Rock Band led from gate-to-wire to win the Minister’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon, holding off Triple Nine who had to settle for 2nd in his second consecutive Classic race.
The Rock Band/Triple Nine 1-2 was a remarkable achieivement for Isildore Farm, who bred the pair of them and also – although we have come to expect it by now – for trainer Kim Young Kwan.
Rock Band was sent off as the 4th fvourite in the betting in a field that was depleted in terms of numbers by the scratchings of Daegunhwang and Bulpae Line. Last time he faced such a small field, Rock Band got stuck in traffic and suffered his only loss to date. This time, jockey Kim Yong Geun decided to take the race by the scruff of the neck and lead from the gate.
Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace was slow to settle in the early stages but went with the leader as did Triple Nine, who began the race as favorite, and KRA Cup Mile winner Rafale. It was a lead Rock Band would never relinquish. Triple Nine lost some ground beginning the long turn for home and that would prove crucial as Rock Band had enough in hand to hold off his late charge and take victory by half a length on the line.
Yeongcheon Ace battled on for 3rd while Doraon Hyeonpyo, last year’s champion juvenile, got up for 4th ahead of a tiring Rafale.
For jockey Kim Yong Geun, it was a 2nd Classic of the year after winning the Korean Oaks on Jangpung Parang, also for trainer Kim Young Kwan, at Busan last month.
Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 19, 2015
1. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park -Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 8.6, 3.4
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.3
3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.5
Distances: 0.5 lengths/2.5 lengths
Also ran: 4. Doraon Hyeonpyo (KOR) 5. Rafale (KOR) 6. Seonbong (KOR) 7. Yuseong Fighting (KOR) NR. Daegunhwang (KOR) NR. Bulpae Line (KOR)
Rock Band is the full-brother to Indie Band, another product of Isildore. Indie Band won the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes but has been sidelined for the past year. The younger brother never raced as a 2-year-old and today was only his 6th career start. There could be much more to come from him.
Next week, Busan takes its summer vacation but there will be plenty of action at Seoul. Trainer Kim Young Kwan will be in Singapore to saddle Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me in the KRA Trophy at Kranji. He’ll not be training a 1-2 finish there. Today though, Rock Band was throroughly on song.