Jockey Lee Hyo-sik Targets Cup Mile Salute Before Obeying Marching Orders

The jockey game is a tough one where even at the best of the times, a rider can never be certain when or why he or she might be replaced on a good horse. It’s different this time for Lee Hyo-sik, who knows that even if he rides a flawless, winning race on leading KRA Cup Mile (1600M – KOR G2) contender Winner’s Man on Sunday, he won’t be aboard the colt in next month’s Korean Derby. That’s because by that time, he will be in boot camp beginning his eighteen months of mandatory military service.

Lee Hyo Siks in the Stakes race winner’s circle with King Socks 2 years ago

“Of course, I am a little disappointed that just when we finally have Stakes races back, I have to go,” Lee told in-house broadcaster KRBC this week. “But there is nothing I can do about it.” He then quipped “Maybe Winner’s Man will wait for me. He will still only be five-years-old when I come back.”

For now, Lee preferred to focus on the business at hand with his mount being one of the favourites in what is arguably the highest ever quality field for the opening leg of a Korean Triple Crown. “I believe in (Winner’s Man); his condition is similar to how it was at his last win. He has always been a mature horse and forward in his ability.”

Identifying Heat Yegam and Seoul raider Heungbaragi as the primary dangers among the sixteen strong field, Lee was able to reflect on the fact that he knows one of those rivals very well and sought to ease any pressure. “I have ridden both Heat Yegam and Winner’s Man. I think they are of similar ability but maybe Heat Yegam is slightly better right now.”

Heat Yegam, a winner of seven from eight and likely to be the betting favourite inside Korea, will be ridden by You Hyun-myung whose own military experience is long in the rear-view mirror, but he knows how his younger rival will be feeling. “He’s starting his military service next week so he will be very hungry to win.” You missed Heat Yegam’s latest two victories in August. “I was injured in August so Lee Hyo-sik rode him twice and won twice. He ran very well. Since I have come back, I have been working on getting my strength up for this race.”

On Heat Yegam’s readiness for the race, You Hyun-myung was confident. “I don’t really need to worry about the horse because the stable management is so good there isn’t very much the rider needs to do. We have galloped him, and he was good and fast. Our draw isn’t great, but others have worse.” On which horse he fears most, he was clear. “Winner’s Man is the most dangerous rival.”

It is by no means a two-horse race as the fact that the sixteen runners have no fewer than sixty-one victories between them heading in bears out. Five of those wins belong to Galaxy Road, so could he upset the favourites? “Yes,” according to trainer Kim Kil-jung. “We finished up the main training with him on Thursday morning and I was very satisfied,” Kim told KRBC. “It’s my first runner in a Triple Crown race so I’m excited, we’ve got a great draw and we can run well. (Jockey) Lee Sung-jae has ridden him a lot and I think his expectations are high too. We are well prepared, so we are confident.”

The Seoul challenge is headed by Heungbaragi. He may have been drawn wide but remains dangerous for trainer Lee Joon-chel, who rode him in his earlier races before taking over the training license this summer. Lee has made a super start to his career with eight wins from his first thirty runners.

Joining Heungbaragi in making the journey from the capital was Chief Indy, who will give Antonio Da Silva his very first ride at Busan, despite him having ridden in Korea for more than four years now. “Moon Se-young usually rides the horse but he had a fall last month, so I got the call three weeks ago and rode him in work and then a barrier trial. He seems to be a good horse and in good condition,” Da Silva said of the colt who has won his latest four. “On Sunday I hope we can show 100% of our ability. I know it is a strong race, he likes to sit behind the lead, I am not sure if the middle gate is good or not, but he is a good horse, and we can win.”

The theme of the strength of the race was echoed by Kim Yong-geun, who won the Cup Mile on eventual Triple Crown winner Power Blade in 2016 and is a former Busan Champion jockey now plying his trade in Seoul. “I’ve ridden in a lot of these races and usually there are just one or two standouts but not this time. There are the two big ones though (Heat Yegam and Winner’s Man), who look like class 1 horses already.” As for his own mount, Royal Road: “It’s going to be important to get a good racing position. Get a good start and be up with the pace. If we’re up there at the beginning of the straight, then we have a chance.”

Spot Flatter earned his spot with back-to-back wins at Seoul over 1400M and jockey Ham Wan-sik rides him for the first time. “(Alan) Munro usually rides him but he needed to be in Seoul this week, so I got the chance,” said Ham. “I think he is a good horse; the distance is good. We know there are some very good horses in this race and there will be a hot pace early. I won’t worry about. I will ride my own race and not get impatient.

Patience is something Lee Hyo-sik is going to need during his next year and a half in uniform. Whether he can play a role in helping Winner’s Man on the way to a Triple Crown will become clear on Sunday afternoon.

The KRA Cup Mile is race 5 at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

KRA Cup Mile 2021: Horse-By-Horse Preview

The 2021 Korean Triple Crown gets underway a full six-months later than originally planned with the KRA Cup Mile taking place at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. As a result of the delay, the depth of form is incredible with the full field of sixteen having collectively won sixty-one races between them already and all runners will go to post with some justifiable confidence. Last year the race was won by Touch Star Man, who went on to finish 5th in the Korean Derby before winning the final leg of the Crown, the Minister’s Cup Here is a run-down of the field:

Touch Star Man won last year’s KRA Cup Mile

1. SPOT FLATTER [Cowboy Cal – Palmetto Flatter (Flatter)] – Gets his chance after back to win wins over 1400M up to class 4 level in Seoul when sitting midfield and running on with both times good. He draws nicely draw and should get the trip, but this is a level up in difficulty for him.

2. MACH TITAN [Hansen – Send An Angel (Street Sense)] – Scorching winner at this distance at class 3 two starts back in a time that would have won every edition of this race to date. He did though run poorly at his latest start over 1800M three weeks ago, running very wide early before working hard to be on the pace but then finding the extended trip a bit much. Back at a mile he should be a different prospect and he is the big winner from the draw. He likes to sit handy and run on.

3. GALAXY ROAD [Afleet Express – How Bout Tonight (Proud Citizen)] – Winner of his latest three including last start when he overcame gate twelve to lead all the way over 1800M at class 4. He has the second fastest time among those who have tackled a mile and won at this distance when sitting handy and running on strong. May lead but there is plenty of other speed in this race. Placing chances.

4. MR. INDIE [Indie Band – Candace Gold (Seeking The Gold)] – Races for the first time since July when he ran out a comfortable front-running class 4 winner over 1800M. Twelve weeks off since then but he looked well when trialing up last week. Jockey Seo Seung-un won this race in 2014 and a bold showing is possible from a nice draw.

5. ROYAL ROAD [Afleet Express – Officer Lady (Officer)] – An all the way nine-length win at class 5 over 1700M put him on the radar for this although he was a touch disappointing when 3rd at class 4 over the same distance four weeks ago. He did have to contend with gate twelve that day and drifted wide on jumping before eventually finding the rail. He is better than that and can get an easier run from a better draw, but he is not in the first line of favourites here. Jockey Kim Yong-geun partnered Power Blade to victory in the race in 2016 on his way to sweeping the Triple Crown.

6. DONGJIN CHOEGANG [Officer – Pureun Miso (Malibu Moon)] – Untried at further than 1400M and his best form has been at 1200M, he come in following a narrow runner-up finish at that distance in a very fast time on a wet track on September 12th. It’s deeper waters today and despite Park Tae-jong, who won the race on Money Car in 2010, being engaged to ride, others are favoured.

7. WILD INDIE [Indie Band – Wild Dixie Gal (Wild Event)] – Yet to be out of the top two in five career starts, he won back-to-back races at this distance to be rapidly promoted up to class 4. On his first try at that level he ran 2nd over 1800M, sitting midfield and then running on strong. He has one of the strongest finishes in the race so don’t rule him out of passing plenty late on. Definite place chances.

8. CHIEF INDY [Take Charge Indy – City Splash (City Zip)] – He has won his last four starts including carrying 58kg to victory over 1700M at class 4 level. He hasn’t raced since June which may be a concern, but he looked well when winning a trial in mid-September. He will want to sit handy to the lead and run on and the jockey booking is a plus.

9. HEAT YEGAM [Take Charge Indy – Desert Heat (Mr. Prospector)] – Super horse who beat Winner’s Man when the pair were juveniles. Both have come a long way since and Heat Yegam enters following a strong of four victories up to Class 2 level when made all over 1200M on August 27th by seven-lengths. He was an eleven-length all the way winner on his only try at this distance which came at class 3 level in June in a fast time. His style is to get out in front and just go. If he gets the lead, he may be hard to catch. He’s the favourite, with jockey You Hyun-myung bidding for an unprecedented third win in the race.

10. TK BOY [Cowboy Cal – Indian Myeongun (Indian Charlie)] – Not likely to be among the top line of favourites but could be an interesting outsider. Has a fast finish on him and while he just missed out when 2nd over 1700M at class at his latest start, he has won well at 1400M, and he will be flashing home strong. May prefer it if it’s wet.

11. JERA [Musket Man – High Key (Menifee)] – A good winner two starts back at this distance at class 4 when he settled in midfield before taking the lead entering the straight. That was in May though and he was out of sorts in his latest race when having been in a prominent position early, he weakened to last in the straight. That makes him hard to have here but punters will always take note of jockey Lim Sung-sil climbing aboard in a big race.

12. WINNER’S MAN [Musket Man – Winner’s Marine (Volponi)] – A winner of seven races so far and he fairly bolted in by eight-lengths in class 2 company over 1800M when eased down at the 50M on September 12th. He has won at a mile and there should be no issue in dropping back today and while he will need some luck position-wise from his wide draw, he is race fit and is a big chance.

13. DOCTOR GIANTS [Cowboy Cal – Ms. Fool Proof (Not For Love)] – A fine 3rd over 1400M on September 17th, it was at class 4 level and while in four attempts at that class he has shown he is competitive he hasn’t looked like winning in it. Accordingly, in much deeper waters today, this appears to be a hard ask.

14. ONNURI JILJU [Officer – Onnuri Plaza (Touch Gold)] – Super consistent type who since a 4th place on debut, has finished no worse than 2nd in eight subsequent outings. That includes a runner-up finish to Mach Titan at 1400M in June and most recently, 2nd to the excellent filly Doctor Fappiano (who skips this to go for the filly Triple Crown, which begins next week) over 1800M at class 3. Times are very good, and he has a big race jockey aboard, so he is not to be dismissed, but he looks more a place line.

15. HEUNGBARAGI [Old Fashioned – Grand Marketing (After Market)] – Top juvenile in Seoul last year, he could not have been more impressive on his latest start on September 12th when a runaway gate-to-wire winner by six-lengths over 1800M. He likes to lead though, and this barrier draw has done him no favours. Nevertheless, he will be in this a long way and a win isn’t impossible.

16. YUJEONG CHAMP [Forest Camp – Yujeong Yeojanggun (Warrior’s Reward)] – Back-to-back wins over 1400M in fast times at classes 6 and 5 allow him to take his chance here but he struggled behind Royal Road on his first go at class 4 level over 1700M on September 12th. That suggests this is going to be tough.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 9)

Saturday is Cup Mile Eve and we will have a full horse-by-horse preview of Sunday’s big race up later. For now though, there are 9 races at the behind-closed-doors meeting at Seoul on Saturday. Here are the previews:

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

Juvenile maidens to start things off with six of the twelve racing for the first time. The pick has experience though as (5) CHEONJI JIDAE ran a good 3rd on debut at this distance at the end of July when he settled in midfield and finished off well. It’s been eleven weeks off since but from a central draw he can return with a win here. (11) RAON THE TEUKGEUP was a decent enough 5th on his debut on September 4th. It was over this distance in a fair time and he made up good ground late on. With some natural progression from that, he should be in this. (12) CHEOLLICHONG’s two performances so far weren’t necessarily as bad as the 6th and 8th place finishes may make them look. Both times she finished behind horses with plenty of potential, her times weren’t bad and it would be no surprise to see her improving today. The debut-makers don’t really stand out but the best of them appears to be (9) WILD SOCKS. He put in a solid, if unspectacular trial and in what is a soft race to start off in, can challenge for the places. (1) COMPLETE LUCKY another who can improve on a relatively anonymous debut.

Selections(5) Cheonji Jidae (11) Raon The Teukgeup (12) Cheollichong (9) Wild Socks
Next Best1, 3
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 12

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

More juvenile maidens, this time with four of the ten racing for the first time. Again we opt for experience with two standouts who have little between them. Given the draw and the slight weight allowance she gets as a filly; we’ll veer towards (1) RAON THE DASH. Having won a July trial, she ran 5th behind Aspen Taeyang (who has since won again) on debut on August 21st when she settled handy but couldn’t quite hold her position at the business end. Nevertheless, it was a fir performance and one with potential. (10) ROAD ACE has equally solid claims. He has raced twice before and has run two consistent times at this distance both times settling midfield and, like Raon The Dash, just not being able to get past other juveniles who were perhaps a bit further developed. Today is a good opportunity for progress. (9) WINNER KAI debuts having run reasonably well in a slow trial. There is little to fear here so a positive debut is possible. (2) HANGANG MAGIC weakened on debut over 1200Mand back in trip and with a nice draw can improve today. (8) G STAR was very slow to get going on his debut on September 11th and if he can her into gear a bit quicker this time, should improve.

Selections(1) Raon The Dash (10) Road Ace (9) Winner Kai (2) Hangang Magic
Next Best8, 3
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 10

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

Three-year-old maiden fillies here and possibly the best chance many of these will have for a win. (12) SUPER BIRD has as good a chance as any. She has been consistent over her three starts so far with a best a come from behind 3rd place over 1300M two starts back. That running style suggests the wide draw won’t be an issue and she can win. The probable betting favourite is (3) TINA. That’s based on her run two starts back over this distance when she ran 2nd in a time a full two seconds faster than any of her rivals today have managed for the 1200M. Granted it was wet and fast that day but nevertheless it was good run and while she weakened over 1400M on her August return, back down in trip today and from a good gate, she has strong claims. (1) ELITE RULES beat three of these on her way to a much improved 3rd place at this distance on August 14th when she settles slightly worse than midfield and then ran on. She drew the widest gate that day and from the inside here, David Breux should have plenty of options. (6) DDATTEUTHANBIT is the only one on the field to have placed twice with two 3rd place finishes to her name. She was beaten by Elite Rules two starts back but a place can be on the agenda again. Solitary debut-maker (4) GOLD KAISER won her trial and while it was slow time draws well to be on pace and can be given a chance.

Selections(12) Super Bird (3) Tina (1) Elite Rules (6) Ddatteuthanbit
Next Best4, 2
Fast Start2, 4, 6, 7

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

(4) MENI GOLD fairly bolted up on debut on August 28th leading from gate-to-wire to win by seven-lengths over 1000M. Accordingly, she is up in class and distance today but neither those things, nor being the only juvenile in the field, should be an issue, and from a good draw she can be on pace again and maintain her 100% record. (6) PARAN WANGJA is two starts into this current preparation following seven months out. He has run well both times with a 2nd and a 3rd, both at this class and distance and is a front-running type who can give Meni Gold some problems from the start. He does look to be working up to a second win and it could come here. (1) PRINCESS SOCKS ran 6th behind Paran Wangja at her latest start but draws better today, giving her an opportunity to emulate her all the way win two starts back in a fast time at this distance at class 6 level. She seems to be an all or nothing type with two wins and then nothing better than 5th in four outings to date but she is in the frame here. (7) POWER DOLPUNG is a touch more consistent with just one finish outside the top five in seven attempts. He drops back in trip and is another who can be on or close to the pace. (3) SPRING KKUM another in the placing frame in a competitive affair.

Selections(4) Meni Gold (6) Paran Wangja (1) Princess Socks (7) Power Dolpung
Next Best3, 2
Fast Start1, 4, 6, 7
(more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 8)

The 2021 Triple Crown finally gets underway on Sunday when three-year-olds line up for the KRA Cup Mile at Busan. The unprecedented late start to the series has had the effect of making it arguably the strongest ever as every horse who arrives in the start line is tried and tested whereas on its usual April date, the race is often full of those who were precocious as juveniles but then haven’t kicked on. Anyway, more of the Cup Mile to follow over the next couple of days but in the meantime Busan kicks off proceedings for the weekend with a six-race card on Friday afternoon. Seoul jockeys Kim Yong-geun, Park Tae-jong and Ham Wan-sik all have rides. Here are the previews:

King Of Glory can return to winning ways in Friday’s Busan feature

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

(1) TWO TWO LIME will be hot favourite to open her account at the fifth time of asking here. She has a 2nd and a 3rd to her name already, both of them at this distance and she has already beaten a few of these. She comes in under a light weight and from the inside gate should be on the early speed and she should win. (4) SPRING FIRE came home 5th to Two Two Lime’s 3rd at her latest start on August 13th. She is another who does have a couple of places to her name and in this company she can be competitive for another. She came from off the pace last start but has been known to lead as well. Definitely closing late will be (6) CHEONGMA YEONGUNG. Seoul jockey Park Tae-jong, one of a number in town for Sunday’s KRA Cup Mile, picks up the ride and while this colt tends to get a bit too far back, if he can get away well, then he can be a danger at the end. This is not a strong race so while the solitary debut-maker (7) SUSO ENGINE didn’t exactly catch the eye in trials, he won’t need to improve too much on it to be competitive. (11) EUTTEUM CAL another in the placing hunt off the back of an improved 4th last time out.

Selections(1) Two Two Lime (4) Spring Fire (6) Cheongma Yeongung (7) Suso Engine
Next Best11, 5
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 5

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Maiden fillies here and all but three tackle the seven-furlongs for the first time. The pick and probable betting favourite is (12) WONDERFUL RAISE, who following a runner0up finish on debut in August then ran 6th in the Rookie Stakes on September 5th over 1200M when she ran on reasonably well and was travelling nicely at the end. The step up to 1400M may suit and while she has drawn the widest gate, she should be able to overcome it. (1) GOLDEN POWER went right back on debut before running on well for 3rd – albeit a long way behind a good winner – over 1000M on September 3rd. She should have come on for that run and the additional distance today may work in her favour. It’s fair to day that (2) WONDERFUL LADY is no superstar but she is turning into a dependable type with five top-five finishes from eight starts. She beat a couple of these on her latest start when overcoming a wide draw to sit handy and run on for 4th over 1300M. She draws much better today and will surely be in the finish again. (6) DONGBANG CAPTAIN and (7) WIND HIGH are others in the placing frame.

Selections(12) Wonderful Raise (1) Golden Power (2) Wonderful Lady (6) Dongbang Captain
Next Best7, 11
Fast Start1, 5, 7, 12

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

Tricky one here. (11) SPEED MATCH made all to score his maiden win three weeks ago at this distance. He comes up in class here but that manner of that victory – and the time it was recorded in on a good rated track – means he has to be considered again. The wide draw is a concern though and the likely betting favourite is (9) RUN FIGHTER. He has never been worse than 3rd in four outings to date and comes in off a good 2nd place on his first go at class and distance on September 5th when he was handy throughout. He has run consistent times and has every chance here. So too (1) PURE KING. He tackles 1400M for the very first time, having got his maiden win at his latest start over 1200M on September 19th. He settled in midfield that day, running on strong and there is nothing to suggest that the additional trip won’t suit. (4) DOCTOR TEXAS had a hard time on his first crack at class and distance when well back behind Run Fighter. His previous form suggests he is better than that and is worth another chance for at least a place here. (2) B J SONG another who has every chance of competing for the money.

Selections(11) Speed Match (9) Run Fighter (1) Pure King (4) Doctor Texas
Next Best2, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 11

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

Fillies only here. (10) D’LOVELY QUEEN has been a model of consistency across her five starts so far with her one win coming at this trip at class 6 level back in July. Since has since run twice at this class, finishing in 3rd place on both occasions in competitive times. She tends to settle handy or midfield and then run on so the wide draw isn’t off too much concern and while she does carry an extra 2kg from last time, she can win here. (1) STORM TO WIN has good experience at this class and was 5th over 1400M three weeks ago having led for much of the way around. She is a filly who gets regularly trialed between races and she went through another heat just last week in double-quick time. If she has maintained that sharpness, then from the inside gate she can be in this a long way. So too can (3) BANJIUI GIJEOK, who is still a maiden but comes up in class after a good 2nd place over 1300M having led for much of the way, on August 29th. That was her first start since last December so she should have come on for the run and while this is undoubtedly harder, she can measure up. (9) APRIL QUEEN may be working towards another win. She has found her feet at this class with a 2nd and two 4th place finishes from three attempts, and drops back in trip here. She can go close. (7) GOLD LUCK another with more than a chance of placing.

Selections(10) D’Lovely Queen (1) Storm To Win (3) Banjiui Gijeok (9) April Queen
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start1, 2, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Kim Yong-geun has traveled down from Seoul to ride Royal Road in Sunday’s Cup Mile and while that colt won’t be favourite, he takes the ride here on (4) KING OF THE MATCH, who almost certainly will be market leader in a really good race. He is three for three so far having won up to a mile and while he comes up 3kg in the weights and finds himself against some horses who have run some tremendous times at this distance, he should be equal to the challenge. (1) RAON THE POWER has finished in the top three in all eight of his starts so far with four wins. He comes up in class after a good score at this distance on August 20th, is down significantly in the weights and draws very nicely. (12) HANEUL ULLIM won three races in a row between March and May including a super win at this distance. He hasn’t raced since the latest of those wins so sharpness might be an issue but he looked well in a September trial and his running style means the draw shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. (3) DOCTOR FASHION and (10) AKER’S DREAM among others in the hunt in a race of many talents.

Selections(4) King Of The Match (1) Raon The Power (12) Haneul Ullim (3) Doctor Fashion
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start1, 3, 6, 7

Busan Race 6: Class 1 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

With a good apprentice taking 4kg off his back, (3) KING OF GLORY can return to winning ways here. He comes in having run 4th behind Blue Chipper at the distance three weeks ago but has beaten plenty of these in recent outings. A front-runner, he draws very nicely and today can be his day. The main danger may prove to be his stablemate. (1) PRO CONSUL races for the first time since May but has won first up at this level before. When he last ran he was 2nd over a mile to King Of Glory and having looked well in a trial only last week, it could be a Wolsley quinella here. (6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP comes back up in trip following recent work around one-turn including defeating Doctor Carson and Blue Chipper over 1400M. He perhaps doesn’t look a winning chance here but his quality could well see him to a place. (2) SPEED FURY is another to have been beaten by King Of Glory recently when 3rd to his 2nd at class and distance on August 1st. He has since run disappointingly over 2000M but should be better back in trip and drawn well here. (9) GOOD CASTING comes back up in trip too and is another who rarely runs a bad race.

Selections(3) King Of Glory (1) Pro Consul (6) Baengmunbaekdap (2) Speed Fury
Next Best9, 12
Fast Start1, 3, 4, 12

Yeonggwanguilegend & Complete Value Land Juvenile Prizes While Cheongdam Dokki Wins First-Up For Tony Castenheira

Juvenile honours were handed out at both Busan and Seoul on Sunday afternoon before one of the grand old gallopers of the track took to Seoul Racecourse to produce a timely reminder that he may not be done just yet.

Cheongdam Dokki (KRA)

The inaugural Areumdaun Jilju Stakes at Busan resulted in a procession for Yeonggwanguilegend [Concord Point – Perfect Scip (Scipion)], the only runner in the race who had participated in the track’s Rookie Stakes a month earlier. Exciting from the widest gate. Djordje Perovic guided the Concord Point colt to an early lead and from then on it was a one-act affair with much of the field behind him racing greenly and immaturely, including pre-race favourite Clifton King.

On the line the winning margin was five-lengths, jockey Perovic – notching his third winner on the card – able  to spend the last 20 metres posing for the still Covid-enforced sparse crowd. Besides Yeonggwanguilegend, the only two to emerge with much credit were Hwarang Best and Daeji Choice, who both closed strongly to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.

That’s to take nothing away from Yeonggwanguilegend, as he booked his place in the Korea Breeders’ Cup on December 5th with a fine performance in a fast time. Moreover, he ran as thugh he will be able to take on far more lengthier assignments than today’s 1200M and even beyond the 1400M of the Breeders’ Cup.

At Seoul thirty minutes later, Complete Value [Girolamo – Ft. Sduction (Ft. Stockton)] made it a perfect four from four to start his career as added to his success last month in the capital’s division of the Rookie Stakes by taking out the Munhwa Ilbo Cup. While he had begun the Rookie Stakes awkwardly and then almost got caught up in traffic in the Rookie, this time jockey Lim Gi-won made sure luck – or lack of it – would not be an issue as he took Complete Value straight to the shoulder of early leader Wonpyeong Gasok.

While Wonpyeong Gasok battled on gamely, Complete Value got his nose in front at the furlong pole and ran away to a three-length win on the line. Bencal Princess, 2nd in the Rookie Stakes, came home in 3rd place. The time for the 1200M was slower than that of Yeonggwanguilegend at Busan, but faster than that of the preceding 1200M race in the capital.

If all goes to plan, they will meet at 1400M in Busan on December 5, a distance that looks like it will suit both and they will be joined most likely by plenty who skipped today’s races. For now, Yeonggwanguilegend and Complete Value lead the race to become Korea’s overall Champion Juvenile.

It wasn’t just horses at the beginning of their careers who starred on Sunday. Now seven-years-old, Cheongdam Dokki began the latest chapter of his storied career as he made his first start for his new trainer, Tony Castenheira, in Seoul’s class 1 finale over 1800M.

Cheongdam Dokki has never been straightforward. A brilliant talent but with an equally brilliant temper, even back in his juvenile days dueling with the likes of Dolkong, he was not the easiest to handle or to ride.  Lining up today for the first time since June, when he finished 4th behind Jjang Kong, much of the local racing media didn’t fancy his chances, while local win-pool punters stayed loyal.  

The chestnut sweated profusely on his way to the gate but once the race was underway and jockey Antonio Da Silva had taken him straight to the front, Cheongdam Dokki was strictly business as the pair controlled the race down the back and into the home straight. Looming up though was Jjang Kong and while he was only getting 5kg from Cheongdam Dokki this time compared with the 8kg when he beat him four months ago, it was clear he posed a serious threat.

Under Alan Munro, Jjang Kong chipped away at Cheongdam Dokki’s advantage through out the final two furlongs. At one point it looked inevitable that he would go past but Cheongdam Dokki and Da Silva dug deep and found enough to repel him, crossing the line a neck to the good. It was his by no means the finest of his eighteen wins, but the time was good and the manner of it encouraging.

The Grand Prix Stakes still eludes Cheongdam Dokki with him having recorded a 4th, a 2nd and a 3rd in his three attempts so far. It still remains unlikely given the amount of talent he will have to contend with, but for Castenheira and Cheongdam Dokki, a Boxing Day miracle no longer looks completely impossible.

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (October 3)

Three months of Stakes action gets underway on Sunday with both Seoul and Busan hosted Listed races for the top juveniles from this year’s crop, the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at Seoul and the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes at Busan. There are 9 Sunday races at Seoul – with the great Cheongdam Dokki also putting in an appearance – from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:10 to 17:30. The Seoul meeting will be run behind-closed-doors but Busan will be open for customers with a reservation made on the MyCard app. Here are the Previews:

It will be behind closed doors but there will finally be some Stakes action on Sunday!

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

Juvenile maidens go around here with eight of the twelve racing for the first time. We’ll side with experience and (4) SARYEONI FIRST who ran 2nd to – and well beaten by – Aspen Taeyang on debut on August 21st. He settled back and then ran on, finishing in a fast time on a wet track and with some natural improvement for that experience, he can be the one to beat today. (3) MENI WONDERFUL is a colt for whom there are high hopes. He’s the first foal to make the track from his dam Meni Money, a winner of eight races and herself out of a one-time track record holder here over the 1800M. He ran pleasingly enough for 4th on debut at this distance on August 15th and it would be no surprise if he improved sufficiently to win this. It would be a surprise if the quinella featured anything other than these two but there are one or two first-timers to keep an eye on. (6) COSMO will be third-favourite in the market having won her trial on a wet track on September 10th. She was always prominent and while her time was no better than fair, she can acquit herself well. (1) RAON THE JET and (10) YONGAM BOSS others who went reasonably well in their heats.

Selections(4) Saryeoni First (3) Meni Wonderful (6) Cosmo (1) Raon The Jet
Next Best10, 11
Fast Start3, 4, 69

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

It’s hard to go far past (5) BYEOLUI SUNGAN here. He’s run 3rd and 2nd in two starts so far, both times only beaten by similarly promising animals and both times running on strong over 1000M. The additional furlong should suit and he’s the one to beat. If anything is to beat them, then the prime candidate is the sole previous winner in the race, (9) GREEN FEELSTAR. Her victory came two starts back over this distance when she settled towards the front of midfield and then ran on well in a fair time. She returned on August 28th to beat a couple of these on her wat to a decent enough 5th place. (11) JANGSAN LASER ran 6th on his only start to date which was all the way back in January. He finally returns here having looked well in a September trial alongside some good horses and has placing claims. So too (12) NEW STAR YEONGCHEON, who improved significantly at his second start on August 29th when he was always prominent before ultimately finishing 3rd. The draw may not be kind here, but he can go close. There are two first time starters and (10) NEW SMART perhaps has the best chance of making an immediate impact. He showed at the front in his trial, finishing 5th in a decent enough time.

Selections(5) Byeolui Sungan (9) Green Feelstar (11) Jangsan Laser (12) New Star Yeongcheon
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start4, 9, 10, 12

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

A race of many chances. We’ll take a chance on (6) BORI BORI overturning a bit of form from her latest start when she got the worst of a tight three-way finish over this distance. She has run some consistent times and draws nicely here. The one she needs to upend the form on is (9) KOREA GIJEOK. The Hansen gelding ran 2nd in that race to Bori Bori’s 4th, his best finish to date in a fourteen-race career. He can sit handy here and run on with a maiden win not out of the question. (1) SEOUL DAY gets in nicely with an apprentice jockey keeping the weight low. From the same gate last start he led until the closing stages over 1400M, ultimately finishing 2nd and he should be in this one for a long time too. (2) MIGHTY SUNSHINE may be an interesting outsider. He improved at start number two when 3rd over 1000M and his first time up in trip today may suit. (4) K N UNDERKING ran a useful enough 5th on debut on September 9th and can build on that today.

Selections(6) Bori Bori (9) Korea Gijeok (1) Seoul Day (2) Mighty Sunshine
Next Best4, 11
Fast Start1, 3, 5, 10

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(12) MAN OF THE YEAR has run 4th on both his starts so far, most recently on September 5th when after jumping well, he went right to the back before running on strong over 1200M. He comes up in distance today, Perovic knows him well having ridden him both times, and the wide draw shouldn’t matter. He has a real chance. (11) CHEONGHO LEADER comes in off a strong 2nd at class and distance when he led into the straight. That was his best performance to date and a similar run today will put him in the finish. In that race, Cheongho Leader overturned the form on (5) CATCH THE SUN, who finished 3rd and had previously beaten him in July when they came home 4th and 6th respectively at today’s distance. Catch The Sun has been consistent across her four outings to date and with the draw in her favour this time, can go close. (2) SAEMANGUIVISION ran 5th, splitting Catch The Sun and Cheongho Leader in that July race and returns for the first time since then today. She too draws nicely and has placing claims. (4) ANNIKA GIRL, an improved 2nd at her latest start is another in the hunt.

Selections(12) Man Of The Year (11) Cheongho Leader (5) Catch The Sun (2) Saemanguivision
Next Best4, 6
Fast Start4, 9, 10, 12

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

(2) SEUNGBUSA is a two-year-old colt with a solid class 6 win before a 3rd place in the Rookie Stakes over 1200M on September 5th when he dwelt slightly at the start before racing keenly to be up and on the pace and running on resolutely. He is up in trip slightly today but that shouldn’t be an issue and the fact that he skips today’s Munhwa Ilbo in favour of this, may be telling. (11) RAON CHAMPSELY returns to action for the first time since May. Still a maiden, she has registered three runner-up finishes from five starts and posted some very good times along the way. She prefers to be a front-runner – although one of her 2nd places did come from the back – so the draw may not be ideal and there is the obvious question about race sharpness as well, but she looked well when recording a fast time in a September trial. (4) REMEMBER WHEN is a mare who must be considered on her consistency. At her last start, when advancing to class 5, she was wide and on the pace most of the race and ran on well for 3rd. She is a placing chance here. So too (8) EUNHYE PADO, who is finding her feet in class 5. She ran 2nd on her latest start over 1400M, making up good ground in the straight. She hasn’t got a lot of early speed but will be closing. (3) SOARA BABA similarly settles back and often needs luck in running but can offer some each-way value.

Selections(2) Seungbusa (11) Raon Champsely (4) Remember When (8) Eunhye Pado
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 10

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

No fewer than eight of the twelve raced against each other at class and distance on September 10th so there’s the race of reference. None of them won – that was Honey Star by a full three lengths – and there wasn’t much between quite a few of them.  (5) SEONGSAN BULKKOT was 4th that day, having reached 2nd in the straight but ultimately being edged out. That came off the back of a career best 2nd over 1400 the time before. He can be close to the pace here and has much chance as any of coming out on top. (12) SINBIHAN GANGA came him in 6th place in that race having been one paced throughout. The time before though he beat several of these when 2nd at this class and distance and with Seo Seung-un climbing aboard today, he is worth another chance. (9) SINJIN GANGHO was the best of these on September 10th. Coming from well off the pace to make up a lot of ground in the straight. That was a significant improvement on anything he had done in his previous twelve starts but he warrants more respect today. If you don’t rate that September 10th race at all then (6) DONGBU STAR or (2) YEONSEUNG BRAVO are probably the one to go for.

Selections(5) Seongsan Bulkkot (12) Sinbihan Gangja (9) Sinjin Gangho (6) Dongbu Star
Next Best2, 10
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

(5) VICEROY was a big winner in class 6 and is now adapting to class 5. He put in a good effort last start when a little awkwardly away before settling on the pace and battling on for a close 3rd in a good time. A repeat of that performance puts him right in it. (2) GEOSEON POWER is up in class on his last start win at this distance. He was wide all the way, so the win was perhaps a bit better than the narrow margin suggested. He draws well for an easy run here and should enter the calculations. (1) CHOIN SPARK remains a maiden but comes up in class based on his 2nd place to Geoseon Power on September 4th. With this race being run under handicap conditions, he meets him at slightly better weights, and he could cause an upset. (6) HWA SSI BYEOK could be an interesting outsider. On the face of it there’s not much to go on but she has been running times that are competitive in a field such as this and she could run into a place. (11) RULES CLASS another in the placing frame.

Selections(5) Viceroy (2) Geosen Power (1) Choin Spark (6) Hwa Ssi Byeok
Next Best11, 4
Fast Start2, 5, 6, 9
(more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 2)

Saturday’s racing is set for Seoul with 9 races from 11:00 to 18:00. The meeting is behind closed doors but betting locations in Busan, Changwon, Daegu, Cheonan and Gwangju will be open for punters who pre-book using the MyCard app. Here are the previews:

Roller Blade goes at Seoul on Saturday (Pic: KRA)

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

Maiden juveniles to kick off proceedings with eight of the twelve racing for the very first time. Two of the four experienced ones raced very well and both have solid claims although (9) DOUBLE EDGE will be sent off favourite. Having won a trial, he debuted on August 28th and ran a strong 2nd at this distance in a fast time. He was well beaten by a good winner but showed enough to suggest he will be winning sooner rather than later. Also well-beaten by a good winner on debut was (2) WOW WOW who ran 3rd the Bencal Princess, a filly who went on to run 3rd herself in a valuable juvenile race in September. Wow Wow came from off the pace that day, running on pleasingly, and can build on that performance here. A third experienced one, (12) MAGIC JUDE trialed up in 2nd place to Double Edge before running a good 6th on a very fast race on a wet track on debut on August 21st. He will once more have to overcome a wide gate but should be in the finish. As for the first-time starters, (4) TRIPLE RUN was the fastest in trials and should be on pace from a nice draw. (3) SAENAE POWERFUL ran 2nd in what wasn’t a very quickly run heat but looked competent enough to suggest he can go well first-up.

Selections(9) Double Edge (2) Wow Wow (12) Magic Jude (4) Triple Run
Next Best3, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 9, 12

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

Juvenile filly maidens here with six of the ten racing for the first time, but it will be (2) PURPLE K, racing for the third time, who will be the red hot favourite. After winning a June trial, she ran 2nd on debut to Seungbusa in one-minute flat over this distance having led for almost the entire way around. She then stepped up to 1200M on her reappearance and ran a creditable enough 4th. Back at 1000M, with a good draw and just her contemporaries for company, she should be winning this. (7) WILD RUNNER went through a couple of trials and showed significant improvement in the second of them when he led for most of the way around, ultimately crossing the line in 2nd place in a fair time. He should be able to get on pace here too as should (9) HWASUBOON who was a front-running 3rd on her heat, again in a fair time. Both can go well first-up. Returning to the experience, (8) PUREUN YOJEONG ran 2rd at this distance on debut coming from off the pace. She then ran a touch disappointingly when stepped up to 1200M in the same race as Purple K, going back and failing to quicken. In this company, she is worth another chance. (10) GOLDEN CLASS another who hinted at ability in her trial.

Selections(2) Purple K (7) Wild Runner (9) Hwasuboon (8) Pureun Yojeong
Next Best10, 4
Fast Start2, 7, 9, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Tricky one this but (1) COOL PRINCESS gets the nod based on her consistency. She is yet to win from nine attempts but has six top-five finishes including at her latest when 2nd at this distance having settled handy from a wide draw and briefly leading close to the line only to get taken down by a fast finisher. She draws nicely here to lead and today could be her day. The main danger is (9) VIKING HEART. He too has shown consistency in his latest outings with a fast 2nd at 1300M followed by a solid 4th at this distance on August 29th. He still has scope for improvement and can settle handy or midfield here and run on strong. (6) THAT’S MY BOY comes into contention on the strength of his significantly improved runner-up finish over 1300M on August 15th. As he had done in all his races so far, he went right to back but for the first time he actually gained excellent ground late on and it is to be hoped the additional half furlong works in his favour today. (7) SMART POWER is the only previous winner in the race and that alone brings him into the calculations here. He tackles the distance for the first time. The wildcard is (12) SOUJU, who mixes his form, but has run by far the quickest time at the distance and could sneak a place.

Selections(1) Cool Princess (9) Viking Heart (6) That’s My Boy (7) Smart Power
Next Best12, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 7, 12

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

A very competitive race with almost everything entering in good form. (1) BEST TAP is established at class and distance having run solid times in his latest three which have finished with a 2nd and two 4th places. His style is to go back and run-on but the inside gate gives his jockey options today and he has as good a chance as any. (5) BEOLMAL DAEJANG is another consistent one at this level and actually led for most of the way last time out over this distance before ultimately finishing in 4th. He has never finished worse than 4th and he should be a big player here and the possible betting favourite. (9) ILGYEOK PILSAL comes up in trip after running on well over 1300M six weeks ago on a wet track. He has finished off most of his races well and can be on contention here. (7) NONGBON BADA was a winner at this distance at class 6 three starts back in a time that can win at this class too. Her subsequent efforts have both been at 1300M and she comes into the mix here. (11) MAKALU POWER the best of a very competitive rest.

Selections(1) Best Tap (5) Beolmal Daejang (9) Ilgyeok Pilsal (7) Nongbon Bada
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start2, 3, 7, 9

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

(12) ASPEN TAEYANG was a super winner on debut, sitting handy to the lead before leaving everything in the distance in the home straight to record a sub-one-minute time for five-furlongs. He is up in class and distance and has also drawn the car park, but even so the manner of that victory suggests he has to go on top again and should win again. (5) GWANGYANG EUTTEUM was a winner over this distance in a fast time at class 6 level before putting in a shocker on his first try at this class, hanging near the 800M point and then running out and eased down after the bit got pulled through. He was suspended for two months as a result and ordered to complete two trials, which he has done, winning them both in gate to wire fashion. At his best, he is a real danger here. (3) WINNER BLUE comes in off a nice 2nd place at class and distance last time when he led for most of the way and from a nice draw he can be on the speed again with claims to compete for a place. (1) TAP QUALITY has finished no worse than 4th in seven outings so far and should at the very least maintain that run here. (10) MAGIC JUNIOR among others in the placing frame.

Selections(12) Aspen Taeyang (5) Gwangyang Eutteum (3) Winner Blue (1) Tap Quality
Next Best10, 11
Fast Start3, 5, 10, 12

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A very competitive race for fillies and mares. We’ll tentatively side with (3) FOREVER ONE, who draws very well to get to the lead, as she did last time when narrowly defeated by Spot Flatter over class and distance on August 14th. She is very nicely weighted here and can return to the winner’s circle. (8) GREEN DARC has consistently run fast times at class and distance, including her latest when 6th in what was a very good race. She can sit handy or settle in midfield and run on and she has claims today. (11) WONDERFUL RUBY was a good class and distance winner on August 14th when she defied being drawn in gate twelve to sit just off the leaders and then score well. She has a wide draw again but also has an additional 5kg on her back to contend with but nevertheless a repeat isn’t impossible. (1) CHALLENGE SOCKS win at this distance at class 5 level in April and has subsequently put in two adequate showings at this level. The draw should make her competitive here. (5) WINNER TEMPLAR drops back in trip and into placing contention.

Selections(3) Forever One (8) Green Darc (11) Wonderful Ruby (1) Challenge Socks
Next Best5, 6
Fast Start3, 6, 9, 10
(more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (October 1)

So we move into the final quarter of 2021 still with those in the Greater Capital area unable to have a legal punt. A late season Stakes race schedule will kick off this weekend though with both Seoul and Busan hosting Listed events for Juveniles on Sunday. While Seoul and Jeju remain closed to customers, the Busan Racecourse will be open for limited in-person attendance, as will the OCB’s in Busan, Daegu, Changwon, Gwangju and Cheonan. Advance booking through the MyCard app is required. Here are the previews for Friday’s short six-race card at Busan:

Dynamic Busan

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

Juvenile maidens to start with and seven of the ten race for the first time. Among them is the favourite (8) MAN OF THE STAR, a Menifee colt from the Peter Wolsley stable who impressed in his trial by making all to cross the line well clear of the rest in a good time. If he brings that form to the races, then he will be very hard to beat. (9) BEOMI NAERYO ONDA was a touch slow away on debut on August 27th but rallied very nicely to come home in 3rd place. Expect him to be a bit further forward earlier this time around and he is the main danger and clear second-favourite. (3) FANTASTIC MAGIC came home in 5th place in the same race on what was her debut too. She settled back in the fields and ran on and improvement could be on the cards here. Returning to the first-timers, (2) CHOEGANG FORCE and (10) QUEEN’S DAERO are others who put in solid trial efforts and can go well first-up.

Selections(8) Man Of The Star (9) Beomi Naeryo Onda (3) Fantastic Magic (2) Choegang Force
Next Best10, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 8, 10

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

(9) UNJU EUTTEUM was a touch disappointing at his latest start when from a promising position, he lost his way and ended up well back over 1300M. However, if we go on his first two starts when 3rd and 2nd over this distance and 1300M then he must come under consideration. He does come up in the weights but the benefit of Perovic being aboard should counter that and he has every chance here. (8) NICE WORLD has been consistent across three outings so far. At her latest start on September 19th at this distance she settled in midfield from a wide gate before running on for a solid 3rd place. Her times haven’t been special but with some natural improvement, she should be in the finish here. Those two are the clear standouts and it would be a surprise if they don’t fill the quinella. As for the rest, (4) WONDERFUL DAYS raced twice without distinction in the early part of the year. He hasn’t been seen since April but reappeared in an early-September trial looking much more assured and has placing claims first-up. (3) WONDERFUL DIGGER and (2) WONDERFUL REALTY are others who can improve.

Selections(9) Unju Eutteum (8) Nice World (4) Wonderful Days (3) Wonderful Digger
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 9

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

A really good race with some up and coming juveniles facing some similarly lightly raced but promising older horses with any number looking to have a winning chance. We’ll go with the filly (10) AGAIN TOUCH. After a facile all the way score over 1000M on debut, she ran a solid 3rd place in a valuable juvenile race on September 5th at this distance, beating a couple of today’s rivals in the process. She draws wide again, which is not ideal, but she can get on the pace and win this. It won’t be easy though. (2) GLORY KING has the fastest time of any of these at this distance, recorded when 2nd to Doctor Texas on August 1st. He reappeared a month ago to record his maiden win, leading every step of the way over this trip and accordingly comes up in class. He draws beautifully and has every chance. (11) DOCTOR CAESAR was an all the way winner on debut on September 3rd, scoring by as many as he pleased over 1000M. He is up in class and distance today but he surely measures up. (1) WONDER BLADE races for the first time since June and looked well in a September trial. HE has won twice at the distance already and from the inside gate will be a danger. (6) FLASHY CHARM ran 5th behind Again Touch in that big juvenile race and is another in the frame here.

Selections(10) Again Touch (2) Glory King (11) Doctor Caesar (1) Wonder Blade
Next Best6, 4
Fast Start2, 4, 10, 11

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

It’s hard to look past (2) WONDERFUL JAZZ for this. He stepped up to a mile at his latest start on September 10th and beat four of these on his way to a good 2nd place. He had previously run consistent times over 1400M. He can settle handy here and could well prove too strong. That race is going to be the race of reference as most of the credible dangers also come out of it. (11) DOCTOR TAKE had a poor day at the office in the same race when he was away slowly and scarcely improved. Two starts back though he managed a 4th place in a good time at class and distance and can be given another chance here. (4) ACE FOUR TEN was a winner at this distance at class 6 level in August before running a decent enough 5th in that same September 10th race and from a good draw can close. (7) WAKANDA has loads of experience at this level and ran 4th in the September 10th race and a repeat can’t be ruled out. Among those who didn’t go in the September 10th race, (1) THE FIRST FACTOR looks the best. She drops back in trip following spin around 1800M at her latest start where she led before weakening. She has run decent times over 1400M.

Selections(2) Wonderful Jazz (11) Doctor Take (4) Ace Four Ten (7) Wakanda
Next Best1, 5
Fast Start1, 2, 3, 5

Busan Race 5: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(7) MISS INDIE suffered her first defeat when up to this distance for the first time on August 13th when she led almost the entire way around only to get taken down late on by Hill More. She comes up in class again here but gets in under a light weight and has every chance of returning to winning ways. (10) GOLD FOUNTAIN win three races in a row between May and August to rise up rapidly in class. He ran 5th over 1800M at this level at his latest start and can be better for the drop back in trip here. (3) MUJEOK BULPAE tackles the mile for the first time. He has finished in the top two in six of seven starts so far (although five of them have been as runner-up) He has run some consistently fast times over 1400M and from a good draw can sit on pace or handy to the lead and run on strong. He has a big chance. (4) WINNER STAR got his maiden win in a valuable juvenile race on September 5th. He is up in class and distance here but his running style suggests that the distance will suit and he has solid claims again. (6) ALPHA STAR comes in off a good 2nd place at class and distance on September 12th where he overcame a wide draw to lead for much of the way and came home in a time faster than any of these have achieved at a mile so far. He draws much better today and should be in the finish again.

Selections(7) Miss Indie (10) Gold Fountain (3) Mujeok Bulpae (4) Winner Star
Next Best6, 2
Fast Start2, 3, 4, 7

Busan Race 6: Class 2 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 90 Million

(5) JANGSAN DOKKI is set to be hot favourite to return to the winner’s circle here having beaten several of today’s rivals when 2nd behind the excellent Winner’s Man ay class and distance on September 12th. Under today’s conditions, he carries just the additional 1kg for that run and is very much the one to beat. (6) RETURN OF SUBSIDY didn’t go in that race but instead comes in for the first time since beating Jangsan Dokki on his way to a strong 3rd at class and distance on August 22nd. He tends to settle back and run on strong and will be doing his best work late on again here. (4) CURLIN TIME is ultra-consistent and while he has a big weight again, he will be in the finish. He was 5th behind Jangsan Dokki last time and two starts back beat the very promising filly Doctor Fappiano when 2nd to Winner’s Man. (7) DAEHO JILJU was 3rd in the September 12th race and can also enter the calculations. The wildcard is (2) SAMSEONG DOKKI. A class and distance winner, he races for the first time since last November and while he offered few clues in a September trial, a good run first-up can’t be ruled out.

Selections(5) Jangsan Dokki (6) Return Of Subsidy (4) Curlin Time (7) Daeho Jilju
Next Best2, 8
Fast Start3, 5, 6, 8

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (September 19)

It’s the final race day of September what with the Chuseok holiday upcoming and racing taking one of its two weekends a year off next week. Decent cards at both Seoul (10 races from 10:45 to 18:00) and Busan (6 races from 12:05 to 17:00) to go out with. The Seoul meeting is behind closed doors and all capital area betting facilities remain closed but Busan is open as are OTBs in Changwon, Daegu, Gwangju and Cheonan for punters who pre-book through the MyCard app. Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 45 Million

Juvenile maidens start things off this Sunday with seven of the twelve making their racecourse debut here. There is some useful experience around though as (6) BYEOLBIT MARU has raced twice already and shown ability. She was 4th on debut over 1200M before dropping back to today’s trip and running 3rd on August 15th when she settled back in the field and ran on. She’ll be favourite here and is the one to beat. (2) DREAM SPEED hinted at ability when 5th on debut in a fair time over this distance. That was a reasonably strong looking maiden and she should improve here. Among the first-timers, (4) ALL FOR YOUR DREAM looks the best. He was away relatively slowly in his trial but once he set to work, he finished off well crossing the line in the same time as the heat winner. (5) LUCKY INDY beat a couple of these on her way to 4th in her trial. It wasn’t run at an especially fast pace, but she looked competent enough to suggest she has a chance of going well first-up. Returning to the experienced runners, (10) GEOLJAK DREAM only managed 9th on debut but it was a fair time and a pretty hot race so expect better today.

Selections(6) Byeolbit Maru (2) Dream Speed (4) All For Your Dream (5) Lucky Indy
Next Best10, 7
Fast Start5, 6, 7, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million

(11) LAPIEO BAN is set to be warm favourite here. She ran 4th on debut over this distance before stepping up to 1300M and finishing a good 2nd. She has come from off the pace both times and while she draws wide, she should have too much for these. (10) FLYING KARA has finished 3rd in both her starts so far. She was very slowly away at her latest outing before running on well and went back to trial afterwards. She was similarly slow to begin in the trial, but she does have a nice turn of foot and so long as she doesn’t get too far back, she can go close here. (9) PRINCESS DAY beat a couple of these on her way to 3rd place over this distance on August 22nd, and while she is yet to run a time, can be considered for improvement again here. (1) SWEET CAMP didn’t do too much wrong when finishing in midfield on debut last month. She draws much better this time around and can improve. There are four debut-makers here and (7) PURGE DAY looks the most likely to make an impression first-up, having run 3rd in his trial in a decent time and drawing well.

Selections(11) Lapieo Ban (10) Flying Kara (9) Princess Day (1) Sweet Camp
Next Best7, 3
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 11

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million

(9) SOBERANIA picks herself here following a 4th and a 2nd from two starts so far including her latest at this distance on July 3rd when she led for much of the way only to be passed in the closing stages by a good winner. She has had eleven weeks off since then but will be expected to be on pace again and this time to go all the way. (2) JAY EAGLE ran well for 2nd place over 1300M on August 8th, her best finish in seven starts so far. Two starts back she ran a decent time when 4th at this distance and can be considered here. (11) DESK TAP has been putting in some consistent performances with five top five finishes from six races to date although the maiden win has remained elusive. His times have been fair, and he prefers to sit handy so while the draw is not ideal, it isn’t insurmountable. (7) FINAL ACE and (5) PERFECT LIGHT were beaten by Desk Tap on August 8th, but both have hinted at ability and can be in the minor money mix today.

Selections(9) Soberania (2) Jay Eagle (11) Desk Tap (7) Final Ace
Next Best5, 4
Fast Start4, 8, 9, 11

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 33 Million

(6) PURE KING returned from nine months out to run a good 2nd first-up on July 31st at this distance when he settled midfield and ran on. Seven weeks on, he should have come on for that run and shapes as the one to beat here. (3) BEST HAMSEONG is one of three first-time starters in the race and the Peace Rules filly looked very competent leading all the way in her trial, responding very well to one reminder in the home straight. She can be competitive first-up. So too can (10) MILLION BANK who won her trial, leading for most of the way around on a wet but drying track and similarly responded well when asked for some exertion. (9) SONHADOR ran 4th behind Pure King on July 31st, building on what had been a promising debut earlier in the same month. She came from off the pace that day and is likely to do similar here with the trainer/jockey combination ensuring she receives plenty of support. (8) DROMOS won a trial in July before running 3rd on debut on August 20th when she led until the home straight. It was an encouraging performance, and she should be in the hunt here too.

Selections(6) Pure King (3) Best Hamseong (10) Million Bank (9) Sonhador
Next Best8, 11
Fast Start3, 4, 8, 10

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(9) SPEAR GUN is the one to beat here, dropping back to a distance at which he ran 2nd two starts back in fast time having sat handy before dropping back to midfield and then running on well. Since then, he has run a solid 3rd over 1400M and can be on pace here and win. (8) WONDERFUL ORANGE has the fastest time of any of these at this distance, recorded at her latest start when 4th on a very wet track on August 21st. She is yet to win in seventeen starts and will probably find one or two too quick again but shouldn’t be too far away. (6) ONCHEONHA seems to be working towards a win having significantly improved in his latest two outings with a 3rd and a 2nd both at 1200M. He briefly touched the front in the home straight last time out and while up in trip, should be in the finish here. (1) SMART JEONSA almost managed to make all over 1200M last time out but was passed by a very good winner in the final furlong. He can aim for a place again. (12) FLYING FULL MOON is another in the placing frame.

Selections(9) Spear Gun (8) Wonderful Orange (6) Oncheonha (1) Smart Jeonsa
Next Best12, 11
Fast Start1, 4, 7, 9

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

Competitive race here. (7) LANE KILLER has raced just the twice so far, registering a 3rd over 1300M and a 4th over today’s distance. While we will need to take him a little on trust here that there is some improvement in the tank, he gets a better draw today and has claims. Probable betting favourite is (1) ECHO LADY. She has the fastest time among these at this distance by a considerable margin, achieved three starts back when 2nd having led through the early stages. She drops back in trip from a last start 4th over a mile and is firmly in the hunt here. (6) HORAENGI was beaten by Echo Lady two starts back but has consistently run competitive times over this trip, generally settling back and finishing strongly. She has three 5th place finishes in a row coming into this and should be aiming for better this time around. (9) NORTHERN LIGHTS beat Lane Killer when 3rd last start and on that alone has to be considered while (2) SPEED MATCH is another with a chance of at least a place.

Selections(7) Lane Killer (1) Echo Lady (6) Horaengi (9) Northern Lights
Next Best2, 10
Fast Start1, 2, 4, 8

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

It’s about time (10) FIGHTING NOW made his breakthrough and got his maiden win. He has finished 2nd on no fewer than five occasions with a further two 3rd place finishes. He steps back in trip following decent efforts at 1400M in his latest appearances and he can overcome the wide draw to sit midfield or better early and then run on. If Fighting Now does find one too quick again – and let’s face it, he might – then (1) FASHIONED PASSION is one of a number who could take advantage. She has mixed her form since a class and distance win back in April but draws very nicely on the inside here and an apprentice jockey takes 4kg off her back compared with her last start. She can go close. (11) TIZ BLACK has won two of his latest three, the most recent at class and distance on June 20th. He overcame gate twelve to get on pace today so the draw shouldn’t be too much of an issue and while he is up in the weights, he can be considered again. (5) FANCY PANTS, up in class, and (12) RUNNING KING are others in the hunt.

Selections(10) Fighting Now (1) Fashioned Passion (11) Tiz Black (5) Fancy Pants
Next Best12, 9
Fast Start7, 9, 11, 12

Busan Race 3: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

(4) ECOPIA has a win and three 3rd place finishes from four starts to date and comes in off back-to-back 3rd places at this class and distance. From a nice draw she should be on the early speed here and has the potential to go all the way. (1) FIRST STAR was a class and distance winner two starts back before running 4th at her latest appearance on August 22nd. She draws well here, and an apprentice jockey keeps the weight nice and low. She is a big danger. (10) GALLANT WARRIOR is developing a bit of case of “second-it is” being yet to win in seven but having finished runner-up in his latest three, including his last start at class and distance He seems tactically versatile so the draw shouldn’t be an issue and he will be running on strong late here. (6) DOCTOR FAITH is another yet to win but who is ultra-consistent with six top three finishes from seven outings. He steps up to this trip for the first time and has claims. (12) HAMAN BANGEOSAN was a smart winner over 1300M at start number two on August 22nd. She comes up in class and distance here and is the wildcard.

Selections(4) Ecopia (1) First Star (10) Gallant Warrior (6) Doctor Faith
Next Best12, 7
Fast Start2, 4, 7, 12

Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

We’ll draw a line through the latest offering from (1) HI HI when slowly away over 1200M before making up ground for an uninspiring 6th place. That was his first time outside the top three and he had previously been running fast times up to 1300M. This is his first try at 1400M, but it should suit, and he gets another chance here. (9) FIGHTING DADDY led for much of the way around 1300M last start on August 29th before getting swept up by a decent set of runners and finishing 5th. Expect him to be on pace again here and to be competitive. (11) ACHIM HAMSEONG didn’t do himself justice on his first try at this class four weeks ago when he got a long way back and didn’t run on. He does possess the fastest time of any of these for the distance though and should be afforded another opportunity here. (4) HARUON is a front0runner who comes into the calculations following a good 2nd in a decent time over 1300M on August 15th when only narrowly beaten She’ll contest the early speed and has run well at this distance in the past. (10) GHOST VILLAGE is another who should have designs on at least a place.

Selections(1) Hi Hi (9) Fighting Daddy (11) Achim Hamseong (4) Haruon
Next Best10, 12
Fast Start1, 4, 9, 12
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Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (September 18)

There are nine races at Seoul on Saturday from 11:00 to 18:00. The meeting takes place behind closed doors although betting outlets in Busan, Changwon, Daegu, Gwangju and Cheonan will be open for pre-booked punters (through the MyCard app). Here are the previews:

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 45 Million

A juvenile maiden to kick things off and unlike many similar races where there are usually only one or two obvious contenders, there are no standouts here which bring plenty into contention. With that in mind, we will give the nod to the only one with prior racecourse experience in the shape of (12) BICHUI DAERYUK. She ran 2nd on debut at this distance on August 7th and while she was a long way behind the winner, she ran on pleasingly enough in a fair time. She doesn’t draw well here but with some improvement, she may prevail. (8) GLOBAL MAGIC won his trial when after leading early, he was overtaken before rallying again and looks to have promise. (4) RAON THE WEEKEND won his trial and while the time wasn’t especially fast, he showed enough to suggest that has ability. (2) REMARKABLE ran 2nd in her trial in a decent time. She gets a nice draw here as well as an apprentice jockey aboard meaning she carries significantly less than any other runner in the race. (9) JAY TROSS is another trial winner who will aim to be on pace and can be in the finish.

Selections(12) Bichui Daeryuk (8) Global Magic (4) Raon The Weekend (2) Remarkable
Next Best9, 1
Fast Start4, 5, 8, 9

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

A weak race even for this level which is how we can put (2) CHAMPION GAMUN as the top pick despite his recent form on paper looking less than impressive. He has, however, put in a couple of decent times at this distance, racing against better opposition and from a good draw, he can be expected to be on pace from the start and difficult to pass. (5) MUJEOK JANGSAN come sin off a significantly improved 3rd place over 1300M on August 7th when she settled handy and then ran on. She steps up to 1400M for the first time and it may suit. (1) LAGERTHA is the only previous winner in the field and on that basis alone must come into the calculations. That win was three starts back at 300M when he settled midfield and finished well. While previous attempts at this distance haven’t gone well, he draws nicely here and should be involved. (4) GREAT EYE has shown improvement across his three starts so far and ran on strong for 4th over 1200M three weeks ago. The step up in trip may suit and an apprentice keeps the carried weight down. (12) SOUTH BAN another in the placing frame.

Selections(2) Champion Gamun (5) Mujeok Jangsan (1) Lagertha (4) Great Eye
Next Best12, 6
Fast Start2, 6, 9, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 33 Million

Another wide open race. We’ll take a chance on (6) DIECO, who was a winner at this class over 1200M two starts back before running a slightly disappointing 5th at her latest start over today’s trip on August 14th when she was drawn in the widest gate and ran on fairly. She draws better this time meets that day’s winner at significantly better weights and could reverse the form. That day’s winner (4) J.S. POWER is the probable favourite and the one to beat. He led from gate to wire that day wo score a narrow win over the useful Rubicon in a fast time. He draws nicely again with the only concern being that he comes up 3kg in the weights. (2) SECRET BOSSS enters off an excellent 3rd place last time at class and distance in a fast time on a wet track. As is his style he came from well off the pace that day but from an inside draw if he can be a little handier then he has strong claims. (1) MODERN BEST produced a fine performance to score her maiden win over this distance at start number seven on August 8th, coming from well off the pace. She comes up in class accordingly but should measure up. (11) SHADOW QUEEN ran a strong 2nd at class and distance at her latest start and is one of several others with placing claims in what is a strong race.

Selections(6) Dieco (4) J.S. Power (2) Secret Boss (1) Modern Best
Next Best11, 12
Fast Start3, 8, 9, 11

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

(3) ULTRA KING gets the nod here based on his solid class and distance win on August 15th when he sat behind the leader throughout before pouncing in the final furlong and running on to score comfortably. He comes up 2.5kg in the weights as a result but draws well and can repeat. (2) MAD BLADE comes up in class having registered his maiden win a month ago over 1300M when on pace throughout and running on for an easy win. She should be able to measure up at this class and while it won’t be quite as easy to get on pace here, he can go close. (6) COMPLETE STAR comes in off a solid class and distance 3rd place finish on August 15th, an all-filly race in which she led for part of the way around. She is nicely in here under just 52kg and should go close again. (1) AROMA remains a maiden after nine attempts but has proven competitive at this level with a 3rd and 4th in his latest two outings, both at class and distance. The wildcard is (11) ROAD RAN, who is probably the best horse in the race. She is a class and distance winner in a time faster than any of these have achieved, however, she races for the first time since November last year and while she trialed up adequately, didn’t quite show enough to suggest a bet first-up. Watch with interest.

Selections(3) Ultra King (2) Mad Blade (6) Complete Star (1) Aroma
Next Best11, 5
Fast Start3, 8, 9, 11

Seoul Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 45 Million

Good race here with two clear standouts. (1) MONSTER K comes in seeking his third straight victory having prevailed twice in a row at class and distance. Both times he has led all the way and both times has run out a good winner. He draws beautifully to get on pace again and while he is up in weight, the Astrology gelding can be equal to the task. The danger is (8) BYEOLNARA JILJU. He got his maiden win at start number three at class and distance on July 24th when he sat behind the early leader before taking things up in the straight and running on for a very easy win. He does come up a full 5kg in the weights which should be a steadier, but he also looks to have scope for improvement whereas Monster K may have peaked. He has a big chance. (7) CHOEGO RACE won at class and distance two starts back before coming home in 4th place on his reappearance on August 22nd. He stays at the same weight and draws well enough to be in at least the placing frame again. (4) QUICKSILVER KITTEN was 5th behind Choego Race last time out and has cope for improvement while (2) CHUNJI GWANGPUNG weakened on debut in June but should have come on for the experience and can improve today.

Selections(1) Monster K (8) Byeolnara Jilju (7) Choego Race (4) Quicksilver Kitten
Next Best2, 5
Fast Start2, 4, 9, 12
(more…)