The 2017 Korean Triple Crown gets underway on Sunday as eleven three-year-olds line up for the first jewel; the KRA Cup Mile at Busan.
The race, sometimes known as the “Korean Guineas” is over 1600M and will come under orders at 4.20pm at Busan Racecourse. A total of 11 runners will take part, 8 from Busan and 3 from Seoul. 7 of them took part in Korea’s top juvenile race, the “Breeders’ Cup” at Seoul in December, including Final Boss and Daeho Sidae, who came home 1st and 2nd and are likely to head the betting.
1. Muhan Yeoljeong [Officer – Ridemetothemoon (Malibu Moon)] 8(3/1/2) (An Woo Sung)- Yonekura Satoshi
A fast finishing 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup, he’s won two of three starts since, all of them over this distance. A five-length winner last time, he is tactically versatile but given the draw is more likely to look to get on pace early today. He has a chance.
2. Daeho Sidae [Simon Pure – Ara Mireu (Didyme)] 6(4/2/0) (Baik Kwang Yeol) – Choi Si Dae
2nd to Final Boss in the Breeders’ Cup he’s gone on to win two from three since then including at a mile which has him up to class 2 already. Likely to be on or close to the early pace here and given home track advantage, it is very possible he will start as favourite. His dam won 3 of 24 starts at Busan. Daeho Sidae is her third foal while all have won, he looks the best.
3. Taeyangui Jeonseol [J.S. Hold – I’m Legend (Smoke Glacken)] 5(3/0/0) (Yu Jae Gil) – Lee Hyeok
Sire a Korean Triple Crown winner, he comes in following three consecutive wins, two of them at 1700M, making all last time. Another likely front-runner, he should stick to task well but whether he has the late speed to challenge is another matter.
4. Illyu Star [Officer – Run For Little Bit (Tactical Advantage)] 8(4/0/1) (An Woo Sung) – Jo In Kwen
He beat Indian King when winning over 1400M three weeks ago, a performance that saw him promoted to class 3 level. His previous attempt at a mile was unsuccessful though which means he probably won’t be among the favourites here. Not expected to try to lead but he won’t be too far away early on.
5. Wonder Wall [Chapel Royal – No Bull Baby (Indian Charlie)] 9(3/4/1) (Kim Young Kwan – Ham Wan Sik
Shunsuke Yoshida owned half-brother to Main Stay, who was a winner over 1200M at the Dubai World Cup Carnival this year. Wonder Wall was 4th in the Breeders’ Cup but has won two from three this year including one over this distance ahead of Indian King. Last time he was 2nd to Mujeok Vicar, a horse who also beat Daeho Sidae in January, over 1800M. From Kim Young Kwan’s stable, he will be backed as all of that trainer’s horses are, but he won’t be among the top line of favourites. Will proabbly compete for the lead early.
6. Ice Marine [Officer – Runkerry Point (Giant’s Causeway)] 9(5/2/0) (Choi Ki Hong) – Song Keong Yun
The only filly in the race, she did nothing in the Breeders Cup but finished 2nd to American Power in a valuable race at the end of December. She’s won both her outings so far in 2017, including a six-length triumph in what was basically an early Oaks trial over 1400M a month ago. That confirms her as the leading filly but doesn’t mean a whole lot here. She is likely to settle in midfield and she should be competitive but a win would be a surprise.
7. Indian King [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] 8(2/2/2) (Mun Je Bok) – Darryll Holland
His two wins both came last autumn and he went on to run 6th in the Breeders’ Cup. He has two 3rds and a 2nd from three outings this year and has been beaten by both Wonder Wall and Illyu Star in the process. Top jockey booking but a lot of form to overturn here. He’s likely to break in midfield. Indian King’s dam ran in Korea, winning three times and she also produced the sprinter Indian Star, winner of Jeju Governor’s Cup last year.
8. Lion Rock [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 3(3/0/0) (Lee Shin Young – Moon Se Young
Full brother to Triple Nine and three other winners, he is the only one who enters with a 100% record to defend. Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young comes down to ride him which will tempt some. He was a seven-length winner over 1700M in February but that was at class 5. Plenty of raw ability but possibly a bit behind some of the others in terms of development with the Derby and Minister’s Cup more serious targets but could still go well.
9. American Power [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American)] 4(3/1/0) (Kim Young Kwan) – Francisco Da Silva
he beat Ice Marine and Illyu Star when comfortably winning a valuable race at the end of December but was unexpectedly beaten on his only outing so far this year. That was at a mile on February 19th. He finished off well though and he was only beaten half a length by an older horse. A stablemate of Wonder Wall, he is likely to settle towards the rear of the field and he can’t be ruled out.
10. Final Boss [Menifee – Sinsok Dolpa (Lindo Shaver)] 8(6/1/0) (Ji Yong Cheol) – Choi Bum Hyun
The Champion Juvenile of 2016 having beaten six of these in the Breeders’ Cup race in Seoul in December. He’s raced twice this year, both of them relatively facile victories at 1700M and 1800M. Likely to be contesting favourite status with Daeho Sidae, he has a contrasting style, coming from off the pace. If he gets into gear into the home straight, the prize could be heading back to the capital.
11. Royal Ruby [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] 7(4/1/1) (Peter Wolsley) – Jo Sung Gon
He has progressed a little bit under the radar narrowly winning all three of his 2017 starts so far and actually beat Lion Rock’s older sister Black Sapphire by a nice over 1800M a month ago. From Peter Wolsley’s stable, he certainly has potential and is the most likely to settle towards the rear of the field. Interesting outsider.