Eoma Eoma began 2021 the way he left off in 2020 with an easy Class 1 win over 1400M at Seoul, but Blue Chipper could only manage 5th place in his long awaited return to action at Busan as Mr. Afleet took out the feature race on the south coast.
Seoul’s feature class 1 event was essentially a Group race run under handicap conditions over 1400M. With Morfhis having taken out the SBS Sports Sprint last summer as well as a pair of full prize-money class 1 races, his rating had risen to the extent that he had to carry 60kg as was giving away 8kg to all of his prominent rivals.
Morfhis was game coming through late as usual to finish in 4th place, but he was always going to struggle to catch Eoma Eoma who, under Moon Se Young, led from gate to wire to score by three-lengths from Do Kki Blade in 2nd and Jjang Kong in 3rd.
For Eoma Eoma it is now six wins from eight starts and punters and fans alike will be desperately hoping that circumstances will allow he and Morfhis – along with the likes of East Jet – to clash at level weights for a big prize at some point this year.
At Busan, Blue Chipper was making his return to racing for the first time since running 3rd in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.
It wasn’t to be for the now six-year-old who missed all of his five-year-old season after getting travel sickness on the way to the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Blue Chipper led out of the gate in the Mile-long Busan feature, which like the races at Seoul, was being contested for reduced prize-money, but started to tread water once they entered the home straight.
Mr. Afleet, trained by Peter Wolsley and ridden by Seo Seung-un, went on to win the race by four-lengths from Core Blade.
For Blue Chipper, who missed his planned final gallop earlier in the week due to heavy rain, a mile was always going to be a tough ask first up and so long as he pulls up without any issues, perhaps little should be read into his performance. There will hopefully be bigger things to come for him later in the year.
Blue Chipper will be going around at Busan on Friday but we’re turning our attention to Seoul which will be the location for the international simulcast this week and there are no fewer than 15 races from 10:00 to 17:00. The feature sees what is essentially a Group race run at handicap conditions when Morfhis renews hostilities with Eoma Eoma and Do Kki Blade over 1400M. Here are the previews:
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Three-year-old maidens here with only four of them having raced before. Of those four, (8) HOLIDAY CHARM ran 2nd on debut over this distance back on November 11th. He registered a creditable time and while it isn’t the most fashionable trainer/jockey combination and perhaps wants a bit further, he is probably worthy of being favourite today. (4) CUPID BULLET ran creditably enough for 5th place on debut at 1200M in December and can improve today while (7) TORUK MAKTO too did nothing wrong on her first try and she should be set to get much closer this time. Of the first timers, the most impressive in trials was (5) CHEONSANGSEONG, who won his heat three weeks ago in the kind of time that if replicated in this kind of race, would usually see him right in the mix. (6) DESK TAP, who came through the same trial, and (9) STAR CRAZY are others who can go well first up.
Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(1) WINNER IS WELL struck on debut in December, coming from midfield to score at this distance in a time faster than any of the others here have achieved. He is a five-year-old so he is making up for lost time and he surely makes the most of getting a free hit in the shape of another crack at class 6 today. As for the rest of them, we’re looking for potential rather than achievement with not a single one of them having finished better than 6th. (4) BEST CHEONSANG led for much of the way around on her debut on December 19th before fading in the closing stages for 6th. She should have come on fitness wise for that run and can get closer today. (13) OLD SPECIAL debuted adequately all the way back last July. He’s not been seen since but trialed up in January looking well and should be a factor first up here. (5) ICE STAR and (6) GLOBAL CHEONSA have both been solid if unspectacular across two starts apiece and solid might be enough to get some money today.
(1) Winner Is Well (13) Old Special (4) Best Cheonsang (6) Global Cheonsa
Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
It seems unlikely that this year’s Oaks winner will emerge from this very modest maiden for three-year-old fillies (6) DANCING WITH YOU has shown the most so far, leading for much of the way on debut before finishing 3rd, while racing just off the speed and ending up 4th on her second attempt with both races having been at today’s distance. She has a better draw today and every chance of making the breakthrough. (4) BORAQUEEN has improved across two starts so far, running 5th in her latest having expended up a bit of effort getting to the lead from a wide fate. She too is much better drawn today and can be a danger. Another couple of with seemingly the right trajectory are (2) LUCKY BALLY and (11) DAEJIUI YEOGEOL with both having shown improvement in their respective second outings. (10) K N MENIQUEEN will attract attention as Moon Se Young stays aboard. It is possible that he is simply maintaining relations with a top trainer but while his filly has finished well back in both starts so far, both have been tougher assignments than this and she has the fifth fastest time of the twelve who have raced at the distance already.
(6) Dancing With You (4) Boraqueen (10) K N Meniqueen (2) Lucky Bally
Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
All fourteen tackle 1300M for the first time. We do have two last start winners though and it would be no surprise to see them competing for the win here, despite both having drawn wide. (12) HI HI is slightly favoured. A fast trial winner, he ran 3rd on debut before coming from midfield to comfortably score second up over this distance on December 19th in a decent time. A day later (13) STAR WARS made his own breakthrough. He led from gate to wire to win comfortably having run 2nd on debut. Another who improved on his second start is (14) TAP QUALITY. He is yet to win but ran a good 2nd on his latest outing and it was from the same outside gate that he has to deal with today. Plenty of others have hinted at ability too with (1) ADELE NARAE and (10) THE FIGHTING perhaps best placed to compete for the money here.
(12) Hi Hi (13) Star Wars (14) Tap Quality (10) The Fighting
3, 6, 9, 13
Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Fillies only here and (3) CHEONMA TODAY has the opportunity to do something that will hopefully never happen again and that’s win three races in class 6. She has won her latest two in fine fashion by seven and six lengths respectively. She, along with every other runner in the field, steps up to the distance for the first time and there is no reason why it can’t suit. It’s very competitive though. (1) YEONGGWANGUI MISO broke through at start number three on December 20th. She had two 3rd place finishes prior to that and should be on pace from the start here. (9) BLACK ROOKIE was a much improved 2nd on her second start on December 20th, beating a couple of the others who go here in the process. She ran through the line well and may like the additional furlong today. (7) FOREVER ONE and (11) RUBICON also come in off the back of a runner-up finish and have placing claims at least again. There is another previous winner in the field in the shape of (4) QUEEN OF BEST. She scored in a fast time over 1200M in October but was disappointing on her return in December. Up in trip she is worth another chance.
(3) Cheonma Today (1) Yeonggwangui Miso (9) Black Rookie (4) Queen Of Best
Morfhis swooped late to score a stunning victory in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul, diving home to deny Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma under a fine steer from jockey Johan Victoire.
Morshis gets up to debu Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint
Busan Ilbo Cup top two Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ renewed hostilities disputing the lead in the early stages of the six-furlong G3 race, the second leg in the 2020 Korea Sprint Series.
Gaon Champ would quickly capitulate at the top of the stretch and it seemed upstart Eoma Eoma would pose the only threat to Do Kki Blade. That was to reckon without Morfhis whose stunning late show saw him duck inside to snatch victory at the death by a head.
Morfhis is a five-year-old American bred gelding by Stephen Got Even and and out of the Rubiano mare Chinchilla. He was a $150,000 purchase from the OBS 2017 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds. The win was his eighth in twenty-three runs and takes him on to career winnings of KRW 739 Million. For jockey Victoire it was his second Korean Group win following his success on Dolkong in last year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup while it was a first for trainer Lee Gwan-ho.
The win was notable on a number of fronts. Morfhis, who up until now was seen as a solid dependable class 1 campaigner with a strong finish who specialises at seven-furlongs, now finds himself in the top echelon of Korean sprinters and a serious contender for September’s Korea Sprint (should that race take place).
It also provided the rare sight of a top level Korean sprint race by a horse coming from well off the pace. While Doraonpogyeongseon, who won this race in both 2017 and 2018, was by no means a front-runner, he would usually emerge from a relatively handy position. Two furlongs out on Sunday, Morfhis was still in 11th place.
While beaten, Do Kki Blade confirmed his place among the elite and still has every chance of going on to claim the overall Sprint Series win but another big story coming out of the race was the emergence of Eoma Eoma. The three-year-old entered the race having not had to face a serious challenge in three prior outings yet despite drawing an unfavourable gate, only went down by less than half a length on the line after an excellent ride by Song Jae-chul.
Gaon Champ and Simjangui Godong both had off-days but will be expected to bounce back while the ever awkward Global Captain missed the start before running on well. At their best, all three can be winning chances in future feature races.
The calendar may now be up in the air for all these horses. The Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy was originally supposed to be the first leg of the Sprint Series in March. It is now tentatively scheduled for August 23rd. Then there is the Korea Sprint itself, still scheduled for September 13th.
Whatever happens in terms of the schedule, there is plenty to look forward to with these sprinters.