Saturday’s racing is at Seoul where there are nine races from 10:45 to 18:00. All betting locations are open, however, attendance must be pre-booked using the MyCard app. Here are the previews:
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maiden fillies open proceedings with two standouts. We’ll take a chance on (4) COSMO, who raced twice at the tail-end of last year, both at 1000M and finishing a good 5th and 2nd in good times. The step up in trip shouldn’t be an issue and while this is her first start in more than three months, if she can carry over that form, she can win. (3) ANOTHER LEVEL wasn’t especially well fancied on debut on March 5th after an indifferent trial, but took to racing well, running 3rd at this trip having settled in midfield. She wasn’t far away from the winner and from a good gate and with some natural improvement for the run, she has a big chance here and may start as favourite. (1) MIRACLE DAUGHTER ran well for 4th on debut before unseating her jockey when leading at her second start in January. She trialed up well two weeks ago and looks worth another chance here. Of the four first-time starters, (10) ARCH SIN looks most likely to make an impact first-up. (8) MUSTANG CHARM has put in two fair performances and can be considered for improvement.
|Selections||(4) Cosmo (3) Another Level (1) Miracle Daughter (10) Arch Sin|
|Next Best||8, 6|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 4, 9|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
Three-year-old maidens here and in a field where the exposed form is very thin, a big chance must be given to the debut-makers. More specifically, (10) DAESARI, who led from start to finish in his trial earlier this month. The time was only fair, but it was a slow running track, and he won’t need to improve much on that to win here. Logical second pick is (2) AL SIMON. She has got way too far back in her races so far but has shown the ability to run on and has posted the fastest time for this distance among those here who have attempted it, by some margin. If she can be put in a position where she has a chance, then she can go very close. (3) NEW CHEONGPA did at least beat a couple of these at his latest start and in weaker company today can improve. One of those was (5) CHANGER, who started poorly and didn’t improve. At his previous outing, he was on pace though and from a better gate, can be so again and be in this for a long way. (4) CUPID BELLE another in the placing frame.
|Selections||(10) Daesari (2) Al Simon (3) New Cheongpa (5) Changer|
|Next Best||4, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 5, 10, 11|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million
More three-year-old maidens and a tricky affair. Again, there are two standouts. We’ll go with (11) SUNGAN TOUCH. He was much improved at start number two on February 19th when he led for much of the way around at this distance, ultimately finishing 2nd. The draw isn’t so favourable today, but he can overcome that and has every chance here. So too (1) HATMURI. He too comes in off his best finish to date when 2nd at 1200M on February 26th, sitting handy throughout and beating plenty of today’s rivals in the process. He gets a great draw on the inside so Park Tae-jong will have plenty of options and another bold showing can be expected. (3) BEST JEONSA ran 3rd in that February 26th race having led until the middle of the home straight. That was his first time ridden on the speed and also his best result, so we can expect similar tactics today. (12) MORNING FIVE and (2) K N SKETCH are others who can enter the calculations.
|Selections||(11) Sungan Touch (1) Hatmuri (3) Best Jeonsa (12) Morning Five|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||3, 8, 10, 11|
Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Fillies (and one mare) only here. (4) HWASUBOON is yet to finish any worse than 5th and got her maiden win at her latest start in a similar all-filly race over 1200M on February 13th when she led for most of the way around. She does come up a couple of kilograms in the weights as a result but draws nicely and could well have too much again. (5) SMART HIGH has been a model of consistency and comes back slightly in trip after two good runs over 1400M which ended in 2nd and 4th, both times having to contend with wide draws. She gets a good gate this time, comes down very slightly in the weights and has a chance. That would mean overturning the form from February 26th on (9) JUNGCHUBUSA. She started her career in a hurry and while she had seemingly lost her way a bit, she ran strongly for 2nd in that race ahead of Smart High. She can be in this too. (2) COMPLETE STAR and the up in class (10) HAPPY MIX are others who can be competitive.
|Selections||(4) Hwasuboon (5) Smart High (9) Jungchubusa (2) Complete Star|
|Next Best||10, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 4, 5|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(8) TAEYANGTAGO was a class and distance winner on February 26th when he settled back in the field and ran on strongly. He only comes up 1kg in the weights and so long as he doesn’t leave himself too much to do here, can win again. (4) NAUI NARA comes up in class having registered his maiden win at start number five at this distance on February 27th when he sat handy to the lead before running on well for a comfortable score. He comes down slightly in the weights, draws nicely again, and surely measures up at this level. (10) GEUMSEONG MAN finished well back behind Taeyangtago last time out. The before though he was a winner at this distance at class 6 level, when coming from well off the pace, and Moon Se-young climbing aboard will alert plenty. (3) RUN RUN RUN and (2) SMART JEONSA are among others with at least placing chances.
|Selections||(8) Taeyangtago (4) Naui Nara (10) Geumseong Man (3) Run Run Run|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 7, 11|
Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(6) JOY BROTHER ran a fair 5th at this class over 1700M at his latest start on February 27th. The 1400M is more his go though and he was a class and distance winner two starts and has run consistently good times. He is carrying 3kh more than he did at that win, but he can be expected to be on pace here and to be in this a long way. (4) SINUI ADEUL has also run good times at this distance. He comes back up in trip following a solid 2nd place at this class over 1200M on February 26th when he settled right back and ran on, and he will be finishing strongly again here. (1) DOLGYEOK APEURO comes in having somewhat surprisingly beaten three of these on her way to a class and distance win on February 19th. She went right back that day but ran on very strongly and will warrant more respect here. (2) DUSON MEONGGEUN was 3rd in that same race. He then unseated his jockey coming out of the gates at a planned start two weeks ago and if he and Park Tae-jong can remain united here, can be given another chance. (10) DAEWANGU among others in the hunt.
|Selections||(6) Joy Brother (4) Sinui Adeul (1) Dolgyeok Apeuro (2) Duson Meonggeun|
|Next Best||10, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 6, 12|
There are much higher rated performers running in far more valuable races tomorrow – it is Dubai World Cup night, after all – but the horse I’m most looking forward to seeing is the rags-to-riches filly Mo Celita.
This time last year the four-year-old, who is set to make her seasonal bow in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster, had made little impression in three Dundalk maidens for Willie McCreery and held an Official Rating of only 62.
However, Mo Celita (pictured below) was about to make rapid improvement for her new trainer Adrian Nicholls. She won three sprint sellers at Leicester, Thirsk and Beverley and made it five victories on the bounce by scoring easily in a pair of six-furlong handicaps at Haydock.
That winning streak ensured she was sent off as favourite for the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap at Royal Ascot, and was by now owned by David Howden and David Redvers. She ran a cracker, making most up the centre of the track and finding a second wind to be beaten just a length into fifth, losing a few places to stronger finishers on the stands rail close home.
Mo Celita made all in the Listed Prix Moonlight Cloud at Deauville later in the summer, giving Nicholls the first stakes success of his training career, and she held her form until deep into the autumn, when she ran a creditable fourth in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp and a solid third in the Prix de Seine-et-Oise at Chantilly.
Explaining how the classy filly ended up in his North Yorkshire yard, Nicholls told Good Morning Bloodstock: “Like everyone else I’m always looking for horses, and a friend in Ireland told me she and another horse were coming up for sale as Willie McCreery was having a reshuffle, so we managed to get a deal done.”
Asked for a clue as to what she might have cost, he said simply: “Not much!”
And what about the big question: at what point did he realise he might have a Group-class filly on his hands?
“I’d love to say I was like Sir Mark Prescott and knew when she was rated 62 that she was nearly a 100 horse, and that it was always a big plan to take her from sellers to Group races, but the truth is I didn’t know at all,” he laughed.
“She’d show you nothing at home as she’s so laid back, which has clearly turned into a good thing for her racing, and I was just thankful that she’d won after her first seller and thought we’d better try to nick another one.
“That’s why I started claiming off the filly by putting Laura Coughlan on her – to give her every chance. When I first realised we had something really special was after she’d won at Haydock the second time and David Allan, who’d be a very good friend of mine, came back and said, ‘Trotter, that’s definitely a Listed horse at least, to have gone at that speed.’”
The key to Mo Celita’s success is her straightforward nature, Nicholls feels.
“She doesn’t take a lot of training, she’s very easy to do, and if she’s allowed to do her own thing in her races she gets into a good rhythm,” he said. “It’s a cliche, but I think since she’s got on a roll she’s just grown in confidence and got better and better. I’ve got no doubt she can win a Group race this season, with a bit of luck.”
The rise of Mo Celita will bring cheer to many racing fans of a certain age as she evokes memories of when Adrian’s father, the ‘sprint king’ Dandy Nicholls, regularly took other trainers’ base metal and turned it into gold.
Bahamian Pirate joined Nicholls snr after also putting in a few uninspiring runs in Ireland, and went on to win 12 races including the Ayr Gold Cup and the Nunthorpe, while Regal Parade was rejuvenated by the trainer after seemingly losing his way for Mark Johnston and won another Ayr Gold Cup, the Haydock Sprint Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest.
“Mo Celita would actually be a little like Bahamian Pirate,” remarked Nicholls, who rode out his claim when he won the Ayr Gold Cup on the son of Housebuster. “He wouldn’t have been a flash work horse, either. You’d never have jumped off him in the morning and said he’d win a Group 1, but horses like that thrive on their racing and keep improving.”
Reflecting on his father’s success and his own training career, he added: “I’m not knocking anyone who takes over a yard from their parents but for me personally, I was a trainer’s son who started with two horses after everything had gone the wrong way for dad.
“So it’s been special to get a filly like Mo Celita from nothing as it shows everything I learned from my dad, and how not a lot has changed here apart from the fact we’ve moved 200 metres down the lane from where he trained. His head lad Ben Beasley even still helps me out here now.
“It’s been a real honour that David Redvers and David Howden chose to keep her with me, when they could have taken her to a bigger trainer like Andrew Balding or William Haggas, and they have another one with me now and hopefully a third one from the breeze-ups.
“Like anything, success breeds success and it’s been good for getting new owners into the yard and keeping others I already had here. We’ve been lucky to sell a few horses to Hong Kong in recent years, but you still have to have something to go to war with yourself.”
Mo Celita could very well provide another good advert for Nicholls’ training ability at Doncaster tomorrow and/or later in the season. Whatever happens in future, though, she has already shown she has significant value as a broodmare, both on her past racecourse achievements and her breeding.
For a cheaply sourced cast-off, her pedigree isn’t half bad. She was bred by the renowned Ringfort Stud but has inherited some brilliant Juddmonte bloodlines from both her sire Camacho, a Danehill half-brother to Showcasing who has also sired the high-class fillies Signora Cabello and Teppal, and her dam Asterism, a daughter of Motivator and Listed winner Star Cluster from the family of Bated Breath, Cityscape and Logician.