SBS Sports Sprint

Morfhis Downs Dokki Blade, Eoma Eoma To Upturn Sprint Ranks In Shock SBS Win

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.

SBS Sports Sprint 2020

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.

SBS Sports Sprint Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (July 26)

Arguably the most intriguing race in recent Korean racing history goes to post on Sunday afternoon in front of a spectator-less Seoul Racecourse, but fortunately live on television, in the shape of the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. There are 14 races at Seoul from 10:25 to 18:00 as well as 5 at Busan from 12:15 to 15:50. Here are the previews:

KRA Busan Ilbo Do Kki Blade Gaon Champ

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old colts and fillies kick off proceeding where they line up over the short course. (3) HWANGGEUM POWER is one of only two runners that have had a previous run. The Limitless Bid filly finished fourth on debut when settling well back from a wide draw and subsequently running on well. The on-fire Moon Se-young will be legged aboard her this time around and she will jump from a much better draw allowing her to settle closer. (6) HAPPY DAY trialed well and can figure at her first start. The Tiz Wonderful two-year-old clocked 63.6 seconds for the 1000m on a dry track, which reads relatively well for this race. (8) VICTORICA looks next best clocking a slightly slower time in her trial. She is a Colonel John filly who wasn’t fully urged in her trial. (1) STORM ROAD is the other runner that has had a previous start. She also gets a better draw today and can settle closer in the run.

Selections (3) Hwanggeum Power (6) Happy Day (8) Victorica (1) Storm Road
Next Best 2, 7
Fast Start 6, 7

 

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

Twelve three-year-old maidens go around here and it is not a strong race, to put it mildly. Ten of them have raced before but the only one to trouble the placing judges so far is (6) MAKALU POWER, who ran 3rd on what was his second outing on July 11th. It wasn’t a fast time but he won’t need to improve very much at all in order to feature here. We’re going to side with a debut-maker. (3) JANGSAN SASUDAE went through three trials and while it would be wrong to say he caught the eye, he showed improvement over the course of them and hit the line well in the latest of them. The other Korean born foal from his dam has won three from twelve and this s a very soft race to debut in. (11) SIMON STORM ran on reasonably well on debut and may improve. The other debut-maker (4) COLORS ONLY also has to be given a chance in what is the weakest company she will ever face. Her trial was a very slow one all-round so doesn’t offer too many clues but she looked competent enough.

Selections (3) Jangsan Sasudae (6) Makalu Power (4) Colors Only (11) Simon Storm
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 4, 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million 

The Korean-bred maidens will go over the short course in the third event. (8) P.K. DOLPUNG is the on top selection after clocking a quick trial. He resumes for his first run since January where he finished fifth behind Miracle Icheon. He has finished close-up on numerous occasions and is an each way chance. (3) JOY OF KING resumed in good fashion last start when third over the 1000m. The Federalist gelding hit the line in good style, if he can hold a position in the first half of the field he looks a main player. (4) CHEONSANGUI YEOIN debuted in good style over the 1000m when working across from a wide gate, before running on well in the straight. She can find a position with less effort from a good draw and do her best work late. (10) OVER ACHIEVE is second up after finishing midfield behind Gaja Plan earlier this month. She looks capable of running into the minor money.

Selections (8) P.K. Dolpung (3) Joy Of King (4) Cheonsangui Yeoin (10) Over Achieve
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 2, 11

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies only in this class 5 affair and all of them are pretty useful and all have a chance to win. Both (3) FORT SEUONE and (9) GEORGE QUEEN come in having won their respective debut races last month. George Queen made all and was the quicker of the pair and while they have an additional furlong to tackle today, she was finishing strongly and could well win again although with plenty of speed on her inside, the wide draw may not be to her favour. Fort Seuone looks suited to this distance and also has strong claims. (2) HANSEN CHOICE returned from the shutdown to win well over 1300M on June 20th, leading all the way around. She will also be challenging for what’s set to be a quite contested lead here. The other last start winner is (6) SOARA YEOJANGGUN who led all the way over 1400M but does perhaps have a bit to find against the speedier types that she faces here. OF the ones with experience at this level, (7) SAEROUN BOBAE and (1) LUISA came home 2nd and 4th when they raced each other in a similar all-filly race over 1300M on June 21st. Both came from behind the pace and Luisa especially looks as though she has scope for improvement.

Selections (9) George Queen (1) Luisa (7) Saeroun Bobae (3) Fort Seuone
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start  

 

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

There is pace-a-plenty in the fifth event on the card. (9) JEONJEONGSAGEUM showed ability in her first few starts before the racing hiatus. The Tiz Wonderful filly won her last start in January in good style and has since trialed well, clocking 61 seconds flat for the 1000m. Lim Gi-won, who knows the filly well will be aboard her once again. (7) GLOBAL GOLD resumed in good style when winning late last month. He has shown plenty of speed at his last couple of starts and when he has sat on speed, seems to do his best work. His time last start wasn’t the fastest but with some slight improvement he can be considered a winning chance once again. (4) WINNER BLUE is second-up after placing behind Captain Best last time out. He is another on-speed type who has drawn well for his eighth start. Antonio Da Silva sticks with the Old Fashioned gelding which is a positive. (10) WINNER TEMPLAR resumes and gets the services of Moon Se-young first up. The lightly raced four-year-old is yet to break maiden status but has placed on three occasions from four starts. She trialed up fairly last week, the draw looks her biggest obstacle.

Selections (9) Jeonjeongsageum (7) Global Gold (4) Winner Blue (10) Winner Templar
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 9, 11

 

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

The Korean-bred three-year-old gallopers face off in the second event where the majority of the field is lightly raced. (4) INDY QUEEN is the on top selection after a good debut five weeks back. The Indie Band filly finished second behind Power Gate when sitting behind the leaders before letting down in good fashion. The 1200m should suit her chances and she has drawn well once again. (11) WISE GIRL has put a couple of good trials together. The Officer filly has been handed a wide draw to overcome on debut. If Iaonnis Polluis can find a position one of the fence she can be considered an each way chance. (8) THALE NOI lines up for her second start after finishing fifth on debut. The Ecton Park filly capitulated last start in the final stages, but should strip fitter for the run. (10) GENERAL ANN went over this distance last time out finishing fourth behind Honor Queen. She will need to improve to be considered a winning chance but is capable of collecting some prizemoney once again.

Selections (4) Indy Queen (11) Wise Girl (8) Thale Noi (10) General Ann
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 6, 10, 12

 

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A field of imported maidens go around here with a big prize on offer and precisely half the field racing for the very first time. Of the experienced ones, (3) SUN BOOM is the only one to have hit the board so far, running 3rd on June 27th over this distance. It wasn’t a hugely impressive time and while he is well drawn to get on pace again, others are favoured today. (1) SPRING KING did little on debut all the way last December but having had a few months off, looked very sharp in a trial at the beginning of this month and comes straight into contention. (10) CHANGSEONG HIT and (12) JANGSAN GOLD finished 5th and 6th when they raced each other over 1200M on June 21st. Both should improve here with Jangsan Gold perhaps having the greater potential. Of the first time starters, (5) MIGHTY CHIP and (9) MUNHAK MOON are the standouts. Both won their trials in competitive times and both should be going close first up here.

Selections (1) Spring King (5) Mighty Chip (12) Jangsan Gold (9) Munhak Moon
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 9

 

Busan Race 3: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) WORLD TODAY is up in class and distance following a smart win over a mile at class 4 on July 5th. He already has a runner-up finish to his name over 1800M and is likely to be on pace here with solid claims to win again. (2) THE SABER is an intriguing entry. The Trappe Shot colt has just the three races behind him and steps up in class having won over 1300M in a fast time on June 26th. He ran on strongly that day though so while it is a big step up in distance, he may well be equal to it. (5) CURLIN FANTASY comes in having run a very good 2nd place behind the progressive Samseong Dokki. He is yet to win in nineteen attempts but that was a very good showing and he can place again. A number of the others failed to catch the eye on resumption over 1400M on June 21st. They will of course have all needed that race and (9) MALIBU BYEOL is perhaps the most likely to progress.

Selections (7) World Today (2) The Saber (5) Curlin Fantasy (9) Malibu Byeol
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

The Korean Class 4 gallopers line up in the seventh over 1300m. (2) RAON HANNIBAL is the on top selection based on what she did last preparation. She was somewhat disappointing when first-up five weeks back but she should improve off that run, along with her connections hopefully getting a bit more work into her. She’s a winner of three races from ten starts, including one in this grade. (3) BIG CLASSIC looks another one with some more-than-average ability. The lightly raced four-year-old has had five starts yielding two wins and two minor placings. She has led at her past three starts so from barrier three we anticipate she will take up the running and prove hard to run down. (12) THANK YOU MOTHER lines up for her second-up run after finishing second when running on strongly last start. She has been dealt the carpark draw and will need some luck to find a position early. (5) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM was a winner when resuming and lines up in a tougher event. He carries just 52.5kg and with gate five looks one that can run into the minor money.

Selections (2) Raon Hannibal (3) Big Classic (12) Thank You Mother (5) Cheonnyeonui Baram
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 6, 9

 

Busan Race 4: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

An even assembly of runners line up in the fourth where they will go over the six furlongs. (4) FIRST CHANGER is the on top selection after trialing up in great fashion on two occasions. Whilst the trials were quite some time ago, it shows us that the Two Step Salsa colt appears to be back to his best. He has won four races from ten starts and whilst his past couple of race starts have been disappointing, he looks forward enough to win this event. (6) BANJIUI YOJEONG was disappointing when resuming, in fact it was the first time the four-year-old has not collected a cheque when going to the races. It was a rather handy race he lined up in last start and this looks a much easier assignment. Seo Seung-un jumping aboard also gives us some confidence. (10) HAWK KING is a very capable racehorse on his day. He trialed up in good fashion back in April and lines up for his new preparation in this event. He has performed well over the six furlongs previously. (11) WONDERUL LION is another first-up runner. She has had the one start in Class 2 company where she finished midfield behind Seongsan Simon. With just the 51.5kg on her back she should be able to work forward as per normal and be there at the business end.

Selections (4) First Changer (6) Banjiui Yojeong (10) Hawk King (11) Wonderful Lion
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) MONEY ZIF was a class and distance winner on June 28th, coming from off the pace to score in a creditable time. He went up in the ratings because of that but an apprentice jockey takes a couple of kilograms off and he remains competitive here. A surprising winner at this level was (4) FIORE over 1700M on July 4th. It was a front-running performance but others are favoured today. Three of these raced each other at class and distance on June 21st. (2) HWANGGEUM HAE finished the best of them in 4th place behind Looking Good. He’s drawn well to get to the front here and looks a big danger. (6) SUPER ECTON came from well back to run home a strong 5th in that race. He has won at this distance already and will likely once more go back early and look to pass plenty late on. (5) JACOB went into the shutdown having run a solid class and distance 3rd. He hasn’t trialed since April and comes in here as the wildcard.

Selections (2) Hwanggeum Hae (6) Super Ecton (1) Money Zif (5) Jacob
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 2, 9

 

Busan Race 5: Class 1 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP has the fastest time of any of these at the distance although that came when he was chasing home Blue Chipper, who was in the process of smashing the track record. He ran 2nd to the progressive Ssonsal when giving away 5kg over 1400M two weeks ago and it may be that the weight plays a role again. If it does, then (8) PRO CONSUL could be the one to take advantage. The lightly-raced four-year-old was sensational when beating a decent class 1 field over this distance on June 26th and looks well set for another score here. (2) KING OF GLORY ran well for 3rd in the Busan Ilbo Cup last month over 1200M but eschews the second leg of the Sprint Series in Seoul this afternoon to take his chance here. (3) DIVIDE WIND ran 8th in that race and the stablemate of Baengmunbaekdap can get closer today.

Selections (8) Pro Consul (6) Baengmunbaekdap (2) King Of Glory (3) Divide Wind
Next Best 1
Fast Start 5, 8

 

Seoul Race 9: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Class 5 runners go over the two turns in the ninth event on the card. (7) CHOEGANG SINGI is yet to break through for his first win but has shown an appreciation for the middle distances. He clocked a good time when resuming over the two turns, finishing fourth behind Cheonnyeonui Godo. The Chapel Royal gelding should take improvement from the first-up run. (3) GLOBAL WANGJA has been promoted to Class 5 company after finishing second behind Coin Blade when first-up. It’s a considerable step up to the 1700m which is unchartered territory for the Colors Flying gelding, but he has been settling off speed running on strongly. (9) GAZUA is another that has shown some good performances over the two turns. He lacks early speed so look for him closing late. (1) GAROSUGIL is next best and capable of running into the money, where he goes over the two turns for the first time.

Selections (7) Choegang Singi (3) Global Wangja (9) Gazua (1) Garosugil
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 7, 8

 

Seoul Race 10: Class Open (1200M) SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) / Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million

  1. GAON CHAMP – Last year’s winner is so consistent and having drawn gate 1 shouldn’t have to go around a horse. Narrowly beaten by Do Kki Blade in Busan, he has every chance of overturning that form.
  2. SSONSAL – The only challenger from Busan and a super class 1 winner over 1400M earlier this month. The absolute elite class may find him out though.
  3. SPRING BACK – Good sprinter. Finished behind Morfhis last start and 4th to Blue Chipper in last year’s Korea Sprint. Perhaps has a bit to find.
  4. MUNHAK PRINCESS – First start since January 2019 and while trials have been consistently fast, she’s very much been thrown in the deep end here.
  5. MUNHAK WINNER – Hasn’t won beyond Class 2 and well back in the Busan Ilbo. Plenty to find here.
  6. DO KKI BLADE – The logical favourite after that Busan Ilbo win. He’s drawn a much better gate this time so it should be easier for him to be on pace and he’s a big chance.
  7. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Didn’t get much luck in Busan but beat both Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ in January. Not impossible.
  8. MEDICI GLORY – Lightly raced four-year-old returned for the first time in over a year to run 5th behind Morfhis a month ago. Talented but this is tough.
  9. EAST JET – Class 3 winner over this distance in June but this is massive step up in competition.
  10. EOMA EOMA – The wildcard faces his first test. Shown brilliance in his three wins from three starts and drops in weight here. The question is can he adapt to the intensity of this class – or can he in fact bring his own and blow them away?
  11. GLOBAL CAPTAIN – Super on his day. Ran uncontrollably wide on his latest start in February and then had a hard time showing enough manners to re-qualify. Unpredictable so hard to be confident first-up.
  12. MORFHIS – Very good class 1 horse. Wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem as he can just follow the leaders. Whether he has enough explosive pace to blow past them is another matter. Probably not.

 

Verdict: The Korea Sprint winner will almost certainly emerge from this race. (10) EOMA EOMA could be something special but going on the knowns, rather than the unknowns, (1) GAON CHAMP and (6) DO KKI BLADE are the ones to beat.

Selections (1) Gaon Champ (6) Do Kki Blade (10) Eoma Eoma (7) Simjangui Godong
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 11

 

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another event over the two turns in the eleventh. (11) HIDDEN SOCKS resumes over the 1700m coming off a superb trial. He ran into some handy types at his first four starts including Blue Chiton and also Determination on debut. Moon Se-young will partner the chestnut as he resumes, based on this being his easiest assignment to date he looks the one to beat. (3) ECHO BILL finished off strong when resuming to finish third behind Shu Leub. With a good draw jockey Johan Victoire may be able to get the Daredevil colt to settle closer to the speed. He is yet to win but looks as if he is building to one shortly. (10) HWANGGEUM LUCKY is another import that is yet to breakthrough. He is first up since February and gave followers some confidence in a recent trial when winning his heat, it was a good time considering the short course is not a strength of his. (12) BIG TRIPLE is a last start winner over this distance, he broke through at start six. He settled off speed last time out before finishing off well. He will have to carry 57kg from the outside gate this time around.

Selections (11) Hidden Socks (3) Echo Bill (10) Hwanggeum Lucky (12) Big Triple
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 5, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 12: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(8) BRIGADIER GENERAL ran out a good winner at class and distance on June 27th, scoring by four-lengths. The handicapper certainly noticed him and he carries a whopping additional 5.5kg today. That may prove too much for him to repeat but he should be close. (2) MR. TURNER was the horse four-lengths in arrears in 2nd place that day. The turnaround in weights today should mean he gets closer and could win. He will go back early and finish strong. (9) FLASH JET and (1) EMORY SOCKS came home 4th and 5th respectively when they raced one another at class and distance on June 20th. Both came from well back in the field to run on very well and both look firmly in the hunt today. The wildcard is (3) EVER THE CHAMP. He was a battling winner at this class over 1700M in back in January taking the late developer’s record to three wins from his latest four. He hasn’t raced since and performed only fairly in a May trial. Kim Young-geun stays aboard though and he must be considered. In a race with absolutely nothing that likes to lead, he may get to the front very easily and dictate his own pace.

Selections (9) Flash Jet (8) Brigadier General (2) Mr. Turner (3) Ever The Champ
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 3

 

Seoul Race 13: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

They will go like the clappers in the thirteenth event with over half the field considered on-speed runners. (9) MY HAWK goes on top after finishing second behind the handy East Jet when resuming. He is a winner of four races from fourteen starts with a handful of minor placings. He settled midfield last start suggesting Ham Wan-sik can take a sit behind the leaders if need be. (1) BEYOND OVER clocked an impressive time for the 1400m last time out when first-up. With another handy draw she can sit on the coattails of the leaders before reeling off a fast last 400m in the event. (6) DADDY GLORY will make her first appearance since November last year. She trialed up in good fashion last week when clocking 60.6 for the 1000m, winning her heat. She has won three and finished in the top four on nine occasions from eleven starts. (12) RUNNING BOX gets a horror draw but on her day is capable of winning a race like this. She finished third behind East Jet last start where they clocked a good time. Moon Se-young taking over is a big lead for punters.

Selections (9) My Hawk (1) Beyond Over (6) Daddy Glory (12) Running Box
Next Best 10, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11

 

Seoul Race 14: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Very tricky race to conclude the card. (11) TOP BRAIN is an established class 2 competitor and while he is inconsistent, he looked very well in a trial in May and can go close here. A couple of starts back, he beat the very consistent (7) CHOEGANG GOSU. The five-year-old doesn’t win out of turn but can be relied upon to run well and can add to his impressive placing record here. (6) TAP FASHIONED ran well for 3rd behind Gaenari Song over 1200M a month ago and stretching out to 1400M may be to his benefit here. (12) RED BLADE struggled when beaten over 1900M by (8) FLYING FORD among others last month. He should have come on for that run though and the drop back in trip can suit. (9) BANYA DONGHAENG came from well back to run 4th at class and distance on June 27th and he can match or better that today. (5) DAEGUN JEPAE was lame last time so put a line through that. At his best he is a real contender and arguably the one to beat in a wide open race.

Selections (5) Daegun Jepae (11) Top Brain (7) Choegang Gosu (6) Tap Fashioned
Next Best 12, 2, 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 10

 

 

Gaon Champ, Doraonpogyeongseon, Ace Korea in SBS Sports Sprint / Silver Wolf in Ttukseom Cup: SUNDAY RACE-BY-RACE PREVIEW (June 2)

It’s a massive day of double Graded Stakes action at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The second leg of the Sprint Series sees Busan Ilbo Cup winner facing off against Ace Korea and two-time winner Doraonpogyeongseon. Meanwhile, the great Aussie mare Silver Wolf will be hot favourite to win the Ttukseom Cup. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Gaon Champ KRA

Gaon Champ won the 1st leg of the Sprint Series (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM is the most experienced galloper of the field and has started to show some consistency in his racing. He finished second last start behind Geumbit Yeoljeong in a time that was good considering a dry track. (8) NEOSEONG BYOKRYOK has placed at his last two starts over the 1000m. With four weeks between runs he should be freshened up for another good performance over the 1000m. (10) O PI M J has ran some handy races over the 1000m prior to this event. Expect the three-year-old to drop back as he normally does suggesting the wide draw will not be a problem. (9) HYEONGMA PUBU is first up since July last year but had a trial coming into this event. The four-year-old showed some promise in this type of race last year.

Selections (3) Cheonnyeonui Baram (8) Neoseong Byokryok (10) O Pi M J (9) Hyeongma Pubu
Next Best 6, 11
Fast Start 3, 11, 12

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

The second on the card has twelve engaged all looking for their first win. (2) UTGE HAEJULGE gets his best chance to notch his maiden win. The three-year-old has drawn ideally for his style of racing. He should sit right behind the speed and Lim Gi-Won can produce him at the top of the straight. (6) SEOUL MAGIC has shown some form over the 1000m of late. The chestnut has early speed so expect him to be in the first couple in running. (3) ANYANG LEOPARD finished runner up behind Independence last start which a few of these are coming out of that particular race. (8) MOONHAKCHEETAH notched his first place finish last start and can improve today.

Selections (2) Utge Haejulge (6) Seoul Magic (3) Anyang Leopard (8) Moonhakcheetah
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 5, 6, 10

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

The third has a field of twelve engaged where we can make a case for almost half the field. (3) CAMP BADA saluted in good fashion last time out when dropping back to the 1000m. With the similar draw to that of last time she will be in this for a long way down the Seoul straight. (2) MISS GELLA doesn’t like winning but she continues to keep the stakes rolling over for connections. She can jump quickly and sit in the leading division. (5) BAEKSANG showed a clean set of heels last time out when leading from gate to line. Moon Sung-Hyeok retains the ride and gets small weight relief with the rise in class. (4) GABO PULL QUEEN saluted at an each-way price last time out over the 1300m when overcoming barrier eleven. This is tougher but keep her safe.

Selections (3) Camp Bada (2) Miss Gella (5) Baeksang (4) Gabo Pull Queen
Next Best 10, 6
Fast Start 3, 4, 5, 8

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A field of eight maidens take to the track in the fourth where there only appears to be a few chances. The Kim Soon-Keun trained (3) ROYAL GHOST looks hard to beat at her fourth career start. Kim Yong Geun will partner the three-year-old who had a trial earlier this month. Expect her to sit closer in the small field. (7) MIGHTY LUCK was promising on debut last time out when she finished fourth over the 1000m. Expect improvement from the athletic looking chestnut today. (6) COILRO looked green in the run home last time out. She was beaten a big margin, but she did still have fuel in the tank at the post unlike the majority who finished behind her. (4) MACH THUNDER appears the best of the rest in a maiden that lacks form.

Selections (3) Royal Ghost (7) Mighty Luck (6) Coilro (4) Mach Thunder
Next Best 2, 1
Fast Start 3, 7

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

The engagement of Kim Yong-Geun gives confidence when looking at the chances of (5) CHODONG BOBAE. The filly hit overdrive in the last furlong when winning last time out, but she did look like she would benefit from a senior rider. (11) PRIME QUEEN broke maiden status last time out in good style. She wasn’t given the most economic run by Moon Se-Young but her brute strength won her the race. She is a winning chance and will be ridden by Johan Victoire with Moon Se-Young on forced vacation. Look for improvement from (4) BIG PRO after and encouraging second last start when running through the line strong. (8) MAPAEBONG has finished in the top five on eight occasions from eleven starts and should be considered in your novelties.

Selections (5) Chodong Bobae (11) Prime Queen (4) Big Pro (8) Mapaebong
Next Best 2, 9
Fast Start 2, 9, 11

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A small field of eight will line up over the 1300m in the second at Busan. It appears that there will be a short-priced favourite in the form of (3) ULTRA POWER. The three-year-old broke maiden status two starts back in Class 6 company and then backed it up with a respectable fourth last time out when beaten 2.5L by Dodohan who has a significant weight advantage. This looks a weaker task and the colt gets the services of the in-form Seo Seung-Un. (4) CHOEGANG STEALTH starts a new preparation and has the benefit of a trial coming into this assignment. The five-year-old has shown glimpses of ability including a last start second before going to the paddock. Four-year-old (7) WANBONG looks the best of the rest. He failed to muster last time out and was hemmed away on the fence in traffic. His runs prior were respectable and he can be considered a place chance. (8) ROYAL CLUB has been out of form recently but has placed in this company.

Selections (3) Ultra Power (4) Choegang Stealth (7) Wanbong (8) Royal Club
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 3

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Three-year-old daughter of Menifee (3) TAP LINE looks hard to beat after a dominant win over 1300m last start. She jumped out of the gates and went straight to the lead only to accelerate in good fashion at the top of the straight. Johan Victoire takes over from the suspended Alan Munro. (5) MALAKAS won in similar company last time out in a blanket finish. She rises 2kg in the weight scale is considered an each-way chance. There are some speedy ones engaged in this event so it won’t surprise if she gets a fair way back. (more…)

Doraonpogyeongseon Seals Second SBS Sports Sprint Win / Cheongsu Yeogeol Claims Ttukseom Cup

Doraonpogyeongseon produced a thundering late run to win the SBS Sports Sprint for the 2nd year running at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. The five-year-old gelding saw off a field studded with some of the country’s top sprinters to win by a length.

Doraonpogyeongseon SBS

Trained at Busan by Min Jang Gi, Doraonpogyeongseon seems to love racing at Seoul. After his win in this race last year, he returned to the capital in September to run a huge 3rd in the Korea Sprint. A repeat attempt on that race, the final leg of the Sprint Series is surely inevitable.

Having finished 3rd in the 1st leg of the series, the Busan Ilbo Cup last month, Doraonpogyeongseon was duly sent off as third-favourite in the betting market behind champion mare and winner of that 1st leg Silver Wolf, second-favourite behind the Kim Young Kwan trained Today, a winner of 10 of his 12 prior starts and running in Stakes company for the first time.

Silver Wolf was never in contention. The wide draw wasn’t supposed to be a problem but under Kim Dong Soo, who had successfully navigated a way through traffic in the Busan Ilbo, she found herself at the back of the sixteen-strong field on the turn and had to go very wide to find a run in the straight. She could only make it up to 6th. Doraonpogyeongseon, on the other hand, coming out of gate 2 was able to settle in on the fence just behind the early speed of which Today was a big part.

Main pace-setters Indian Star and Perdido Pomeroy weakened early in the straight leaving Choegang Schiller in front with a furlong to go. It looked as though Today would be the track-record holder’s primary challenger until Doraonpogyeongseon’s late show. Final Boss came with a big run for 4th.

Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a $50,000 purchase form the OBS two-year-old sales at Ocala in 2015. He’s won 9 of his 22 starts and is approaching $1Million in prize-money. Trainer Min Jang Gi was winning a Stakes race for the third time while for jockey Kim Cheol Ho, a revelation since transferring to Busan at the start of this year, it was his first success in a principle race.

The Ttukseom Cup, while more valuable than the SBS Sports Sprint, had been overshadowed by the other race in the build-up. That was partly because it was expected to end with a comfortable winner. It did, but not the one that was expected.

Haeya, runner-up last year was sent off as the prohibitive favourite but scarcely featured as Cheongsu Yeogeol, a three-year-old who had only raced six times previously, struck the front a furlong from home and ran on to win by three-lengths under a delighted Moon Se Young. Busan-trained pair Damyang Hwanho and Gold Blue were 2nd and 3rd with Haeya only managing 8th and the well-backed Hi Sexy even further back in 13th.

Cheongsu Yeogeol [Run Away And Hide – Fan Appeal (Lear Fan)] cost just $8500 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2016.

SBS Sports Sprint/Ttukseom Cup Day: Full Race-By-Race Preview (June 3)

On this weekend last year, Silver Wolf was setting out on a clean-sweep of the Queens’ Tour Series with a narrow win over Haeya in the Ttukseom Cup. This Sunday at Seoul, it’s surely Haeya’s turn to win the Ttukseom while Silver Wolf turns her attention to the SBS Sports Sprint, the 2nd leg of the Sprint Series, having already won the Busan Ilbo Cup last month. The exciting Today, a winner of 10 of 12 starts is among a full field of fifteen rivals and the Aussie-bred superstar will be under huge pressure in the 1200M test, but she has the class to overcome it. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Silver Wolf Power Blade Busan Ilbo 2018

Silver Wolf beat Power Blade in the 1st leg of the Sprint Series. Can she win again in the SBS Sports? (Pic: KRA)

A$40,000 yearling purchase, Silver Wolf was last year’s champion filly/mare in Korea. In between winning all three legs of the 2017 Queens’ Tour series, she also went sprinting, winning the Munhwa Ilbo Cup and running a strong 5th in the Korea Sprint. Silver Wolf has made an unbeaten start to 2018 with three consecutive victories including the Donga Ilbo Cup at 1800M in February and significantly, the 1st leg of the Sprint Series at Busan last month, when she downed Today’s stablemate Power Blade over this distance.

Six-years-old and arguably still getting better, the mare by Orotorio is the one to beat. Tactically versatile, she can win from anywhere but is usually ridden patiently and with lots of early speed in the race, it may well play to her advantage.

Drosselmeyer colt Today was imported in-utero and has set about winning ten of his twelve starts so far at distances of up to a mile. The Kim Young Kwan stable has such an embarrassment of riches that Today has gone somewhat under the radar and with any stable only permitted to run a maximum of two in any race, he is yet to get the opportunity to run in Stakes company. However, with Power Blade kept home, Today gets his chance here.  He enters on a four-race winning streak with his latest having been at this distance on March 25th. Jockey Franco Da Silva rode the winner of the Korean Derby three weeks ago and returns to Seoul with another big chance.

The three who contested last year’s finish all return. Doraonpogyeongseon got the decision that day by the narrowest of margins ahead of Parang Juuibo and Choegang Schiller. Doraonpogyeongseon has won just the once since but was an excellent 3rd in the Korea Sprint, beating Silver Wolf, and remains a danger at the top level.

Parang Juuibo isn’t quite of the elite but rarely finishes outside the top five – although making top five will take some doing this time. Choegang Schiller has only raced four times (and switched trainers twice) since the race a year ago. He’s won two of them, most recently in February at this distance and broke the track record in the other and is a live chance.

There are wildcards. Today’s stablemate Finest Warrior gets to step up. A winner of four from seven so far, he was unconvincing when sent up to class 1 for the first time last month but it’s unlikely trainer Kim Young Kwan has opted to bring him to Seoul simply for the experience. There is further Australian interest as Peter Wolsley brings Ace Korea up from Busan. The three-year-old Smiling Tiger colt has won his latest two in facile fashion, both at this distance and while this is a huge step up, he’s highly thought of. It’s a massively competitive contest bit Silver Wolf can win it from Today, Doraonpogyeongseon and Cheogang Schiller.

The Ttukseom Cup should be a little bit more straightforward in terms of finding the winner.

Haya at the Korea Sprint

Haeya (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Haeya is rated no fewer than 27 points higher than the next best and that fact alone tells its own story. She’s been plagued by soundness issues across her career which has restricted her to thirteen starts of which she has won six. The ones she has lost, however, have tended to be in top class company. She was 2nd to Silver Wolf in this race last year before running 3rd in the second leg, the KNN Cup at Busan.

With a mile considered her limit, she didn’t run in the concluding race of the series but did take a crack at the Korea Sprint in which she finished 11th. Haeya has begun 2018 in good form with a win and a 2nd place in two class 1 outings, both at this distance of 1400M. Her last start was in March, but she was kept ticking over with a trial win in late April. A front-runner, this could be her year.

Behind Haeya though, it is anyone’s race, with all fifteen other competitors having at least some claim on the places. Hi Sexy and Cheongsu Yeogeol look to have the best claims but Luigi Riccardi’s Rocket Queen might make for an interesting one at odds. Here is the race-by-race:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Just one debut-maker among the eleven who kick us off but he’s probably going to start the favourite. (1) WINNER SPIRIT took part in an outrageously fast trial on May 18th, registering the kind of time that would win the vast majority of actual class 6 races at this distance. It was a wet track, but he certainly looked competent and while he will surely be slower today, can still win. (2) LIVINGSTONE comes in off back to back 4th place finishes and looks to be improving, despite disappointing when favourite last start. (5) I’M HAPPY and (6) MONKEY SOCKS have both shown glimpses of ability and should go close. (11) RAON SITIEOSEU beat (3) GOLD SEUTAK and (8) NAMJJOK NARA as the trio filled out 3rd to 5th at the distance on May 5th and he should beat plenty again.

Selections (1) Winner Spirit (2) Livingstone (5) I’m Happy (6) Monkey Socks
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 10

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

(4) BARAM KING beat a couple of these on his way to 4th place at this distance on April 29th. He’s not been too far away in five of his six starts so far and against this modest opposition, with Moon Se Young taking over in the saddle, looks the most likely to make the breakthrough. (8) SEUNGNI PLUS started favourite against Baram King last time but could only manage 6th place. Nevertheless, he is one of only two horses in the race who have managed a 2nd place finish and he can be given another chance. The other one with a 2nd is (6) KHENDUM POWER though he looks to have more to find on recent form. (5) ROAD WOMAN and (11) MACHO HIME can improve on recent starts while (10) DAEJIUI SAESSAK was so slow on debut last month, she was sent back to trial. She completed that trial well last week though and could do much better this time around.

Selections (4) Baram King (8) Seungri Plus (11) Macho Hime (5) Road Woman
Next Best 1, 9, 10
Fast Start 3, 6, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(4) SPECIAL GOLD got her second 3rd place finish from four starts so far and she could well be the one getting it right in this maiden for three-year-olds. She’s finished well in all her starts so far and so long as she doesn’t leave herself with too much to do, she can win. She was chased home that day by (5) HANEUL ACE and (1) HYEONGMA PUBU, the (more…)

Silver Wolf Wins Ttukseom Cup While Last-Gasp Doraonpogyeongseon Claims SBS Sports Sprint

Sunday was a big day of Group race action at Seoul and it ended with Silver Wolf taking the Black Type win in the Ttukseom Cup followed by Doraonpogyeongseon getting the best of the tightest of three-way finishes to the SBS Sports Sprint.

Silver Wolf (Orotorio) started as second-favourite for the Group 2 Ttukseom Cup, the first leg of the Queens’ Tour that will decide the year’s champion filly or mare, and she and the one ahead of her in the market, Haeya, turned things into a two-horse race as they entered the straight.

As it turned out, Silver Wolf was just too strong, gaining the upper hand just over half a furlong out and running on to win by two lengths. Gaenari came home in 3rd just ahead of the fast finishing Gold Blue.

Australian bred Silver Wolf was a A$40,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2014. She finished 4th in this race last year and today was making just her second start of 2017. In total it was her 6th win on her 15th career start. It was a first Korean group race victory for Serbian jockey Djordje Perovic and another milestone in his burgeoning partnership with trainer Song Moon Gil (of Clean Up Joy fame).

One race later was the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. Punters ignored most local pundits and sent off Japanese visitor Party Dress off as the favourite ahead of 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller and Success Story, who won the first leg of the Sprint Series, the Busan Ilbo Cup, at Busan last month.

It wasn’t to be for the Japanese pair, with neither Party Dress nor Kimon Avalon being involved and coming home in 8th and 12th respectively. Not was it for Success Story who showed early but weakened to 7th. Instead, it was 60/1 outsider Parang Juuibo who looked like he was about to produce a shock upset as having always been close to the speed, he struck the front just over a furlong out and kept on going.

He came so close. Choegang Schiller flew home in pursuit under Perovic on the outside but in between them came Doraonpogyeongseon. The line arrived with all three together but the photo showed the narrowest of narrow wins for the 4-year-old Doraonpogyeongseon.

SBSSprint Photo

Doraonpogyeongseon’s (centre) nose is just in front on the line

The game Parang Juuibo clung on to 2nd ahead of Choegang Schiller. A full four-lengths behind, 90/1 outsider Best Guy brought home the rest.

Doraonpogyeongseon [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] was a US$50,000 purchase from the OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds at Ocala in 2015. It was the four-year-old’s 13th career start and his 7th win. Trained by Min Jang Ki, he’s a stablemate of Success Story. For jockey Ham Wan Sik, it was a successful return to Seoul where he rode Clean Up Joy to win the Grand Prix Stakes last December.

“Doraon” means “Again” or “Return Of” while “Pogyeongseon” was the name of a horse who ran in Korea in the 1980s, winning the Grand Prix Stakes in 1985 and 1986.  That was held at Ttukseom. Maybe someday, there will need to be a Doraon Silver Wolf, or even a Doraon Doraonpogyeongseon.

How they finished:

Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) 1400M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Djordje Perovic – 4.6, 1.7
2. Haeya (USA) [Flatter – Luxaholic (Macho Uno)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.3
3. Gaenari (CAN) [Philanthropist – Happy To Be Home (Langfuhr)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 5.2
Distances: 0.75 lengths / 8 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Gold Blue (JPN) 5. Mighty Gem (USA) 6. Indian Star (KOR) 7. Holiday Dream (USA) 8. Supreme Magic (USA) 9. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 10. Hidden Indian (USA)

SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) 1200M – Seoul Racecourse – June 4, 2017

1. Doraonpogyeongseon (USA) [Kantharos – Smartybegone (Smarty Jones)] – Ham Wan Sik – 10.2, 1.8
2. Parang Juuibo (USA) [With Distinction – Spicy Souffle (French Deputy)] – Lee Hyeon Jong – 15.7
3. Choegang Schiller (USA) [Artie Schiller – Changeable (Miswaki)] – Djordje Perovic – 1.5
Distance: Nose / Nose
Also Ran: 4. Best Guy (KOR) 5. Perdido Pomeroy (USA) 6. Dynamic Jilju (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Party Dress (JPN) 9. Geuma Rapid (AUS) 10. Always Winner (KOR) 11. Wonder Bolt (USA) 12. Kimon Avalon (JPN) 13. Choegangja (USA)

International Sunday: Preview (June 4)

It’s a Group race double-header at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Black-type is up for grabs in the Ttukseom Cup while one race later it is Korea vs Japan in the SBS Sports Sprint. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05.

Success Story Busan Ilbo 2017

Success Story winning May’s Busan Ilbo Cup (Pic: KRA)

Both races are part of a series. The Ttukseom Cup gets the “Queens Tour” for fillies and mares underway while the SBS Sports Sprint is the 2nd leg of the “Sprint Series” which will culminate in the international Korea Sprint in September.

The winner of the first leg of the Sprint Series returns here and could well be favourite. Success Story made his name with a pair of 3rd place finishes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2016 and having returned to winning ways over 1800M in February, got the better of a strong field in the Busan Ilbo Cup on the south-coast last month. Only one other participant from that 1st leg tries his luck again; that’s Perdido Pomeroy, who won this race last year but has struggled for form since.

Japan sends two. Kimon Avalon, who finished 5th in the race last year, returns to the peninsula to try again but there will be more attention paid to 6-year-old mare Party Dress who operates at JRA level at home. It’s the Korea-based one that will be fancied though with 2015 Asia Challenge Cup winner Choegang Schiller, in-form Doraonpogyeongseon and Brian Dean’s Choegangja all set to be well-backed.

The Ttukseom Cup, named after the district of downtown Seoul that was home to the racecourse before it moved to its present site in the satellite city of Gwacheon, is one of six Korean races included in this year’s international “Blue Book” and there are ten fillies and mares vying for the Black Type it confers – not to mention a 228Million Won first prize.

US import Haeya went down to her first defeat in April but looks to be the one to beat in the 1400M test. Form comments below:

Race 8: Class Open (1400M) Ttukseom Cup (KOR G2) / KRW 400 Million

1. INDIAN STAR – Stakes winner at this track last October. Narrowly beaten last time out at this distance, she’s a fast starter and should be in the mix at the end.

2. MIGHTY GEM – Ended last year in great form but hasn’t looked right in three starts so far this term. Strong finisher but looks up against it here.

3. HAEYA – Suffered her first defeat in April, fading late on. That was her first start since January after lots of setbacks. If she’s right, she will be hard to beat.

4. GOLD BLUE –Won consecutive races in January and February but two subsequent class 1 starts have been at long distances. Very strong finisher, so long as she doesn’t leave too much to do, she could be in the hunt late on. (more…)