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This weekends big race is at Seoul on Sunday and the Owners Association Trophy but things kick off at Busan on Friday with 10 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Were probably going to be seeing this picture a lot over the next month Busans Divide Wind heads the 3yo ranks after his victory last Sunday (Pic: KRA)

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

Wide open maiden to kick things off with half of them racing for the very first time. Were going to side with experience though and (12) HOTHAE, 4thin his latest two, both and this distance and showing a bit of improvement on each occasion is the slight pick. He was actually beaten on debut back last December by (4) TANGO AND TANGO and the latter went on to run a good 2ndfive weeks ago again at this distance and she looks to be the main danger. (9) MAJOR ANGEL showed signs of potential talent when an improved 5thon what was her second start at the end of January while (8) KKEUTPAN TURBO races for the first time since last September and acquitted himself well in a trial three weeks ago. Talk of trials brings us to the first-time starters and among them, (6) PARTY WINNER looks most promising.

Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(3) HEUGSEOL GONGJU is the one to beat here with her 4thplace at 1300M on February 9tha bit more impressive than the performances of the others who come in off promising results. She can settle just behind the early speed and finish strongly. (2) MY TIME was 3rdlast start, also at 1300M and has every chance of at least matching that. Hell likely run with similar tactics as Heugseol Gongju. (1) B. K. MARINE finally showed some ability last start and steps back up in trip today she will probably be looking to lead from the gate. (4) BAEKDU QUEEN and (11) BELLAMY GONGJU others who could go well.

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

Kim Young Kwans (7) SPOT wasnt especially well-backed on debut after an underwhelming trial but he ran pleasingly enough on debut despite getting into a bumping match coming into the home straight. He ran on for 2ndand could well go better here stepped up in trip following nine weeks off. (4) VIP KING is the other one wholl be at the top of the market. Hes raced five times so far with his best being 2ndplace at 1000M in January. Last time, he ran a solid enough 4that this distance, beating a couple of the others who go here. Hes drawn better today and could well lead all the way. (2) GRACIELA didnt go well at this distance on debut but looks ready for another crack at it following back to back 4ths back at 1000M. (6) PYEONGCHANG HORANGI and (8) BAEKDU MYEONGWOL are two others who have hinted at ability.

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(8) BULMYEORUIMARIPGAN established himself as a worthy plodder who while slow, sticks to his task admirably, and over the course of a mile stays on so well that he inevitably passes plenty in the closing stages. Since returning from five months off in January, however, hes run 3rdand 2ndand comes in today, against a set of horses who, for the most part, he has already beaten, and he has to go on top. (4) DAEHO MYEONGGA(more)

With the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of the Triple Crown just a month away, there were Classic trials at both Seoul and Busan. At Seoul, Mask handed Gaon Champ his first defeat while at Busan, it was a Kim Young Kwan-trained one-two as Divide Win led home Captain Force.

Having already stepped up to and won at 1700M,Maskwas likely headed to the Triple Crown trail anyway but he was only sent off as third-best in the betting for the Sports Seoul Cup behind the hitherto undefeatedGaon Champand Seouls top juvenile of 2017,Choinma. It was Gaon Champ who showed the way early and at the top of the stretch looked poised to go on keep his 100% record intact.

Mask was too strong. Under the urging of Shin Hyung Chul, he came alongside Gaon Champ, who was all-out under Park Tae Jong, and went past in the final half furlong to win by just under a length. Choinma was a long way back in 3rd.

Mask (Testa Matta) has now won three from seven in total but crucially, both of this years outings. Hell not find it easy in Busan though.

Sports Seoul Cup Seoul Racecourse 1400M March 4, 2018

1. Mask (KOR)[Testa Matta Fire And Vice (Latent Heat)] Shin Hyung Chul 6.0, 1.4

2. Gaon Champ (KOR)[Ecton Park Ruby Queen (Badge Of Silver)] Park Tae Jong 1.1

3. Choinma (KOR)[Menifee Kkummaeul(Curia Regis)] Choi Bum Hyun 1.1

Also Ran: 4. Sharp Kaylan 5. Sinui Myeongryeong 6. Seourui Byeol 7. Eclair Beauty 8. Meni Bada

Down South, the Kim Young Kwan machine grinds on relentlessly and even without Champion juvenile Ecton Blade lining up, it seemed inevitable he was going to saddle the winner of the Gyeongnam Shinmun.

Divide Wind(Menifee) was favourite and he made short-work of the field, running away in the closing stages to win by three-lengths on the line. StablemateCaptain Force(Peace Rules), a half-brother to 2016 Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi came home 2nd.

Gyeongnam Shinmun Cup Busan Racecourse 1400M March 4, 2018

1. Divide Wind (KOR)[Menifee Grand Slam (Grand Pass)] You Hyun Myung 2.6, 1.2

2. Captain Force (KOR)[Peace Rules Main Objective (Lion Heart)] Lee Hyo Sik 1.2

3. World Sun (KOR)[Officer Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] Lim Sung Sil 1.2

Also Ran: 5. Captain Guy 6. Baedu Jeonggi 7. May Star 8. Bugyeong Bolt

In other news at Busan, Drop The Beat bested Haeya in the feature class 1 handicap, a sprint over 1400M.

Posted inKorean Triple Crown 2018Racing Reviewsand taggedCaptain ForceChoinmaDivide WindGaon ChampGyeongnam Sinmun CupMaskSports Seoul CupWorld Sun

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 4)

Choinma vs Gaon Champ at Seoul / Divide Wind vs Captain Force & Haeya vs Captain Blade at Busan

Sundays Sports Seoul Cup at Seoul Racecourse may have only attracted a field of eight-runners but it features two of the hottest three-year-olds at the track right now as Choinma and Gaon Champ meet over 1400M. Meanwhile at Busan, Divide Win faces stablemate Captain Force as well as Gimhae Mayors Cup winner Major Sun in another big three-year-old contest, the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup

Choinma was Seouls best juvenile in 2017 but he didnt have to race Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Choinmawas Seouls top juvenile of 2017 winning both the Gyeonggi Governors and Gwacheon Mayors Cups before running 2ndto Busan prospect Ecton Blade in the Breeders Cup in December.

Gaon Champwasnt involved in any of those races, however, the Ecton Park colt only debuted at the start of December and picked up two modest races before blowing away a strong field in a valuable juvenile race in December, two weeks after the Breeders Cup. Hes won his three starts to date by a combined margin of thirty-lengths. There have been concerns throughout about his soundness and he does race at 1400M for the first time, but he is reportedly fit and ready to go and will surely be hard to beat.

Choinma has raced once as a three-year-old already, surprisingly beaten into 2ndin his first try around two turns at 1700M in January but he is still very much in the hunt. Neither he nor Gaon Champ are front-runners so the early pace will most likely be set byMaskandSinui Myeongryeong, both good prospects themselves, whileSharp Kaylantoo looks a better horse than he was when beaten by Gaon Champ in December since then hes won two in a row by six and four-lengths respectively.

The Sports Seoul Cup is the highlight of an eleven-race Sunday program at Seoul while at Busan, The Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup headlines five races. Only Seoul is available on overseas simulcast so only full comments for Seoul but Busan Selections are at the bottom:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

This one looks to be (11) ROAN DOLPUNGs to lose. The Victoire Pisa gelding didnt show much in his first two starts but has since followed up with consecutive 3rdplace finishes both at this distance and at 1000M and should take some beating today. Despite being drawn wide, he should get on the early speed and lead all the way. The others have plenty to find. (3) BLACK SPIRIT and (7) SPEED YEONGUNG have both hinted at some potential talent, the latter beating a couple of these on his latest outing. (8) EOMJI YEOWANG showed signs of improvement when 5thlast start and could maintain that momentum here. (2) FIRST THUNDER the best of a limited rest.

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

(2) DAE CAIN was considered promising enough by connections to be given a run in Gwacheon Mayors Cup, one of Seouls top juvenile races, las October. He was overmatched, only beating two home. He has since bounced back and his latest two starts, both at this distance and ending in 4thand 2ndplaced finishes suggest a maiden win isnt too far away and hes the pick to score. (10) ONLY BARAM enters off back to back 3rdplaces and should be competitive again, while one of those he beat a couple of starts ago, (6) MIGHTY COOL, hasnt been too far away in his recent tries and can be close again. (7) RUN AWAY was an improved 4thlast time and enters the placing frame as does (12) SKY DOLPUNG, who can be given another chance after a lacklustre effort behind Dae Cain a month ago.

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

(2) GULCHARMNAMUSUP finished strongly to record a maiden win on debut on January 20thand while she is up in class today, she showed enough to suggest she is going to be very dangerous once more. (4) GANGCHONUI BYEOL used different tactics on her own debut two weeks later, leading from the gate, but the result was the same as she made all for a very comfortable win and she too steps up in class. At least one 100% record is going to be broken and it could go either way. Well come down marginally on the side of Gulcharmnamusup. Should both be beaten then its another up in class one, (7) SEONGBUL CHAMP, who could be best placed to take advantage. She has never been worse than 5thand was a really good winner last start at this distance. (1) HI EUREKA was a decent class and distance 4thlast time while (8) SIMPLE RULES is better than the 8thplace he registered on his first try at this class back in December and should be better dropped back in trip today.

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(2) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG steps up in class today following a commanding four-length win over 1000M at the end of January. On his only previous try at this distance he led early only to fade to 5thlate on but he should be better now and can stay on this time. The big danger is (7) HYEONMU. He couldnt get on the early pace from a wide draw when well-backed last time but looks better positioned to do so today and is a proven performer at this class. (9) DICE KING must be respected entering as he does a class and distance winner a month ago. It wasnt an especially strong race, but Dice King won(more)

Posted inRacing PreviewsUncategorizedand taggedBusanChoinmaGaon ChampGyeongnam Sinmun CupSeoulSports SeoulSports Seoul CupSports Seoul Trophy

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 3)

Eleven Saturday races at Seoul with the first at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Top jockey Moon Se Young is suspended this weekend so plenty of chances for the rest. Here are the previews:

The Moon wont be rising at Seoul this weekend

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

It has to be (2) BEST CHAPEL here. Her 2ndand 3rdacross her two starts to date were not especially quick but were in excess of anything achieved by most of the others here and he should win this time. (3) BLESSING ROAD is the only one who has put in a similar performance with her much-improved 3rdplace last time and shes the clear next best. Beyond those were scratching around a little bit. (1) MIDAS CHIEF ran twice unimpressively last summer before being put away for nine months. He trialled up nicely enough alongside some experienced horses at the end of January and should be better this time around. (4) MERLIN debuted all the way back last July in reasonably creditable fashion but hasnt been seen since. He trialled well enough too. (9) INDIAN ECO and (7) OPI RIVER perhaps the other two with the best chance of improving.

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Just three-year-olds here and ten of the twelve are racing for the very first time. Of the two who have raced before, (1) GANGHWA CHONGGAK did ok, finishing 4thof 8 at this distance at the end of January. Its to the debut-makers we turn to find our picks though. (4) HAMBAK MISO won his trial in good fashion and will probably be favourite given that he was the only one of these to finish on top in a heat but there are a few others who showed promise too. (12) CHOIN DAEBO trialled all the way back in November. Hes half-brother to a Korean Oaks winner as well (the 50/1 chance Euro Fighter back in 2010) and should go well first-up. (7) ROMAN BLADE is another well-bred one sporting the Blade name and colours of Kim Hyeong Ran and will be sure to be backed she showed promise in a couple of trials at the end of last year but has taken a while to be ready to race. (11) HADALRAE is another who went well in the mornings.

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

Three-year-old maidens again although this time there are only two first-time starters. One of those, (3) GONG SAN will be well supported having shown some ability in a trail just last week, finishing 2ndin a competitive time. Well certainly have her among the contenders here although not necessarily on top as one or two have hinted at talent in actual races too. (11) HANYANG GONGJU wasnt fancied at all on debut at the end of January but ran very nicely, coming home in 3rdplace at 1000M. She ran through the line well and the additional trip today may benefit. It certainly benefitted (1) CUPID STORM when he stepped up to 1300M last start and registered a much-improved 2nd. He can build on that today. (2) SPECIAL DREAM was sent up to 1700M early in his career but also looked far more comfortable back at this trip last time. (4) MONEY ZIFs latest two havent been special but she has previously shown she knows what to do.

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

Fillies only here. (12) DAECHEONUI SARANG was a narrowly beaten 3rdin a similar race at the distance on February 3rdbeating four of these in the process. She doesnt have the ideal draw today as shell want to be close to the early speed, but she can overcome it and pick up her maiden win. Among those who were behind her that day, (4) ARGO UNIQUE and (8) CHAMP STORM perhaps have the best chance of overturning that form in fact, Daecheonui Sarang caused Champ Storm to have to be checked five furlongs out but she still recovered to finish well. (5) FOREVER WINNER steps up to run further than(more)

Racing for March gets underway at Busan on Friday. Just 10 races with the first at 11:30 and the last at 18:00. Here are the previews:

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

Three-year-old maidens to kick things off today. Bart Rices (3) SEUNGNI DAEJANG ran a creditable 4th on his racecourse debut a month ago beating (1) BAEDARI SINHWA in the process. He should be prominent early on here and could win. None of the other experienced ones have caught the eye at all with even (4) GIPPEUM DAYs debut 3rdplace being about as unimpressive as a 3rdplace debut is possible to be, however, (6) TIZ POWERs poor debut came at 1300M eight weeks ago and hes looked much better in two subsequent trials at this distance. Well turn to a first-timer starter to find the danger. (5) SINBIHAN BARAM turned in an impressive trial performance last week, winning his heat and so long as he didnt leave his race there, can go well.

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Having trialled very impressively, (4) S S YOUNG was sent off a short-priced favourite on debut three weeks ago. He could only manage 2ndplace but showed enough to suggest a first victory wont be too long in coming and she should get it here. Both (2) JISAN OREUM and (3) SWEET MEMORY showed improvement in their latest outings, both coming home 4thin similar races to this and both can get in the placing frame this time. (9) PERFECT BOSS has been well backed for all three of his starts so far and while he hasnt really delivered as yet, with a 6thand a pair of 5ths, he hasnt run badly and could improve this time. There are three debut-makers, but it may be best to take a watching brief with them for now.

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

Another maiden for three-year-olds and it involves a few promising ones. (7) CATCH NINE was a very good 2ndon debut on February 2ndhaving raced prominently throughout. Shell be winning sooner or later and it could well be here. (2) GEUMSURYEONG was similarly good on his own debut in January, running on well and he should benefit from todays extended trip. (6) CHIEF LEADER showed some aptitude for the distance when stepped up to it and registering 3rdon what was her second start and she can be in the frame too. (4) USEUNG TEN already has two 3rdplace finishes at the distance and while he did ok when stepped up to a mile last time, the drop back in distance is in his favour today.

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

More maidens although it is age open this time. (7) JOEUN HAE has been getting closer across four outings so far with all of them being in slightly stiffer company than this. He hasnt managed to get on the lead in any of those races but he could well do so today and is the one to beat. (6) ACE WOMAN too has hinted at some ability across ten unspectacular efforts and while shes never finished any better than 4th, she should be(more)

A big days racing on Sunday at both Seoul and Busan. Seoul has 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00 while at Busan there are 6 contests from 12:40 to 17:05. Here are the previews:

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

(8) HAPPY MAUNTAIN ran 2ndon debut four weeks ago and while he was beaten a long way by a very handy winner, he showed enough to suggest he knows what hes doing and hes the pick to see off this field which is comprised six debut-makers and six who have just run once each. (9) HANSEN VOLT and (10) DONGBANG JIJU both also hinted at some kind of ability on their respective debuts and while neither were fast, they can improve here. Among the first-time starters, (12) FRENCH STAR looked the most convincing in trials. As ever with the debut-makers, watch the market.

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Fillies only here and (8) MORAN DONGBEAK finished well to pick off three of her rivals here when running 4thover 1000M on January 27th. She gets an overdue bump up in trip here for the first time and it could well pay dividends. (2) CHOM NIA has raced at this distance before and while it didnt go especially well, a decent 2ndback at 1000M last month when she ran on well through the line suggests she may go better this time. (10) BANGGEUT BANGGEUT too ran on nicely on debut at the minimum distance before running out of track and could also appreciate the extended trip today. (12) IRYEO HAYEO has run over 1300M before and did well at it. She came 3rdon January 21stin a very similar contest to this and should be looking to at least repeat. (7) MAGGIEUI CHUEOG is another to consider.

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

Tricky contest this. (4) JEJUI BARAM was an all-the-way winner in an all-filly race on debut at the distance on January 6th. She is up in class here but the competition is not especially intimidating and she could well win again. (10) THE QUEEN GRACE was such an eye-catching winner on her own debut last September that she was entered in a big juvenile race the following month. It didnt go well as while she was prominent early, she faded to beat only one home in the Gwacheon Mayors Cup. She returned though to run 2ndon her season debut a month ago, back at 1000M and she should be a threat. Half a length behind The Queen Grace last time was (11) ROYAL ACE and he can aim to match that here while (1) GALAXY POWER and the up in class (12) GEOSEON MAPUNG both have potential at this distance.

Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(1) GEUMBIRANG was a much-improved 2ndon what was his third outing on January 14th. Hes a slow starter but a strong finisher and while it is perhaps surprising hes dropped back slightly in trip today, he can still win. (3) RAON SIRIUS hasnt been too far away in each of his three outings to date and can go close here. Hes well drawn to get on the early lead and could go all the way. (5) FLYING JOY didnt go well on debut over 1300M but was much improved when dropped back to the minimum on reappearance last month. Moon Se Young being on board for the first time will enhance his appeal among punters. (10) BARAM KING likewise showed signs of improvement in his second(more)

Racing returns to the Korean capital on Saturday with a big 12-race card at Seoul. The first race is at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. Its going to be a mild day so come racing! Here are the previews:

Its not quite Spring but were not far away now!

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

Three-year-old fillies only to begin with and exactly half of the field are racing for the very first time with the other half each having raced just the once or in one case, twice. Its from that latter group where the top picks come from with both (3) BIG THUNDER and (10) RAON PRIMER having shown ability. Big Thunder has raced twice and while indifferent on debut, she ran well for 2ndon her reappearance on January 27thand will be favourite to win here. Raon Primer led for much of her debut on January 20thand while shes drawn wider today, she can still get to the front and should be the main danger. With none of the others who have raced before having shown much well look for the newcomers to fill out our tickets. Best looking in trials was (7) SUPER YEOWANG and she will be expected to be on the early speed too while (9) BRAVO ILSIN and (12) LEADERS CAMP are others who ran well in their heats and may be considered.

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

A maiden restricted to three-year-olds. (11) DREAM INDY hasnt been especially well fancied in either of his two starts to date but hes outperformed expectations both times with a 3rdand a 2nd, the latest being a front-running performance over this distance on January 21st. He led for much of that race only succumbing in the closing stages and while hes drawn much wider today, he can go close. (3) WILD DRAGON may have a better shout of getting on the early pace though. Hes also shown improvement across three outings and was a close 3rdlast time at the distance. (5) GARA GARA GA was a creditable 4thon debut a full eleven weeks ago and returns here up in distance but for a stable and a jockey who went into the brief Lunar New Year break in good form. (7) EMERALD KING and (8) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG, the latter a good 3rdin a similar race at the distance three weeks ago are also in the hunt.

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Fillies (and three mares) only here and (4) MIRACLE HANSEN caught the eye, to say the least, when romping home on debut over this distance on December 23rdin a decent time on a very slow-running track. She hasnt raced since and returns today up in class but with little reason to oppose her.  However, if we do wish to take her on, (9) VICTORY STAR looks the best prospect. Shes yet to win in four attempts but ran well for 2ndin a similar race to this on January 14thand can at least repeat. An alternative would be the more experienced (10) DALDARI although her best two results her win and her 2ndplace last start both came at 1000M. (2) DONGSEO GADEUK is a winner at the distance, albeit at class 6 (1) BAEKDU MIR was a close 2ndthat day and may come under consideration too.

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

Fillies again but a more competitive looking contest which could go a number of ways. (3) SMARTY ZIF was a surprise 2ndin a useful event at class and distance on January 14th. Shes been inconsistent across her ten starts but could go well again. Running a touch disappointingly in that race was (4) WAWA YEOJANGBU but she has shown her competitiveness at this level with a 2ndplace at the distance the time before and can reverse the form here. (2) CHEON YANG and (9) FIRE FOX came home 2ndand 3rdover(more)

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The top 5 place-getters in Januarys Segye Ilbo Cup all return on the SROA Chairmans Trophy this Sunday on Seoul.

@ScottySSBFCDefinitely the bags. I dont need to carry such a big one but I do now just out of spite. Happy to see

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Seoul & Busan Sunday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 4)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (March 3)

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