Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 28)

There are 10 races at Busan on Friday from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards can be found here. Notes on all overseas simulcast races are below:

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million 

1. NEPTUNE – Offered little in two prior starts.

2. GAO – Ran twice last autumn without distinction and returned in similar fashion a month ago.

3. ONNURI GANGJA – Much improved 2nd place last start. Not sure where that came from but it stands him in good stead here and he’ll be one of the favourites.

4. RICH BOLT – 6th of 11 last time was above expectations. First try at the distance today. (more…)

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Always Winner, Haeya Among Those In Action

Always Winner headlines a big Sunday of racing in Seoul (11 races from 10:45 to 18:00) while down at Busan (6 races from 12:40 to 17:05), the hitherto unbeaten Haeya returns to action for the first time since January.

Always Winner

Always Winner winning the Owners’ Cup in March (Pic: KRA)

Always Winner was a a solid if unspectacular sprint handicapper as he entered his 5th year in January. However, 2017 has found him find top form with gate to wire victories in both the Segye Ilbo Cup in January and the Group 3 Owners’ Association Trophy in March. Both times he’s been allowed off at big prices but he’s bound to get more respect from punters this time.

That’s not to say it will be easy as Choegang Schiller, El Padrino’s conqueror in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup looks ready to hit form once more while the likes of Parang Juuibo, Dynamic Jilju and Brian Dean’s Jangsanjewang can’t be ruled out.

At Busan, the feature sees unbeaten US import Haeya (Flatter) race at class 1 for the first time having won all four of her races to date. She was last seen in January but breezed through a barrier trial last week looking in very good shape. She may not be favourite though for the 1400M feature with Doraon Pogyeongseon, a winner at class and distance, beating no fewer than seven of those who return again for this race, last month.

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

Race 9: Class 3 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

1. VALLEY STAR – Unimpressed in latest two but is carrying significantly less weight today.

2. MR. MOUNTAIN – Three 2nd place finishes at this level and while he disappointed when well backed last start, he’s worth another go today. (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (April 21)

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday where there are 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. English race cards – now complete with silk colours – are here.

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

1. MEISTER – Two starts so far, one last September and one a month ago. Offered little.

2. BOUND KOREA – Not beaten many in three outings but improvement possible.

3. MISWICK MYEONGUN – First start since last October. Finished last in recent trial. (more…)

King Of Ace Has A Good Friday At Busan

King Of Ace provided the standout performance on an otherwise low-key Good Friday card at Busan. The three-year-old American import maintained his 100% record with a dominant showing in the class 3 race 9.

Having won his previous two starts by a combined 11-lengths, the Kwan Seung Joo trained colt was always going to be strong favourite for the mile-long test and having assumed command of the race early under jockey Jo Sung Gon, King Of Ace never looked like being beaten, running on to win by a margin of his choosing; 7 lengths in the end.

Pangpang Hero, down in class today was a surprise 2nd while Peter Wolsley’s Cottinpickingood, the mount of Darryll Holland got up for 3rd. They might as well have been running a different race to King Of Ace though, a $50,000 purchase from Fasig Tipton last year, who confirmed his status as one of the Busan track’s hottest properties.

In other races, it was a good day for South African trainer Bart Rice. His gelding Que Sera Sera (Concept Win) provided the banker of the day, comfortably scoring in race 2 under in-form Cypriot jockey Marios Mina. Later on, Fivefold (Ecton Park) got the better of Thomas Gillespie’s Segi Gangja for the second time in race 8. Like King Of Ace, Fivefold is now three for three.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Friday At Busan: A Basic Introduction

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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