Rock Band saw his unbeaten record wither away in the Busan twilight on Friday as the much-vaunted three-year-old crashed to his first defeat on his first try at 1800M.
Rock Band [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] is the full-brother of the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band. Unraced as a two-year-old, he debuted in March and before Friday had won each of his four races with ease.
Stepped up to 1800M and also up to class 3, the main danger on Friday was expected to be Yeonggwanguitaepung, who had been so disappointing in the Korean Derby last month. However, with Rock Band sent off the long-odds on favourite, the one they all overlooked was Cheonji Hero (Volponi).
Under You Hyun Myung, 30/1 chance Cheonji Hero made the early running and remarkably would go on to make all. Rock Band on the other hand, found himself caught up first behind the erratically racing Choegang Bulpae and then behind a wall of Yeonggwanguitaepung, Lucky and Sinheung Menifee, the latter two travelling slowly.
By the time jockey Kim Yong Geun had managed to extricate himself, Cheonji Hero – no superstar but no mug – was long gone. Rock Band finished like the KTX to Cheonji Hero’s Mugunghwa but came up three lengths short. He will surely win next time.
Other reputations did emerge intact yesterday. Rock Band’s stable-mate Triple Nine (Ecton Park – A Little Poke) was 2nd in the Korean Derby at Seoul last month and back at his home track he came out in the feature race to record his 5th win from 7 starts. Racing well within himself under jockey Lim Sung Sil, the colt secured a very comfortable three-length victory.
Like Rock Band, Triple Nine is also not one to hit the front too early. Unlike Rock Band he safely managed to navigate a 13-strong field rather than getting lost in traffic among just 6 rivals. Both will be back and both could be present in some of the big Autumn Stakes races.