KRA Cup Mile

2017 Korea Triple Crown – First Preview

We’re less than three weeks away from the KRA Cup Mile – the Korean 2000 Guineas – which will be run at Busan on Sunday April 2. Last year, Power Blade swept all three jewels of the Triple Crown, the first horse to do so in its current incarnation. This year, we’re in the unusual position of a Seoul-trained horse, Final Boss, being the early favourite to emulate him.

power-blade-kra-cup-mile.jpg.jpeg

Power Blade won the KRA Cup Mile on his way to the Triple Crown last year (Pic: KRA)

Only four Seoul horses are among the 21 currently nominated for the race but three of those four are strong. The unbeaten Lion Rock is a full brother to Triple Nine (who will race in the Godolphin Mile at Meydan on World Cup night on March 25th) joins Final Boss and the promising Taeyangui Jeonseol as contenders. Here’s a run-down of the current nominations with race records and trainer:

Blue Time (filly) (8/3/1/0) Oh Mun-sik – Won three in a row at the back end of 2016 but hasn’t really pushed on. 9th behind Ice Marine in the Gyeongnam Sinmun.

Morning Park (7/1/3/0) Oh Mun-sik – Yet to go further than 1300M and 5th of 12 on first try at class 4.

American Power (4/3/1/0) Kim Young-kwan – Won his first three but unexpectedly defeated by a nose by a 6-year-old gelding (Yankee Dream) on his first try at a mile last start. A contender.

Wonder Wall (9/3/4/1) Kim Young-kwan – Owned by Shunsuke Yoshida he’s come back into form after being 4th to Final Boss in the Breeders’ Cup. A win at a mile and a 2nd at 1800M last start.

Happy Gongju (filly) (5/3/0/2) Jang Se-han – 3rd to Ice Marine in the Gyeongnam Sinmun. Oaks likely to be the bigger target.

Adeleui Bom (9/2/1/1) Baik Kwang-yeol – Holds a 2nd place over a mile at class 4. Not one of the top contenders but not impossible.

Daeho Sidae (6/4/2/0) Baik Kwang-yeol – 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup and a winner at both a mile and 1800 since. Already a class 2 horse and arguably Busan’s top hope.

Party Tonight (8/0/3/1) Baik Kwang-yeol – One of only two maidens still in. Three 2nd places, one at this distance. Likely to be the one from the trainer who drops.

Illyu Star (8/4/0/1) An Woo-sung – Back among the wins last start. Previous try at a mile didn’t go particularly well.

Muhan Yeoljeong (8/3/1/2) An Woo-sung – 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup and a class 4 winner at a mile last time. He’s in the frame.

Seongsan Jilju (6/2/0/1) Yang Kui-sun – Won a couple of five furlong races but hasn’t looked especially smart at any further.

Ice Marine (filly) (9/5/2/0) Choi Ki-hong – Dominant winner of the Gyeongnam Sinmun puting her in pole position for the Oaks. She’s been beaten by some of these colts before though.

Yongwangdam (5/2/0/1) Mun Je-bok – Class 5 winner at a mile but 5th to Ice Marine in the Gyeongnam Sinmun suggests there is plenty to find.

Indian King (8/2/2/2) Mun Je-bok – Two class 4 3rd places at a mile suggests there could be more to come from this one.

Royal Ruby (7/4/1/1) Peter Wolsley – This one has been under the radar a little bit but has won over 1800M and looks a serious player.

Bulkkot Nori (6/3/0/1) Peter Wolsley – Won three of his first four and was 3rd over a mile at class 4 last start. Others  look more advanced at this stage.

Yeonggwanguihunter (6/2/0/0) Lim Keum-man – Not shown an awful lot so far and was 5th on his only try at class 4 so far.

Final Boss (8/6/1/0) Ji Yong-cheol (Seoul) – The Breeders’ Cup winner has gone on to win twice around two-turns this year. A Seoul horse going to Busan aside, he is the favourite and a strong one at that.

Daeseung Bibob (6/0/2/1) Ji Yong-cheol (Seoul) – Stable-mate of Final Boss which is perhaps the only reason for his inclusion.

Lion Rock (3/3/0/0) Lee Shin-young (Seoul) – Full brother to Triple Nine, he’s the only one who enters unbeaten. It may be too much too soon with the Derby & Minister’s Cup the main targets, but don’t rule out.

Taeyangui Jeonseol (5/3/0/0) Yoo Jae-gil (Seoul) – Back to back wins at 1700M puts this still unexposed colt firmly in the hunt.

The maximum field size is 16 so at least five will miss out and it is possible for others to nominate this week as well – Nasca Prince, who won at Seoul on Sunday, being a potential one, given that as it stands the Capital as usual isn’t taking up as many spots as it has been assigned.  As in all races in Korea, no more than 2 horses can be from the same trainer. Seoul last won the race with Cheongnyong Bisang, now improbably a ranch horse in the USA, in 2014, but Final Boss currently looks the one to beat here. We’ll have plenty more build up to the start of a fascinating Triple Crown series over next couple of weeks.

Power Blade The Sharpest In KRA Cup Mile

Power Blade once more defeated stablemate Ottug Ottugi to claim the first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, at Busan Racecourse on Sunday.

Last year’s champion juvenile, Power Blade was sent off as the odds-on favourite and was always very handy as Ottug Ottugi and outsider Gasok Engine set the early pace. Banjiui Jewang, expected to be prominent, sat just behind but failed to make a run in the home straight and would trail home in 7th place.

Instead it was left to the Kim Young Kwan pair to battle it out and just over a furlong out, Power Blade did look under pressure for a time. Ottug Ottugi, the only filly in the race and trying the distance for the first time would crack though and Power Blade ran on for a four-length win with the filly a brave second.

Stealth, a 25/1 shot, ran a huge race in 3rd  under Ikuyasu Kurakane, getting up from the back along with Zettabyte who came home 4th. Ever In Ever came a solid 5th, leading home Seoul’s top finisher. the 120/1 outsider Theme Deunggeuk. Behind them, the field was strung out.

Power Blade has now won five of his seven starts and is likely to head back to Seoul as favourite for the Korean Derby on May 15th. Already a winner at the Derby-distance of 1800M, he is going to be tough to stop. Ottug Ottugi showed that she has developed and a mile is within her capabilities. She’ll also need to get 1800M the Oaks in June.

The Kim Young Kwan training dominance of the top races continues. Today’s Cup Mile was his 28th Grade race winner – by far a Korean record. Kim rotates his jockeys – partly as he believes it benefits his horses although many suspect ensuring none of the top ones commit to another trainer also plays its role. Today’s rider Kim Yong Geun can’t complain too much though; today was his 9th Graded win – all of them coming on Kim Young Kwan-trained horses.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 3, 2016

1. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong] – YK Kim – Kim Yong Geun – 1.7, 1.1
2. Ottug Ottugi (KOR) [Forest Camp – Main Objective] – YK Kim – Choi Si Dae – 2.1
3. Stealth (KOR) [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower] – SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane – 4.7
Distances: 4 lengths / 2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Zettabyte 5. Ever In Ever 6. Theme Deunggeuk 7. Banjiui Jewang 8. Gongryong 9. Gasok Engine 10. Dyna’s Dream 11. Smart Gentleman 12. Argo Flying

Triple Crown R1 – KRA Cup Mile: Runner-By-Runner Preview

A field of twelve – eleven colts and one filly – will line up at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon for the the first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown. 

Power Blade Banjiui

Power Blade beat Banjiui Jewang at Seoul in the Breeders’ Cup in November (Pic: Ilgan Sports/KRA)

Three are from Seoul and nine from the host track. Power Blade, champion juvenile of 2015 is likely to be sent off as the favourite. The race is race 6 on a 7-race card at Busan which gets underway at 12:20pm. There are also 10 races at Seoul from 10:50. The race will be shown live in Australia on Sky Racing 2 along with another couple of races (preview of those here).

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 3, 2016 (16:40)

1. Gongryong [Revere – Parisilton (Woodman)] (7/4/1/0) DS Bae – Moon Se Young
Likely to be Seoul’s best hope, Moon Se Young coming to ride is a plus. Gongryong (which means “Dinosaur”) come sin having won hislast three including last time at 1700M by a full four lengths. Unique among the field, he will want to be right at the back from the start and he could find the money

2. Ever In Ever [Sharp Humor – Habidongju (Silent Warrior)] (6/3/2/1) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
This one has slipped a little under the radar having begun his career a little too late to run in the big juvenile races last autumn. He’s won three of six and last time was just beaten a head in a quick race at a mile having led for most of the way. He goes forward and a place is possible.

3. Stealth [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] (8/4/0/1) SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane
A winner at a mile on Boxing Day by a full five lengths inindifferent company, he won a solid race over 1400M last time. Should be content to let others lead here as any involvement in an early pace battle would be to his detriment, he has a very good jockey on board but is an outsider.

4. Theme Deunggeuk [Menifee – Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warior)] (7/2/3/1) JK Park – Park Eul Woon
He’s won two of his last three at Seoul, making all last time to win by six lengths at 1400M. Big step up today though. Likely to one of the very many looking to get forward early.

5. Smart Gentleman [Menifee – Hennesy N Lime (Limehouse)] (8/4/1/2) JS Kim – Makoto Okabe
Distance is a question mark with this one. He is competent at sprints but has only tried further than 1200M on one occasion and came 4th. Temptation would be to go out as fast as possible and try to cling on for as long as possible, but he does have a smart jockey on board.

6. Dyna’s Dream [Meiner Select – Dyna’s Gold Legend (Gold Legend)] (7/3/2/0) SB Han – Jo Chang Wook
He comes in following three consecutive victories but he really hasn’t beaten very much along the way and with the exception of last time, has been allowed to dictate. That won’t happen today. Never tried at further than 1300M, distance will also be a doubt. He may well leave the early speedsters to get on with it and try to come from just behind.

7. Argo Flying [Colors Flying – Proper Prospector (Crafty Prospector)] (3/1/1/1) JY Heo – Kim Dong Soo
He hasn’t done anything wrong but this is surely too much too soon. Got his maiden win last start at class 6 over 1000M. At least connections are having a go which is more than can be said for plenty at Seoul but success is unlikely.

8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (5/4/1/0) PM Wolsley – Pasquale Borelli
Big chance. He was 2nd to Power Blade in the Juvenile Championship race at Soeul last Noveber and has won his two starts since with an eight-length stroll last time out over a few decent older horses. Tried at the distance for the first time but hell get that and further. Good speed too. Goes forward and he is a big threat to the favourite.

9. Gasok Engine [Forest Camp – Cat Lea (Cat Thief)] (6/4/1/0) JS Kim – Lim Sung Sil
A winner of four of six but he didn’t go well at 1400M last time. Another who needs to go forward and it may just be too competitive here. He has a lot to find

10.Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] (6/4/2/0) YK Kim- Kim Yong Geun
The champion juvenile will be the favourite and likely a strong one. Has beaten the next two in the betting, Banjiui Jewang and Ottug Ottugi and and won really well at 1800M against older horses last time out. He doesn’t need to get involved in any early speed battle and will look to ease to the front on the long turn for home. He is beatable but hard to bet against.

11. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (7/5/1/0) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
Power Blade’s stablemate, she just held on to beat him in Busan’s top juvenile race at 1200M before failing to stay on at 1400M in Seoul a month later. She’s won a couple since though including an Oaks trial last start. Beating a few fillies at 1400M is different to beating Power Blade at a mile but she is developing and there is a feeling she can get this distance. She’s fast and even from gate 11, can get forward.

12. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (7/3/2/1) KM Lim – You Hyun Myung
Beaten by Power Blade and Ottug Ottugi in December shes won two since very handily indeedincluding at a mile last time out. She does have plenty to find here and she goes best when she leads early which will be hard here but she has a chance.

Busan Sunday Sky Racing Notes

Sunday sees the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile – or “Korean 2000 Guineas”, as it’s sometimes known, at Busan. It’s one of three races which will be available to Australian punters and will be shown on Sky Racing 2.

English racecards for both Seoul and Busan are available here. Comments on the three simulcast races below (an additional runner by runner guide to the Cup Mile will be posted later):

Race 4: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:55 (KST)

(3) MIRACLE BOLT will be the strong favourite here. She comes in here looking for her fourth straight victory having practically made all in each of her last three. The one concern is that all three of those have been at 1000M; her first three winless starts were all at today’s distance, however, she should have come on enough to overcome that. If she is to be beaten, the best candidate is (5) DAEHOYEOJANGGUN. She’s finished no worse than 3rd in any of her last eight races and will join Miracle Bolt in going forward. She may well have to settle for her seventh 2nd place though. Racing in 4th behind Daehoyeojanggun last start was (7) PICO AEGIS and she can go close again while (9) MASTER KEY beat a couple of these when running 3rd at this distance a month ago. (8) KWAEHAN JILJU is up in class and makes his first appearance since a narrow victory over 1400M on Christmas Day. The very experienced (1) COUPLE is the wildcard; down in class today after a lengthy campaign at class 3.

Selections: (3) Miracle Bolt (5) Daehoyeojanggun (9) Master Key (8) Kwaehan Jilju
Next Best: 7, 1, 4
Outsiders: 2, 6
Fast Starters: 3, 5, 6

Race 5: Class 4 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:45 (KST)

(8) SISEON POCHAK debuted with a win all the way back on his debut last July and while he has come close time and again since – he’s only once finished worse than 3rd – he hasn’t quite been able to follow up. That can change here. Busan’s champion trainer Kim Young Kwan partners with Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young, Siseon Pochak can get forward here and can make all. Australian trainer Peter Wolsley’s (7) COTTINPICKINGOOD has shown glimpses of talent in two starts to date and the greater distance may be exactly what he needs. (3) DEVIL KING dead-heated for 2nd place at class and distance a month ago and will be shorter than the 26/1 he was that day while (2) ROYAL VICTOR and (5) WONDERFUL CAPTAIN look the best of the rest.

Selections: (8) Siseon Pochak (7) Cottinpickingood (3) Devil King (2) Royal Victor
Next Best: 5, 1, 4
Outsiders: 6, 9
Fast Starters: 8, 9

Race 6: Class Open / 1600M / The KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Allowance / KRW 500 Million / 16:40 (KST)

The first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown series for three-year-olds will likely see last year’s champion juvenile (10) POWER BLADE sent off as strong favourite. Already a winner at 1800M, the mile will be no problem – he’s going to get much further – and he has beaten his two main rivals here. There are a lot of fast starters in this race but Power Blade should be able to sit handy early on and will be very difficult to beat. Power Blade’s stablemate (11) OTTUG OTTUGI is the only filly involved and comes in having dominated an Oaks trial last month at 1400M. She has shown the best speed of any in the race but at this stage the distance is an issue; while she was fine at 1400M against those fillies, taking on Power Blade at a mile is different prospect.

One that can combine has shown both speed and a strong likelihood to get the distance is (8) BANJIUI JEWANG. Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley has saddled one Classic winner before and this could be his second. He was 2nd to Power Blade in the Juvenile Championship race in Seoul last November and was a facile winner over 1400M in respectable company last start. A big chance.

Seoul sends three representatives and by far the most likely looking is (1) GONGRYONG. That champion jockey Moon Se Young has given up a weekend of winners in the capital to partner him could be seen as a tip in itself but Gongryong will need to find more than he has shown before when defeating average Seoul-based horses. That said, he was an impressive four-length winner over 1700M last start and can be respected. He will go right back at the start which could be to his benefit if others over-race early.

(2) EVER IN EVER has come up somewhat under the radar, starting too late to race in the big juvenile races last autumn but was only beaten a head at a mile last time. (12) ZETTABYTE is a winner at the distance and looks to have more improvement in him.

Selections: (8) Banjiui Jewang (10) Power Blade (11) Ottug Ottugi (1) Gongryong
Next Best: 12, 2, 5, 6, 9
Outsiders: 3, 4, 7
Fast Starters: 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12

KRA Cup Mile 2016 – Runners & Riders

The first leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown is at Busan Racecourse this coming Sunday, April 3rd. Twelve are set to line up for the KRA Cup Mile – The “Korean Guineas”.

Champion juvenile Power Blade will be there along with stablemate from the Kim Young Kwan barn Ottug Ottugi. Peter Wosley sends out the hughly-rated Banjiui Jewang while from Seoul, champion jockey Moon Se Young travels down to partner the capital’s best hope, Gongryong.

We’ll have a full runner by runner preview of the big race on Saturday. In the meantime, here’s the barrier draw (Name [Pedigree] (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey:

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – Sunday April 3, 2016

1. Gongryong [Revere – Parisilton (Woodman)] (7/4/1/0) DS Bae – Moon Se Young
2. Ever In Ever [Sharp Humor – Habidongju (Silent Warrior)] (6/3/2/1) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
3. Stealth [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower (Woodman)] (8/4/0/1) SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane
4. Theme Deunggeuk [Menifee – Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warior)] (7/2/3/1) JK Park – Park Eul Woon
5. Smart Gentleman [Menifee – Hennesy N Lime (Limehouse)] (8/4/1/2) JS Kim – Makoto Okabe
6. Dyna’s Dream [Meiner Select – Dyna’s Gold Legend (Gold Legend)] (7/3/2/0) SB Han – Jo Chang Wook
7. Argo Flying [Colors Flying – Proper Prospector (Crafty Prospector)] (3/1/1/1) JY Heo – Kim Dong Soo
8. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (5/4/1/0) PM Wolsley – Pasquale Borelli
9. Gasok Engine [Forest Camp – Cat Lea (Cat Thief)] (6/4/1/0) JS Kim – Lim Sung Sil
10.Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] (6/4/2/0) YK Kim- Kim Yong Geun
11. Ottug Ottugi [Forest Camp – Main Objective (Lion Heart)] (7/5/1/0) YK Kim – Choi Si Dae
12. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (7/3/2/1) KM Lim – You Hyun Myung

The KRA Cup Mile is race 6 of 7 on the card at busan on Sunday and is scheduled to come under orders at 16:40.

Triple Crown 2015: Rafale Roars To KRA Cup Mile Glory

If we are to have a Triple Crown winner this year, it will be a colt by the name of Rafale. The co-favourite took out the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan Racecourse this afternoon, getting the best of a keenly fought stretch duel with Doraon Hyeonpyo.

If ever there was going to be a race in which it was hard to look past the favourites, this was it with several of the field, including the two visitors from Seoul, never looking likely to be able to handle what was sure to be a quick pace. So it proved.

Yuseong Fighting and the other co-favourite, Doraon Hyeonpyo would set the early pace and were joined briefly at the front by Summit Myeongun. Rafale, however, was in close attendance and while others would challenge, by the furlong pole it was clear that it would be the two market leaders who would battle it out.

With Rafale on the rail and Doraon Hyeonpyo in the center of the track, it was Rafale, urged on by jockey You Hyun Myung, who took the spoils by half a length. Behind them Yeongcheon Ace just edged out the fast finishing Yeonggwanguitaepung for 3rd. Both must be under consideration for the Derby.

Behind them, it was carnage, with gaps of 4, 5, 7 and 10 lengths among the distances separating the rest of the field. The leaders truly outclassed the rest.

For trainer Kim Jae Sub, it was his second KRA Cup Mile in three years following Sting Ray’s victory in 2013. Jockey You Hyun Myung was riding his first Classic winner and the second biggest win of his career following Mister Park in the 2010 Grand Prix Stakes.

As for Doraon Hyeonpyo, Rafale remains the only horse to have beaten him. Indeed, Rafale now leads 2-1 in their head to heads having previously triumphed in the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup last October. However, it was Doraon Hyeonpyo who came out on top when they met in the Breeders’ Cup in Seoul. When they reconvene in the capital for the Korean Derby six weeks today, will it become 2-2?

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 5, 2015

1. Rafale (KOR) [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] – You Hyun Myung
2. Doraon Hyeonpyo (KOR) [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] – Kim Dong Young
3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae
Distances: 0.5 lengths / 2 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Yeonggwanguitaepung (KOR) 5. Summit Myeongun (KOR) 6. Yuseong Fighting (KOR) 7. Special Line (KOR) 8. Mac And Cheese (KOR) 9. Haetbinna (KOR) 10. Namhae Sinhwa (KOR) 11. Lion Star (KOR)

Only one horse has gone on to win the Derby after winning the Cup Mile; that was the filly Sangseung Ilro in 2009. We’ll reconvene at Seoul on May 16 to find out if Rafale can join her.

Triple Crown 2015: KRA Cup Mile Full Preview

It’s time already. The first leg of the 2015 Korean Triple Crown is this coming Sunday at Busan Racecourse.

Doraon Hyeonpyo wins the Seoul Breeders' Cup in the gloom last November. Can he win the KRA Cup Mile too? (Pic: choi9036903 blog)

Doraon Hyeonpyo wins the Seoul Breeders’ Cup in the gloom last November. Can he win the KRA Cup Mile too? (Pic: choi9036903 blog)

The field is a rather disappointingly small eleven with Seoul seemingly simply not bothering with the race and sending just two sub-par entrants. The home side makes up for that though with some class acts entered.

Here is a full rundown of the field with Name [Pedigree] Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey:

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 5, 2015 – 16:35

1. Special Line [Ecton Park – Rich Musique (Rizzi)] C (9/2/2/1) Baik Kwang Yeol – Nobuyuki Oyama
As the competition has become harder this one has been found out a little and it is questionable as to whether he has the speed to compete here. He does hold a win at a mile but the time was a slow one and he has disappointed in two starts in 2015. He’ll be an outsider.

2. Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] C (7/4/2/0) Kim Jae Sub – You Hyun Myung
He won Busan’s champion Juvenile race last October but then suffered a reverse at the hands of Doraon Hyeonpyo in the overall championship at Seoul a month later. Rafale began 2015 with a really nice looking 7-length win over 1800M but was then beaten into 4th last month oer 1900M with Yeongcheon Ace among those ahead of him. He went much further back in the field than expected that day rather than just off the early lead which is where his success has come from. He takes on a mile for the first time and a place is a minimum requirement.

3. Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggie’s Prayer (Songandaprayer)] C (6/4/0/1) Choi Ki Hong – Oh Kyoung Hoan
A front-running winner of four races, he stepped up to a mile last time out and in a race where all the favourites disappointed, he was a tailed-off last. We’ll put that down as an aberration, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence here. Regular jockey Jo Sung Gon also gets off to ride Mac And Cheese.

4. Mac And Cheese [Menifee – Squared (Posse)] C (7/5/0/1) Kim Jae Sub – Jo Sung Gon
A big chance. He comes in after four consecutive victories the most recent of which was over this distance in a fast time on a wet track. He generally stalks any early leader and looks to strike the front at the top of the home straight. He is quick and Jo Sung Gon coming in to ride can only be to his benefit too. If he gets in front in the home straight, he will be difficult to go past.

5. Lion Star [Exploit – Oakmart (Unbridled’s Song] C (5/1/2/0) Shim Seung Tae – Han Sung Youl
The first of two from Seoul and there isn’t a lot to say about this one. He got his maiden win last time out in the less than exacting environs of a Seoul class 5 race and while he may go on to be a good horse, this is far too much too soon. With all due respect to Han Sung Youl, he’s come down for the riding fee.

6. Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] C (7/3/3/1) Baik Kwang Yeol – Choi Si Dae
One of the most eagerly awaited colts of this crop, he hasn’t disappointed and is yet to finish worse than 3rd in 7 starts. He closed strongly for 2nd place ahead of Rafale over 1900M last month which followed a smart win over 1400M in February. He can win from the front or coming from behind and should have plenty of late speed. Choi Si Dae is a big race jockey and this one will have backers.

7. Haetbinna [Didyme – Chowonui Kkum (The Groom Is Red)] C (6/2/1/0/) Yoo Jae Gil – Kim Sug Bong
This one won’t have backers. The second and final entrant from Seoul is also yet to race at a stiffer grade than class 5 and is yet to go at a distance of greater than 1300M. Again, there is potential here but not today. Just like fellow Seoul rider Han, Kim Sug Bong is in town to pick up the “away day” riding fee, not prize money.

8. Yeonggwanguitaepung [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] C (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan – Masakazu Tanaka
The second string from the Kim Young Kwan stable, he comes in after a class 3 victory over 1800M although hw was 3rd behind Yeongcheon Ace the time before that. Another who likes to come from slightly off the pace, he has shown good speed but may find one or two a little bit too quick in this field.

9. Namhae Sinhwa [Vicar – Intriga (Lord At Law)] C (7/3/3/0) Lim Keum Man – Kanichiro Fujii
Regular jockey You Hyun Myung has opted to ride Rafale here but there’s an able replacement in the shape of Joe Fujii. he hasn’t run since the end of January when he was 2nd in a slowly run race over this distance. That came after back to back front-running victories over 1300M and 1400M. Talented but is going to need to be much quicker today.

10. Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] C (6/5/1/0) Kwan Seung Joo – Kim Dong Young
The champion juvenile following victory over Rafale in Seoul last November. He’s run just the once since then and it was a mightily impressive 9-length procession against class 2 opposition over this distance. On paper, he wins out on almost all indicators although the almost three months he’s had off since that run may sow some doubt. Rafale is the only horse to beat him so far, that was in the Busan Juvenile race last October. Anything that beats him here, should be winning.

11. Summit Myeongun [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] C (8/4/1/2) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun
Kim Young Kwan’s first-string, he was 3rd behind Doraon Hyeonpyo and Rafale in Seoul last November. He’s won both his two starts since then, both of them at 1400M, most recently three weeks ago when he closed strongly to beat an experienced 5-year-old by a neck. The time before, Yeongcheon Ace ran 3rd to him. He’s shown enough late speed to suggest he is very capable of going the additional furlong here.