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

This Sunday at Seoul sees the 37th running of the Grand Prix Stakes, the final Group 1 of the year in Korea, and plenty of Busan’s top horses and jockeys are away in the capital. They miss a competitive Friday afternoon’s sport on the South Coast which features 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00:

Power Blade Grand Prix Fnish1

Power Blade won last year’s Grand Prix Stakes under Oh Kyung Hwan – Oh is one of nine Busan jockeys missing Friday’s card to be in the capital (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to begin with and five of the twelve have raced once before. Among those, (5) ROSA and (10) ROCK CHOICE recorded the best finishes, both ending up in 4th place on their respective debuts. Rosa’s first effort was at the end of September and she’s since gone back to trial, winning a heat very competently last week and improvement is to be expected. Rock Choice’s debut was three weeks ago when he has (12) YONGYEON a length and a half behind him in 5th. However, the top pick has to be one of the first-timers. That’s (3) SEOBU CAT who was as eye-catching as it is possible to be in trials, sauntering home on top in a heat a month ago. If Thomas Gillespie’s colt performs anything like that today, he should win. (6) BONINARA and (9) MAJOR POWER also looked competent in their respective heats and can go well first-up.

Selections (3) Seobu Cat (5) Rosa (10) Rock Choice (6) Boninara
Next Best 9, 12
Fast Start 3, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

At what will be the eleventh time of asking, it could finally be (8) INTERCEPTOR’s day. He’s been getting closer in recent efforts culminating in a decent 3rd place last time at this distance. A similar showing today will put him right in the mix. (4) BAEDARI CAPER was 6th that day and is capable of getting closer this time but a sterner test may be posed by (2) FOX COLORING. She’s shown promise across three outings to date, including a 4th at this distance and she can come from off the pace to go close here. Neither (5) MUJEOK SPEED and (7) BIG BLAZE gave an especially good account of themselves on their respective last starts but both showed some ability on debut and can be given another chance here.

Selections (8) Interceptor (2) Fox Coloring (4) Baedari Caper (5) Mujeok Speed
Next Best 7, 3
Fast Start 2, 10

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) SPARKLE did exactly that on debut three weeks ago, scoring by half a length over 1000M. He’s up in class today but should come on some more and is firmly in the hunt to maintain his 100% record. (1) LUCKY ADELE and (8) MUCHO both come in having won their respective latest starts at this class. Of the pair Lucky Adele, who ground out a tough win ahead of three of these four weeks ago, looks most likely to repeat. (5) TRIPLE SILVER has run 4th in both his latest two and should at least be matching that today. (6) HUNTER PARK ran a solid 3rd over 1200M three weeks ago – albeit a full sixteen lengths behind a very good winner – having led early. He drops back in trip here and should be on speed again with a chance of going all the way.

Selections (7) Sparkle (1) Lucky Adele (5) Triple Silver (6) Hunter Park
Next Best 8, 4
Fast Start 1, 6, 10

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not an especially strong maiden and following a 3rd and two 4th place finishes, (8) RACING GALLOPER will be expected to make the breakthrough here. From the outside gate, he can settle just behind the early speed and take over at the business end of the race. (3) YEONGGWANGUI STAR and (2) CHOEGANG STEALTH came home came home 3rd and 4th with half a length between them when they raced each other over class and distance on November 4th. The latter has raced once since, underwhelmingly, but both can have placing chances here. (6) GOLDUI INYEON and (7) HOT GIRL are others who have shown some ability and can get close.

Selections (8) Racing Galloper (3) Yeonggwangui Star (2) Choegang Stealth (7) Hot Girl
Next Best 6, 4
Fast Start 5

Race 5: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) BUGYEONG DANDY has run well in his latest two, just going down by a neck in a tight three-way finish over 1300M in October. He attempted this distance once back in July on what was just his second start and while it didn’t go well, he looks ready for another try. (1) CHEONSANG OREUM has finished off well in both outings so far and she should appreciate the opportunity to get stuck into a bit of distance today. (2) CHEONDUNGBARAMSORI has a 4th place to his name at this trip and can match or better here while (6) CHEONGDAM BLADE is one start into a comeback following five months (more…)

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King Socks Wears Juvenile Crown

There were a few nervous moments in the home straight but ultimately King Socks lived up to his odds-on favourite status in the Breeders’ Cup as the Kim Young Kwan trained colt prevailed to land the Korean season’s top Juvenile race at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

For much of the seven-furlong contest it looked as though it would be a formality for King Socks, leading early and threatening a repeat of his Gimhae Mayor’s Cup win at the end of October which he won by eight-lengths. With Seoul’s best in attendance too though, this was always going to be a tougher assignment and so it would prove in the home straight.

Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup winner Dae Wan Ma began as second-favourite and it was he who gave the favourite something to think about in the home straight, taking advantage of some wayward running by King Socks. Under jockey Lee Hyo Sik, however, the Officer colt found his compass once more and ran on strongly to hold off Dae Wan Ma by half a length on the line. 40/1 chance Myeongpum Chukje came home in 3rd place a full four-lengths back.

For the past three years the winner of the Breeders’ Cup has gone on to win the following season’s Korean Derby. With this year’s race being held at Busan for the first time, the KRA Cup Classic, the 1st leg of the Triple Crown, which takes place on the South Coast on the first Sunday in April, will be the more immediate test. Kim Young Kwan saddled two of those double-getters, Power Blade and Ecton Blade. King Socks is the latest to roll off the production line for Korea’s top trainer.

Next week at Seoul, it’s the big one. The Grand Prix Stakes of 2018!

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Breeders’ Cup Day: Race-By-Race Preview (December 2)

Korea’s champion juvenile will be crowned on Sunday as the Juvenile Series comes reaches its conclusion in the Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) which this year, for the first time, is being run at Busan. 13 line up including the winners of both Seoul and Busan’s primary races, Dae Wan Ma and King Socks. There is a 6 race-card at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 and an 11-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.

Dae Wan Ma Dokki Blade Gwacheon Mayor's Cup - KRA

Dae Wan Ma (1) and Do Kki Blade are at Busan to take on King Socks in the Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

  1. YEONGGWANGUI FIGHT – Never got going in the Gimhae Mayor’s. Two good wins prior to that. Not a fast starter and additional trip today may suit.
  2. TOP OF WORLD – 4th in Gimhae Mayor’s having led and tired off a stiff early pace. Three for three prior including at 1300M. Likely to lead and has a chance.
  3. WONDERFUL EVIL – Well beaten by Do Kki Blade in August but has won his latest two. Will need more here. Settles midfield.
  4. DAE WAN MA – Beat Do Kki Blade by a neck in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Only defeat so far a DQ. Will be on pace and is one of the favourites.
  5. MIGHTY POWER – Beaten nine-lengths by King Socks on debut but has since won two of three including at a mile. Distance no issue and could be a wildcard.
  6. KING SOCKS – Dominant eight-length winner on the Gimhae Mayor’s having sat behind the fast early pace. Only defeat was on debut. Favourite here and can win.
  7. RULES ICHEON – Takes his chance having got his maiden win on his third start a month ago. Stablemate of Dae Wan Ma. Big outsider.
  8. DAEJI CHAMP – Eye-catching scores at 1300M and 1200M in his latest two, making all both times. This is much tougher.
  9. PRECEDE –Stablemate of King Socks with just two starts. Won on debut over 1000M then was beaten a head at 1300M at the end of October. Never rule out the trainer.
  10. GWONTOJUNGLAE – One win from three over 1000M. 4th place at 1300M last time makes him hard to recommend.
  11. DO KKI BLADE – Just beaten a neck by Dae Wan Ma in the Gwacheon Mayor’s. Looks to be getting better and distance should suit under likely patient ride.
  12. YEONGGWANGUI SECRET – 2nd to King Socks in the Gimhae Mayor’s, albeit beaten eight-lengths, was his first defeat. Placing chance.
  13. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – Won his first two before running 3rd to Dae Wan Ma and Dokki Blade in Gwacheon Mayor’s. More to find.

Verdict: The winner’s of the two second legs at Seoul and Busan, (4) DAE WAN MA and (6) KING SOCKS will be favourites to battle it out here with King Socks on his home track slightly favoured. (2) TOP OF WORLD and (11) DOKKI BLADE may both appreciate the extra distance today and can be competitive while (7) RULES ICHEON and (9) PRECEDE may be the surprise packages.

Selections: (6) King Socks (4) Dae Wan Ma (2) Top Of World (11) Dokki Blade

Busan Selections

Race 1: 2, 3, 1, 9
Race 2: 8, 12, 9, 7
Race 3: 5, 8, 3, 4
Race 4: 1, 2, 7, 8
Race 6: 3, 2, 7, 8

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

Juvenile maidens to begin with and six of the eight have prior experience. (6) WIND RIVER was by some margin the best on debut, running a good 3rd over this distance on November 10th. It was a decent time and a similar performance should see her home on top today. One of the others have really impressed although (9) FULL MOON OCEAN did nothing wrong for his 6th and can improve today. Similarly (3) RAON KEVIN can be given another chance having finished 7th of 12 on his own racecourse bow. That leaves the two debut-makers as contenders. (5) MISS SUNSHINE looks the best of them, running well in a trial just last week. (2) DAEJI YEOGEOL also looked competent enough in her heat and can go well first-up.

Selections (6) Wind River (5) Miss Sunshine (9) Full Moon Ocean (3) Raon Kevin
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 8, 9

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

More juveniles seeking their first win with seven of them having raced once before. The one of those with the best finishing position on debut was (10) CHEONNYEON VIKING, who ran 2nd in a filly-only maiden at this distance all the way back in August. She should be in the mix again, but it wasn’t a fast race that day and she will need to improve. (9) SLING STONE ran faster in 5th on his debut last month and the recency of that perhaps makes him a better bet while (3) VICTORY KING beat a couple of the others who go here on his debut four weeks ago and should beat plenty of them again. However, for our pick we are turning to a newcomer. (8) RAON STORM looked like he meant business when running strongly in a trial at the end of October and if he brings that form to the races, he should win. Another first-time starter (4) YEOKDAE CHOEGO will also be well-backed first-up having won a trial. Watch the market with both for additional clues.

Selections (8) Raon Storm (9) Sling Stone (10) Cheonnyeon Viking (4) Yeokdae Choego
Next Best 3, 11
Fast Start 8, 9, 10, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and having beaten a couple of these on her way to 2nd place at class and distance on November 4th, (8) RAON SERENA is favoured to prevail here. She’s yet to win in four outings but has never been worse than 3rd and she can come out on top today, most likely leading all the way. (3) EOMJI YEOWANG and (2) DANGDAE SONYEO chased Raon Serena home that day in 4th and 5th and they may well be the ones who pose the greatest threat here although they do have almost three lengths to make up.  (1) KKEULEOJUNEUN SON remains a maiden but is capable if finding the places in this kind of race while the same is true of (7) NAMJJOK NARA, another maiden but up in class today after a useful 3rd last time out.

Selections (8) Raon Serena (2) Dangdae Sonyeo (1) Kkeuleojuneun Son (3) Eomji Yeowang
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 2, 8, 9

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

(3) MIREU STORM has won two of her three starts so far and is up in class today looking for a hat-trick. Both her wins have come at this distance and both by leading from gate to wire and she is well-drawn for a good start and a repeat. This is a stiff test though and the primary danger – and possible favourite – is (6) CHAPEL ACE. He’s a class and distance winner and while he hasn’t been exceptional in recent outings, he comes in off a good 4th last time and looks set to got well here. (1) RAON ZEUS drops back significantly in trip following a couple of chastening experiences at 1700M and should be much better today. (5) SERA KHAN won at this distance at class 5 in September and while he only managed 6th on his first try at this level in October, he can improve today. (12) BOMBI’S KING ran a good, if slightly unexpected, 2nd last time out (the jockey got fined for returning half a kilo heavier than he weighed out) and could aim for a place again.

Selections (3) Mireu Storm (6) Chapel Ace (1) Raon Zeus (5) Sera Khan
Next Best 12, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 7, 9

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

(9) YEOGEOL VISION came up in class following a 2nd place and a win from her first two starts before running 3rd on her first try at this level on November 4th. She’s up in trip today but she’s run on well each time and it may suit her very well. (8) LUCKY BONGHWA remains a maiden after eight attempts but since returning from five months out has registered a 4th and a 3rd in two outings and may be considered to go even better here. (1) DAE BYEONHWA’s recent form reads well and he should have placing claims. (5) CAMP TOUCH and (6) HANEULEUL DALRIDA, the latter up in class after a solid maiden win over this distance a month ago, are others in the hunt.

Selections (9) Yeogeol Vision (8) Lucky Bonghwa (6) Haneuleul Dalrida (1) Dae Byeonhwa
Next Best 5, 4
Fast Start 3, 6

Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(12) DARK PLAYER has run twice so far recording a 3rd and a 2nd. He’s run well on both occasions and with a bit more progress today, he can find his way to the winner’s circle. He’ll have to overcome the widest draw, but he looks capable. (9) PRIMO has been very solid of late, going down by a nose in July, a neck in August and a half-length in (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (December 1st)

December gets underway with a familiar face back in the weighing room at Seoul. Multiple Championship winner Moon Se Young returns to action with seven rides across the 13-race Saturday card (10:45 to 18:00):

de4_3987

The Moon is back (Pic: Ross Holburt)

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

Multiple-time Champion jockey Moon Se Young is back from a long injury spell and he could get back among the winners right away as he partners (10) REAL GANGJA, 3rd in each of his latest two. He briefly struck the front last time out before being headed late-on and he could well make the breakthrough today in similar strength company. (7) PARRHESIA steps up in trip following 2nd place over 1000M last time and can go close again while both (4) ROAD MAN and (5) PINEAPPLE MARK have sown some potential and both come in following 4th place finishes in their respective latest outings. (1) DONG JAK could be the wildcard. He’s not offered much across four starts but tries a new distance and could improve.

Selections (10) Real Gangja (7) Parrhesia (5) Pineapple Mark (4) Road Man
Next Best 1, 9
Fast Start 1, 2, 7, 11

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

Eleven maiden fillies going here and (1) QUEEN OF CAMP ran very nicely for 2nd place last time at this distance, just being beaten half a length. Given today’s draw, she’ll most likely look to lead and win. (11) WONDERFUL HEELS ran 4th in that same race, which was on October 27th, continuing her own promising start and she can match or better that today. Stiff competition can be expected too from (3) SSOARAUTS and (4) WHITE FLOWER, bot of whom have proven themselves competitive and should be in at least the placing hunt. Among the rest, (7) GEOTAP has a 3rd place to her name and while it was in weaker company than this, a repeat is not impossible.

Selections (1) Queen Of Camp (4) White Flower (3) Ssoarauts (11) Wonderful Heels
Next Best 7, 6
Fast Start 1, 6

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(9) BI PYEONG was scratched at the gate on a scheduled start in September when found to be lame and was accordingly stood-down for two months. He’d gone well in two starts before that with a 2nd and 3rd to his name and now back fit again, he may e the one to beat here. (7) COILRO ran competently enough for 3rd on debut over 1000M a month ago and could appreciate the extra trip today while (3) DALGWA GUREUM returned from five months off to run a useful 5th at this distance two weeks ago and can build on it. (1) WONDERFUL RUBY ran very greenly on her debut and with better manners should go better. There are two debut-makers and (6) JEMA TEUKGEUP, a handy trial winner in October, looks set to run well first-up.

Selections (9) Bi Pyeong (7) Coilro (6) Jema Teukgeup (3) Dalgwa Gureum
Next Best 1, 2
Fast Start 3, 4, 9

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 69 Million

Juvenile maidens with just two of the eight having raced before. And both performed well with (8) BANJIUI HAMSEONG and (2) HAMYANG SANSAM running 2nd and 4th in the same race at this distance on November 4th. There was just a length and a half between them and they’ll be expected to battle it out here. Among the first-timer starters, (7) VIVA KING and (3) DONGSEO JEPAE trialled up together with just a neck separating them in a decent time. (4) CHEONROK was slightly slower than that pair but did actually win her heat and can also go well first-up.

Selections (2) Hamyang Sansam (8) Banjiui Hamseong (7) Viva King (4) Cheonrok
Next Best 3
Fast Start 4, 7

Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(8) POP STREET comes in having run 2nd when favourite at class and distance on November 10th. He led until the closing stages and finished well clear of three of today’s rivals and he is the one to beat here. (7) FINAL STORM has been a little inconsistent since reaching this level but ran a close 4th last time three weeks ago and is well drawn to get to the front early today. (1) DURGA remains a maiden after twenty attempts but equalled her best finish of 2nd on her latest start a month ago and can target a repeat. (2) DAECHEON HERO and (10) GIVEN WEEKEND are others in the placing frame.

Selections (8) Pop Street (7) Final Storm (1) Durga (10) Given Weekend
Next Best 2, 4
Fast Start 2, 5, 7, 8

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

(7) GAON FORCE is up in class following two strong 2nd place finishes including last time out at this distance and a repeat of that performance would be enough to see him win this. He’ll be a strong favourite. (8) TOHAMSAN POWER was similarly promoted to this class while still a maiden but he managed to make his breakthrough on November 4th at this level, scoring by three-lengths over 1000M. He’ll be on pace again and can make the favourite work hard to get past him. (2) LAST JACKPOT overcame some early bumping to (more…)

1st Korean Winner For Jockey Francois Herholdt

Francois Herholdt has ridden his first Korean winner. It came aboard favourite Jeonsaui Jilju (Tiz Wonderful)  for trainer Bart Rice in the 1300M race 4 at Busan on Friday afternoon:

It was Herholdt’s 19th ride in Korea since beginning two weeks ago. He had scored three 2nd places prior to the win.

It didn’t take long for number 2 to arrive either as Herholdt guided Queen Of Captain (Ecton Park) to victory in race 7 to complete a double on the day:

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 30)

This coming Sunday Busan will, for the first time, host Korea’s top juvenile race, the Breeders’ Cup.  Before that, however, there’s a 10-race card on Friday running from 11:30 to 18:00. Trainer Peter Wolsley, who is just three winners short of reaching the 500 landmark, has a couple of decent chances to get closer:

Ace Korea Wolsley KRA

Ace Korea brought up Korean winner number 497 for Peter Wolsley two weeks ago and the Australian trainer can close in on 500 this weekend (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens to start with and seven of the twelve have raced before. The only one of those to have appeared twice prior to today is (7) DAMYANG CHOEGANG and his improved 3rd place on his second appearance on November 2nd is enough to make him the top pick here. (2) BARAMEUI KKUM finished three-lengths back that day in 4th on what was her debut and she looks like being the main danger here, possibly getting closer this time. Both will be aiming to get to the front as soon as possible. (4) DONGBANG WARRIOR was a touch disappointing on debut having been well-backed after winning a trial. He can be given another chance here. (5) ECTON STEALTH and (11) AMAZING WINNER are others with scope to improve on their respective debut efforts. Among the first-time starters, (6) DEEP MIND looks best at this stage.

Selections (7) Damyang Choegang (2) Barameui Kkum (4) Dongbang Warrior (5) Ecton Stealth
Next Best 11, 6
Fast Start 7, 2

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens with eight of the twelve having racing experience and they do look a bit stronger than those we saw in race 1. The clear top pick is (10) TOHAM ACE, who followed up a 4th place on debut in September to then run 2nd, beating a couple of these, on his was to 2nd over this distance on November 2nd. He should have too much here. (6) DOCTOR TIZ was a good 2nd on debut and while he found the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup a bit too stiff at the end of last month, he’ll be expected to go much better in more amenable company today. (8) GEUMGANG CHILBO beat the two top picks for race 1 on what was his second start four weeks ago and has to be given a chance here. (1) TITLE CODE and (4) RAON ARES are others who can step up from promising debuts.

Selections (10) Toham Ace (8) Geumgang Chilbo (6) Doctor Tiz (4) Raon Ares
Next Best 1, 3, 2
Fast Start 2, 4, 11

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

(10) HAPPY DRAGON ran a much-improved 2nd on what was his second career appearance at the start of this month with two of his rivals here back down the track behind him and a similar run today will put him right in the mix. (5) SERENDIPITER was one of those beaten that day but he came back out two weeks ago and ran a good 4th, just missing out on the places by a head, and can get closer today. (7) MARU JJANG has been knocking at the door for a while now and steps back in trip following a good 3rd over a mile last time out with claims to go close here. (9) MY TIME ran a career-best 2nd at this distance three weeks ago and his time may not be too far off. (2) GOLDEN SHARP, with a pair of 5th place finishes from two tries so far, looks best of the rest.

Selections (10) Happy Dragon (7) Maru Jjang (2) Golden Sharp (9) My Time
Next Best 5, 4, 11
Fast Start 2, 4

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) JEONSAUI JILJU has a best of 3rd place from three starts so far and has finished ahead of a few of these along the way, His 7th last time was in tougher company than this and with a top jockey aboard here, he can make the breakthrough. (3) MAGIC FLYING has shown some ability across his three outings, all of them at this distance and can be competitive here while (12) SUNDAY GLORY steps up in trip for the first time and it may well suit. (9) EDGE OF WINNER has already raced at this distance and while he has been a little one-paced to date, should have enough to challenge for at least a place. (6) BEAUTIFUL KOREA hinted at ability last time and can progress today too.

Selections (2) Jeonsaui Jilju (9) Edge Of Winner (3) Magic Flying (12) Sunday Glory
Next Best 6, 1
Fast Start 2, 5

Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

It’s been almost a year since (2) NINA got her maiden win but since returning from a six-month absence in September she’s run well for 3rd and 2nd from two starts and should take some beating in this race which is restricted to fillies and mares. (3) I’M YOUR LEMON is up in class following a battling maiden win on what was just her second outing. That was a decent race for the level though and she’ll surely be a danger here. (9) QUICK MOVE won on debut in July and races for the first time since running 5th on her first attempt at this level a month later. She’ll be on pace early and can go close. (11) (more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: NACF Chairman’s Trophy / Gyeong DoMin Ilbo – Race-By-Race Preview (November 25)

It may not be until next week then the top hopes for the 2019 Triple Crown trail come together to decide the title of Champion Korean Juvenile in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul but this Sunday in the capital will also give a glimpse of some potential future stars as the top imported juveniles compete for the NACF Chairman’s Trophy over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05:

Spring Back KRA

Spring Back is one of the leading contenders for the NACF (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Last year the race was won by PK. Party, who has gone on to win seven of eleven starts to date but also featured this year’s KRA Cup Classic 3rd place-getter Moonhak Chief as well as two of the stars of the Queens’ Tour, Ttukseom Cup winner Cheongsu Yeogeol and Sky Bay, victorious in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.

So, who are the top contenders this time around? Spring Back looked sensational in his first two starts this summer, recording one of the fastest times of the year when winning on his second start over 1400M. He didn’t impress when 2nd on his reappearance in October though and that may open the door for others.

Since running 3rd to Spring Back on debut in July, Thank You Charlie has won three in a row, culminating in a facile six-length score at the big-race distance last month. He’s one of two Adios Charlie colts in the race – the other being Havana Charlie – and both will have plenty of backers. Kitten’s Joy colt Munhak Joy has won three out of five so far and looks a solid prospect while Wang Beotkkot was a solid winner at the distance earlier this month and looks dangerous too.

Both Medici Glory and Ultra Punch tackle six-furlongs for the first time and are others who could play a big part in the race.

At Busan, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo highlights. It too has illustrious alumni with I’m Your Father taking victory in 2016 before going on to win the Busan Mayor’s Cup the following summer. Last year Ace Korea, who won last weekend’s Kookje News Sprint and looks to be Dubai World Cup Carnival-bound, ran 4th. Ace Korea’s trainer Peter Wolsley saddles one of the main hopes, Pro Consul while another foreign trainer Thomas Gillespie comes in with the hitherto unbeaten Mujeok Yeongung.

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

(7) SATO ROYAL improved to 3rd place on what was her first try at this distance on October 27th and her third career start in total. It’s true she’s not shown much in the way of speed, but she has shown progress and with a bit more today, she can win. (8) RAON STELLA is similar in that she’s shown potential if not much swiftness across four starts to date. She’s also gone well at this trip and beat a couple of these over 1000M last time out. (6) GEUP HAENG MA steps up in trip for the first time after a decent showing in 3rd at 1000M last time and should be challenging for the early lead here. (3) GWANGPOK JUHAENG and (11) CHEONGDAM QUEENS are others who may go close.

Selections: (7) Sato Royal (6) Geup Haeng Ma (8) Raon Stella (11) Cheongdam Queens
Next Best: 3, 1
Fast Start: 6, 7, 10, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here with just three of them making their debuts. They’ll be up against it as plenty of those who have raced have demonstrated some ability. (9) SIMPLIFY ran 3rd on debut on October 27th, beaten less than a length at this distance. He ran on strongly and should have come on for it. (5) WONDERFUL BRUSH was 5th when debuting in that very same race. He was very keen at the halfway point and ran out of room slightly and he can improve today. (8) RED BLADE debuted in the Munhwa Ilbo Cup at the end of September and while that was too much too soon, he ran well for 3rd on his re-appearance last month and is likely to be well-backed here. (12) WONDERFUL MARIA also did nothing wrong when 5th on debut at this distance and is another who can get close. Of those three first-timers, (7) GEUMSUNI STAR trialled nicely and looks the most forward at this stage.

Selections: (9) Simplify (8) Red Blade (5) Wonderful Brush (12) Wonderful Maria
Next Best: 7, 11
Fast Start: 5, 6, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(4) SPEED WINNER ran a good 2nd on debut over 1000M a month ago, beaten only by a very nice-looking winner, Havana Charlie, who goes in the big race later this afternoon. He ran through the line strongly and can be confident stepped up to 1300M today. He’ll be on pace from the start, as will (8) DAEGUNUI GEOM, 3rd over 1200M on his first start seven weeks ago and who looks to be the main threat. (3) GEUMSEOK DOLPA was a little slow to begin on debut on October 6th but ran on well over 1000M to finish 6th. More trip may suit here. (6) MALIBU GINGER has plenty of experience compared to the rest and while he will need to improve if he is to compete for top honours, he’s capable of beating plenty of these. There are two debut-makers and (5) INCHEON CHIEF looks a potential prospect. The Pioneerof The Nile colt has looked more than competent in two trials and could go well first-up.

Selections: (4) Speed Winner (8) Daegunui Geom (5) Incheon Chief (3) Geumseok Dolpa
Next Best: 6, 12
Fast Start: 4, 6, 8

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

(3) FIGHTING HERO got the best of a tight finish to win by a nose on debut at this distance four weeks ago. He’s up in class here but looks the one to beat. He’ll settle just behind the early leaders and look to be too strong late on. (2) MISS PYEONGCHON may have only won one of her seventeen outings to date, but she enters with strong recent form and was last seen running 3rd at class and distance with three of her rivals here behind her. She’ll be on the early speed and could win. One of those behind her that day was (7) HANIL MAGIC and he too can get a little closer this time. (5) GEUMA KINGDOM remains a maiden after three attempts but is up in class today following two runner-up finishes and a 3rd place. She’ll be competitive at this level. (11) ARABIA GONGJU looks best of the rest.

Selections: (3) Fighting Hero (2) Miss Pyeongcheon (5) Geuma Kingdom (7) Hanil Magic
Next Best: 11, 4
Fast Start: 2, 4, 10

Busan Race 1 Selections: 10 (This is New Legend, a Korean bred who ran seven times in the USA, including winning at Arlington Park in July of this year. This is his Korean debut) 6, 11, 7

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

Wildly competitive contest here. Five of these raced each other at class and distance on October 27th and it was two rank outsiders that day (3) SHADOW MONEY and (2) YEONGWONHAN SUNGAN who finished the best in 2nd and 3rd respectively. They will require more respect today although the margins weren’t huge and it’s more than possible that the best backed of them there, (11) HEUNG KKAEBI, who finished 6th, can overturn the form today. That was his first try at this distance and only his second start overall following a maiden win on debut, and he can have come on for that run. (12) SABA KINGDOM is another who can be given another chance following his latest effort. That was in the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup, so this is far more amenable company and he can get close. (7) GOODCHOICE ran 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be very much in the placing frame again.

Selections: (11) Heung Kkaebi (3) Shadow Money (7) Goodchoice (12) Saba Kingdom
Next Best: 2, 8
Fast Start: 4, 8, 10, 12

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(3) SANGSEUNG DAEHAN remains a maiden after six starts but enters off the back of three consecutive 2nd place finishes, two of them at tis distance and the latest at this class. An apprentice jockey takes significant weight off his back today and he could well make the breakthrough. (10) ECTON SPEED is up in class following her maiden win which came via a six-length score over 1300M on October 26th. She made all that day, running on well and should be able to handle to rise in both class and distance. (7) (more…)