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Busan hosts its final big races of the season on Sunday and it's a double header as the countries best juveniles come together for the first time to contest the G2 Breeders' Cup Rookie.
An hour later, the older fillies and mares get a final chance in 2023 to run for a big prize in a new race on the calendar for this year, the Listed Breeders' Cup Queen.
A full field of sixteen will take their chance in the Breeders' Cup Rookie (1400M KOR-G2) HANGANG CLASS has earned his probable favourite status. He ran 4th behind Baekduui Kkum (who last week easily confirmed her Champion Juvenile Filly Status) in the Rookie Stakes before storming away with the Gimhae Mayor's Trophy in a Korea Sprint worthy time on November 5th. He seems to be getting better with every run and trainer Gu Min-sung's exciting galloper will be expected to be on the pace here with every chance of going all the way.
LALA K comes in having won three of his four outings, that last to first score in the Rookie Stakes in August being the highlight. After defeat to Nice Time in Munhwa Ilbo Trophu, he bounced back into form with an off the pace score in the Nonghyup Chairman's Trophy. His running style certainly suggests that as the distances get longer, so can he, and Song Moon-gil's charge should relish his first crack at further than 1200M.
That step up in trip can help DOCTOR KINGDOM too. While he only has one win to his name, he ran 2nd in all three of the Rookie Stakes, the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes and the Gimhae Mayor's Trophy. He has five-lengths to make up on Hangang Class, but that extra furlong can be in his favour.
NICE TIME is three for three with the highlight being his off the pace win in the Munhwa Ilbo Trophy, when he swooped home late to deny Eclipse Berry and Lala K and secure a first big race win for second-year trainer Moon Byeong-ki. He hasn't raced since so comes in fresh off a nine-week layoff and it's not impossible that he could maintain his 100% record.
Alongside Nice Time, MEGA DRAGON and RAON TIMOTH are both unbeaten in two starts apiece. Both face much stiffer tests than anything they have previously experienced here. Accordingly, it might be Doctor Kingdom's stablemate in the Baik Kwang-yeol barn, DOCTOR BOWN, who skipped the opening Juvenile Series races but was a super all the way winner over a mile at class 4 level last time out, who has the best chance of causing an upset.
The Breeders' Cup Queen (1800M KOR-Listed) attracts a strong field for its inaugural running, but three-year-old WONDERFUL SLEW looks hard to beat. Luigi Riccardi's filly ran 3rd in the Korean Oaks and 2nd in the Gyeonggi Governor's Cup, the final two legs of the Triple Tiara, but got her
stakes race reward when winning the Gyeongnam Governor's Cup over 2000M at this track on October 29th, beating plenty of today's rivals in the process. Still lightly raced, there looks to be plenty more to come.
The Triple Tiara was swept by JEULGEOUNYEOJEONG, and she is still perhaps the most talented in the field. She has had such a hard season though. After winning the Tiara, she beat the boys at Class 1 level in August before a dominant win in the Jeju Governor's Cup in September. While she was 3rd in the Gyeongnam Governor's Cup behind Wonderful Slew in October, it looked a race too far. Not as far as the President's Cup did three weeks ago although she still ran a creditable 8th of sixteen behind Winner's Man.
Jeulgeounyeojeong is asked to go again here and while it would take a heroic effort after such a season, her class may see her through. Seo Seung-un gets back aboard for the first time since having to climb off her on the morning of her Triple Tiara first leg win.
SUCCESS TIME split Wonderful Slew and Jeulgeounyeojeong in the Gyeongnam Governor's Cup and should be a factor again, while Ttukseom Cup winner RAON THE SPURT isn't to be dismissed either.
The Breeders' Cup Rookie is race 5 at Busan on Sunday with a local post time of 16:00 while the Breeders' Cup Queen is race 6 at 17:00.
Rookie: (9) Hangang Class (7) Lala K (8) Doctor Kingdom (2) Nice Time
Queen: (11) Wonderful Slew (8) Jeulgeounyeojeong (3) Success Time (6) Raon The Spurt