It’s two down and one to go for Power Blade in his quest to complete the 2016 Korean Triple Crown. The colt won the Korean Derby in fine style in the rain last Sunday to add to his KRA Cup Mile triumph last month and will be back at Seoul in July in order to try to complete the Crown.
J.S. Hold won the Triple Crown back in 2007. However, in those days Busan horses were yet to be entered in the series (that would begin the following year) and the first leg was the Ttukseom Cup. Power Blade would therefore be the first horse to sweep the Crown in its current format. The final leg is the Minister’s Cup, which will be run over 2000M on Sunday July 17th.
Ottug Ottugi was 2nd in the Cup Mile in March but didn’t run in the Derby. She may well go in the Minister’s Cup but before that, Power Blade’s stablemate has the fillies’ Classic to take care of. The 1800M Korean Oaks will be run at Busan on June 12th. We could see South African trainer Bart Rice with his first Classic runners as Janggunui Huye and Load Cell are among the seventeen fillies still left in. Seoul is set to continue its dismal record in the Classics accounting as it does for only two of the nominations even at this early stage. Hoseungjibyeok looks the main danger to Ottug Ottugi.
A week before the Oaks, on Sunday June 5th, there is a big afternoon of racing at Seoul which sees the first leg of the Queens’ Tour in the shape of the Ttukseom Cup and also the SBS Korea/Japan Cup, which is the year’s first international race.
Three horses are expected from Japan and they are the usual set of very experienced campaigners. Currently, they are the imposingly-named Dreadnought (Meishi Odo), an 8-year-old gelding with 7 wins from 33 starts, Kimon Avalon (South Vigorous), a 7-year-old horse with 9 from 53 and Best Wish (White Muzzle) a 7-year-old horse who has won just 3 from 58 but has finished in the top three a further 21 times.
The home team will fancy their chances of beating them in the race which will be run over 1200M. Gamdonguibada, Perdido Pomeroy, Tongil Sidae and Bit Blade are among a very strong contingent expected to travel up from Busan while Choegang Schiller, Cheongu, Haemaru and OS Hwadap are among the early entries from Seoul.
Last year a Japanese raider, Esmeraldina, won the Ttukseom Cup. Another Japanese filly, Lalabel (Gold Allure) was initially entered but now won’t make the trip. That leaves it an all Korean-trained affair for the 1400M event which is the first leg in the three-race Queens’ Tour series for fillies and mares 5-years-old and under.
Last year’s Oaks winner Jangpung Parang is among the 21 currently entered as is New York Blue, who was 2nd in this race last year. New York Blue was sent off as favourite for the final leg of last year’s tour but fell when clipping heels on the first turn enabling Heba to claim the race and the overall series. Bichui Jeongsang looks to be the biggest name from the capital still in.
Upcoming Graded/Listed/Special races:
May 29: YTN Cup (Listed) – Seoul
June 4: Selangor Turf Club Trophy (Special) – Seoul
June 4: JRA Trophy (Special) – Seoul
June 4: TJK (Turkey) Cup (Special) – Seoul
June 5: Ttukseom Cup (Group II) – Seoul
June 5: SBS Korea/Japan Cup (Group III) – Seoul
June 12: Korean Oaks (Group II) – Busan
June 19: Sports Chosun Cup (Listed) Seoul
July 3: Busan Metropolitan City Mayor’s Cup (Group III) – Busan
July 17: Minister’s Cup (Group II) – Seoul