Rafale struck first in the KRA Cup Mile. Yeongcheon Ace romped home in the Derby. They both line up, alongside just five others, for the final leg of the 2015 Korean Triple Crown – the Minister’s Cup – at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
There have been two scratchings since declarations were made on Thursday mornings. Daegunhwang, 4th in the Korean Derby and Bulpae Line, who was set to take part in his first Triple Crown race, have both been ruled out. That means there won’t be a number 2 or number 7. Only one of the seven is from Seoul with the rest having travelled up from Busan. Here’s who’s left in:
Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 19, 2015 – 16:55
1. Triple Nine [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] (7/5/2/0) – Lim Sung Sil
He will be either favourite or second-favourite. He didnt make it to the Cup Mile but finished 2nd in the Derby and won a quick race over 1800M last month to keep him ticking over. Didn’t finish that strongly in the Derby which may be a concern but trainer Kim Young Kwan will surely have him spot-on here. He probably wont lead but he should be handy.
3. Yuseong Fighting [Didyme – Maggie’s Prayer (Songandaprayer)] (9/5/0/1) – Yang Young Nam
Credit to connections for entering their horse in all three legs of the Triple Crown but Yuseong Fighting is a sprinter. He will go out quick but he won’t get the trip with 1400M so far being his limit against decent opposition. Expect to see him win plenty of races over six furlongs but don’t expect him to win this.
4. Rock Band [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] (5/4/1/0) – Kim Yong Geun
The wildcard. Unraced as a 2-year-old, he sauntered to victory without really being tested in his first four starts this year. He then had a chance to show what he was made of over 1800M last month but in a small field he got a dreadful trip, managing to get stuck behind slow-moving horses twice. Rock Band flew home but it was too late. Kim Young Kwan could have entered others and Kim Yong Geun gives up a weekend of rides at Busan to partner him. He can’t be ruled out.
5. Doraon Hyeonpyo [Colors Flying – Kilcoe Castle (Gone West)] (8/5/2/0) – Kim Dong Young
Second in the Cup Mile and fifth in the Derby, this is another for who the distance may be an issue. Doraon Hyeonpyo was last year’s Champion Juvenile but the Derby was his first attempt at a mile and while he should beat plenty there are a few who may be too quick at the business end of the race.
6. Rafale [Colors Flying – Dongbang Choego (Al Naba)] (9/5/3/1) – You Hyun Myung
The KRA Cup Mile winner and then 3rd in the Derby, less than three lengths behind Yeongcheon Ace. He is quick and the distance shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for him. Expect him to settle in the middle of the pack and improve around the home turn. Rafale is most likely to start 3rd favourite and he should be looking for at least a place.
8. Seonbong [Duality – Megabuck Gal (Montbrook)] (9/3/3/0) – Lee Joon Chel
A very creditable 6th in the Korean Derby but there is no strong reason to believe he can finihs much higher here. Seongbong has raced once since the Derby, dropping all the way down to five furlongs and coming 2nd. Following Daegunhwang’s scratching, he is the home-track’s sole representative. This is a small field so anything can happen but he is up against it here.
9. Yeongcheon Ace [Menifee-Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] (9/4/3/2) – Choi Si Dae
The Korean Derby winner and the likely favourite here. He is a closer and sat right in the middle of the pack in the Derby. Given the small field today, he may even go right to the back early on. Others have show more speed but he will get the distance and has every chance of grinding out another win. Choi Si Dae is the current big race jockey.