Alastair Middleton's race-by-race comments for the upcoming races in South Korea


Thursday, 20 February 


Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

A field of twelve Korean-breds line up in the first all searching for their first win. (9) JINJU SARANG looks hardest to beat coming off a last start second to Master Bella. The Federalist filly hit the line with gusto after settling midfield in the early stages. She looks well weighted in the event. (5) HAEUNDAE THUNDER had his second start last time out when finishing third behind Max Power. The form line doesn’t read all that strong but this race is lacking depth as well. The Strike Again gelding is likely to settle in the first few in running. (1) CHOEGANG CLEAR has had four runs this preparation now and his recent times suggest he can run into the money. Expect him to sit closer in the run with a better draw. (7) FUSION PARK lines up for his tenth start and his fourth run this preparation. The Ecton Park four-year-old should be at peak fitness. Expect Park Jae-I to work forward early on.

Selections (9) Jinju Sarang (5) Haeundae Thunder (1) Choegang Clear (7) Fusion Park 
Next Best 3, 8
Fast Start 2, 7, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(6) NORTHERN DREAM has shown steady progress across four starts so far, culminating in a 3rd place last time out on January 10th. She runs on well and looks to have as much chance as any of shedding her maiden tag here. (2) CROWN FUNKY has a less than auspicious start to her career but looked a different animal on her return from a two-month absence in January. She ran 3rd and while she was beaten a fill eleven-lengths by a good winner, she can build on that here and Seo Seung-un taking the mount today can only be to her benefit. There were few expectations on (11) TRIPLE MAGIC when he debuted last month but he ran well for 4th in what was arguably a stronger race than this. The wide draw isn’t ideal but he should be competitive again. (3) CHODONG DAEJANG and (8) KKUMEUL NEOMEO are others with the potential to improve.

Selections (6) Northern Dream (2) Crown Funky (11) Triple Magic (8) Kkumeul Neomeo
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 2, 7, 8, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The three-year-old fillies line up in the third event where there is a severe lack of form for punters to analyse. (8) HAPPY SONG comes out of a stronger event where she managed to finish fourth behind Barbarian over the 1300m. She lined up against the boys as well last start and was the first filly past the post. This race appears to be hers to lose. (6) GLOBAL TOP comes out of the same race where she was well beaten. That was her first attempt beyond 1000m and we can expect her to take improvement from the experience. She drops back half a furlong and is capable of running into the money as she did two starts back. (11) FOR YOU LOVE lines up for her first start after qualifying last month. Her breeding suggests she will be better suited as she steps out in distance but don’t write her off completely first up. (10) MISS ROCKET is another on debut after clocking a reasonable trial time. She finds a weak assignment on debut and can run into the money.

Selections (8) Happy Song (6) Global Top (11) For You Love (10) Miss Rocket 
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 4, 6

Race 4: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

There is a good deal of potential throughout this maiden and it’s a pair of animals making their respective second outings today who look the most promising. Having won a trial, (5) NEW PROSPECT was sent off as favourite on debut on January 31st. He began a bit slowly but did run into 3rd, just a couple of lengths behind the winner. It wasn’t a strong race but he looks to have scope for improvement and with a slightly better start today can win. (3) JANGSAN MANGCHI ran 2nd on his debut behind longshot winner Max Power. The time wasn’t fast but the performance was accomplished enough and he is the main danger here. (9) GRAND CAPTAIN has been has shown an uptick in form in recent starts and can aim for a place here. (2) MILLION MAKER did nothing on debut last October but has since been through three trials, running well in the latest of them and he should be significantly better today. (8) YEONGGWANGUI KISS the best of the rest.

Selections (5) New Prospect (3) Jangsan Mangchi (2) Million Maker (9) Grand Captain
Next Best 8, 10
Fast Start 2, 5, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

It’s extremely hard to put together a speed map for the fifth with few of the runners showing early speed in their previous starts. (10) SPACE POWER looks to be able to cross in the early stages and should prove hard to run down over the seven furlongs. The Clear Attempt colt finished third behind Magic Partner last start but they did run a pedestrian time of 1.17.1 for the 1200m. Whilst is was slow it is probably enough to take this event out. (8) FEDERAL STAR looks the biggest threat coming off a fifth on debut. The Federalist three-year-old sat well back last start and she will need to be closer in the run if she is to be a winning chance, especially given there is minimal speed engaged suggesting the first half of the race will be run slowly. (11) GIANT’S HEART was disappointing last time out when the wide draw was hard to overcome. He has drawn wide once again but with the lack of speed engaged the three-year-old can bounce back. (1) SMILE WINNER has gone off the boil somewhat but has managed to place on two occasions from eight starts. If she can reproduce one of her better runs she should be considered and each-way chance. 

Selections (10) Space Power (8) Federal Star (11) Giant’s Heart (1) Smile Winner 
Next Best 6, 5
Fast Start 10, 8, 11, 1 

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

Having run 2nd on debut, (6) BARBARIAN was an eight-length winner on his return to action on January 17th. It was over this distance and he made all and while he is up in class today, the manner of that win suggests that he won’t need to improve very much in order to strike again today. He’ll be on pace from the stat and should win. (3) MUNHWA SIGNATURE and (4) JEONSEOLUI PUNCH came home 2nd and 3rd with just over a length between them when they raced each other at class and distance on January 17th. That was a strong race and both should be in the mix here with Jeonseolui Punch favoured to overturn that form. (1) HIDDEN BOY is inconsistent but is capable of running well in this kind of company. (10) DAMYANG CHOEGANG remains a maiden after seventeen attempts but drops back in trip following a good 4th over a mile a month ago and can be in placing contention.

Selections (6) Barbarian (4) Jeonseolui Punch (3) Munhwa Signature (1) Hidden Boy
Next Best 10, 9
Fast Start 4, 6, 10

Race 7: Class 5 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

There appears to be a couple of promising types engaged in the seventh. (1) GUKMIN STAR has been a consistent type for trainer Jang Se-Han since beginning his career in late 2018. The Ingrandire colt was impressive last start when running on strong to finish second behind Busan Miso. The 1400m looks ideal for him third up, he will be hitting the line hard and is capable of bringing up his second career victory. (3) MAJOR POWER comes out of a stronger race where she finished fourth behind Thunder King. The filly has drawn ideally for her best racing pattern, which is to sit just behind the leading division before they straighten up for the run home. (4) GLOBAL HERO cannot be discounted after breaking maiden status in Class 6 company last time out. His winning time suggests he needs to improve once again to be a winning chance. (10) DONGBANG NARAE showed plenty of promise during her first preparation but it is hard for punters to take confidence from her trials coming into this preparation. Keep her safe in your exotic bets. 

Selections (1) Gukmin Star (3) Major Power (4) Global Hero (10) Dongbang Narae 
Next Best 7, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 8

Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A field of three-year-old imported maidens go around here with four of the eleven making their racecourse debuts. We’ll side with experience though and the one with the equal most of that is (8) BABEL HIT. He beat three of these on his way to 2nd place over 1300M on January 17th, just doing down by a neck to the longest shot on the board, Rapid Game. You Hyun-myung takes the mount for the first time and he can win. Running 3rd in that same race was (2) DIAMOND MARINE. That was a second consecutive placing finish for the Paynter colt and he’ll surely be going close again. Back down the track that day was (6) WORLD TOP, He was sent off as favourite having won a trial earlier in the month but raced four wide with no cover for much of the way around ultimately finishing 9th. He surely gets better today and can be given another chance. All three of these are likely to sit behind an early speed set by (4) STORM KING IJI, who looks the pick of the first-time starter.

Selections (8) Babel Hit (2) Diamond Marine (4) Storm King Iji (6) World Top
Next Best 9, 5
Fast Start 1, 4, 9, 10

Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

They should clock a quick time over the 1200m with plenty of potential pacemakers engaged in the six-furlong event. (6) CHOEGANG TOUCH looks the one to beat after a very promising start to her career. The Hansen filly has had six starts yielding three wins and three minor placings. She is well weighted with just 54.5kg considering she has already won in this class previously. She’s an on-speed runner so expect a positive ride from Seo Seung-Un. (5) TOP ACE was an impressive last start winner in Class 5 company. The Thunder Moccasin gelding sat on speed before winning by three quarters of a length and clocking a superb time for the five furlongs. (12) NEOLBEUN GOEUL finished third behind Success Party which reads well for this race. The lightly raced five-year-old has shown he can run a strong 1200m, if Park Jae-I can overcome the wide gate early on he can be considered an each-way chance. (11) HAPPY GATE has been consistent for the most part of his career and is another that can run into the money with an economic run. 

Selections (6) Choegang Touch (5) Top Ace (12) Neolbeun Goeul (11) Happy Gate 
Next Best 8, 1
Fast Start 4, 5, 6, 8

Race 10: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(7) RAON YEOGEOL was just a neck away from running in a place in the Breeders’ Cup trial in October before managing 3rd behind Doctor Carson in the Gyeongnam Do Min Ilbo Cup in November. She ended her juvenile campaign as a beaten favourite over 1300M but resumes here stepping up to the mile for the first time with solid claims. (3) BLACK EAGLE WING is still a maiden after five starts but ran well when tackling this distance for the first time just two weeks ago. From gate 3, Jin Kyum can settle behind the early speed and finish strongly. (10) ROYAL TICKET and (8) CURLIN TIME came home 2nd and 3rd respectively when they raced each other at class and distance on January 19th. Both were outsiders that day but will be much shorter this time and both have claims on a place. (5) QUICK MOVE had a poor day at the office last start but is a class and distance winner and warrants respect.

Selections (7) Raon Yeogeol (8) Curlin Time (3) Black Eagle Wing (5) Quick Move
Next Best 10, 9
Fast Start 1, 5, 10, 11

Race 11: Class 2 (2000M) Allowance / KRW 90 Million

The eleventh on the card is an interesting race where there are many chances suggesting an open market to finish of proceedings. (9) ROCK CHOICE put the writing on the wall last start when hitting the line strong behind the very impressive Mr. Afleet. The Rock Hard Ten colt has shown a liking for the 2000m previously when winning the third leg of the Triple Crown – The Minister’s Cup. He is a dour type and there won’t be many, if any coming home stronger than him. (3) MR. SCAT looks close to another win after placing on two occasions from three starts this preparation. He was good last start he sitting on speed and finishing second to a handy type in World Power. He’s drawn well for Francois Herholdt to ride him in a similar fashion. (5) K PLUS WON saluted in this class two starts back before coming out of the same race as Mr. Scat where he finished third. This is the first time he has been stretched out to the 2000m but his previous performances suggest he is an each-way chance. (10) BRAVE KINGDOM is another who has performed admirably at his past couple of starts and can run into the money. He has been winding off some good sectionals so look for him late. Good race. 

Selections (9) Rock Choice (3) Mr. Scat (5) K Plus Won (10) Brave Kingdom 
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 3, 4, 7 


Friday, 21 February 


Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Twelve maidens to kick things off with five of them racing for the very first time. A couple of those have some promise but we’ll start with the experience. (9) DREAM GIRLS has been to the races twice already and ran on nicely for 3rd on the latest of these on January 18th. She was nine-lengths behind a good winner but has cope for improvement and is a leading chance here. (1) NONSTOP WINNING raced twice without distinction early last year before suffering a setback which has kept him out of action since last month. He did though look very handy indeed when winning a January trial in a fast time and should be a different prospect this time around. (7) TIZ CITY was well supported on debut a month ago. He weakened late to finish 5th over 1300M and can be given another chance dropped back to the shortest distance today. Turning to the first-timers and (3) BEST TOUR was a trial winner back last November. It’s taken him a while to get to the track since then but should go well first-up from a good draw. 

Selections (9) Dream Girls (7) Tiz City (1) Nonstop Winning (3) Best Tour 
Next Best 5
Fast Start 1, 3, 5

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

The three-year-old-fillies will go over the six furlongs in the second event. (9) DAEJIUI YEOIN is one of only two debutants engaged in the field but judging by her trial she is ready to fire at her first start. The Simon Pure filly trialed nicely when clocking a good time on a dry-rated track. She took a sit behind the leaders in the trial before working through the line nicely. (5) OLD BLADE lines up for her second start after an encouraging debut. The filly finished third behind favourite Ice Punch and whilst she was well beaten we can expect further improvement at her second start. (1) MISS ELITE has been rattling off some good sectionals for this class. The Peace Rules filly will appreciate the extra furlong as she steps up to the 1200m for the first time. (6) HAPPY PLAN showed significant improvement at her second run when finishing second behind Jeonjeongsageum. She went over the 1300m last time out suggesting she should be capable of figuring over 1200m after sitting just off the speed last start.

Selections (9) Daejiui Yeoin (5) Old Blade (1) Miss Elite (6) Happy Plan 
Next Best 4, 11 
Fast Start 5, 12

Race 3: Class 6 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with two of the ten making their racecourse debuts. And one of those first-timers looks a prospect with (5) SARAMIRANEUNBYEOL having won a trial in a fast time at the end of January. Moon Se Young partnered him in the heat and though he is suspended, Alan Munro is a more than adequate replacement and the colt can go very well first up. The favourite though will be (4) TOP SEED. He ran 3rd at this distance behind Choegang Teukgeup on what was his second career start three weeks ago, finishing strongly. He should have come on for that run and be fitter third-up today. (1) K N WONDERFUL may appreciate the slight step up in trip today following three solid if unspectacular efforts at shorter while (7) HONEY BUTTER BOBBY showed significant improvement when 3rd last start and can maintain that momentum here. Aside from Saramiraneunbyeol, the other debut-maker is Tony Castenheira’s (8) JANGSAN BADA. He too won his trial and there’s no reason why he can’t go well first-up.

Selections (5) Saramiraneunbyeol (4) Top Seed (8) Jangsan Bada (1) K N Wonderful
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 1, 3, 5

Race 4: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

The fourth on the card looks to have only a handful of winning chances. Three-year-old (8) GEOMPO looks hard to beat coming off a last start second placing. The Hansen colt has been consistent since beginning his career in August last year, yielding a win and three minor placings from five starts. He’s an on speed runner and it looks as if this field will have trouble running him down. (5) SPEED GO lines up for his second start after winning on debut over the 1000m. Whilst it wasn’t the strongest field last start he went on for a dominant victory winning by five lengths. Of the speedier types engaged he has the best draw suggesting he may be first to cross. (7) KING SON is another that has had the one start for a victory. He hasn’t been seen since May 2018 and resumes twenty-two months later. It is hard to gauge where he is at but apart from the aforementioned horses the remainder of the field is not all that strong. (9) GOLD MOUNT was a winner back in October and has since finished fourth behind Complete Captain in similar class. The lightly raced five-year-old should be considered an each-way hope. 

Selections (8) Geompo (5) Speed Go (7) King Son (9) Gold Mount 
Next Best 4, 1
Fast Start 5, 7, 8

Race 5: Class 6 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(5) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI lost out by a nose in a desperately tight three-way finish at this distance on February 1st. The Hansen colt has taken well to racing around two turns and today should be his day. He’ll come from just behind an early pace likely set by (8) KKAEUCHIM. He ran well on his first go at this distance in February, beating a couple of these on his way to 4th place having raced prominently throughout. He should go well again. (9) IRON HEART weakened badly last start but has previously gone well at the distance and can potentially improve here while (10) GYEONGBU DORYEONG has looked like he needs a bit of distance and accordingly gets the chance to show that today. In what is on the face of it, an extremely weak race, the wildcard is (1) SIMON KINGDOM. He did nothing in seven starts up to last September but hasn’t been since. He did, however, look much better when brought back to trial in January after a spell and can go better today.

Selections (5) Baekdusan Cheonji (8) Kkaeuchim (1) Simon Kingdom (10) Gyeongbu Doryeong
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 8, 12

Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

An evenly matched bunch of gallopers line up in the sixth event. (3) WORLD BEYOND is yet to miss a place from her four career starts. She broke maiden status three starts back in good style and has since managed to place on two occasions in races of a similar strength to this event. She should get an economic run from barrier three and be given every chance by new rider Jo Sang-beom. (6) SAMSEONG VIVA backed up his maiden win two starts back with a fair performance behind Lucky Beopjeon last start. With some improvement he can be considered an each-way chance. (7) DAEJI YEOGEOL will get the services of Yoo Seung-wan for the first time which will assist her chances. The Admire Don filly has finished close up on numerous occasions in this grade and is capable of a top three finish. (9) ALL BAEK struggled in the latter stages of her most recent start. She was good on debut when winning but there are queries with the six furlongs at this point in time. 

Selections (3) World Beyond (6) Samseong Viva (7) Daeji Yeogeol (9) All Baek 
Next Best 5, 2
Fast Start 1, 3, 5, 9

Race 7: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies and mares only here so a small field of eight but it includes a bit of quality. The clear favourite is set to be (2) UARYUNG. Having run 2nd on debut in December she then blitzed a maiden on January 12th, cruising away in the closing stages to win by as many as she pleased. Obviously she is up in class here but that really is only a number in a racecard here and she should win again. Clear second choice is (4) ATHENA V. She returned from over four months out in early January to record a maiden win of her own which puts her up in class too. She has a bit more to find than Uaryung but should have the beating of the rest. (8) DAESEUNG QUEEN remains a maiden but has never finished any worse than 4th and should at least maintain that record today. (3) BAEK HAK and (7) ROYAL GHOST are others capable of moneying in this company.

Selections (2) Uaryung (4) Athena V (8) Daesung Queen (3) Baek Hak
Next Best 4
Fast Start 2

Race 8: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

There are plenty of chances engaged in the eighth in what should be an open event. (7) MENI HERO drops back to the 1300m after some good performances over the middle distances. The three-year-old is an on-speed runner so expect a forward ride from Munro. He has been a model of consistency and gets a good chance to bring up his third career victory. (12) RAON LIGHT MAN is a last start Class 5 winner over the short course and steps up to the 1300m for the first time. He sits off speed in his races so getting him to settle over a longer distance shouldn’t be too much of a problem for rider Lee Hyeok. The Musket Man three-year-old is yet to finish worse than fifth. The interesting runner engaged is (8) DAEGUN POWER who hasn’t had a run since September when failing to beat a runner home. His efforts prior to his last start where good with five starts yielding two wins and two minor placings. If he is back to his best he is a winning chance. (5) MAMA ROMA has won just the one race from thirteen starts but has amassed some good prizemoney along the way. She is capable of running into the money in this and will be benefited by a suitable draw. 

Selections (7) Meni Hero (12) Raon Light Man (8) Daegun Power (5) Mama Roma 
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 2, 7, 8

Race 9: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Pick 4 Carryover: $607.91

Plenty of these come in off promising latest starts but getting the verdict is (3) SHARK JJANG. He was a winner at this class over 1300M in December before running 5th in a tough race at the same distance. From gate 3 he can settle just behind the early speed and could well have too much late on. (6) EOMAMUSI finished 5th to Shark Jjang’s 2nd when they raced each other at 1000M back in November. Eomamusi hasn’t raced since then but looked sharp when winning a trial at the end of January and can be a danger here. So too can (2) ACE CHAN who was a much-improved 4th in a useful class and distance event a month ago. (7) MUNHAKUI JEONSA and (12) LOOKING FIRST are two others with potential to get better.

Selections (3) Shark Jjang (2) Ace Chan (6) Eomamusi (7) Munhakui Jeonsa
Next Best 12, 9
Fast Start 1, 6, 7, 9

Race 10: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

The tenth event on the card is wide open with the majority of the field lightly raced to date. Whilst (9) MOONHAK EMPIRE comes off a fifteen length defeat at the hands of Eoma Eoma, he still clocked a time that will seem him go close in this event. The Empire Maker three-year-old will be stretched out to the 1400m for the first time today. He has finished off his races well of late and should be considered an each-way chance. (4) GEUMJAYU was a last start winner over the 1300m back in early December. The Morning Line filly trialed mid-January and showed very little but we know there’s an engine under the hood and she can perform well in this event. (1) JEOLYE claimed her first win two starts back when saluting over the five furlongs. The filly gets into this event with a reasonable weight and can run well. (2) DIRT SURFER has improved at his past couple of starts going over the 1300m. The three-year-old has drawn ideally to sit in the first half of the field and finish the race off well after an economic run. 

Selections (9) Moonhank Empire (4) Geumjayu (1) Jeolye (2) Dirt Surfer 
Next Best 11, 10
Fast Start 3, 4

Race 11: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

(3) SABA KINGDOM won three in a row to get rapidly promoted to this level between October and December of last year. He ran a really good 2nd over 2000M on a wet track on his first try at this class a month ago, beating a couple of these along the way and he is favoured to go one better and return to the winner’s circle today. The other standout is (5) TOP BRAIN. He can be a touch inconsistent but is proven at both the class and the distance. He comes back up in trip having defeated a couple of these on his way to 2nd place over 1400M last start and can be a real danger. (9) KINGS STEP and (10) INCHEON CHIEF both make the step up in class having registered solid wins over this distance in their respective latest outings. Both made the running the whole way around so they will have to overcome their wide draws today but nevertheless, both should be competitive. Also competitive is (7) GLOBAL CHUKJE. He’s run 4th in each of his latest three outings and it would be surprise if he did the same today.

Selections (3) Saba Kingdom (5) Top Brain (9) Kings Step (7) Global Chukje
Next Best 10, 1
Fast Start 2, 10

Race 12: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

There are some developing types in the last to see us out on a big Saturday of racing. (10) BEST EVER has proved himself as a very honest and reliable horse. The One Cool Cat entire comes off a win in this class last start and a result goes up in the weights. He drops back a furlong which shouldn’t phase the five-year-old who is looking for his fifth win at start thirteen. (8) GEUMA KINGDOM comes out of the same race where the Animal Kingdom four-year-old finished third. The chestnut came from well back on the turn to run into the money. Park Eul-woon will need to sit him a bit closer in the run to give him the best chance with the drop back to the 1400m. (3) BEST LINE resumes after having his last run in September. The Clear Attempt colt has won three from nine and has previously lined up against some handy types. At his last start bacin in September he managed to finish fourth behind bonny mare Dia Road who took out the Donga Ilbo last week. (2) WHITE QUEEN has been consistent of late and looks a featherweight chance as she is stretched out to the 1400m for the first time. 

Selections (10) Best Ever (8) Geuma Kingdom (3) Best Line (2) White Queen 
Next Best 7, 9
Fast Start 1, 2, 11


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