The second leg of the 2016 Korean Triple Crown takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. Fifteen horses will line up for the 19th running of the Korean Derby. The winner of the first jewel in the crown, Power Blade heads the field and will be the strong favourite.
In all, there are eleven who have travelled up from Busan with just four from the capital competing. There are no fillies taking part as Ottug Ottugi, who was 2nd in the Cup Mile, is pointed to the Oaks in order to allow stablemate World Champion to take his chance here.
While Saturday was a warm, sunny day in Seoul, rain is forecast for Derby day. The race will be broadcast live in Australia on Sky Racing 2. Here is a full preview of each runner (Name [Pedigree] (Starts/1st/2nd/3rd) Trainer – Jockey):
The 19th Korean Derby (KOR GI) – Seoul Racecourse – 1800M – May 15, 2016 (17:00)
1. Banjiui Jewang [Ecton Park – Sweetoil (Broken Vow)] (6/4/1/0) PM Wolsley – Lee Hee Cheon
Disappointed in the Cup Mile ending up in 7th. He was 2nd to Power Blade in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul last November. Those are his only two defeats so far. Her should get the distance and he should certainly get another chance here. That Cup Mile performance raised questions but he can go better and can place.
2. Cheonji Storm [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] (6/3/1/1) DK Kim – Ham Wan Sik
He was 3rd on his first try around two turns on his last start, beaten by the kind of horses you need to beat if you are going to win a Derby and he was well beaten in the Breeders’ Cup. He comes in fresh after ten weeks off and is likely to go forward from the gate, but he will be an outsider.
3. Stealth [Colors Flying – Missed The Tower] (9/4/0/2) SY Lee – Ikuyasu Kurakane
Comes into contention haign scored a very good 3rd in the Cup Mile, six lengths behind Power Blade and ahead of five of his rivals here. Tries the distance for the first time but that should be ok. He will be given a patient ride and can finish well.
4. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] (8/3/2/1) KM Lim – Lim Sung Sil
He was 4th in the Cup Mile, a length and a half behind Stealth having previously made all to win at that distance at class 4 in February. The extra distance may be a slight concern but he should be prominent early and could find the money.
5. Saeroun Stealth [Colors Flying – Captive (Mutakddim)] (5/2/1/1) SY Lee – Makoto Okabe
One of the lesser known quantities of the race, he is yet to compete at higher than class 5, at which he won over 1400M last month. Definite question marks over the distance and his ability to compete in such company make him an outsider. Shares an owner and trainer with Stealth.
6. Siseon Pochak [Colors Flying – Myeongseo Gongju (Carry The Flag)] (12/3/4/3) JK Min – Paolo Aragoni
Formerly with Kim Young Kwan, he was moved to a new trainer specifically so he could compete in this race with Kim already sending the maximum allowed number of two. He was a class 4 winner by a neck at this distance just three weeks ago and makes for an interesting outsider. One of only three to race at this distance already, he most likely settles behind the early leaders.
7. Ever In Ever (Sharp Humor – Habidongju (Silent Warrior)] (7/3/2/1) KY Baik – Yonekura Satoshi
Fifth in the Cup Mile having been sent off fifth in the betting. He beat Siseon Pochak over a mile in March but so far hasn’t shown enough to warrant being well fancied here. Settles in midfield and can be competitive but is an outsider. Good opportunity though for Japanese jockey Satoshi.
8. V Man [Volponi – Katemba (Faltaat)] (12/2/2/2) KH Choi – Lee Yong Ho
Another of the Busan outsiders, he was a class 5 winner at a mile in March and was then 3rd to Tohamsan at the same distance last month. He’ll not go forward and could pass some late on but there is little to suggest he can compete for the money.
9. Gongryong [Revere – Parisilton (Woodman)] (8/4/1/0) DS Bae – Moon Se Young
He was considered Seoul’s best hope for the Cup Mile but failed to deliver last month. He came from right off the pace to win at 1700M the time before that and he will probably go to the back of the field here and try to close. He should pass plenty and he will have some supporters.
10. Winners Glory [Strike Again – Luck And Fame (Western Fame)] (6/4/1/1) ST Shim – Kim Dong Soo
Third in the Breeders’ Cup race last November, he skipped the Cup Mile having been a seven-length winner over 1700M at the beginning of March. He has had a full ten weeks off since then, he will look to lead early and if he gets to the front, he could go very well.
11. Theme Deunggeuk [Menifee – Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warrior)] (8/2/3/1) JK Park – Park Eul Woon
He was a longshot in the Cup mile and did reasonably well; his 6th place making him Seoul’s best placed finisher. However, despite that, there is little to suggest he will be any more fancied today and another creditable run would suffice.
12. Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmachong (Lost Mountain)] (7/5/2/0) YK Kim – Kim Yong Geun
The favourite. He easily won the Breeders’ Cup and KRA Cup Mile and has also won at class 3 over this distance. On form and achievement to date, it isn’t a question of whether he wins but how far he wins by. There are 14 others in the race though, anything can happen, but he is hard to oppose. He settles midway down the field, improves in the back straight, goes forward around the final turn and then runs away from them to the line.
13. World Champion [Didyme – Ascend The Throne (Silver Charm)] (7/5/2/0) YK Kim – Pasquale Borelli
Betting on Kim Young Kwan’s 2nd string is never a bad idea especially in a race where the trainer could have fielded five if he was allowed. If Power Blade is to be defeated, it would be no surprise if this was the one to do it. He comes in having won at class 3 over this distance last month, making all and will look to lead here. If and when Power Blade comes alongside, it could be interesting.
14. Tohamsan [Kwaedo Nanma – Bernice (Yankee Victor)] (5/4/0/0) KY Baik – Seo Seung Un
A bit of a wildcard, he was won three in a row very smartly indeed, beating V Man by ten lengths last month over 1400M. The distance is obviously a question mark but he can give a good account of himself. Satblemate of Ever In Ever
15. Seungniui Chukje [Captain Coltish – Call Again (Mr. Greely)] (3/1/1/0) SJ Kwon – Lee Sung Jae
The one with the least number of starts and the lowest rating. A visually impressive win against nothing much over 1000M in March which showed he has speed aside, there isn’t much to recommend.
Selections: 12, 13, 10, 1
Next Best: 3, 9, 7, 4, 14, 6, 5
Outsiders: 2, 8, 11, 15
Fast Starters: 1, 10, 13, 14