It promised to be a great occasion and so it proved as in the sunshine of a glorious autumn afternoon at a packed Seoul Racecourse, Triple Nine avenged two big race defeats to stablemate Rock Band to romp away with the President’s Cup.
Triple Nine was 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace, 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band and 2nd in the Owner’s Cup once more to Rock Band. He had picked up a minor Stakes of his own in between and today punters were split between the two three-year-olds. In the end Triple Nine started as favourite by the tiniest possible margin.
That faith by punters was to prove well-founded. Rock Band, ridden by Kim Yong Geun, would lead early with Gumpo Sky and High Five for company. Lim Sung Sil meanwhile kept Triple Nine just behind, stalking the leading three.
The question as they turned into the home straight was would Rock Band find another gear and go away? He wouldn’t. But he did stay on well. Sotong Sidae briefly got his nose in front at the furlong pole but travelling down the outside by far the best of them was the winner. Triple Nine collared them all and then lengthened away, already in front by three lengths on the line.
Rock Band rallied himself for 2nd while Masa Tanaka brought home the fast-finishing Ildeung Hanghaesa to edge Sotong Sidae out of 3rd. Gumpo Sky was 5th with Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace in 6th.
Triple Nine and Rock Band meant yet another big race 1-2 for the Kim Young Kwan trainng juggernaut. It was a clean sweep too for Ecton Park and for the Isidore Farm on Jeju Island where he stands. Triple Nine is the third product of a mating between his sire Ecton Park and his dam, the wonderfully named A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap). She already has three more full siblings to today’s champion; a filly and two colts, on the ground. Rock Band and Ildeung Hanghaesa are also both Isidore products.
For jockey Lim Sung Sil it was a second President’s Cup win. He rode Indie Band, Rock Band’s elder brother, to victory in 2013. He would go on to win the Grand Prix Stakes on the same horse.
Indeed, for the past two years, the winner of the President’s Cup has gone on to win the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes back at Seoul over 2300M in December. Triple Nine, who has now won seven of his eleven starts and has finished 3rd in the other four could well be there and could well make it three in a row. In a sign that he may not be coming to the Grand Prix, Rock Band was this week nominated for the Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi, also in December.
As expected, the race was once again dominated but Busan horses with them occupying five of the top six spots. The exception was the ever-improving Sotong Sidae who stepped up again to finish a very gallant 4th. Busan has been entering horses in this race for six years now and has won on all six occasions. The two tracks face each other again on the south coast next Sunday in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour. It’s hard to see the capital’s trainers starting to make amends there.
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – Oct 18, 2015
1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 2.4, 1.1
2. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2
3. Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) [Ecton Park – Saeroun Bulpae (Northern Afleet)] – Masakazu Tanaka – 3.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 0.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sotong Sidae 5. Gumpo Sky 6. Yeongcheon Ace 7. Heukgisa 8. Pinot Noir 9. Impetus 10. Mupae Daewang 11. Singgeureounachim 12. Haemaru 13. High Five 14. Goliath Marine 15. Yaho Sunshine 16. Jeongsang Bima