Sky Racing

Good Friday At Busan: A Basic Introduction

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (January 15)

It’s turned very cold over the peninsula the past few days. No better way to warm up though than getting on the punt! 11 races at Seoul from 10:50 to 18:00 including last year’s champion juvenile Final Boss making his first appearance as a 3-year-old. At Busan there are 6 races from 12:35 to 17:00.


Last year’s champion juvenile Final Boss races at Seoul on Sunday

English race cards are here. Notes on all Seoul races (which will be shown on Sky Racing in Australia) are below:

Fast Starters: Expected fastest starters today
Start-200M: Fastest average time for Start-200M (most recent 6 starts)
200M-Finish: Fastest average time for 200M-Finish (most recent 6 starts)

Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 10:40

Nine of the twelve are first-time starters but it’s going to be hard to oppose (10) ARGO MELODY, one of the three with prior experience, who was 2nd on debut a month ago. (3) SUN PLAZA actually beat Argo Melody in trials and joins (2) LITTLE SOCIE and (7) JIBONG BULPAE as looking the best of the debut-makers. Aussie trainer Brian Dean saddles (4) UNKISS ME but a watching brief may be best for that one first-up.

Selections: (10) Argo Melody (3) Sun Plaza (2) Little Socie (7) Jibong Bulpae
Next Best: 12, 1
Rating: –
Start-200M: 1, 6, 10
200M-Finish: 10, 1, 6

Race 2: Class 5 / 1000M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 11:05

(2) MONEY TRACK was a seven-length winner on debut on November 26th and while up in class today, he’ll be odds-on to make it two out of two and should lead from gate to wire. If we must oppose him then (1) RAON KINGDOM looks most likely having been 2nd on his first try at this class last month and seems to have potential. (12) ROYAL ESSENCE is up in class following a smart maiden win at the distance on the same day as Money Track’s but has a bit more to find while (11) JEOMIPGASOK is more experienced and can comes in following back to back 3rd places in similar assignments to this.

Selections: (2) Money Track (1) Raon Kingdom (12) Royal Essence (11) Jeomipgasok
Next Best: 8, 6
Rating: 1, 2, 8, 7=12
Start-200M: 2, 12, 1, 4, 7
200M-Finish: 2, 3, 10, 6, 11


Derby Sunday Race Notes

It’s one of the biggest days of racing of the year; Korean Derby day! There are 10 races at Seoul from 10:50 to 18:00 and 6 races at Busan from 13:00 to 17:30.

Yeongcheon Ace 2

Yeongcheon Ace won last year’s Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

English Racecards are available hereFull preview of the Derby here. Three races from Seoul, including the Derby, will be shown on Sky Racing 2 in Australia. Here are notes on them:

Race 7: Class 2 “The Sports Kyunghyang Cup” / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 90 Million / 15:05 (KST)

(5) BLACK TRAIN has a knack of finding one or two too quick but he is a strong finisher and is slightly favoured to come from off the early speed to claim what would be his first win since last August. (10) DORGON defeated both Black Train and (7) SIMSIN JIRYEO when the three of them met in February and should be respected, however, the main danger looks to be (8) JINGYEOGUI GEOJANG. Unlike many of these, he is still on the way up and while the Aussie bred colt struggled on his first try at 1800M last month, he should be much happier back in a one-turn race today. He’ll look to lead early. (2) ILGI DANGCHEON and (11) SEUNGNIYEOJE look best of the rest.

Selections (5) Black Train (8) Jingyeogui Geojang (7) Simsin Jiryeo (10) Dorgon
Next Best 2, 11, 3, 9
Outsiders 1, 4, 6, 12
Fast Starters 2, 6, 8

Race 8: Class 1 – “China Horse Industry Association Trophy” / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 110 Million / 15:55 (KST)

(10) LUCKY LIGHT beat five of these when running 2nd over this distance on April 3rd and he looks to be the one to beat here. He is a fast starter and will look to lead straight from the gate. Among those he beat last time, (7) CHEONMANG got the closest to him and that one can also be considered for improvement today, however, it’s likely to be (9) SEONBONG who punters consider the greater threat. His 2016 hasn’t really got going yet but he is a very solid sprinter and he can come from just behind the speed here. (12) BRIG has the outside gate to deal with but like Seonbong, will likely be content to avoid the cavalry charge to the corner and will still have plenty of backers. (5) MAGIC DANCER has perhaps seen better days but remains a threat.

Selections (10) Lucky Light (12) Brig (9) Seonbong (5) Magic Dancer
Next Best 7, 8, 2, 1, 3
Outsiders 4, 6, 11
Fast Starters 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11

Race 9: Class Open – The Korean Derby / 1800M / Allowance / KRW 700 Million / 17:00 (KST)


(12) POWER BLADE won the 1st leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile, last month by a facile four-lengths and will be strong favourite to add the second jewel today. He has drawn gate 12 but that won’t matter as his style is to be away patiently and then improve in the back straight. On all form, he looks the best. It’s wide open behind though. (3) STEALTH and (4) ZETTABYTE ran 3rd and 4th in the Cup Mile with the former slightly favoured again at the extra distance today. (1) BANJIUI JEWANG ran poorly in the Cup Mile but performed well at Seoul in the Breeders’ Cup last year and can be given another chance. The biggest threat to Power Blade though may come from his own stablemate. (13) WORLD CHAMPION didn’t get to the Cup Mile but comes to Seoul after four consecutive victories, the most recent of which was a gate-to-wire romp at this distance. He’ll get forward early and the favourite will have to come past him. (9) GONGRYONG and (10) WINNERS GLORY look to be Seoul’s best chances while (7) EVER IN EVER and (14) TOHAMSAN look decent outside bets. Another longshot angle is that (6) SISEON POCHAK has been moved to a new trainer specifically so that he can take part in this race (trainers and owners may not enter any more than two horses in the same race – he was with Power Blade and World Champion).

Selections (12) Power Blade (13) World Champion (10) Winner’s Glory (1) Banjiui Jewang
Next Best 3, 9, 7, 4, 14, 6, 5
Outsiders 2, 8, 11, 15
Fast Starters 1, 10, 13, 14

Sunday Race Notes: Busan Ilbo Cup

Success Story, Beolmaui Kkum, Gamdonguibada, Gumpo Sky, New York Blue. And more. The first leg of the K-Sprint Series which, will culminate in the Korea Sprint on International Day in September, takes place at Busan on Sunday in the shape of the Busan Ilbo Cup and there is a star-studded line-up.

Beolmaui Kkum

Beolmaui Kkum faces Success Story in the Busan Ilbo (Pic: Ross Holburt)

There is also a full card of racing at Seoul where the first race is at 10:50 and the last at 18:00. Busan runs from 13:00 to 17:05. The Cup is one of three races from Busan which will be shown in Australia on Sky Racing 2. English language race cards are here. Notes on the three Sky races:

Busan Race 3: Class 3 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 14:30 (KST)

A small but competitive field and (3) IN THE BACK enters the slight favourite following a 2nd place at class and distance on April 17th. He is from Busan’s top stable and has finished no worse than 2nd in any of his last eight starts. He will try to lead from gate-to-wire. The main danger is (8) SAENA. She hasn’t won since last June when she was successful at class and distance but enters with solid form behind her and she beat two of these when finishing 2nd over 1400M last month. Being back at a mile today should suit. (5) SANBANG TRAIL was 4th in that same race as Saena last month and should at least match that today with (1) JOKWANG and (7) MORNING GANGJA perhaps the best of the rest.

Selections (3) In The Back (8) Saena (5) Sanbang Trail (1) Jokwang
Next Best 7, 4, 6
Outsiders 2
Fast Starters 3, 5

Busan Race 4: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 15:20 (KST)

While suffering a severe case of second-itis – he’s never won but has been runner-up in each of his last four outings – (11) DAEJONGCHEON is the pick to finally get it right today. This is by virtue of his having beaten three of these when just going down by a neck over 1400M on April 3rd. He tries this distance for the first time. If Daejongcheon is to find one too quick again – and let’s face it, he might – the Bart Rice-trained (4) GIANT HOLD looks the most likely candidate. A class 4 winner at a mile in March, he was 3rd at this distance, beating Aussie-bred (7) STAR WARP, last time out. There is more Australian interest in this as Peter Wolsley saddles the lightly-raced (9) TURNPIKE. This is just his fifth start and he was beaten by Daejoncheon last time but he may appreciate the extra distance today. (10) SEMPER FI should also enjoy being back at 1800M and should be close with (5) GEOCHIMEOPSI and (6) NAGASINDA the more wildcard choices.

Selections (11) Daejongcheon (4) Giant Hold (9) Turnpike (10) Semper Fi
Next Best 6, 7, 5
Outsiders 1, 2, 3, 8
Fast Starters 6, 10, 11

Busan Race 5: Class Open – The Busan Ilbo Cup (Korea Sprint Series 1L / 1200M / Weight for Age / KRW 300 Million / 16:15 (KST)

(1) SUCCESS STORY is the marquee name here. Last seen running 3rd to California Chrome over 2000M at Meydan in February (in a prep race at the Carnival, not the actual World Cup race) he makes his return home in a hugely competitive 1st leg of the Korean Sprint Series. Success Story is capable at any distance between 1000 and 2000M and he has claims under Italian jockey Paolo Aragoni, but he may well not even be the favourite. That’s because his owner also enters (3) BEOLMAUI KKUM, the highest rated horse in Korea right now. Winner of fifteen of his twenty-five races, he is unbeaten in two races since returning from a six-month spell. A powerful starter, he will take on Success Story for the early lead and has every chance of beating him. (7) GAMDONGUIBADA has been beaten by Beolmaui Kkum in both her last two starts but remains dangerous as does (11) GUMPO SKY, who only ever races in tough company and is intriguingly dropped back to 1200M for the first time since he was a three-year-old. He usually goes forward but may let the others get on with it here. (10) PERDIDO POMEROY takes a big leap up in class but has plenty of potential while (9) NEW YORK BLUE, a very good sprinter in the past is the wildcard returning from seven months out. She looked sharp in trials.

Selections (3) Beolmaui Kkum (1) Success Story (7) Gamdonguibada (10) Perdido Pomeroy
Next Best 11, 9, 5, 4
Outsiders 2, 6, 8
Fast Starters 3, 1, 4

Busan Sunday Sky Racing Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busan Friday Review

Arguably the two strongest selling points of Korean racing, at least from an international punting perspective, are that the races start bang on time and favourites are extremely reliable. So naturally, with the card at Busan being broadcast across Australia for the first time on Sky Racing 1, the schedule went haywire and the vast majority of favourites went backwards.


At a TAB outlet somewhere in Sydney…Number 6 would be a rare favourite winner today

On Fridays the thoroughbreds at Busan alternate races with the ponies racing on Jeju Island. Races from Jeju are simulcast back to the racecourses and OTB’s on the mainland. Any simulcast race is going to hold a huge amount (as in millions of dollars) in its pools and that means that any delays – a late scratching of a favourite or a stewards inquiry, for instance – can mean the next race at the other track being delayed by about five minutes to allow punters to collect their thoughts and enjoy a full betting period. It doesn’t happen very often. Even rarer is a false start. And a 20 minute delay.

Yet that is exactly what happened in Jeju race 1. The gates opened before all horses were ready. The flags went up and they were called back. The ensuing Stewards Inquiry and re-run delayed the rest of the cards at both tracks by a full 20 minutes. Heads were shaken and then scratched as nobody could ever remember this happening before. Fortunately, with only Korea and Singapore to show, Sky were in a forgiving mood and Busan did its best to reschedule the races so as to deliberately avoid too many clashes with its regular simulcast partners at Kranji. If anything, the revised schedule was an improvement.

As for the favourites, while the bankers at the bookends of the card, V Diva (Menifee) in race 1 and Perdido Pomeroy (Pomeroy) in race 10, did oblige the other eight races were fiendishly hard from a betting point of view with big competitive fields. All eight of those favourites went down.

Aside from Perdido Pomeroy getting back to winning ways following his first defeat on his fourth career start last month, standout performer was perhaps Saengil Gippeum (Parading), who stepped up in class but led from gate to wire to win race 8. That race was marred by two horses pulling up injured  but it doesn’t detract from the performance of the three-year-old US import, who strode to a four-length win.

Shocks of the day came in race 3, where 100/1 Choegang Excellent (One Cool Cat) led home 290/1 Enter Way Queen (Exploit) for a barely credible 4000/1 exacta and in race 6 when Ikuyasu Kurakane threaded 80/1 shot Maruon (Honor And Glory), a 28-race maiden prior to today, through a crowded field to snatch victory. That’s racing. Aside from Kurakane, Pasquale Borelli would also be among the winners for the foreign contingent at Busan (although he would later suffer a fall) but trainers Peter Wolsley, Bart Rice and Thomas Gillespie drew blanks despite having some live prospects.

Overall it was a huge day for Korean racing. A few years ago, the idea of racing here being shown in a country such as Australia – even on one of the two days of the year there is no racing at home there – would have been utterly unthinkable. Today’s coverage, anchored expertly by Anthony Manton – a staunch friend of racing here for a number of years now – was another big step towards Korea joining the mainstream of racing.

Racing returns to Korea on Saturday when there will be a 12-race card at Seoul. There’s an Australian feel to that too as jockey Dean Holland makes his Korean debut in race 1. On Sunday there are big cards at both Seoul and Busan. Singapore and Malaysia will be simulcasting twelve races on Sunday while Sky Racing 2 in Australia will be showing three. Full previews of all twelve will be up here tomorrow.

We will be starting on time!

Busan Friday: Race By Race Preview

The weekend’s racing gets underway at Busan on Friday and in a first for Korea, the meeting will be shown live on Sky Racing in Australia. There are big fields all day and there should be plenty to keep bettors occupied.

Busan Racecourse winning line

It’s Friday…It’s Busan!

See here for English racecards. A word about going. As of Thursday morning, the official going at Busan was “Good” with a track moisture content of 8%. There is currently a 20% chance of rain between now and Friday’s racing.

Race 1: Class 6 / 1000M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 11:40 (KST)

The first of four maiden races but there are two fillies who come in here having finished 2nd on their respective debuts last month. (8) ALBERT VICAR led for much of the way and beat four of these on February 26th and will be supported but the strong favourite will be (6) V DIVA. She was beaten by a good winner on her own debut, should have come for it and has a top jockey riding. She is the banker favourite of the day. (3) DONGNAM CHOEGO was 3rd behind Albert Vicar last month and finishing the stronger while (11) GANGJA TTEUNDA and (12) MISS CANBERRA both have plenty to find from their debuts but can improve. The one first-timer here is (4) WELL MADE. Her only sibling to race in Korea has won three of ten starts so far and she has a top jockey on board. It took her two goes to qualify and she was average in her last trial but can be competitive in this company.

Favourites: (6) V Diva (8) Albert Vicar (3) Dongnam Choego (12) Miss Canberra
Next Best: 11, 1, 4
Remainder: 2, 5, 7, 9, 10
Fast Start: 3, 6, 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 40 Million / 12:20 (KST)

South African trainer Bart Rice saddles (3) ACE GLORY and after a 3rd and a 2nd in his first two starts, the colt can go one better here. There are a couple of big dangers though. (7) DONGBANG BULPAE was beaten by V Diva (who we saw in race 1) and may benefit from the extra furlong today while (6) GIFTED SUN, beaten last time by Albert Vicar and Dongnam Choego (both also from race 1) can also improve. (10) NORTHERN TRACE showed development back from a spell last time and gets a top jockey today while (9) BAEKDU YEONGUNG was a slightly disappointing 6th when well backed a month ago and can be given another chance. There are three debut-makers. (12) KKEUTPAN HERO won a barrier trial at the end of last month and may be considered. (4) BEOLMAUI SIN is owned by one of Busan’s most successful owners and while indifferent in trials, will also have supporters.

Favourites: (3) Ace Glory (7) Dongbang Bulpae (6) Gifted Sun (12) Kkeutpan Hero
Next Best: 4, 9, 10, 1
Remainder: 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14
Fast Start: 3, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:00

Thomas Gillespie’s (8) MAJOR SLAM was indifferent on debut but much improved her second appearance last month when she ran 3rd over this distance. She can continue her development here. She’ll be the favourite but (4) TRIPLE QUEENS looks to be on the up as well, beating a couple of these when running 4th on March 4th. More experienced is (7) OH DAEBAK, yet to win in ten but capable of at least matching her best of 4th in this company. Also with experience is (12) VICAR SARANG – he’s beaten Oh Daebak recently and can challenge at the business end again. (1) KARIN JJANG, (2) KWAEHAN EUTTEUM and (10) RED YOUNG MYEONGUN look the other ones with claims among a weak field.

Favourites: (8) Major Slam (4) Triple Queens (7) Oh Daebak (12) Vicar Sarang
Next Best: 10, 2, 1, 11
Remainder: 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14
Fast Start: 3, 11, 14

Race 4: Class 6 / 1300M / Allowance / KRW 20 Million / 13:40

The final maiden event sees (3) COT WING come in looking ready to win after coming closer and closer in recent starts. Last time he finished strongly only to be beaten less than a length when running 2nd at this distance. Behind him in 5th in that race was (4) ARCH and he will be looking to get closer. Another who looks ready to win is (13) EOROK, who scored a career best 3rd place last time. Bart Rice’s (12) SILENT LAGO was a much improved 3rd on what was her second start at the beginning of this month and further improvement is possible while (1) OLYMPIA QUEEN and (14) YEONGGWANGUI FORE are others for whom a maiden win would not be a total surprise; the latter may look to go forward in a race with not much early speed.

Favourites: (3) Cot Wing (12) Silent Lago (13) Eorok (4) Arch
Next Best: 1, 14, 10
Remainder: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11
Fast Start: 3, 11, 14

Race 5: Class 5 / 1600M / Handicap / KRW 40 Million / 14:25

(11) SANTA GLORIA comes in following a creditable 3rd of 6 in the Gold Circle Trophy – a Korean Oaks trial – at the beginning of this month and that is going to make her quite an attractive proposition here She is likely to get forward early. This is a tough race though with all but one trying the distance for the first time. (9) ALSO NUMBER ONE was a winner at this class over 1200M at the start of the month and must be respected. He beat Peter Wolsley’s (10) JIBONG JILJU in that race. That colt won his first two early last summer before being out for six months and the step up in distance may be what he needs. (4) BAEDARI HAENGUN has finished 3rd in five of her seven starts to date and there’s no reason why she can’t do that again. (14) V MAN got a slightly unfortunate trip when disappointing at odds-on on March 6th and can be given another chance today. (1) YOUARE THE CAPTAIN and (12) THE STARS are others with claims.

Favourites: (11) Santa Gloria (9) Also Number One (14) V Man (10) Jibong Jilju
Next Best: 4, 1, 12, 7
Remainder: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13
Fast Start: 9, 11

Race 6: Class 4 / 1200M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 14:15

The first event of the day open to foreign-bred horses and (14) GASI GONGJU was a winner on debut over 1000M in February and has every chance of following up here. Main danger looks to be (5) SEUNGNI UNCLE MO who made all to record his maiden win over 1200M last time and will surely try similar today. Much more experienced is the Korean-bred (12) MACH CHAMP, whose best recent work has been at 1000M but could also go well at 1200M in this company. Thomas Gillespie’s debut-maker (13) GREAT SONG won a trial in good order last month and can be considered while (8) AMAZING DAEJI doesn’t look a candidate to win but can find the money.

Favourites: (14) Gasi Gongju (5) Seungni Uncle Mo (13) Great Song (12) Mach Champ
Next Best: 8, 1, 7
Remainder 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11
Fast Start: 2, 5, 7, 12, 14

Race 7: Class 4 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 55 Million / 15:05 (SIN)

Another race open to foreign-bred runners but the slight pick could well be a Korean bred. (3) FIRST KING is up in class after his second win on February 28th and looks very nicely in here to get a third. Yet to score is (5) FURIOUS RUNNER but the Aussie bred colt beat four of these when running 2nd over 1200M last time. He’ll go forward and while he carries plenty, he must be strongly considered. (13) SSI F STAR was 4th first-up after a spell last time and should have come on for it and can go better. (4) SWEET MYEONGUN and (10) GIMAKIN JILJU have claims on the places while improvement will be expected of (9) EURI EURI.

Favourites: (3) First King (5) Furious Runner (13) Ssi F Star (4) Sweet Myeongun
Next Best: 9, 10, 8
Remainder: 1, 2, 6, 7, 11 12
Fast Start: 5, 6

Race 8: Class 3 / 1800M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 16:00 (SIN)

(7) MIRACLE IJI has raced just four times and looks the one to beat here following a solid 2nd place over a mile last time out. He tries two turns for the first time and that should suit him just fine. Also a first-timer at this distance is Kim Young Kwan’s (13) BAEKDU. He races for the first time this year but finished 2015 with back to back victories, the most recent of them at a mile and he can go very well. Another winner at a mile last time is (3) GIANT HOLD and he is up in class along with (2) SAENGIL GIPPEUM. Both of them can go well with the latter likely to lead early on. (5) SAND KING was 3rd, a length behind Miracle Iji last start and must be respected while (6) LEGEND POWER is also capable of placing while (9) TOP SPRING did exactly that at lengthy odds a couple of weeks ago.

Favourites: (7) Miracle Iji (13) Baekdu (2) Saengil Gippeum (3) Giant Hold
Next Best: 5, 6, 9, 10
Remainder: 1, 4, 8, 11, 12
Fast Start: 2, 5

Race 9: Class 3 / 1400M / Handicap / KRW 72 Million / 16:30 (SIN)

A very open race here with any number having claims. Five of them raced each other over this distance on February 26th though and most of the favourites are likely to be among them. That race was won by one of this year’s hottest three-year-old prospects, Banjiui Jewang. He of course is not here today but (9) SHARP GALE got closest to him that day, just beating (6) SAENA out of 2nd place by a neck. That was Saena’s fourth 3rd place from her last five starts. (2) JANGGUNBONG was a further half-length back in 4th and he should be looking to at least match that today. The real disappointment in that race was (11) WIRE TO. The colt was found to have been suffering a respiratory tract issue that day and while he did win his previous two, punters may be exercising caution today. As for those who didn’t run in that race, (5) MR. KELLY is the pick. He ran 2nd to Wire To in January but has beaten both Sharp Gale and Saena in recent starts and could very well beat them all here.

Favourites: (5) Mr. Kelly (9) Sharp Gale (6) Saena (2) Janggunbong
Next Best: 11, 1, 12, 7
Remainder: 3, 4, 8, 10, 13, 14
Fast Start: 2, 4

Race 10: Class 2 / 1200M / Allowance / KRW 88 Million / 18:00 (KST)

Sent off at long odds-on, (7) PERDIDO POMEROY went down to his first defeat on his first try at this class last month. He drops down to 1200M today and runs slap-bang into (2) FRENCH BOY, who has won five of eight so far and steps up in class today. These two are the market leaders but it is Perdido Pomeroy who is favoured to get back to winning ways. They’ll both go forward as will plenty of others. As for those others, eight of them faced each other over 1200M on February 12th. (11) SINHEUNG GOSU came out on top of them that day in 3rd but was indifferent on his reappearance a couple of weeks ago. Instead, (4) CHEOGANG BULPAE, (5) ACE CHEONBOK and (8) WORLD LOVE are likely to be favoured to chase home the favourites.

Favourites: (7) Perdido Pomeroy (2) French Boy (5) Ace Cheonbok (4) Choegang Bulpae
Next Best: 8, 13, 11, 12
Remainder: 1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 14
Fast Start: 2, 4, 7, 8, 11

Busan On Sky Racing – A Basic Introduction

Korea will debut on Sky Racing in Australia on Friday with nine of the ten races on the card at Busan the card being shown on Sky Racing 1 (race 10 is available for betting only) as Australian racing takes its customary Good Friday holiday. We’ll have a full race-by-race rundown here on Thursday but in the meantime, here are some very basic things to be aware of about racing at Busan.

The grandstand at Seoul - three more races will be shown in Australia from the capital on Sunday

The grandstand at Seoul – three more races will be shown in Australia from the capital on Sunday

The Track: The track surface is sand. There is often a lot of kickback and as such horses tend to wear pacifiers and give one another plenty of room. Due to the nature of the surface, it usually runs quicker when it is wet.


Races: 90% of regular races are handicaps. There are six classes in total with class 6 being for new or unrated horses. Horses then progress up (or down) the classes according to rating.

Most horses are Korean bred although there are imports too. Imported horses all begin at class 4. Tab number and gate number are the same and jockeys wear a cap coloured according to their gate number (number 1 always wears a white cap, number 2 a yellow cap, etc.).

Starts tend to be quick and most horses need to be on the pace early. Jockeys are not permitted to shift ground within 100M of the start and there can be quite a battle to find a forward position.

Jockeys: It’s by no means unique to Korea but there is a big gap in jockey ability. As of today, the top of the Premiership at Busan looks like this (RSLW=Rides Since Last Win):


Trainers: Kim Young Kwan has been the dominant trainer at Busan for some time with Australian Peter Wolsley generally the runner-up. There are two other foreign trainers at Busan; South African Bart Rice and Ireland’s Thomas Gillespie, who previously trained in Malaysia. Here is the 2016 Premiership so far (RSLW=Runners Since Last Win).


Favourites: One plus of Korean racing is that favourites do oblige on a regular basis. In Korea, punters overwhelmingly favour exotic bets with the quinella and trio being the two most popular. The win and place pools are comparatively tiny and while they will generally be accurate in terms of who is faovurite, they may not tell the whole story the further down the board you go.

General: Prize money is high and integrity is good. Betting pools in Korea close 30 seconds ahead of the advertised start so races usually jump exactly on time.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we will run through all ten races on Friday’s card. On Saturday we will focus on Seoul in advance of Sunday’s races.