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

Temperatures soared to the high teens in Busan this week and while it will have cooled down a little bit by the time horses come under orders, we’re still in for a mild weekend so it’s the ideal time to come racing! Busan gets us underway with 11 Friday races from 11:30 to 18:00.

Busan Racecourse

It’s Friday…it’s Busan…

English race cards are here. Notes on overseas simulcast races are below:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 13:40 (Korean Time)

1. SILLAUI DALBAM – Led last time but weakened to finish a tailed off last. Unattractive here.

2. KWAEHAN TANSAENG – Shown promise. Finished midfield in first try at further than minimum last time.

3. BARONESS – Solid 3rd on debut over 1200M last month. Has claims.

4. MISS GANGJA –No better than 5th in 13 starts. Should beat a few but others will be better. (more…)

Seoul Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 12)

It’s been a freezing cold weekend so far but there’s plenty of racing to warm us up at both Seoul and Busan on Sunday. In the apital there are 11 races from 10:40 to 18:00 while on the south coast there are 6 from 12:35 to 17:00.

At Busan last year’s Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi faces off with Mayor’s Cup winner Beolmaui Kkum. However, both of them could well be beaten by the respective stars from the stables of Bart Rice and Thomas Gillespie. Buhwarui Banseok and Champ Line are both still on the rise and both have strong claims in the 2000M Championship Series race (see video of Buhwarui Banseok’s New Year’s Eve victory above).

English race cards for both meetings are here. Notes on Seoul races (which will be shown on Sky Racing in Australia) are below:

Race 1: Class 6 Allowance (1000M)

1. FANTASTIC QUEEN – Much to find based on her debut run when she was 10th of 11.

2. MUJEOGUI JEONSA – Debut-maker, nothing special in trials.

3. BAENONGI – 2nd in his trial in an adequate time. Dam won two of 13 in Korea.

4. SUPER CHANCE – Out of a Korean Oaks winner. Trial was average but top jockey booking.

5. EUMAK DAEJANG – 6th of 12 in a slow race at 1200M on Jan 14th. Look for improvement here.

6. HIGH ALYDAR – Led in his trial but weakened late on. Could be considered.

7. JAELONGI – 3rd of 12 at long odds on his second start on Jan 14th and will be much shorter today.

8. RICH YEOJANGGUN – Looked the best of the debut makers in trials.

9. SEUNGRIUI YEOSIN – 2nd on debut on Jan 8th beaten a length having led until a furlong out and is the favourite here.

10. JAEGUN GOCHU – Creditable trial. Dam won on at distance on debut.

11. SERA KHAN – 3rd in his trial, a long way behind the winner.

12. GOLD WINNER – Well beaten in both starts last year. Showed little when re-qualifying last month.

Verdict: It’s probably best to go with experience here and (9) SEUNGRIUI YEOSIN showed enough on debut to suggest he knows what’s he’s doing and should take some beating. (8) RICH YEOJANGGUN looked competent in running 2nd in his trial and if he brings that to the races, can challenge. (7) JAELONGI has to be respected following his vast improvement last time, six months after his debut. Hard to know what to make of the rest with (3) BAENONGI perhaps most likely.

Selections    (9) Seungriui Yeosin (8) Rich Yeojanggun (7) Jaelongi (3) Baenongi
Next Best    10, 5, 4, 3
Fast Starters    9, 8 (more…)

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

It’s turned cold once more across the Korean peninsula but there are plenty of punting opportunities to warm up to this weekend. Busan gets things underway on Friday with an 11 race card from 11:30 to 18:00.

A pair of new overseas jockeys will be in action on the south coast this weekend. Italian Adrea Mezzatesta and Cypriot rider Marios Mina both make their Korean debuts. Meanwhile Darryll Holland is back from suspension and has some live mounts too. English race cards are here. Notes on races to be simulcast overseas are below:

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 22 Million / 13:40 

1. HWARYEOHAN YONGSA – Improved last time for 6th at long odds. Needs improvement again.

2. URIDEULUI YEONGUNG – Better on 1st try at this distance two weeks ago. Good jockey booking.

3. FOUR NINES – Drops back in distance after 4th over a mile last month. Two 3rds at 1300M already and should win here.

4. YOSUL KING – Only decent performance in four tries was in a similarly small field at this distance. Far behind Four Nines at a mile last up.

5. HOMYEONG DAERO – Slow on debut and sent back to trial. Slow in the trial.

6. JIBONG YEONGUNG – Only 2nd so far at this distance in November. Disappointed last month but worth another chance for the places.

7. NEW HAPPY DAY – Career best 3rd at the distance two weeks ago was a big improvement.

8. ONNURI GANGJA – Well beaten in all six starts, including twice at this distance

Verdict: (3) FOUR NINES really should be winning this against underwhelming opposition. (7) NEW HAPPY DAY looks the only credible danger off the back of that good showing two weeks ago with the top jockey who rode that day keeping the mount. (6) JIBONG YEONGUNG and (2) URIDEULUI YEONGUNG to contest the places

Selections: (3) Four Nines (7) New Happy Day (6) Jibong Yeongung (2) Urideuli Yeongung
Next Best: 1, 8
Fast Starters: 2, 3 (more…)

Triple Nine, Main Stay & Diferent Dimension Run At Meydan This Week

The 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival is starting to head towards its business end and following Power Blade’s 3rd place in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge last Thursday, three of the other Korea-trained horses, Triple Nine, Main Stay and Diferent Dimension will line up this week. Triple Nine races on Thursday while Main Stay and Diferent Dimension will go on Saturday.

Triple Nine ran on very nicely for 2nd on his Meydan debut last month and he is likely to be one of the favourites for his race, a 2000M Dirt Handicap which is race 3 on Thursday’s card. There are plenty of dangers though. Mizbah beat Hunting Ground, who himself beat Triple Nine last start, by no fewer than seven and a half lengths on January 5. While he carries an additional 5.5kg on Thursday, he is sure to be dangerous. Godolphin’s Emotionless was a highly thought-of juvenile in the UK in 2015 but only raced twice as a three-year-old. He was 6th on his Meydan debut in the first leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge at a mile and may well have come on for it. Click here for Race Card.

On Saturday Main Stay, who is already a winner at this year’s Carnival, makes his re-appearance. He faces a much tougher assignment this time around though as he takes on two Hong Kong raiders in the shape of Dundonnell and, especially Fabulous One as they begin their preparations for Super Saturday and World Cup Night. The rest of the field offers little to write home about although the Godolphin pair of Comicas and Acolyte, the latter a non-Carnival turf winner at the distance in January may be dangerous while the Sweden-trained duo of Breakdancer and Saving Kenny are unknown quantities. The start is going to be important and attempting to live with the two Sha Tin horses will be the target. Click here for Race Card.

Diferent Dimension is going to do things differently in that he’s going to become the first Korea-trained horse at the Carnival to run on the Turf. He goes in the ultra-competitive Mile handicap. The Peter Wolsley trainee has reportedly taken well to the surface and does have a good draw. He has the toughest ask of all the Korea-trained horses though and a competitive showing will be the goal against a group of horses with some very solid European form amongst them. Click here for Race Card.

In other Dubai news, the Dubai Racing Club has released initial World Cup Day nominations. This nomination stage is free and accordingly, all five of the Korean horses at the Carnival have been nominated for various races, something the Dubai Racing Club noted in their accompanying notes. It remains extremely unlikely that any of them will get into any of the races, however, with a run for one or more of them on Super Saturday considered to be the more realistic goal.

Swedish Jockey Shane Karlsson Debuts With A Winner At Seoul

It was a good first day at the races in Seoul for Shane Karlsson. The Swedish jockey rode his first Korean winner, guiding Choegangja to a comfortable victory in the last race of the day for Australian trainer Brian Dean.

Karlsson, a champion apprentice in Sweden in 2009, got the day off to a good start with a 2nd place on his very first ride, Viva Galloper in race 1 but it would be at the other end of the day, under the lights in race 12 when the 25-year-old made his breakthrough.

Choegangja, an 8/1 shot, was guided to the front straight out of the gate by Karlsson and the pair never looked back as they raced away to win by half a length from another Dean trainee My Blade, who came home 2nd. Karlsson will have five more rides at Seoul on Sunday.

Also debuting in the saddle at Seoul on Saturday was Japanese rider Shinji Hatanaka. His best finish came in race 6 when he partnered Clean Up Sky to 2nd place. Hatanaka has six rides on Sunday.

Racing returns on Sunday with 11 races at Seoul from 10:40 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:35 to 17:00.

*Update: And Shane Karlsson added another on Sunday afternoon, again for Brian Dean, as he guided Jangsanjewang (Ft. Stockton) to victory in the class 1 Race 11.

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (February 3)

After a week off for the Lunar New Year, racing returns to the peninsula on Friday with 11 races at Busan from 11:30 to 18:00.

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

Race 4: Class 6 / 1600M / Allowance / KRW 22 Million / 13:40

(4) WILD COP beat three of these when running 3rd over 1300M on New Year’s Eve and could be the one to beat up at a mile for the first time. We’ll go with (9) I’M ADELE though. He was a much improved 2nd at that same distance the same day and can also benefit from this lengthier task. (5) TIMELESS and (11) MEISTER GO both look to be improvers too while (8) DIVINE KING is likely to set the early pace and could stay on.

Selections: (9) I’m Adele (4) Wild Cop (5) Timeless (11) Meister Go
Next Best: 1, 8
Rating: –
Fast Starters: 8
Start-200M: 1, 8, 11, 5, 6
200M-Finish: 3, 11, 8, 4, 5 (more…)

Power Blade Set For Stiff Meydan Test

Power Blade will need to be at his best as he faces a stern examination in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan this Thursday night.

The 2016 Korean Triple Crown winner was an encouraging 3rd on his Dubai debut three weeks ago but steps up in both distance and in opposition for this week’s 1900M test. It’s the 2nd leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge and the top four place-getters from the first leg, run over a mile on the Carnival’s opening day on January 5th, all return.

The winner that day was Le Bernadin and the 8-year-old is set to be favourite here. Long River, Lindo Amor and Gold City ran 2nd to 4th and all three try their luck again. Fitzgerald ran poorly that day but prior to that won back to back non-Carnival races at Meydan while Second Summer is a Graded Stakes winner in the USA. Storm Belt showed little in his Carnival race three weeks ago but is a Meydan winner while Chile bred Furia Cruzada makes her Dubai debut but has solid form in Europe.

Despite being some way behind the winner and runner-up on January 12, Power Blade ran on very nicely for 3rd and hopes are high that he will at least be competitive once more as he becomes the first Korea-trained horse to compete at Group level at the Carnival. With the pattern of races on the deep Seoul and Busan sand being different to that on the Meydan dirt, the horses have taken some time to adapt and have tended to lose a bit of ground in the middle parts of the races, but with Pat Cosgrave, who has partnered most of the Korean runners so far this Carnival in the saddle once more, this can be overcome.

It’s now two weeks since Main Stay scored the breakthrough that Korea had been waiting for, comfortably landing a 1200M handicap. It wasn’t a strong race but crucially it was the first time a Korean horse was actually expected to win and with the pressure on, he delivered. It was a huge relief for all concerned and that hugely enjoyable evening – on which Triple Nine also ran a big race in 2nd over 2000M – helped to finally put to rest some nagging doubts, especially at home, as to whether horses from Korea really belonged at the Carnival. Now we know they do, if Power Blade runs to his best, another placed finish isn’t out of the question.

Seoul Bullet, 4th in Main Stay’s race, is recovering from a slight injury but the the other three Korea-trained horses are all likely to race over the next couple of weeks. Peter Wolsley’s Diferent Dimension, who ran well but weakened late on behind Power Blade on January 12 is expected to try his luck on turf while Main Stay and Triple Nine will return to the dirt within the next two weeks.

Power Blade runs in race 5, the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at 20:50 Dubai time on Thursday evening. Click here for the full race card.