Breeders’ Cup Sunday: Seoul & Busan Race-By-Race Preview (December 1)

The year’s top juveniles are set to face each other in the Breeders’ Cup (KOR G2) at Busan on Sunday afternoon. Seoul’s champion Roller Blade takes on Busan’s Save The World along with twelve others over 1400M, with the winner to be crowned the nation’s Champion two-year-old of 2019. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10 while at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 to 18:00.

Roller Blade

Roller Blade is in Busan for the Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

Here is the horse by horse guide to the Breeders’ Cup with Seoul’s race by race and selections for the remainder of the Busan card below:

  1. ROLLER BLADE – A winner of four from five so far including both of Seoul’s first two juvenile series legs, making all both times. He’s drawn well on the inside again and while he, like all the others here, is in unchartered territory at seven furlongs, he’ll surely stay on without issue. A big chance.
  2. K N ROAD – Just the one win from five but he ran 3rd in both Munhwa and Nonghyup Trophies, getting much closer in the latter. He seems to be improving and he is one who is set to benefit for the increase in distance today. A top jockey travels with him and he can go close.
  3. MARK ONE – No concerns about staying the distance with this one. If anything, it could be too short as he broke his maiden over a mile last month. He led all the way and has a big race jockey on board. Outsider but not without a chance of some money.
  4. MAN OF THE FIELD – He ran 3rd behind Save The World in the Breeders’ Cup Trial last month but was some way in arrears so has plenty to make up. He runs on well though so should appreciate the step up in trip and can run into some money again.
  5. YEONGCHEON JILJU – Half-brother to 2015 Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace as well as a couple of other talented runners. His two wins have come at 1400M and he’ll handle the distance well. Deeper waters today and others are faster but he can come from off the pace and finish well.
  6. DETERMINATION – Looks a potential star in the making. After running 3rd on debut, he’s since won three in facile fashion including up at 1700M. Currently rated ten points below Roller Blade and Save The World, if those two end up going too fast, he’ll have plenty left late on to make his move.
  7. MENI HERO – Gets to take his chance after a spectacular success over 1300M at the end of October. It was only at class 5 but he absolutely blitzed them to register his maiden win. Obviously this is much harder but he’s drawn well to get on speed again and could cause problems.
  8. AFLEET YOUNG – Comes in off two nice wins over a mile, the most recent at class 5, coming from just behind the speed on both occasions. He’s shown a decent turn of foot as well but back at 1400M, others are favoured.
  9. TOP DAY – The only horse in the race from top trainer Kim Young-kwan. After winning his first two races very tidily, he’s struggled in three attempts since. Two of those were behind Save The World and he only managed 7th in the Breeders’ Cup trial. He will attract some support due to the stable and his dam is a Korean Derby winner but this looks a stretch. We’ll likely see him in contention in the Spring Classics.
  10. CHOIN GANGJA – Ran on very nicely from well back to end up 4th in the Nonghyup Trophy last month, He’s consistently posted competitive times and looks to be a progressive type who will only get better as the distances get longer. He has a real placing chance here.
  11. SAVE THE WORLD – The only one to come in with an unbeaten record having won his four races by a combined margin of twenty-one lengths. His latest was a comfortable score in the Breeders’ Cup Trial on October 27th beating Doctor Carson – who went on to win last week’s Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup – very easily. He has home advantage and he will be a deserved favourite.
  12. DONGTEUJA DAY – Beaten by Save The World on debut before winning his next two to earn a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Trial. Didn’t show up that day, weakening into last place. Gets another chance here but will be an outsider

Here are the Seoul Previews:

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

A big day of racing kicks off with the two-year-olds lining up over the 1300m. (5) NEW MOON WARRIOR looks the one to beat coming off an impressive debut. The Peace Rules gelding bounced out of the gates well in his first run but couldn’t rein in the leader Power Tower. They ran a fast time and the step up to the 1300m should suit. (8) DAESUNG QUEEN is having her third career start. She has placed at both outings to date including a well beaten third last time out. This is her second run over the 1300m and she will take improvement out of her last run. (6) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI will need to improve to be a winning chance but is in the mix to fill a place. Connections of the Hansen colt will be looking for improvement of his last run when finishing midfield over the 1300m. (11) BEST TAP ran home fairly last time out when finishing fifth behind Dynamic Punch. At his first start he finished third over the five furlongs. At both starts to date he hasn’t clocked fast times but he is one that can fill a place.

Selections (5) New Moon Warrior (8) Daeseung Queen (6) Baekdusan Cheonji (11) Best Tap

Next Best 2, 1

Fast Start 5, 8

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

Another batch of two-year-olds will line up in the second but this time over the five furlongs. It is hard to go past the performance of (10) EAST ONE when looking at the times they posted last start. The son of One Cool Cat finished fourth behind Gyoryongdeuksu when running 62.2 for the 1000m. None of his counterparts in this assignment have posted a time close to his and based on that he looks the one to beat. He looks best suited to be ridden positively out of the gates and be on speed. (8) WANGINHAENGCHA handed in a nice trial performance when not over-exerted. Lee Dong-Ha has been riding well of late and he will have a good chance to finish in the money in this race. (3) SPEED BIRD is another that trialed fairly when qualifying. His dam was a handy Canadian-bred mare who won over $500k US in the states. Watch with interest as he takes to the track for the first time.

Selections (10) East One (8) Wanginhaengcha (3) Speed Bird (4) My Member

Next Best 6, 9

Fast Start 8, 10

Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

One of the best bets on the card will line up in the third over the 1200m. (8) MARK STORY made a lasting impression when blowing his rivals away on debut. The import ran a fair trial when not overly asked for but followed that up with an impressive debut win clocking 59.5 for the 1000m on a dry-rated track. We suggest his counterparts look at his head behind the gates because if all goes to plan, they’ll only see his backside in the run. (7) LORD BAN ran a fair race when debuting over the 1300m. He sat on speed and


Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 30)

After Friday’s sad news from Busan with the passing of jockey Mun Jung-won, racing restarts on Saturday with a 13-race card at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00:


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

Twelve juvenile maidens go round in the opener with four of them racing for the very first time. We’re going to side with experience though. (4) CHOEGANGMA ran 4th on debut in a solid time at the end of September. She was a touch one-paced but should have come on for the run and is a live contender here. (5) CUPID BISANG ran 2nd on her first attempt, sent off at three-figure odds with no disgrace in being a full ten-lengths behind the excellent winner K Top King. That was at the end of August so she has had three months off. That’s true too for (1) ARARIYO, who made his debut in a different race that same day and ran 3rd. From the inside, he should be on pace early and can be in the mix here. (6) ROYAL CHUKBOK was found to be lame after his latest effort and may improve here. Of the first-timers. (8) HWA SSI BYEOK was perhaps the best looking in trials.

Selections (4) Choegangma (5) Cupid Bisang (1) Arariyo (8) Hwa Ssi Byeok
Next Best 6, 2
Fast Start 1, 4, 9, 12

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

(3) BEST LUCKY has improved across three starts so far and having led for much of the way on his first try at this distance on October 27th, ultimately finished a creditable 3rd. He’ll be sent to the front again and won’t need to improve on that performance too much in order to strike here. (2) SMART HANSEN recovered from a bad start to run a good 2nd on his latest at the beginning of this month. It looks like he’s figuring things out after nine attempts and should be a danger here. (6) WONDERFUL CAT stepped up to this distance last time and recorded her best finish so far, running a close 3rd and can build on that here. (7) WONDERFUL ORANGE and (9) CLEAN HEART are others who have shown some promise and can improve today.

Selections (3) Best Lucky (2) Smart Hansen (6) Wonderful Cat (7) Wonderful Orange
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 7

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

(8) GONGJAK WANG was 4th on what was his second start and first at this distance on November 3rd. He ran on well and showed enough to suggest that he’ll be the one to beat in this less than intimidating field. (7) GOOD WONDER has run creditably in both starts so far, running an improved 5th on her latest appearance at the end of last month. She’ll likely be ridden on the pace today and can continue her development here. (5) TA MINA ran 2nd in a similar strength race to this back in August and while she was only 6th on her reappearance in October, should fare better in this company today while (12) CHEONJI KKOT BARAM has held her own in two outings so far and can contest the money today. There is one solitary debut-maker. It’s taken (2) GAROSUGIL an age to get to the races but he looked handy enough in a trial earlier this month and couldn’t ask for a softer introduction to racing.

Selections (8) Gongjak Wang (7) Good Wonder (2) Garosugil (5) Ta Mina
Next Best 12, 6
Fast Start 4, 7, 9, 12

Race 4: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Two standouts as these maidens go around two-turns. (6) PUNCH POWER gets the verdict. He finished off nicely for 3rd over 1300M in better company than this three weeks ago and should have the beating of these. The only logical danger is (4) NOLBU CHEONHA and he’s not to be taken lightly. He’s run in a 3rd and a 5th from his latest two, both at 1300M and just like punch Power, there seems little to suggest that he won’t stay a further trip. Both favourites will be ridden patiently and should be too strong late on. (8) ALL MY QUEEN has some promising results to her name and finally steps up to two-turns after eleven outings at shorter. She looks clear best of the rest. (3) KING OF THE FIELD and (7) GOK MA DAN are others who can compete for the minor places.

Selections (6) Punch Power (4) Nolbu Cheonha (8) All My Queen (7) Gok Ma Dan
Next Best 3
Fast Start 1, 7

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

(6) WHITE COMET scored his maiden win with an all the way performance over this distance in September. He followed it up by running 2nd to Jeongmun Summit when favourite on his first try at this class on October 26th. He didn’t manage to get to the front that day but that’s what jockey Park Tae Jong will be aiming for straight from the gate here, and if he achieves it, he will take some beating. If he does come up short, then (1) LUCKY MYEONGHO is the most likely to take advantage. He’s up in class after a very good maiden win on his third start on November 2nd. It was slightly unexpected but it was a fast time and from the inside, he can challenge the favourite right from the start. (3) MACH THUNDER’s disappointment last start can be explained by the fact he came back slightly lame. It was just two weeks ago but he has looked back to fitness in work and should be better here. (4) ACE WIN and (8) DALLINEUN ACE are others in the hunt for minor money.

Selections (6) White Comet (1) Lucky Myeongho (4) Ace Win (8) Dallineun Ace
Next Best 3, 9
Fast Start 1, 6

Race 6: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Ultra-competitive five-furlong dash here with any number in with a chance. (6) JOEUN GAMUN has steadily improved over three starts so far, culminating in a maiden win over this distance on November 2nd. This is a markedly stiffer test but he has scope for more (more…)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 24)

On Saturday at Seoul, Raon First ran out the impressive winner of the Listed Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup. On Sunday it’s the turn of Busan’s juveniles to run for big money as the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Cup takes centre stage. There are 6 races at Busan from 12:40 to 17:05 while at Seoul there are 11 from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the Previews:


Raon First was the dominant winner of the Gwacheon Mayor’s Cup at Seoul on Saturday. Who will win Busan’s equivalent on Sunday?

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

Juvenile maidens in the opener and having only been beaten a nose on debut in a fast time at this distance, (8) J.S CAPTAIN is the warm pick to prevail here. He almost made all that day and ended up nine-lengths clear of the 3rd place-getter. With a decent start here, he should win. (3) BIG RIVER also led for much of her debut on October 19th, ultimately going down to 3rd in the final furlong. She’ll join the favourite on pace and should go close again. (1) TERRA SPEED and (6) FUTURE FIRE are the only two in the field to have raced twice already. Both improved at the second time of asking and can show more development today. (11) BOHEMIAN MUSIC looks best of the rest at this stage.

Selections (8) J. S. Captain (3) Big River (6) Future Fire (1) Terra Speed
Next Best 11, 7
Fast Start 1, 3, 8, 12

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

Regular maiden here but a couple of promising ones are engaged. (7) HALLA BLOSSOM has shown steady improvement across three outings so far, culminating in a 2nd place over 1000M on October 19th. He tackles 1300M for the first time here and it may well suit. Crucially, he looks to be the only one to be consistently good at getting on pace so he may find an easy lead and maintain it all the way. (1) JEONGSEONG HOLIDAY stepped up to this trip last start and ran a good 3rd. He hasn’t shown much in the way of speed so far but can continue his development today while (10) DAEGUN OK similarly seems to be figuring things out and comes in off a 3rd and a 2nd both at this trip. (4) YAHO M J CAT and (9) JACKS KHAN are others in at least the placing hunt.

Selections (7) Halla Blossom (1) Jeongseong Holiday (10) Daegun Ok (4) Yaho M J Cat
Next Best 9, 3
Fast Start 7

Seoul Race 3: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(6) BRAVE QUEEN ran 2nd on debut in September before registering her maiden win at the second time of asking, getting the best of a tight three-way finish, on October 6th. She led every step of the way that day and will endeavour to do the same here with solid claims of a repeat. (4) MUNHAK KING was 3rd behind Brave Queen on debut and followed up with another 3rd place finish on his re-appearance. He’ll be a danger but may have to settle for another placing as the other “Munhak”, (3) MUNHAK REWARD, also has ability. She steps back in trip following a useful 2nd place over 1300M four weeks ago and looks nicely in here. (2) EOMAMUSI and (9) SHARK JJANG are others to consider.

Selections (6) Brave Queen (3) Munhak Reward (4) Munhak King (2) Eomamusi
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 6

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

Wide open race. No previous winners among them but three do come in off last start runner-up finishes and it is those three who looks set to be contesting top honours. (5) D K PURMIR is perhaps the slight pick. He was 2nd on debut over 1000M in August before having two months off and then stepping up to this trip on October 26th and running another close 2nd in a fast time having led nearly the whole way around. Nicely drawn to lead again, today can be his day. (4) CHARLIE STYLE showed significant improvement on his second outing last month in what was a good race for the level. He steps up in trip for the first time and can be dangerous. As can (11) MEOTJIN WANGJA. He’s appeared just the once and was beaten less than a length over 1000M, running through the line well. (8) MABOSS and (12) MOONHAK QUEEN, the latter debuting following a solid trial performance, are others to keep handy.

Selections (5) D K Purmir (4) Charlie Style (11) Meotjin Wangja (12) Moonhak Queen
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 1, 4, 5

Seoul Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Not the stiffest of maidens here and, stepping up to two-turns for the first time, (7) SOUTHERN MAN looks the one to beat. He’s been knocking at the door over shorter trips for some time and while he is a natural front-runner, he could well simply outstay this lot to get his maiden win. (10) MANE HANA has experience of this distance already and comes in off a useful 3rd in marginally better company than this over 1300M last start. (5) GOLDEN SPARK tried this distance for the first time four weeks ago and ran a creditable 4th, beating tow of these in the process, and can build on that today. (1) HONAM DAERO and (8) KKOKKOMA LADY are others in the hunt.

Selections (7) Southern Man (10) Mane Hana (5) Golden Spark (1) Honam Daero
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 5, 7, 9

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

The second on the card is over the mile where several of the main players are to be tested over the distance for the first time. (5) YEONGGWANGUI PARTY comes out of the Gimhae Mayor’s Cup where beaten a distant eighth. Whilst not up to the top level two-year-olds the Office colt looks hard to beat in Class 5 company. Lee Hyo-Sik is likely to let him free-wheel to be near the speed. He ran through the line strong over 1300m two starts back in similar grade and should run the mile out strong. (3) TOP FIRE has been sent out at a short price for all four of his career starts. He broke his maiden last start when stepping up to the mile for the first time. You Hyun-Myung sat the chestnut on speed last time out in a change of tactics, expect to see a similar ride engaged. (1) (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 16)

It’s become quite chilly in Seoul the past few days and some Friday downpours have left the track in a wet condition. Bear that in mind when handicapping the 12 Saturday races which run from 10.45 to 18.00. Here are the previews:

Splashing through the wet in trials yesterday

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

Good looking juvenile maiden with six first-timers joining four with prior racing experience. Of those who have raced before, (7) WILD WOODS and (5) LUCKY SANGUN are the most convincing having both registered decent performances at this distance and both will be well supported here. We will side with one of the debut-makers though. (4) ALPHA DOK impressed in a trial two weeks ago, running 3rd in a fast time in a competitive heat and won’t need to improve too much on that to be right in the mix here. (1) GWANGYA SIDAE and (2) BALBATU are others who caught the eye in trials, the former winning hers, and both also have claims to go well first-up.

Selections (4) Alpha Dok (7) Wild Woods (1) Gwangya Sidae (5) Lucky Sangun
Next Best 2, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 8

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

The second division of the juvenile maiden doesn’t look quite as strong. Six of the eleven have raced before with the most convincing of them being (8) BEST GUNDAN. He’s appeared twice, improving to 4th in the most recent of them over this distance. He was well beaten by a good winner, but his time was considerably superior to anything the others here have achieved. (9) DAHAENGIDA was 7th in that race and has potential to improve while (1) WONDERFUL AGAIN has struggled with poor manners in two starts to date and may be better dropped in trip today. Of the debut-makers, (4) JILJUUI KKUM and (10) SPRING COME look the most likely to make an impact.

Selections (8) Best Gundan (9) Dahaengida (4) Jiljuui Kkum (10) Spring Come
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 1, 3, 6, 8

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

The final lot of juvenile maidens although this time over 1300M. (2) FIGHTING NOW ran a close 2nd on debut on October 20th, beaten just half a length. He ran on well and the additional distance today should suit. (5) CHODONG ROCKET was a bit further back on his debut, running 3rd also over 1000M. He too ran on gamely and is likely to join Fighting Now in contesting the early speed. (3) YEOLRIN MUN and (9) QUIET ADELE are the only two in the race to have appeared on more than one occasion already. Both have shown promise with Quiet Adele perhaps the most progressive at this point. As for the rest, (4) JEONGMUN BOLT overcame poor manners to run 5th on debut behind Fighting Now and if he fixes them, can get closer today.

Selections (2) Fighting Now (5) Chodong Rocket (9) Quiet Adele (3) Yeolrin Mun
Next Best 4
Fast Start 2, 3, 5

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

More maidens although this time it’s not restricted to juveniles. With a 2nd and a 3rd among her four starts so far, (6) MASEONG TUHON needs only a top three finish to find herself up in class next time. She should really be bowing out of the bottom tier of racing with a win over this lot and should be on pace from the start. There are a couple of other promising ones too here. (1) OUR SIMON raced a couple of times around the turn of the year without making an impression but returned in September to run a good 3rd over 1300M. A top jockey is on and if she is right, she should go close. (8) BODY STAR was an improved 4th in a decent time on his latest a month ago and can build on that today while (7) EAST CHAMP and (10) FLYING THOR are others in the hunt.

Selections (6) Maseong Tuhon (1) Our Simon (8) Body Star (7) East Champ
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 8

Race 5: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(3) CUPID MISSION was a winner on debut at class and distance on October 12th, making all in a fast time as the odds-on favourite. The Mission Impazible colt will be odds-on again today and should be repeating. (5) ULTRA CHAMPION returned from eight months out to run a good 3rd over the distance a month ago and can build on that today while (1) MOONHAK CHAMPION, well back behind Cupid Mission on debut, looks to have potential to improve. The biggest danger, however, may come from one of the two debut-makers. (6) CAPTAIN BULLET was a solid trial winner and should go well first up.

Selections (3) Cupid Mission (6) Captain Bullet (5) Ultra Champion (1) Moonhak Champion
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 3, 5, 6

Race 6: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(2) FIGHTING LANGFUHR has raced six times and while yet to win, has picked up three runner-up finishes including last start over 1200M. From gate 2m he can sit handy behind the speed and finish strongly here. (4) DORAON POPEYE picked up a warning for hanging outwards in the home straight on his debut on October 13th but still managed to finish in 3rd place, just a nose out of 2nd. If he fixes those manners today, then he has every chance. (8) MY ROMEO did nothing wrong on his own debut a month ago and can build on the 4th he achieved that day. Almost a year separated the first and second appearances of (6) GLOBAL BOSS but he looked well on his return when 3rd at the end of September. (5) DRAGON BOAT, up in class here, looks best of the rest.

Selections (2) Fighting Langfuhr (4) Doraon Popeye (8) My Romeo (6) Global Boss
Next Best 5, 10
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 7

Race 7: Class 2 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Really good race. (8) RAYMOND is finally living up to his potential having won four of his latest five. The most recent was his first tilt around this trip and while up in class today, he’s nicely in and is favoured to win again. Also up in class after a strong of good results is (5) ACTIMON. He ran a strong 2nd over 1800M last start and looks nicely in here to go strongly. It’s quite possible that neither of those will be favourite though. (6) MUNHAK TSUNAMI has run 2nd and 3rd in two starts at class 2 so far. He is versatile and ran on really well over 1400M last time. This will be the furthest distance he’s tried, and it may well suit. (3) URI disappointed over 1900M last time out but has talent and is worth another chance. (1) MUNHAK TIGER and (10) TAP FASHIONED others who can go close.

Selections (8) Raymond (6) Munhak Tsunami (5) Actimon (3) Uri
Next Best 1, 10
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 6

Race 8: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(5) TANK SOCKS was a winner on debut back in September, narrowly scoring over this distance. He’s had eight weeks off since then and returns here up in class, with claims once more. 3rd that day was (2) WORLD BEYOND. He came back out in October and registered a win of his own and he too comes up in class here. He made all that day despite racing rather ungenerously at times and while today’s is a stiffer assignment, he is the slight choice to overturn the form on Tank Socks. (10) KING OF SUNDAY has a 3rd and a 2nd since returning from nine months off and can place again here while (6) FEDERAL CAT remains a maiden but has already proven himself competitive in this kind of company and looks in amongst it here. (1) WONDERFUL PANGPANG best of the rest.

Selections (2) World Beyond (5) Tank Socks (10) King Of Sunday (6) Federal Cat
Next Best 1, 7
Fast Start 2, 5, 8, 10

Race 9: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(1) SOLGAEBARAM may have only managed 6th place in each of her latest two starts but both have been better races than this and the margins have not been big. She’s drawn inside today, should be on speed from the start, and can win. (10) MACH THUNDER is up in class having come from off the pace to win well over this distance on October 19th. His manners weren’t the best, but he’s got a nice turn of foot and should be dangerous here. Outgoing trainer Simon Foster saddles (2) KOOKA CAT, a good maiden winner last start and who can be competitive here while (5) ECHO FIRST ON and (11) CHEONSE MANSE are others in the hunt.

Selections (1) Solgaebaram (10) Mach Thunder (2) Kooka Cat (5) Echo First On
Next Best 11, 4
Fast Start 1, 2, 12

Race 10: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(1) GEUM ROYAL steps up in class off the back of a nice win over this distance on October 19th. This is a good race for class 5 level but everything about him suggests he can be competitive at this level and from gate 1 he can sit nice and handy behind the early speed and launch a strong challenge late on. (3) LUMINESCE has consistently run good times at this distance and seems to have landed in a nice spot here. He’s also drawn well to get on the early speed. (11) JEJUI HEUKSEON showed a big uptick in form when 2nd last start and can build on that today while (2) SPEED BELLE is better than recent results suggest and can get closer here. (8) P.K. JEONSA best of the rest.

Selections (1) Geum Royal (3) Lumincesce (11) Jejui Heukseon (2) Speed Belle
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 8, 12

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

(3) MAMMA ROMA was 5th in the Korean Oaks before wilting a little over 2000M in the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup. She dropped back to 1300M to run 2nd at the end of August and has since been off twelve weeks. She returns here looking nicely in and is the favourite to score here. (7) HANYANG GONGJU ran 5th in a tight race at class and distance last start and looks set to get much closer today while (2) GEOM HYANG may be better for being given a bit of extra distance to play with this time. (5) TAURUS and (6) DONG JAK have placing claims.

Selections (3) Mamma Roma (7) Hanyang Gongju (2) Geom Hyang (6) Dong Jak
Next Best 5
Fast Start 4, 6

Race 12: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) BEST STAR won four from four between January and May progressing rapidly through the classes before suffering a bad injury that has kept him out since. He showed no ill-effects when blitzing a trial earlier this month and can return victorious today. Should he be rusty then (10) GAENARI SONG could be one to take advantage. He only managed 6th when favourite last start a month ago but he was slowly away, and the margins weren’t big. Expect him to do better today. (3) MACHA BUCHA and (8) NIMUI HYANGGI ran home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on October 6th and both should be in the placing hunt again. (9) GEUMSEONGHWANGJE is another to consider for the minor money.

Selections (7) Best Star (10) Gaenari Song (8) Nimui Hyanggi (3) Macha Bucha
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 2, 6, 7, 11, 12

Jeju Governor’s Cup Sunday – Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (November 10)

It’s Jeju Govenor’s Cup day at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday and a full field of sixteen fillies and mares will line up for one of the final Korea Group races of the year over 1400M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10.

Lead Money 2018 Jeju Governor's KRA

Lead Money held off Sinui Myeogryeong in a battle of the greys in last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup. She returns to defend her title on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Last year’s Jeju winner Lead Money returns to defend her title as one of the few established class 1 contenders in the race and will accordingly be among the favourites. However, she will face stiff competition from the lightly raced Dia Road as well as other more established runners such as Hello Venus and Doctor Thunder. See below for race-by-race for Seoul with Busan Selections at the bottom:

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

Juvenile maidens to kick things off with five of the ten having raced before. Of those five, (4) GEOMPO has looked the most promising with a 4th and a 3rd from two starts so far, the latter at this distance. He’s drawn well to lead and can win. None of the others have impressed to any extent so it’s to the first-timers we need to look for the other chances. Possible favourite is (8) WISH ME. She ran out a very good trial winner last month, running on very well and should go well first up. (9) JEONJEONGSAGUEM also won her trial while (1) A TO Z and (3) CHAMILHO hinted at ability too.

Selections (4) Geompo (8) Wish Me (9) Jeonjeongsaguem (1) A To Z
Next Best 3, 6
Fast Start 4, 6, 9

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

Very weak maiden. (4) BOMNALUI GIEOK hasn’t shown much in the way of speed – he’s not alone in that regard in this race – but he seems a reasonable type who has run on well in better company than this and if he can put himself in a handy position may be able to pass the rest in the closing stages here. (1) J M FIGHTER looked promising on debut and while he has had a couple of setbacks, looks like he has some ability. (3) J. S. POWER too has run reasonably well in better company and can go close. The only one of the field to have a runner-up finish to their name so far is (5) BEST GOLD. That came at this distance and she comes in following a 4th place last start. That’s enough to put her in the frame today.

Selections (4) Bomnalui Gieok (5) Best Gold (1) J M Fighter (3) J.S. Power
Next Best 9, 7
Fast Start 2, 3, 8, 9

Race 3: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(2) DONGBANG JIJON comes in off a 3rd place in a similar race to this and having shown proficiency at the distance is the slight pick to finally break his maiden at the thirteenth time of asking. (6) DAECHEON ACE and (10) MAENGJU have both beaten Dongbang Jijon in the past and both come in off reasonably recent outings. (1) CORRE MI CABALLO debuted all the way back in September of 2018 and actually ran rather well. He’s not been seen since but returned to training this autumn and looked very well when 2nd in an October trial, which brings him straight into contention first-up. (4) MY SISTER NINA had a poor day at the office last start but is better than that and can be given another chance here.

Selections (2) Dongbang Jijon (1) Corre Mi Caballo (6) Daecheon Ace (4) My Sister Nina
Next Best 10, 8
Fast Start 4, 8, 10

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

(2) EAGLE EYE ran a solid 4th place over 1000M at the end of September and having previously run 2nd and 3rd at this distance, looks to be the favourite to take the honours here. The others are going to need to step up. (7) SAEROUN BOBAE had to be scratched on the way to the start last week after her jockey aggravated a back injury. The same jockey returns today and so long as they make it to the gate this time, she will have a chance. (3) MACH NEDAN and (4) BAEK HAK have hardly impressed so far but both are likely to be on the early speed and that could be enough to get them close at the end. (10) FAMILY HOPE the best of a limited rest.

Selections (2) Eagle Eye (7) Saeroun Bobae (10) Family Hope (3) Mach Nedan
Next Best 4, 6
Fast Start 2, 3, 4

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

(6) DYNAMIC PUNCH led all the way to record his maiden win by a length over this distance on October 12th. Although that wasn’t the strongest of races, he and the rest of the place-getters were a full ten lengths clear of the remainder of the field and he looks to have enough development in him to be favoured here. (3) SUNSHINE TEUKGEUP and (5) YEONGGWANGUI BEAT are similarly up in class following maiden victories on their respective last starts and both should be competitive at this level too. (9) GEUMBIT YEOLJEONG comes in off a string of near misses and should be close at hand again while (2) PRIME QUEEN too ran a really good 3rd place at class and distance last start and looks a danger.

Selections (6) Dynamic Punch (9) Geumbit Yeoljeong (2) Prime Queen (3) Sunshine Teukgeup
Next Best 5, 1
Fast Start 3, 6, 9, 12

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

(3) ELITE LADY got her maiden win at the third time of asking at the end of September, scoring by four lengths over 1000M, having previously run 4th in a valuable race in August. She is up in class and in distance here but should be able to overcome both of those things and can win again. (9) P.K. HILL is similarly up in class following a maiden win last time, also at 1000M and is set to be competitive too, likely joining Elite Lady on the early speed. (8) CHEONEUN JJANG was beaten a nose on her first try at this class in (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (November 9)

There are 12 Saturday races in Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Blue Chipper’s Breeders’ Cup exploits noted at the Seoul Racecourse entrance

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

Juvenile filly maidens to begin with and five of the twelve have raced before. Among those five is the hot favourite, (2) NUNBUSIN HANSEN. She ran 2nd on debut in a decent time on September 29th and a similar performance should see her home on top today. Of the others with previous racing experience, (11) COMPLETE MAGIC ran an improved 5th on her second start in October and can continue to make progress here. Among the first-timers, (4) MONEY SIJANG was a useful trial winner two weeks ago and looks to be the pick. (10) THUNDER SONIA ran 2nd in the same heat and also looks to have some ability. (3) ONE AND ONLY the pick of the rest.

Selections (2) Nunbusin Hansen (4) Money Sijang (3) One And Only (10) Thunder Sonia
Next Best 11, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 9

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

More juvenile maidens, this time with four of them having raced before. (8) CHUNSAN was only beaten a nose into 2nd in a tight three-way finish on debut on October 6th. It was a fast time and she showed enough to warrant being favourite here. (2) CHEONSA PARK was 6th in the same race, an improvement from his first effort and can go better again today. (10) AMIGO RARO missed the kick slightly on his latest appearance three weeks ago but ran on pleasingly enough and can continue his development here while (3) POWER YACHT did nothing wrong on debut and is another who can aim for a place. Of the first timers, (4) CLEAN UP BELLA is the clear pick having run 3rd in a fast trial all the way back in August. It’s taken him a while to get to the track but should go well first-up.

Selections (8) Chunsan (4) Clean Up Bella (10) Amigo Raro (2) Cheonsa Park
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 1, 2, 8, 10

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

Only nine runners but a wide-open race. It’s tempting to give (2) PUNCH POWER another chance. Having put in encouraging runs on his first two starts, he never really got going over 1000M last time out two weeks ago and finished back in the pack. Back up in trip today, he may be better. Since returning from seven months off in September, (1) HIT THE PACE has run 4th and 3rd, the latest of which was at this trip. This is a tougher assignment, but he may be considered. (3) GOLD FIELD too swims in slightly choppier waters here but also looks to be on the improve. (7) WIN BLADE came close to making all at length odds last start, only to be caught late on. That was his first try at this distance and a big improvement, so he has to be respected here. (8) RESKA the best of the rest.

Selections (2) Punch Power (7) Win Blade (1) Hit The Pace (3) Gold Field
Next Best 8, 6
Fast Start 1, 3, 7

Race 4: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

Valuable juvenile maiden for imported horses with only two of the eleven having raced before. One of those two is (10) BLUE MACARON, who ran 4th on debut on October 6th, just under three-lengths behind the winner. He should have come on for that run and is among the leading contenders here. Both (6) MARK STORY and (7) MOONHAK MISCHIEF won their respective trials last month and both come straight into contention. The latter probably looks best place to make an immediate impact. Quicker than both of those in his trial was (1) FULL BOOSTER, who finished ahead of three of his rivals here – including Blue Macaron – in his heat back in September, and he too is likely to be well backed first up. (4) NANEUN STAR is another who posted a fast qualifying time – be sure to watch the market for additional clues.

Selections (10) Blue Macaron (7) Moonhak Mischief (1) Full Booster (6) Mark Story
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 2, 7, 8, 10

Race 5: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Back to juvenile maidens here and (10) SIMPLE STYLE ran 6th on debut in a decent time behind some promising looking horses. His manners weren’t great but if he sorts those, he won’t need to have come on too much to be right in this. (4) HEUNGHAENG JILJU ran 3rd on debut over 1000M last month, running through the line well and should appreciate the step up in trip today. (9) GOSOK PEDAL was a decent 4th on debut at long odds on October 5th, also at 1000M. He too steps up in trip with claims to go better. (5) SHINY QUEEN and solitary debut-maker (1) GO UP look best of the rest.

Selections (10) Simple Style (4) Heunghaeng Jilju (9) Gosok Pedal (1) Go Up
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 2, 8, 10

Race 6: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(2) DAE YONGWANG has been knocking at the door for some time and almost made his breakthrough last start, his first at this distance when he was only beaten a nose. In this small field he should be prominent from the start and can win. Also only beaten a nose on his first try at 1700M was (1) ACE SHINE. That was just two weeks ago and was his first start for trainer Tony Castenheira. He can go close again. (8) ANY SEON is another


President’s Cup 2019: Full Preview / Seoul & Busan Sunday Race-By-Race (November 3)

This decade there have only been four different President’s Cup winners. From 2010 to 2012, the great Dangdae Bulpae monopolised the race. Indie Band and Gyeongbudaero then each took a turn in the winner’s circle before Triple Nine won the first of what would be four straight successes in 2015.

There will be a new name on the trophy this year. Now aged seven, Triple Nine is back in training but he hasn’t made the starting gate and instead sixteen horses will vie to succeed him in winning the President’s Cup (KOR G1-2000M), the nation’s richest age-open race for Korean-bred horses at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Race-by-race notes for Seoul below followed by Busan selections.

Simjangui Godong KRA

Simjangui Godong (Pic: KRA)

It’s a deep field. The last two Korean Derby winners, Ecton Blade and Wonderful Fly, are present but both will be outsiders in a bunch headed by Simjangui Godong. The three-year-old ran 2nd in the Derby and 6th in the Minister’s Cup but has since embarked on a purple patch of three wins including the Ilgan Sports and HRI Trophies.

Jockey Moon Se Young had more than one option but ultimately plumped for Simjangui Godong. However, a heavy fall on Saturday that landed him in hospital, seems likely to rule him out of the mount and a chance of winning one of the few elite races still to elude him.

Speaking after Thursday’s barrier draw, Moon had been bullish about Simjangui Godong’s chances and excited to ride a horse on whose sire, Jigeum I Sungan, he finished 3rd in the race in 2013. “I rode his sire in this race. We didn’t win it, but he was a great horse and I would love to win on his son. He’s a good horse, so it’s down to me. He’s so good that we can overcome even one mistake – obviously if we make more, it will be difficult”.

In gate 5, Simjangui Godong also has the plum draw. “In the President’s Cup, it’s so hard to win if you’re not within the inside 10. Gate 5 is perfect”, said Moon. Should Moon not make the race, a replacement rider has yet to be confirmed.

New Legend hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise. A Korea bred, he spent the early part of his career in the United States, even winning at Arlington Park, and for his first few outings back home looked unstoppable. The he hit the elite level and things haven’t been so easy with his latest being a disappointing run in the Keeneland Korea Cup (KOR G1).

This time though, New Legend faces only domestically-bred rivals and Kim Uk, assistant trainer to Kim Young-kwan, believes better is to come. “There is a myth that Menifee’s progeny aren’t good around 2000M or further, but we know that’s not true after Gyeongbudaero and Power Blade (both Grand Prix Stakes winner at 2300M). But we heard it again after New Legend was beaten (in May’s YTN Cup). We think he’s ready. After the Korea Cup he had a bit of a rest then we brought him back and started training him early with this in mind. We put him through a trial, and he went really well, and we think he is a chance here.”

Another serious chance is New Legend’s stablemate Captain Force. The four-year-old, by Peace Rules, is a winner of nine from twenty so far, but last raced in June. That doesn’t concern jockey Lee Hyo-sik. “He has been out a while and we initially wanted him to run once before this race, but we trialled him and felt he wasn’t ready so went back to training. We trialled him again at the beginning of October and were really happy with him so decided to come straight here. He did his fast work on Thursday and he was excellent. He’s exactly where we want him to be.”

Busan’s strong challenge is fortified by Final Energy. The Testa Matta gelding ran 5th behind Blue Chipper in the Keeneland Korea Sprint (KOR G1) in September but showed his staying credentials when beating fellow contender here Toham Ace in a strong race over 1800M five weeks ago.

Jockey Lim Sung-sil won this race on Indie Band in 2013 and likes what he sees in Final Energy. “It’s his first time around 2000M so we’ve been working on his stamina. He’s got good gate speed so I wasn’t worried about the draw although getting gate 7 is great, we just have to make sure he sees out the whole race. If he does that then he’s right in there. He travelled well, has eaten well and he likes it at Seoul – the stable here is bigger!”

There are plenty of other contenders too. Among the three-year-olds, Minister’s Cup winner Rock Choice takes his chance while top filly Clear Geom will also be in the gate. Among older contenders, the prolific winner Dokdo Jigi, a winner of eight from eleven lifetime starts, returns to action for the first time in five months and while he was given an easy time in a barrier trial last week, has plenty of quality about him. As for foreign interest, Thomas Gillespie saddles Toham Ace while Richard Oliver rides Ecton Blade and Ioannis Poullis gets the big leg-up on New Legend.

Seoul Comments

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

(5) GEOSEN JILU comes in having run 2nd and 3rd in two starts so far, both at 1000M and both times running on well. She steps up in trip for the first time today and could well be the one to beat. (4) DAESEUNG QUEEN ran well for 2nd on debut on October 5th. She too steps up in trip for the first time and looks to be a danger. (7) ILBO DEUNGCHEON does have experience of this distance having run 4th in what was quite a strong race last start and must be considered for improvement. (2) CHOGANGGUK and (8) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI look to be the best of the rest.

Selections (5) Geoseon Jilju (4) Daeseung Queen (7) Ilbo Deungcheon (8) Baekdusan Cheonji
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 5, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Competitive – if not especially strong – maiden. (6) SHARK JJANG and (4) EAST BAN came home 5th and 6th respectively when they raced each other on September 28th. That was just East Ban’s second start and e should have improvement in him. He’s drawn better today to get to the lead and can win. (2) MUNHAKUI JEONSA already holds a win over 1200M and while he disappointed last start can be given another chance today back at the minimum. (9) POP STREET comes in off a very narrow defeat last time out over 1700M and is interesting dropped all the way back to 1000M today. (5) GOLDEN SERVICE (more…)