It’s time already. The first leg of the 2015 Korean Triple Crown is this coming Sunday at Busan Racecourse.
The field is a rather disappointingly small eleven with Seoul seemingly simply not bothering with the race and sending just two sub-par entrants. The home side makes up for that though with some class acts entered.
Here is a full rundown of the field with Name [Pedigree] Sex (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey:
KRA Cup Mile (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 5, 2015 – 16:35
1. Special Line [Ecton Park – Rich Musique (Rizzi)] C (9/2/2/1) Baik Kwang Yeol – Nobuyuki Oyama
As the competition has become harder this one has been found out a little and it is questionable as to whether he has the speed to compete here. He does hold a win at a mile but the time was a slow one and he has disappointed in two starts in 2015. He’ll be an outsider.
2. Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] C (7/4/2/0) Kim Jae Sub – You Hyun Myung
He won Busan’s champion Juvenile race last October but then suffered a reverse at the hands of Doraon Hyeonpyo in the overall championship at Seoul a month later. Rafale began 2015 with a really nice looking 7-length win over 1800M but was then beaten into 4th last month oer 1900M with Yeongcheon Ace among those ahead of him. He went much further back in the field than expected that day rather than just off the early lead which is where his success has come from. He takes on a mile for the first time and a place is a minimum requirement.
3. Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggie’s Prayer (Songandaprayer)] C (6/4/0/1) Choi Ki Hong – Oh Kyoung Hoan
A front-running winner of four races, he stepped up to a mile last time out and in a race where all the favourites disappointed, he was a tailed-off last. We’ll put that down as an aberration, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence here. Regular jockey Jo Sung Gon also gets off to ride Mac And Cheese.
4. Mac And Cheese [Menifee – Squared (Posse)] C (7/5/0/1) Kim Jae Sub – Jo Sung Gon
A big chance. He comes in after four consecutive victories the most recent of which was over this distance in a fast time on a wet track. He generally stalks any early leader and looks to strike the front at the top of the home straight. He is quick and Jo Sung Gon coming in to ride can only be to his benefit too. If he gets in front in the home straight, he will be difficult to go past.
5. Lion Star [Exploit – Oakmart (Unbridled’s Song] C (5/1/2/0) Shim Seung Tae – Han Sung Youl
The first of two from Seoul and there isn’t a lot to say about this one. He got his maiden win last time out in the less than exacting environs of a Seoul class 5 race and while he may go on to be a good horse, this is far too much too soon. With all due respect to Han Sung Youl, he’s come down for the riding fee.
6. Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] C (7/3/3/1) Baik Kwang Yeol – Choi Si Dae
One of the most eagerly awaited colts of this crop, he hasn’t disappointed and is yet to finish worse than 3rd in 7 starts. He closed strongly for 2nd place ahead of Rafale over 1900M last month which followed a smart win over 1400M in February. He can win from the front or coming from behind and should have plenty of late speed. Choi Si Dae is a big race jockey and this one will have backers.
7. Haetbinna [Didyme – Chowonui Kkum (The Groom Is Red)] C (6/2/1/0/) Yoo Jae Gil – Kim Sug Bong
This one won’t have backers. The second and final entrant from Seoul is also yet to race at a stiffer grade than class 5 and is yet to go at a distance of greater than 1300M. Again, there is potential here but not today. Just like fellow Seoul rider Han, Kim Sug Bong is in town to pick up the “away day” riding fee, not prize money.
8. Yeonggwanguitaepung [Menifee – Grand Pass (Grand Slam)] C (8/3/2/2) Kim Young Kwan – Masakazu Tanaka
The second string from the Kim Young Kwan stable, he comes in after a class 3 victory over 1800M although hw was 3rd behind Yeongcheon Ace the time before that. Another who likes to come from slightly off the pace, he has shown good speed but may find one or two a little bit too quick in this field.
9. Namhae Sinhwa [Vicar – Intriga (Lord At Law)] C (7/3/3/0) Lim Keum Man – Kanichiro Fujii
Regular jockey You Hyun Myung has opted to ride Rafale here but there’s an able replacement in the shape of Joe Fujii. he hasn’t run since the end of January when he was 2nd in a slowly run race over this distance. That came after back to back front-running victories over 1300M and 1400M. Talented but is going to need to be much quicker today.
10. Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] C (6/5/1/0) Kwan Seung Joo – Kim Dong Young
The champion juvenile following victory over Rafale in Seoul last November. He’s run just the once since then and it was a mightily impressive 9-length procession against class 2 opposition over this distance. On paper, he wins out on almost all indicators although the almost three months he’s had off since that run may sow some doubt. Rafale is the only horse to beat him so far, that was in the Busan Juvenile race last October. Anything that beats him here, should be winning.
11. Summit Myeongun [Menifee – Summit Party (Ecton Park)] C (8/4/1/2) Kim Young Kwan – Kim Yong Geun
Kim Young Kwan’s first-string, he was 3rd behind Doraon Hyeonpyo and Rafale in Seoul last November. He’s won both his two starts since then, both of them at 1400M, most recently three weeks ago when he closed strongly to beat an experienced 5-year-old by a neck. The time before, Yeongcheon Ace ran 3rd to him. He’s shown enough late speed to suggest he is very capable of going the additional furlong here.