Seoul – January 19 (5 trials)
The track was running very slow at Seoul last Friday morning (and for much of the weekend) so times weren’t important but three-year-old gelding Jilpung Gangho (Hongji) looked comptent enough with an untroubled performances in heat 1, finishing on the bridle eight lengths ahead of eight other unraced three-year olds.
Sun Start (Gemologist) ran twice at the tail-end of last year without distinction and was subject to a warning having hung inwards last time out in December. The US import displayed marginally better manners running on to finish 1st in trial 2. Behind him eight unraced horses went around with four of them managing to qualify.
Japanese owner Mizutani Masateru has been the most successful foreign owner so far in Korea and his colt Two M Okay (Sharp Humor) looks like he knows what he’s doing with a very comfortable looking qualification. He’d previously trialled last September but looks a totally different prospect this time around. Leader’s Camp (Limitless Bid), who will be the ninth foal out of NZ bred Oktong-i to run in Korea, stayed with him throughout but was ridden more vigourously.
The latest “Blade” won trial 4. Meni Blade (Menifee) is a half-sister to Winner’s Glory (7 wins from 15) and will likely be well-backed when she debuts having run on pleasingly enough.
In the final trial of the morning, eight-year-old Space Port (Pleasant Tap), who last raced in December 2016, re-qualified. He’s won 5 of his 49 races with a further 10 runner-up finishes to his name. He finished 1st ahead of a number of others of varying experience and ability who were re-qualifying.
Busan – January 20 (3 trials)
Catch Nine (Eurosilver) took trial 1 by five lengths. She’s the first foal out of Easing Along mare Screwey. Eight of the nine entrants qualified from the heat in what was the first of three well-run trials and the only one to contain mostly unraced horses.
Miracle Iji (Parading) is a winner of 3 from 15 and last raced in May 2017. He’s moved to David Miller’s stable and having already re-qualfied in December, kept ticking over winning heat 2.
Baekmunbaekdap (Tapizar) was a $50,000 purchase from OBS last March and having had a few setbacks, the Kim Young Kwan-trained gelding finally trialled in the final heat. He looks good and finished alongside established class 1 winner Tongil Sidae (Munnings) in a fast time. Thunder Dome (Thunder Moccasin), winner of 2 from 8 so far, re-qualified having been sent back to trial following a disappointing showing when favourite at the end of last year.