consider.

Selections (10) King Pose (12) J.S. Storm (3) Hanil Gangja (6) Thunder Great
Next Best 7, 4
Fast Start 3, 7, 8, 12

 Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(4) CREMOA POWER showed improvement last time out to run 3rd over 1000M. The Hansen gelding has just been a little slow away each time so far and if he can get himself into a more favourable position earlier on today, he can win this modest contest. (1) CHONGAL GACHI and (3) MUJEOKUI SUNGAN have both shown glimpses of ability and both should record best finishes to date here. (2) DAE CAIN continues to frustrate. He put in a very promising performance on his second start back in August that got him a run in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup. He didn’t go well in that but was well-backed on his return to a regular – and weak – class 6 race last month but was barely involved. We’re not going to pick him today – so he’ll probably win.

Selections (4) Cremoa Power (1) Chongal Gachi (3) Mujeokui Sungan (2) Dae Cain
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 1, 7, 8

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

(11) HYEONMU was 3rd in a similar class and distance contest at the end of November following on from a decent 2nd the month before. He can overcome a wide draw to get on pace early and can win here. (7) SPECIAL LIGHT and (2) RAON ROCKY came home 2nd and 3rd when they raced each other over 1200M on December 3rd and they should be involved again. (4) HANEULUI STAR started poorly last time and never really got involved but is better than that and can improve today from a more favourable draw. (9) GONSEOL remains a maiden after thirty-one attempts but recent form is good and he can finish in the money.

Selections (11) Hyeonmu (7) Special Light (4) Haneului Star (9) Gonseol
Next Best 2, 6, 10
Fast Start 4, 5, 11, 12

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Competitive race this.  (2) MY VISION and (9) CALLIOPE are both up in class following good victories last time out. The former made all over this distance while the latter’s was at 1000M but both look to have enough about them to be competitive at this level. The (more…)

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

Seoul gets its racing season underway on Saturday with a bumper 15-race program and with last week having been dark, there are big fields throughout. The first race is at 10:45am and the last at 6pm. Here are the previews:

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

(2) BIG AURORA underwhelmed when favourite over the distance in November beaten by, amongst others, (7) CHOWON YEOJEONSA, but he’s better than that and gets another chance to score here. (6) FIRE was a much improved 2nd in a similar race to this a month ago and can get close again. (4) JIGONG JILJU has been getting closer in recent starts while (3) TOUGH TROPHY and (5) HIGH STAR both race for the first time since putting in average efforts at the start of November and will be backed to improve.

Selections (2) Big Aurora (4) Jigong Jilju (6) Fire (5) High Star
Next Best 3, 1
Fast Start 1, 3, 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Jockey Ham Wan Sik returns to Seoul after a year at Busan and he could well ride his first winner back in the capital here with (7) GONGJU SARANG set to be a strong favourite in this all-filly race. She’s the most convincing of the seven of these who’ve raced before and despite being a well-beaten 2nd behind a decent type last time, can win here, likely leading all the way. Among the other who have raced before, (11) DAECHEONUI SARANG and (5) SKY MARINE both have 2nd places to their name. The former beat the latter back in November. (6) SEOUL STORY has run better than her 6th and 8th place finishes suggest and she too can improve. Of the first-time starters, (4) JEJUI BARAM and (10) DONGBANG JIJU look the picks.

Selections (7) Gongju Sarang (4) Jejui Baram (11) Daecheonui Sarang (6) Seoul Story
Next Best 10, 5
Fast Start 5, 6, 7, 10

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Weak fare here but (3) KWAEHAN YEBONGSAN has shown improvement across three starts to date and went ok on one previous try at this distance. If she can get out well and on to the early speed, she has every chance of leading all the way. (7) MIGHTY COOL has been up and down the distances already but looks to have landed in a good spot here and should be competitive with (6) ONLY BARAM and (9) ONE TWO THREE others who have potential to improve.

Selections (3) Kwaehan Yebongsan (7) Mighty Cool (6) Only Baram (9) One Two Three
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 2, 3, 5, 6

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and it’s about time that (1) O.J.HWAK DAB got her maiden win. She’s run into a couple of decent ones in both her latest starts but has acquitted herself well each time and could well have too much here. (7) BAENONGI stepped up to this distance a month ago and delivered her best result so far with 3rd place and that’s something she can build on today. (8) RUN AWAY was 5th behind O.J.Hwak Dab last time out and should have placing claims. (4) AMARONE has raced creditably in two outings so far and may appreciate the step up in trip today while (10) RAISE ME UP has a 4th place to her name at this distance already and can look to at least match it.

Selections (1) O.J.Hwak Dab (7) Baenongi (10) Raise Me Up (8) Run Away
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 8

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

The final maiden of the day is certainly the best with plenty of potential among these three-year-olds. (3) DORAON ACHIM HAE was favourite at this distance at the end of November but only managed 3rd. He’s shown enough over his two starts so far, however, to suggest he has wins in him and he’ll be well backed here. (2) LUCKY CHUNYANG wasn’t especially well fancied on debut a month ago although perhaps should have been having shown some speed in trials. He finished 3rd, less than a length behind the winner and running on very nicely which suggests the step up in trip today can only be (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 5)

The 2018 Korean Racing season kicks off at Busan on Friday with a big 13-race card (there’s no ponies from Jeju this weekend). The first race is at 11:30 am and the last is at 6pm. Slightly smaller fields than usual due to there having been so many races at the track last week too. Here are the previews:

HNY

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

Small field to kick off 2018 with and (1) JANGHAN JILJU can get favourite backers off to a good start. It’s her tenth start today but she’s been close lately in tougher contests than this and she should be getting it right. (6) HAEDONG YEOGEOL’s latest two give hope and she should go well under jockey Kim Hye Sun who has her first full-time ride at Busan having relocated from Seoul for this year – she’s no stranger to the winner’s circle here though, having ridden the Oaks winner last year. (2) GOLDEN AGE and (4) SAENURI CHOEGANG are likely to be on the early speed and that could count for something while (7) SHARP BELL had shown promise prior to a lengthy layoff and returns here.

Selections (1) Janghan Jilju (6) Haedong Yeogeol (7) Sharp Bell (2) Golden Age
Next Best 4
Fast Start 2, 4

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

(5) SILVER LINE has been getting closer and closer across four starts so far, narrowly missing out last time. She isn’t a fast starter and has left herself just a little too much to do but should have too much for this lot. The rest really don’t look to offer much so (6) SAEROUN BOMUL, who at least does at least have a 3rd place to her name is the main danger. Other than that we’re looking for ones to show something that they haven’t done so far. (1) EUTTEUM CHAMP and (7) IHYEN look the best candidates.

Selections (5) Silver Line (6) Saeroun Bomul (1) Eutteum Champ (7) Ihyen
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 1, 6, 7

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Small field here with only three-year-olds. (1) B.K. GOLD overcame a bit of bumping at the start to run a decent 5th of 12 over the distance two weeks ago and id she can get away just a little better here, she’ll be hard to beat. Only two of the others have raced before and of them, (5) HWANGGEUM BEOLMA looks most likely to improve. That leaves us with the debut-makers and Thomas Gillespie’s (7) HANEOLUI BIT looks the pick of those with (6) BAEDARI SINHWA another who showed a bit of promise in her latest trial and can be involved.

Selections (1) B.K. Gold (7) Haneolui Bit (5) Hwanggeum Beolma (6) Baedari Sinhwa
Next Best 3
Fast Start 1, 3, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1300) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Eight maiden fillies here and (4) ARAM NARAE ran on pleasingly enough on debut for 2nd place a month ago over 1000M. The additional distance may well suit today and she has every chance here. (1) JOYFUL MEMORY was even-money favourite over 1600M last time out but stood in the gates and lost a lot of ground, blowing her chances. Her best results to date have come when being on the early speed and if she gets away better here then she’ll be a factor. She’ll probably be favourite. (3) GRAY STORM’s 3rd place on latest start suggests she is getting better while (7) SECHAGE and (8) EDGE OF WINNER have also shown some glimpses of ability.

Selections (4) Aram Narae (1) Joyful Memory (3) Gray Storm (7) Sechage
Next Best 8
Fast Start 1, 3

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

Three-year-olds only. (6) CHOEGANG THUNDER was an improved 3rd on his second career start two weeks ago. He raced greenly once more in the opening part of the race but finished off pleasingly enough. He steps up in trip for the first time and with a bit more progress and experience here, could well be winning. (9) TORNADO KING put in a useful effort on debut, finishing 4th over 1000M and can be expected to develop too. (8) JOEUN HAE was 6th that day, a full six months after his debut but he too may come on (more…)

Menifee Leading Sire In Korea For Sixth Straight Year

Menifee has once more dominated the Leading Sire in Korea ranks. Grand Prix Stakes winner Power Blade was once again Menifee’s leading money earner as his progeny won almost double that of nearest rival Ecton Park. It was also an encouraging year for Hansen, whose first Korean crop of juveniles hit the track.

Menifee

Menifee, Korea’s leading sire, again

2017 Korea Leading General Sire (Money earned in 1000 Korean Won units – Chief Money Earner)

1. Menifee (USA) 8,973,350 – Power Blade
2. Ecton Park (USA) 5,272,610 – Triple Nine
3. Officer (USA) 4,074,930 – World Sun
4. Vicar (USA) 3,977,090 – Phantom Blade
5. Peace Rules (USA) 3,861,780 – Success Story
6. Forest Camp (USA) 3,627,530 – Raon Magic
7. Sharp Humor (USA) 3,583,880 – Golden Gate
8. Colors Flying (USA) 2,744,590 – Yeonggwanguihunter
9. Exploit (USA) 2,340,220 – Singgeureoun Gom
10. Ingrandire (JPN) 2,322,860 – Geombit Gangja
11. One Cool Cat (USA) 12. Whywhywhy (USA) 13. Chapel Royal (USA) 14. Rock Hard Ten (USA) 15. Cowboy Cal (USA) 16. Didyme (USA) 17. Hawk Wing (USA) 18. Simon Pure (USA) 19. Hansen (USA) 20. Pico Central (BRZ)

As ever Menifee was way out in front in terms of Starters, Winners, Strike Rate and Money Earned. He is covering progressively fewer each year (64 in 2017) as he nears retirement but he’ll up around the top for a few more years yet. Even without Power Blade’s 1.2 Billion Won in earnings, he was still significantly ahead of his nearest rival. This year, that was Isidore Farm’s Ecton Park, sire of Triple Nine while Officer jumped up from 7th to 3rd. Vicar and Peace Rules in 4th and 5th finished in exactly the same positons they did last year while Forest Camp dropped from 2nd to 6th.

For the second year running, Cowboy Cal was the highest placed stallion from outside of Korea  – he is now in Korea himself but all his runners were sired in the USA. Further down the list, Hansen entered the top twenty for the first time, which leads us to:

2017 Leading Sire of 2-Year-Olds in Korea

1. Menifee (USA) 1,369,930 – Choinma
2. Hansen (USA) 1,140,100 – Sinui Myeongryeong
3. Ecton Park (USA) 868,870 – Ecton Blade
4. Thunder Moccasin (USA) 829,580 – Yeongcheon Derby
5. Old Fashioned (USA) 550,640 – P.K. Party

Hansen actually had one more 2-year-old than Menifee make it to the track with 10 of his 33 winning at least once to Menifee’s imperious 18 from 32. Ecton Park has produced another solid crop while Pegasus Farm’s Thunder Moccasin got off to an excellent start in 4th place. Old Fashioned is now in Korea but his 5th place still relied totally on imports or those imported in-utero. Since coming to Korea Old Fashioned has already covered well in excess of 200 mares and he looks set to be a major player in years to come.

Accordingly Hansen and Thunder Moccasin were 1st and 2nd on the Leading First-Crop Sire list with the remianing top five being filled out by the Nokwon Farm based trio of Eurosilver, Testa Matta and Spicule.

Seven stallions were imported into Korea for breeding purposes in 2017, all from the United States. They are Afleet Express, Archarcharch, Modern Cowboy, Purge, Take Charge Indy, Tizway and With Distinction. With the exception of Take Charge Indy, who is owned by the Korea Racing Authority, all are standing privately.

Sadly some stallions did pass away during 2017. The most well-known was Whywhywhy who succumbed to complications arising from a debilitating back injury in September aged 17. Pensioned stallions who passed on during the year were Psychobabble and Silent Warrior, aged 26 and 25 respectively and Wheelaway, who was 20.