Triple Nine heads into Sunday’s President’s Cup (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse looking to match Dangdae Bulpae’s feat of three consecutive wins in what is the nation’s most valuable race restricted to Domestic-bred horses. More likely though is that we witness a changing of the guard of sorts as stablemate Power Blade will be favourite to assert his own claim to be top of the Korean racing tree.
That transition is almost complete. Both went to the Dubai World Cup Carnival and represented Korea with extremely creditable performances but since they’ve come back, it’s Power Blade who has gone on to excel. That’s not to say that Triple Nine is demonstrably any worse; just that that Power Blade has got better and better and the younger horse has already downed Triple Nine at distances of 1400M and a Mile.
Neither are straightforward horses. Power Blade needs urging all the way around while Triple Nine takes a very long time to reach his top gear. It’s those factors which combine with the 2000M distance of the President’s Cup that gives Triple Nine backers a glimmer of hope. Power Blade now though, is good enough to extinguish it.
Traditionally in Korea this would be the race where the top three-year-olds of the year faced their older counterparts in a Group race for the first time. Indeed, Korean Derby winner Final Boss takes his chance. Similar to the two favourites, he is anything but straightforward but on his day, looks an exceptional talent. Daeho Sidae, who beat Final Boss in the final leg of the Triple Crown also goes.
Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(1) DUSON EYE just missed out by a neck over 1000M on October 1st and he’s the pick to go one better here, likely leading all the way. (2) SKY CAMP has been 3rd in both his starts so far, albeit in less than exalted company and there’s no reason why that record can’t continue here. He’ll likely join Duson Eye up front early. (5) GEUMEUN JUOK was well back behind Duson Eye on latest effort but had shown glimpses of talent before while debut-maker (3) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG has to be given a chance in this company having trialled up in decent fashion last month.
|Selections||(1) Duson Eye (2) Sky Camp (3) Baekduui Jeongsang (5) Geumeun Juok|
|Next Best||9, 11|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 11|
Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
(8) HIGH STAR comes in having run 3rd and 4th in her latest two, both of them similarly modest contests to this one. She’s not necessarily the fastest of starters but will run on and could get her maiden win here. (3) O.J. HWAK DAB gets a fresh start today. She’s not been convincing in two outings to date but looked much improved when trialling up in October and can be backed here. (2) SOJUNGHAN SEONGBUL’s latest two have been too difficult and she should be much happier today – the champion jockey riding her will certainly shorten her odds. (5) GWANGYA POLICE is another to consider having run 4th in a similar race last time.
|Selections||(3) O.J. Hwak Dab (8) High Star (5) Gwangya Police (2) Sojunghan Seongbul|
|Next Best||10, 1|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 6, 7|
Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Only four of these have raced before but it’s to one of those we turn for our top choice. (4) DOUBLE GOLD was 3rd on debut in a fast race over this distance on October 14th and having come on for that, will be the one they need to beat. (10) SIMPLE LIFE too has a 3rd place to his name at the distance and can be considered but other than that, we’ll look to the newcomers. Best among them at this stage looks to be (7) STAR CAT. She was the only one to win her trial and did so in eye-catching fashion. She’ll surely look to get to the lead early and if she does, it could be interesting. (8) LEONNING STROM is a half-brother to a couple of decent ones and also trialled up well.
|Selections||(4) Double Gold (7) Star Cat (10) Simple Life (8) Leonning Strom|
|Next Best||6, 5|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 7|
Seoul Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million
Not a strong race this and it should provide a maiden win for (4) CUPID GANGJA. Granted he’s been well beaten by double-digit margins in each of his three outings to date but his form still holds well extremely well when compared with anything else here. (7) NAEGA JAL NAGA and (12) SPECIAL LIGHT are probably next best with both having 4th place finishes to their names while both (1) YEONGLAK TAEWANG and (11) JIGONG JILJU can also improve here.
|Selections||(4) Cupid Gangja (11) Jigong JIlju (7) Naega Jal Naga (12) Special Light|
|Next Best||1, 9|
|Fast Start||4, 9, 11|
Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
Underwhelming number of entrants for this one but it’s surprisingly tricky with almost all of them having at least some kind of claim. (3) CHOEGOYA CHOEGO beat (1) DALLYEORA PACHYAI when they finished 4th and 6th respectively at this distance on September 30th. The latter has run once since then, a good 2nd two weeks ago, again at this distance and he is the slight pick to make the breakthrough here. Choegoya Choego is perhaps the main danger but we should see solid efforts too from (2) ROAN QUANTUM and (7) CLEO.
|Selections||(1) Dallyeora Pachyai (3) Choegoya Choego (7) Cleo (2) Raon Quantum|
|Next Best||5, 6, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 6|
Busan Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
It took (1) GYEONGYEONHANJILJU a few goes to figure things out but since she has, she’s now won two in a row and despite being up in class today, she looks far too quick for this lot and should make it three in a row here. (4) YEONGGWANGUISINHWA actually has an even faster five furlongs to her name and could get close while (6) CHODONG TEUKGEUP and (7) KEUN MABEOP, the latter up in class today, are others to compete for the places.
|Selections||(1) Gyeongyeonhanjilju (4) Yeonggwanguisinhwa (7) Keun Mabeop (6) Chodong Teukgeup|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 7|
Seoul Race 6: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
After not getting home too well over 1700M three weeks ago, (4) HANEULUI STAR looks a much more attractive proposition back at 1200M today. She should be able to get on the early pace and has every chance of going all the way. The experienced (2) CHANGYOUNG was only narrowly defeated at class and distance last time out and is seemingly in the best for of his career for a stable that has been over-achieving of late and can go well again while the up in class (9) BLACK MUSIC should have a say as well. Others set to go close include (7) MR. KING and possible (1) HAETSAL WANGJA, who is one start into a comeback after a lengthy layoff.
|Selections||(4) Haneului Star (2) Changyoung (9) Black Music (7) Mr. King|
|Next Best||1, 3|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 9|
Busan Race 3: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 55 Million
It took (8) DINAH nine races to get her maiden win and after a solid 4th place in a stronger race than this over class and distance two weeks ago, she can get another today, likely looking to lead all the way. (3) WINDY PARK comes in following a similarly good 4th last time out at 1400M while (6) SEGYE RANKING returns from five months off and trialled up encouragingly. (10) GOLD SKY is down in class and should find this company more amenable than recent outings with (1) EOROK and (11) KWAEHAN MYEONGPUM others for whom this race provides an excellent opportunity to return to form.
|Selections||(8) Dinah (3) Windy Park (11) Kwaehan Myeongpum (10) Gold Sky|
|Next Best||6, 1|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 8|
Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
He’s still a maiden (all but two here are) but (9) CAPTAIN PARK has been coming closer lately and today everything looks set up for him to make the breakthrough. He briefly led close to home over 1400M last start but this time can get it right. (3) ROAD WINNER was a creditable enough 4th on debut in a challenging race on September 30th. He makes his reappearance today and given the way he ran on that day, the extra half furlong should suit. (2) BEST CAMP is better than her latest two suggest and can improve while (6) HANYANGUI JILJU was a little disappointing over 1400M on what was just her second outing at the end of September but had impressed on debut and is worth another chance here.
|Selections||(9) Captain Park (3) Road Winner (6) Hanyangui Jilju (2) Best Camp|
|Next Best||5, 4|
|Fast Start||1, 11, 12|
Busan Race 4: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(4) RED SIREN has won his latest three and while he is up in class today, he remains favourite to score again. True, the margin of victory in his last two were very small but he has the ability to see this field off too. There are plenty who could give him a hard time though. (1) GIFTED SUN looks to getting the hang of this level after a couple if indifferent runs in early summer. He comes in off a twelve week layoff and can go close. (10) QUE SERA SERA too has taken a couple of races to adjust to the stiffer competition but following a 5th place last time, looks ready to go better while (8) BOUND MYEONGUN and (9) TAEYANGUI SINHWA are both well established at this class and must be considered.
|Selections||(4) Red Siren (1) Gifted Sun (8) Bound Myeongun (10) Que Sera Sera|
|Next Best||9, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 7, 11|
Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(5) SMART DREAM was beaten half a length into 2nd when favourite at class and distance on October 1st but nevertheless looks worthy of a second chance here. In each of her last three she’s set the pace for most of the way around and this time we’ll go with her to stay on. (8) SANGBIGUN went past Smart Dream late on when they raced each other in early September for his third consecutive 2nd place and he will be close again while (2) TAMNA KING comes in off a 5th place in a tougher contest than this last start and should join Smart Dream on the early pace. Also away to a quick one should be (4) SARYEONI KING, who has found the money in both his latest two while a later arrival on the scene could be (9) SILLA HWARANG, a few lengths back behind Smart Dream last time but capable of better.
|Selections||(5) Smart Dream (2) Tamna King (8) Sangbigun (4) Saryeoni King|
|Next Best||9, 10|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5, 6|
Busan Race 5: Class 1 (2200M) Handicap / KRW 150 Million
A rare chance to get some distance and Busan Mayor’s Cup winner (1) I’M YOUR FATHER returns to action for the first time since bleeding in August. It’s his first try at this distance and he should be able to go well. The other main contenders all emerge from a race over 2000M just two weeks ago. That day, (6) SAENGIL GIPPEUM finished 2nd, ahead of (4) DYNAMIC DASH in 3rd and (2) BUHWARUI BANSEOK in 4th with three of the others who go here some way back. Today we’ll go for Buhwarui Banseok, who has raced well at this distance before, to turn the tables and get the win for Bart Rice. One of the others who was further back in that October 22nd race was (9) CHAMP LINE and while he seems to have lost his way a little in the second half of this year, he is a talent that can’t be completely ruled out.
|Selections||(2) Buhwarui Banseok (1) I’m Your Father (9) Champ Line (4) Dynamic Dash|
|Next Best||6, 10|
|Fast Start||1, 2, 10|
Seoul Race 9: Class Open (2000M) The President’s Cup (KOR G1) / KRW 800 Million
- CHOEGANG DREAM – Decent prospect but never run at class 1, never further than 1400M and never in this kind of company. Not yet.
- TRIPLE NINE – Looking for his third consecutive win in the race but Power Blade has now beaten him twice. Distance in his favour today but it’s going to be hard.
- POWER BLADE – Since returning from Dubai he has turned into an exceptional horse. The only question mark is whether he can hold off Triple Nine at this distance. He probably can.
- SOTONG SIDAE – Won a Seoul class 1 at 1800M in July but he’s not in the same league as Power Blade and Triple Nine.
- DAEHO SIDAE – Beat Final Boss when 3rd in the final leg of the Triple Crown and enters in decent form. Not yet ready to beat the best though.
- FINAL BOSS – Korean Derby winner. His latest over 1200M can be discounted, he is potentially a very big talent. He is not yet at the Triple Nine or Power Blade level.
- SUCCESS STORY – He will lead as he always does and he should stay on to beat plenty. Triple Nine and Power Blade have come past him many times though.
- GOLIATH MARINE – Has had a really good career as a solid campaigning handicapper. Not quite good enough for the biggest races though.
- BEOLMAUI SIN – At the end of last year, he looked set to make the step up to the elite level but hasn’t quite made it. He should beat a few of these but not the favourites.
Verdict: Last year (2) TRIPLE NINE beat (3) POWER BLADE and (7) SUCCESS STORY to land his second triumph in the race and he goes looking to match Dangdae Bulpae’s tally of three here. It’s going to be very hard. Stablemate Power Blade has come on immensely since then and having beaten Triple Nine at both a mile and 1400M can today assert his supremacy on Korean racing. The only question is the distance, which should benefit the notoriously slow to reach top gear Triple Nine, but even so, Power Blade should win. By this time next year, Korean Derby winner (6) FINAL BOSS could well be on the level of the other two but he isn’t just yet. Nevertheless, he is the third pick. Success Story will run his race as ever while (5) DAEHO SIDAE and (9) BEOLMAUI SIN are also capable of finding some money.
|Selections||(3) Power Blade (2) Triple Nine (6) Final Boss (5) Daeho Sidae|
|Next Best||9, 7|
Busan Race 6: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(6) DAMYANG HWANHO beat three of these when winning at class and distance on October 20th and with a good draw once more has every chance of backing up. (7) BESTOWED and (3) DANGDAE GEOHAM came 4th and 5th respectively that day and can get close again but the main danger could well be the up in class (11) MY ALICE. She was a solid three-length winner over this distance last time out and while the time that day was nothing special, she’s shown plenty of speed in the past and can go well here.
|Selections||(6) Damyang Hwanho (11) My Alice (7) Bestowed (3) Dangdae Geoham|
|Next Best||10, 1|
|Fast Start||6, 9, 10, 11|
Seoul Race 10: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(8) CONSERVATIVE enters having beaten a couple of these at class and distance last time and looks well in the hunt again today in what is a very similar standard of race. He will, however, be carrying a full 5kg extra this time around. That leaves a few others in the frame too with (2) MAJUNGMUL, who has been close in some reasonable contests lately and (9) WILD THUNDER, 6th in the final leg of the Triple Crown, chief among them. (5) DANGDAE GEOLJAK steps back in trip and into contention while (12) SUPER START, 4th behind Conservative last time, can also be involved.
|Selections||(9) Wild Thunder (8) Conservative (2) Majungmul (5) Dangdae Geoljak|
|Next Best||12, 7|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 5, 9|
Seoul Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
He comes in following two 3rd places and a 2nd and today (3) MUSTANG STRONG looks set to get it right and enter the winner’s circle for the second time. He narrowly missed out in a tough contest over this distance last time and the competition looks a little softer today. (1) MR. CHAMPION’s recent form doesn’t inspire but he is better than that suggests and we should see improvement today. (6) PUREUN MAE is up in class following an unexpected win over 1300M a couple of months ago and could surprise a few once more while (5) HWANGGEUM SORI should appreciate the drop back in trip. (7) RAON AMOS enters in consistent form and should also be in line for at least a place
|Selections||(3) Mustang Strong (7) Raon Amos (1) Mr. Champion (5) Hwanggeum Sori|
|Next Best||6, 2|
|Fast Start||1, 4, 7, 11|