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

There are 10 Good Friday races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards can be found here. Notes on every runner in the simulcast races below:

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

1. ARAGAYA SINGSING – 4th in all three outings last year. First start since November. Trialled up ok and from a top stable.

2. SWAG – Hasn’t earned much swag since a 4th on debut last year. Only beat one home latest but may improve stepped back to 1000M today.

3. STAR GOLD – Top jockey booking but seems to have gone backwards since debut.

4. HAROLD – Never likely to be a star with a name like that and he’s beaten few in three goes so far. Top jockey on and stablemate of Swag.

5. DALKOMHAN INSAENG – Has come close a few times with a best of 3rd. 4th of 9 last start and should be a factor here.

6. THE WONDERFUL – 3rd on debut last month, beating Haedong Yeogeol. Big chance today.

7. HANEULUI TTEUT – Raced once last autumn, impressing few. Trialled up indifferently in March and hard to back first-up.

8. JANGHAN JILJU – A pair of 5ths and a 4th in three races so far. Can go better today.

9. URIDEULUI YEONGUNG – Drops back in distance following a 2nd and 3rd place in his last two and this looks very winnable.

10. HAEDONG YEOGEOL – Much improved 4th on her most recent start, beaten by The Wonderful, and can match that today.

11. MANSUN – Been sent off at three-figure odds for all outings to date and probably should be here as well.

Verdict: 3rd on debut six weeks ago, (6) THE WONDERFUL is set to be sent off the strong favourite here. He quickened well and was only a head shy of 2nd. (9) URIDEULUI YEONGUNG has shown signs of figuring things out with a 2nd and 3rd from his latest two. With Darryll Holland on board, he’ll be well backed. Also figuring things out is (8) JANGHAN JILJU, who ran a solid 4th last start at 1200M and with a good start, can go well here. The returning 4th place specialist (1) ARAGAYA SINGSING looks a good bet for 4th while improvement from (2) SWAG is not impossible.

Selections (6) The Wonderful (9) Urideului Yeongung (8) Janghan Jilju (1) Aragaya Singsing
Next Best 2, 3
Fast Start 1, 5, 8, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

1. NAMYANG YEOGEOL – Showed significant improvement last start to run 5th of 12 over this distance. Still more to find.

2. JUMARUI MYEONGHWA – Not beaten many in recent starts. (more…)

Good Friday At Busan: A Basic Introduction

It’s that time of year again. All 10 races at Busan will be beamed to Australia on Good Friday. We’ll have a runner-by-runner guide to every race on Thursday but in the meantime, just as last year, here are some general things to be aware of about racing at Busan.

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For part of the day, Busan will be the only thoroughbred meeting

The Track: The track surface is sand. There is often a lot of kickback and as a result, horses tend to wear plenty of headgear, usually pacifiers and jockeys give one another plenty of room. Due to the nature of the surface, when it is wet, it usually runs faster. There is an inner and outer track as well as chutes for races over five furlongs and a mile. 1800M races start on the inner track and move to the outer track for the finish.

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Races: There are six race classes at Busan. Class 6 is for maidens and uses set weights. Classes 1-5 are separated by rating and are handicaps. Classes 5 & 6 are exclusively for Korean-bred horses, imports must start at class 4.

Tab number and barrier number are the same and jockeys wear a cap that corresponds with their number (number 1 always wears a white cap, number 2 yellow, number 3 red etc.)

Again, due to the track surface, a lot of horses like to run on or very close to the pace so starts can be quick with a lot of jockeys trying to get a prominent early position. They are not allowed to shift inwards until 100M after the start which can sometimes (but not always) be a hindrance for wide draws at sprint distances.

Jockeys and Trainers: The top 10 in the 2017 Jockey and Trainer Premierships (starting on January 1st) currently look like this:

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As in many jurisdictions, there can be a big gap in ability between jockeys. Foreign jockeys at tend to do well. There are currently five foreign jockeys at Busan and four of them are in the top 10 in the Premiership. Former Cypriot Champion Marios Mina is currently among the most in-form at the track. Among the top ten jockeys, Francisco Da Silva and Ham Wan Sik are suspended on Friday.

Australian Peter Wolsley leads the Trainers’ Premiership. The Bendigo native is in his 10th year in Korea and is currently two winners ahead of perennial champion trainer Kim Young Kwan. South African Bart Rice and Ireland’s Thomas Gillespie also maintain strong strike rates and are in the top ten. A fourth foreign trainer, Kiwi David Miller, is just becoming established at Busan and has started to get results in the past couple of months.

Favourites: Although there have been upsets of late, favourites do oblige on a regular basis. When looking at the Korean odds, it is important to remember that in Korea, punters overwhelmingly favour exotic bets with the quinella and the trio being the most popular. The regular win and place pools are comparatively small so while those pools will generally be accurate in terms of who is favourite or 2nd favourite, they may not tell the whole story the further down the board you go.

General: In Korea, the betting pools close 30 seconds prior to the advertised start time and the loading process begins then. As a result, races usually jump exactly on time.

Full preview of all 10 Friday races to follow in the next 24 hours. 

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (April 9)

The blossoms are finally out! More importantly there are big cards of racing at both Seoul and Busan. In the capital there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 while down south, it’s 6 from 12:40 to 17:05.

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Cherry Blossom festival got underway at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday night (Pic: Let’s Run Park Seoul Instagram)

English race cards are here, notes on all overseas simulcast races are below:

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

1. SOKBO GANGJA – First start of 2017. Ended last year indifferently but did win a trial in February.

2. SMART JOE – 5ht behind Jangbi Haengun and Choego Money last start and capable of similar today.

3. EOUL DEOUL – Not beaten many in two starts so far. (more…)

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

There are 11 races at Seoul on Saturday with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. English race cards can be found here. Notes on races 5-11 are below:

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

1. SEOUL BOLT – Up in class following her maiden win at this distance at the end of February. Every chance of a repeat.

2. EVA ROAD – Her solitary win came at this distance last summer and she comes in following a creditable 5th of 12 last time out.

3. SHINE QUEEN – Struggled a little last time on a sloppy track but is competitive at this level and can look for the places. (more…)

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

Busan was the scene of Indian King’s surprise win in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the 2017 Korean Triple Crown, last Sunday and it’s Busan where this week’s action gets underway on Friday with a card of 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00.

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Indian King & Darryll Holland win the KRA Cup Mile (Pic: KRA)

English race cards can be found here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below

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

1. MADOBIYEON – 8th in each of his last four and that sounds about right again.

2. URI GIPPEUM – Back to back 3rd place finishes in his latest two outings. Gets the top jockey on and has a chance.

3. SEUNGNIHARI – Sent back to trial for being uncompetitive last time. Seems little prospect of improvement. (more…)

Indian King & Darryll Holland Win First Leg Of 2017 Korean Triple Crown

If there is to be a Korean Triple Crown winner this year then his name is Indian King. The 74/1 outsider took the initiative under jockey Darryll Holland in the early part of the race and clung on to defeat Royal Ruby and American Power and claim the first Jewel in the Crown, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

Punters couldn’t split Breeders’ Cup winner and runner-up Final Boss and Daeho Sidae sending them off as almost co-favourites but it was Illyu Star and longest shot on the board Taeyangui Jeonseol who were out of the gates the quickest. By the end of the straight, however, Holland had brought Indian King up alongside the leader and as they rounded the corner he kicked on in front and had stolen three lengths on the field as they straightened up.

The challenges would arrive too late. Daeho Sidae, expected to lead, offered little while Final Boss had far too much to do. Instead, while Holland coaxed his mount home, the one who would get the closest would be Royal Ruby. He had been the back-marker  for much of the race but flew home to get within half a length of the winner on the line. The Peter Wolsley trainee, who also started as an outsider, must surely be very much in the Derby mix now. American Power was just a further head back in 3rd while there was a 5-length gap back to Daeho Sidae who led home the rest.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 2 2017

1. Indian King (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – Darryll Holland – 75.0, 17.5
2. Royal Ruby (KOR) [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] – Jo Sung Gon – 4.6
3. American Power (KOR) [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American)] – 1.7
Distances: 0.5 lengths / Head
Also Ran: 4. Daeho Sidae (KOR) 5. Final Boss (KOR) 6. Ice Marine (KOR) 7. Muhan Yeoljeong (KOR) 8. Illyu Star (KOR) 9. Wonder Wall (KOR) 10. Lion Rock (KOR) 11. Taeyangui Jeonseol (KOR)

Indian King [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] is a half-brother to Indian Star, winner of last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup and one of the top sprinters at the track – she came out one race later on Sunday afternoon and ran 2nd over 1200M to Triple Five in a class 1 handicap.

Indian Diamond herself was an $18,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Sale in 2002. She ran 36 times at Seoul between 2003 and 2006 winning on 3 occasions and in addition to Indian Star has had three others make the track so far, although only one of them was a winner.

For trainer Mun Je Bok, it was his biggest win to date; his first Group 2 having previously won Group 3 events with Hangangui Gijeok, Perdido Pomeroy and of course, Indian Star. 

As for Darryll Holland, it was his first Listed or Group winner in Korea. After the race, Holland noted that he isn’t able to ride as many as he would like due to a minimum riding weight of 54kg. He paid tribute to the preparation done by the trainer and thanked him for putting him on. There’ll be no trouble making weight for the Korean Derby next month.

Can Indian King get 1800M at Seoul? It makes for a fascinating Derby on the second Sunday in May.

Sunday Seoul Simulcast Comments (April 2)

Sunday is KRA Cup Mile Day at Busan. There are 6 races on the south coast from 12:40 to 17:10. Meanwhile at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 to 18:00. See here for a full preview of the Cup Mile, the opening leg of the 2017 Triple Crown.

English language race cards are here. While the Cup Mile itself isn’t being simulcast overseas, three of the late races at Seoul are. Form comments for those are below:

Race 9: Class 1 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million

1. WONDER BOLT – Last win was his last try at this distance in the corresponding race last year. Has a hard time in handicaps due to high weight but better chance today. (more…)