Luna winner Raon Pink faces returning Doctor Fappiano in Korean Oaks

Raon Pink was a crushing winner of the Luna Stakes last month and on Sunday the Musket Man filly returns to Busan as the hot favourite to win the 2021 Korean Oaks (1800M KOR-G2).

Remarkably, of the twelve who will line no fewer than nine of them have travelled down from Seoul, including Raon Pink, who won the Luna Stakes by a full eight-lengths on October 17th. That was over a mile, but such was her superiority, few expect the additional furlong to cause problems.

Busan may only field three but among them is something One thing that Raon Pink didn't have to contend with in the Luna, and that's Doctor Fappiano. Long thought of as the most forward filly of her crop, the Old Fashioned filly missed the Luna due to a setback but takes her chance in the Oaks as likely second-favourite.

Doctor Fappiano  has won at the 1 1⁄8 m distance already and was only three-lengths behind subsequent Derby winner Winner's Man when they faced each other in August.

All top-five placegetters from the Luna Stakes return for the Oaks while Miss Indie, who finished back in the pack that day, will be expected go better. In addition to Doctor Fappiano, the likes of Cupid Point, Pureun Jangmi and Choegang Black make for interesting newcomers to the Filly Triple Crown trail.

Long-shots have prevailed in the most recent editions of the Korean Oaks, with Ottug Ottugi in 2016, the last pre-race favourite to win the race. The Oaks is race 6 on Busan's Sunday card with a post time if 15:50. Here is a full run down of all the runners:  

1. SMART OFFICER [Officer- So Chic (Private Terms)] – Has only raced five times and won u to class 5 level over 6 1⁄2 f. In the Luna Stakes she was the slowest away and a long last on settling but by the corner had tacked onto the field and looked full of running. She then made excellent ground wide to run 3rd, a super run in the circumstances. Based on that she can't be ruled out.

2. CHOEGANG BLACK [Purge – Allwise (Mr. Greeley)] – Gets her chance following a class 5 win over 7 f at class 5 level last month when handy to the lead before running on strong in a good time. Two starts back she came from midfield to run 3rd in a fair time over 1 1⁄16 m, her only experience of racing around two-turns. She won't be among the favourites here, but she draws nicely to find a good position and a top jockey has been persuaded to go down to ride her. Could be interesting.

3. RAON PINK [Musket Man – Pink Candy (Southern Image)] – A filly who has been in outstanding form and in the Luna Stakes jumped well and worked to the lead setting a good pace and slipped away from the field on the corner to go well clear and was still strong at the finish. It's an extra furlong today but she draws the same gate as in the Luna and a similar performance will make her very hard to beat.

4. CUPID POINT [Concord Point – A Girl Named Phil (Distorted Humor)] – Enters in very good form with two wins from her last three. Last time out over 1 1⁄16 m at class 4 level she sat handy to the lead before running on in the final furlong for victory in a good time. That was at the end of August so she has had a bit of time out but from a good draw and under a top jockey, she can go well. Look for her running on late.

5. EODIGANA [Smarty Moonhak – Beneficial Friend (Street Boss)] – Great to see a Smarty Moonhak running in a big race and while she won't be among the favourites, she is one of only two in the field who has won over 1 1⁄8 m. That came at her latest start on October 10th at class 4 level when she sat behind the lead before taking things up just over a furling out and running on for a comfortable win. This is harder but she can be competitive.

6. SERVE ACE [Tiz Wonderful – Havisham (Bernardini)] – A super winner over 7 f at class 5 level in July she has been perhaps a touch disappointing in her latest two when 6th behind Cupid Point in August and then 4th at her latest four weeks ago, both over 1 1⁄16 m at class 4. She can lead or settle back and run on and Munro remaining loyal and traveling down is a plus, but others are favoured.

7. JEDI [Cowboy Cal – Bichui Yeowang (Midnight Lute)] – Showed promise as a juvenile and has maintained her form this year. She only has three wins from eleven, her latest being at class 4 over 6 f in June but she ran a big race to finish 2nd in the Luna Stakes when settling withing striking distance before saving ground on the turn and then running on strong to the line. Ran 2nd on her only try at 1 1⁄16 m at class 5 level so distance not a concern and she should be in the placing frame again.

8. MISS INDIE [Indie Band – In Escrow (Vindication)] – Half-sister to Afleet, who won the KRA Cup Classic (KOR over 1 1⁄4 m at Seoul three weeks ago. Her wins came at class 6 level but her two runner-up finishes were behind Hill More and Alpha Star, both of whom are useful. She was away well from the inside gate in the Luna and was prominent for a long time before Raon Pink's tempo perhaps took its toll. Should have come on for the experience and with likely less early intensity in this race, can improve.

9. QUEENS TOUR [Colors Flying – Daisy A Day (Smart Strike)] – Sole win to date came ay class 6 level over 7 f but she's earned her spot here through a 5th place in the Luna, when she settled in the rear division but finished strongly, passing plenty of tired fillies in the final coupe of furlongs. Likely to employ similar tactics today, minor money again would be a very good result.

10. DOCTOR FAPPIANO [Old Fashioned – Feversham (Distorted Humor)] – A setback caused her to miss the Luna Stakes, a race for which she would have been favourite. That was before the blistering performance of Raon Pink but Doctor Fappiano has excellent claims. She ran 3rd behind subsequent Korean Derby winner Winner's Man two starts back at class 2 level over this distance and then stepped back to class 3 and won, again at today's distance on September 5th. She is a front-runner, so Raon Pink has got the better of the draw but don't rule her out. Big Chance.

11. PUREUN JANGMI [Old Fashioned – Dancing Desire (Mr. Greeley)] – Lightly raced with just four starts but she has two wins and two runner-up finishes, including her latest, an all the way score over 7 f at class 5 level on October 15th. This is stiffer and it is not easy from a wide gate over 1 1⁄8 m at Busan. She clearly has potential though and the trainer/jockey combination will make plenty take note. Interesting wildcard.

12. YEONGGWANGUI MISO [Hansen – Perfect Scip (Scipion)] – Gets her chance here having run 4th in the Luna when settling midfield from a similarly wide barrier and in the straight challenged Jedi in 3rd all the way in a run full of merit. She will need plenty of luck from the widest barrier, but she should be able to give a good account of herself again.

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