Top-Class Lineups To Contest Korea Cup And Sprint At Seoul

A year after international racing returned to Korea on a raucous afternoon at Seoul Racecourse when Eoma Eoma and Winner’s Man carried off the spoils for the home nation, the Korea Cup and Korea Sprint return on Saturday night for their sixth editions with two top-class fields. Watch live on FanDuel TV or stream via your preferred ADW in North America. First Post: 9:35 p.m. ET /6:35 p.m. PT.

Fifteen will line up for the Group 3 Korea Cup (1,800 meters). Since winning the UAE Derby last year, Crown Pride has been to the Kentucky Derby, run second to T O Keynes and Jun Light Bolt back home in Japan, gone back to the Middle East and registered fifth-place finishers in both the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup and then run second to Meisho Hario in a thrilling Teio Sho.

What he hasn’t done is win, but that can change this week. He draws wide but that shouldn’t be a problem and under JRA Champion jockey Yuga Kawada, the Koichi Shintani trainee can succeed Chrysolite and London Town as Japan-trained Korea Cup winners.

Fellow Japanese contender Gloria Mundi has been sensational in two starts this year, scoring in Listed company at Funabashi over 2,400 meters in March and then taking the Grade 3 Heian Stakes at 1,900 meters at Kyoto in May. he hasn’t raced since but has proven himself more than capable first up and he can push Crown Pride.

Global Hit is the new big thing in Korean racing (Lala K aside) having won the Korean Derby and the Minister’s Cup in fine style this summer. The 3-year-old’s form took a boost when stablemate Speed Young, who he comfortably defeated in the Minister’s Cup, romped away with a Class 2 handicap at Busan last week. This is a big ask so early in his career, but they sky really does seem the limit as far as his talent is concerned.

Defending champion Winner’s Man had an injury setback after his last start but has been back in work since mid-August and it seems to be all systems go. He does now have form to overturn on Tuhonui Banseok, who has beaten him on their two most recent meetings. Both can be strong contenders. The local wildcard is Tiz Barows, the lowest rated in the field but lightly raced and with potential upside still.

Japan sends two genuine world-class sprinters to the G3 Korea Sprint at 1,200 meters and they are going to be very hard to oppose. The annual question mark over the internationals is how they take to the Seoul track, but Japanese trained runners have proved time and again that it is no problem for them, and they also recognise that to stay on in the heavy sand, you often need a horse that can get further than the 1,200 meters on regular dirt or all-weather.

Both Japan-trained horses fit the bill this year. We’ll side though with Remake. He ran third in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint and then fifth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen this spring and followed up with two super runs back home, most recently coming from a seemingly beaten position to win the Cluster Cup at Morioka in August. That defending JRA Champion Jockey Yuga Kawada is prepared to miss potential wins at home in a tight race to retain his title, suggests a high degree of confidence (he also rides Crown Pride in the Cup) that Remake will win this on his way to the Breeders’ Cup.

Bathrat Leon is a seasoned global traveller, coming to prominence with his longshot Godolphin Mile win in 2022 and while he couldn’t successfully defend that this year, he did pick up another big prize in the Middle East, when landing the 1351 Turf Sprint on the Saudi Cup undercard in Riyadh. He goes well on any surface and while he can mix his form, he will surely be close and gate one shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Among the locals, defending champion Eoma Eoma returns. He isn’t in the same peak form that he was a year ago, but his times have continued to be consistently quick, and he can’t be ruled out of a big run. Ssonsal, on the other hand, comes in in the form of his life. He is a strong finisher so gate three may not be ideal for keeping out of trouble and patiently preparing his run, but he will be doing his best work late. Raon Tap Man could make for some each-way appeal at probable big odds.

Top Aussie jockey Damian Lane will be conducting a fly in/fly out mission when after riding in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, he bolts up to Seoul to ride Hong Kong gallopers Duke Wai in the Sprint and Apache Pass in the Cup. Trainer Pierre Ng felt that the jockey’s experience in Japan would be beneficial to his pair’s chances in terms of familiarity with the surface and with the competition, Lane having ridden successfully in Japan recently.

The Korea Cup and Korea Sprint are races 7 and 8 on the 10-race Sunday program at Seoul Racecourse.

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