Triple Nine will be seeking to enter the history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as the three-time President’s Cup (KOR G1) winner, bids to add an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the top Group 1 race for Korean-bred horses. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 plus 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the previews with horse-by-horse notes for the President’s Cup which is race 9 on the program at Seoul, scheduled to be off at 16:45″
Last year, Triple Nine equaled the great Dangdae Bulpae’s record of the consecutive President’s Cup victories which were achieved between 2010 and 2012. Unlike Dangdae Bulpae, who was retired after an unsuccessful tilt at the 2013 edition, the Kim Young-kwan-trained six-year-old will be a firm favourite to write his name into Korean racing folklore.
Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million
(1) SAEROUN CAPTAIN just missed out by half a length when 2nd at this distance on what was his fourth career start at the end of September. He led until almost the very end that day and this time can get home on top. (6) HWANSANGUI BIT didn’t do himself justice over 1300M last start but should be better dropped back to the minimum today and is likely to join Saeroun Captain on the early pace. (7) SONGAM BARBIE has only raced twice, improving to 2nd on the latest of those a month ago, just beaten a neck and she can go close as well. (5) JEONGSANG GOLD was 5th in that race, overcoming a difficult start and is another who looks on the up.
|Selections||(1) Saeroun Captain (6) Hwansangui Bit (7) Songam Barbie (5) Jeongsang Gold|
|Next Best||4, 8|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 6|
Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
Juvenile maidens here and only one of them has ever raced before. That was (5) GOLD PERILLA and based on that one race, we’ll leave him well alone. (1) COILRO enters as the only trial winner and while his time wasn’t the quickest, he looked competent and the Simon Foster/Antonio Da Silva combination could be enough to make him favourite. Fastest in trials was (4) HAMYANG SANSAM. She’s half-sister to plenty of average racehorses and could well have a win in her at this level. (2) BANJIUI HAMSEONG caught the eye too when running 3rd in his heat at the end of September. With a top jockey on board, he’ll attract money too. (8) BEST HILL and (10) VICTORY KING could also go well first-up. As ever in this type of race, the market may be the best guide.
|Selections||(1) Coilro (4) Hamyang Sansam (2) Banjiui Hamseong (10) Victory King|
|Next Best||8, 3|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 12|
Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(7) WONDERFUL TRUTH was a nice-looking six-length winner over 1000M on debut on October 6th and while she’s up in both class and distance today, she’s worth putting on top again in this all-filly contest. She should be able to get to the lead from gate 7 and can go all the way. (8) FLYING HERA remains a maiden but goes well at this trip and was 3rd in arguably a slightly stronger race than this at the distance on September 9th and she’ll be one of the dangers, as will another maiden (6) RAON MIRACLE. She has plenty of experience at this level and her recent forms reads well. (3) GOLDSTAR HILLS has been around the block a few times and drops back in trip today and into the frame while (9) RISING SOCKS acquitted herself well running 5th in a similar race to this last time and can build on that here.
|Selections||(7) Wonderful Truth (8) Flying Hera (3) Goldstar Hills (6) Raon Miracle|
|Next Best||9, 2|
|Fast Start||2, 3, 7|
Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million
(1) WINT SEVEN ran 3rd on debut in August and after having a couple of minor hoof problems returned to trial in October in which he as extremely impressive. He’ll be one of the shortest-priced favourites of the day and should win. He’s one of only five of the twelve who have raced before and among the other experienced ones, only (6) CAMPING MANIA really convinced and she’ll be a danger. Of the first-time starters, (4) SAMAE JILJU was an impressive trial winner last month and should go well first-up while (3) KOREA DAEJANGBU and (10) BLACK WINGWING also demonstrated they know what they are supposed to do and can be considered for at least a place.
|Selections||(1) Wint Seven (4) Samae Jilju (6) Camping Mania (3) Korea Daejangbu|
|Next Best||10, 7|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 10, 12|
Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(7) DANGDAE SONYEO was narrowly beaten into 2nd on her first try at this class on September 30th, having briefly led close to home. She can get to the front again here and this time can win. When getting her maiden win in August, Dangdae Sonyeo beat (4) YEOGEOL VISION by six-lengths. The latter went on to win on her reappearance on September 30th and is one of three who step up in class here. She has a chance as indeed do the other two; (2) TOHAMSAN POWER remains a maiden but has looked competent across four starts to date which have included two 2nd place finishes. He’s a front-runner and drops back to the minimum distance today which may suit (3) RAON SERENA too is yet to win but has been beaten by decent horses, including Wonderful Truth, who ran in race 3, on her way to two 3rds and a 2nd in three outings. She looks the most dangerous of the three.
|Selections||(7) Dangdae Sonyeo (3) Raon Serena (4) Yeogeol Vision (2) Tohamsan Power|
|Next Best||6, 9|
|Fast Start||2, 5, 7|
Race 6: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
Tricky race to call this with none of this field of twelve having finished any better than 6th in their respective outings. (4) GWACHEON JANGSA was expected to do much better than that on October 13th but did himself no favours by hanging-in late on. That was over 1300M and he’s worth another shot back at the minimum today. (7) GULCHARMNAMUSUP was also expected to do better and while she had fewer excuses for her 7th in a different race on the same day, the margins weren’t huge and she too gets another chance. On the other hand, (1) SUPER TRICK and (6) KKACHILHAN GONGJU slightly exceeded expectations in their latest efforts, both of them racing in useful company and both should be in the frame here. (12) HEUNG BARAM looks best of the rest.
|Selections||(4) Gwacheon Jangsa (1) Super Trick (7) Gulcharmnamusup (6) Kkachilhan Gongju|
|Next Best||12, 10|
|Fast Start||3, 6, 7, 8, 9|
Race 7: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
(9) SPEED YEONGUNG has run well in two runner-up finishes and a 3rd in his latest three, all at this class and he looks ready to add to his two career wins so far. He’s not the fastest of starters but he can find a good spot behind the leaders and finish strongly. The main dangers are all still maidens but it’s not impossible that could change here. (6) CUPID STORM’s recent form reads well and he should be close while (10) SANTOS comes in having run 2nd at class and distance four weeks ago and looks set to try and get to the front from the gate. (2) NANGMAN STAR drops back in trip following a couple of useful efforts over 1700M and can be in the frame too. (3) INDIAN ECO, who has won before, has done her best work at the minimum distance but is perhaps ready for another tilt at 1300M.
|Selections||(9) Speed Yeongung (10) Santos (6) Cupid Storm (3) Indian Eco|
|Next Best||2, 7|
|Fast Start||5, 10|
Race 8: Class 4 (1700M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million
(10) BURUI GORI broke his maiden in spectacular style when winning by ten-lengths over this distance at class 5 on October 14th. He hit the front reasonably late on but cruised away from what was by no means a weak field for that level. He is up in class here, but the competition seems hardly any stiffer and with only an extra 1kg on his back, he should take some beating again. It is a modest set of rivals and a couple of the ones who look best placed to challenge are maidens themselves. (4) ALL FOR BE TO BE raced well for 5th in better company than this at class and distance last time and should be aiming for a place, as should (8) CHEONGDAM TIGER, who comes in off the back of a 4th place, again in a better race. He’s likely to try to lead. (7) HAENAEMA, yet another maiden, and (6) HAPPY MAUNTAIN, who has at least won before – and at this distance too – are others who can find the places.
|Selections||(10) Burui Gori (4) All For Be To Be (8) Cheongdam Tiger (6) Happy Mauntain|
|Next Best||7, 3|
|Fast Start||1, 6, 8, 9|
Race 9: Class Open “The President’s Cup” (KOR G1) (2000M) Weight for Age / KRW 800 Million
- MASTER WIN – Won back to back races in June and July to make it up to class 2, running 2nd to World Sun at 1800M in his first try at that level, having previously beaten him at class 3. Another big step up today is required. Minor money possible.
- TRIPLE NINE – Mr. Consistency is running times that are as good as ever and is as tough at the finish as ever. He may have finished behind Cheonji Storm in July but his run in the KRA Cup Classic suggests that he’s not going to be beaten here. A cut above this field.
- GASOKBULPAE – More noted as a sprinter, his last win was at 1400M in May. Has led and subsequently faded in three outings since then and it’s hard to see anything other than that happening again today.
- YAHO SKY CAT – Secured back to back class 1 victories in April and May but has raced below form in two subsequent efforts. Tactically versatile, he may opt to challenge for the lead but is up against it here.
- WORLD SUN – Won the Minister’s Cup here at this distance in June and after finishing 3rd to Master Win on his return to Busan in August, overturned that form to win at 1800M at the end of September. He’ll go back and look to close strongly. Placing chance.
- LION ROCK – Triple Nine’s “full” brother is a winner of five from eleven so far and is one race into a comeback following five months off. He ran 3rd to Gangtoma and has plenty to find here.
- GANGTOMA – A three-year-old with plenty of promise and has won of six from nine so far (being dq’d in another). He was a very good winner over 1800M at the end of September at class 2 but this is another step up.
- SIN STEALTH – Won a class 2 race over 1800M in a fast time in mid-September and takes his chance here. Same owner and trainer as Stealth. Lots to find to be competitive.
- SINGGEUREOUN GEOM – Enters in very good form having won three of his last four. Though he was beaten by Yaho Sky Cat over 1800M in May. Hasn’t started since winning at this distance at the end of July
- BEOLMAUI SIN – Average class 1 runner who has been beaten by plenty of these lately. He’s a stablemate of World Sun and very much the second string.
- GOLIATH MARINE – Gutsy seven-year-old who always gives a good account of himself. In terms of distance, it’s a case of the further the better. He ran 3rd behind Stealth last time and will appear on the scene late in the race. Not quite in the elite level though.
- CHEONJI STORM – Actually beat a less than 100% Triple Nine when 2nd in the Busan Mayor’s Cup before running a creditable 6th place in the Korea Cup in early September. He has a chance and is likely to want to go forward early to put Triple Nine under pressure as much as possible.
- ULTRA ROCKET – 3rd behind Singgeureoun Geom over this distance in July but dropped to 1800M to record a slightly unexpected win in the HKJC Trophy in September. Tough ask here.
- ECTON BLADE – The Korean Derby winner ran 3rd in the Minister’s Cup before dropping back to 1400M to win on his return to Busan. Trialled up nicely last week and is arguably the biggest danger to Triple Nine. Draw is not in his favour though as he won’t want to be behind his stablemate at any time.
- SPERO – Surprise winner of the Sports Chosun Cup in June, he’s not done much in two subsequent starts. Likely to dash across to try to get close to the lead and hold on for as long as possible.
- STEALTH – A very solid class 1 competitor who hasn’t quite broken through to the elite Group level – 3rd place in the 2016 Korean Derby notwithstanding. He’s a deep closer and won’t mind the widest draw at all because he will get back. He arrives in good form and has a good shot of getting a place.
Verdict: (2) TRIPLE NINE will be hot favourite to complete an historic four-timer in the President’s Cup. He remains running the same kind of times that he has for the past three years and there’s not really much to suggest that if he runs to that again, that anything else in the field is capable of matching him – at least not yet. He’ll need to be at or close to his best though and in a race with fifteen other horses going around, it is no formality. (12) CHEONJI STORM did beat Triple Nine when 2nd in the Busan Mayor’s Cup in July. Cheongdam Dokki was around that day to distort things a little bit and Triple Nine wasn’t at 100% but it shows what can happen and he is a danger. Derby winner (14) ECTON BLADE and Minister’s Cup winner (5) WORLD SUN are other threats. Ecton Blade is perhaps the better horse right now, but the draw is less than ideal, and the distance may suit World Sun better. (16) STEALTH will arrive on the scene late to mop up any tiring ones and could hit the places. The wildcard is (9) SINGGEUREOUN GEOM, who looked great when scoring by four-lengths at this distance in July.
|Selections||(2) Triple Nine (5) World Sun (14) Ecton Blade (12) Cheonji Storm|
|Next Best||16, 9|
|Fast Start||1, 3, 12, 14, 15|
Race 10: Class 2 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million
(2) CHOINMA was the 3rd place-getter in the Korean Derby and ran 6th in the Minister’s Cup, the final leg of the Triple Crown. He races for the first time since running 2nd in the HKJC Trophy at this distance on international weekend in early September. He’s a slightly classier horse than rest of these and will be favourite. (7) GEUMTUSA ran 3rd on his first try at this level on October 13th and can get close again. He’ll be one of a number looking to get to the front early, including fellow placing contender, (6) EAST GULCH. The latter is up in class but tries this distance for the first time under a nice light weight and it may well suit. (1) KING’S WARRIOR is a solid competitor at this level and is more of a safe option for getting close. He rarely misses by much and should make the money in some form or other here. (9) BIG TRIO races for the first time since finishing 4th in the Ilgan Sports Cup in July and while this is tough ask first-up, can also be in the placing frame.
|Selections||(2) Choinma (1) King’s Warrior (7) Geumtusa (6) East Gulch|
|Next Best||9, 11|
|Fast Start||4, 5, 6, 7, 10|
Race 11: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million
(8) WANG BEOTKKOT was beaten eight-lengths into 2nd on debut in July but came from just off the pace on his second start to win over 1300M. He’s up in class here but looks to have plenty of improvement in him and he’s very much the one to beat. (2) USEUNG TEUKKI has run well in three outings at this level since getting his maiden win in July. All three of those have been in arguably tougher company than this and he is not without a chance here. (3) STORM NAVY SEAL was really slow away behind Useung Teukki last time out on September 29th and never became involved and the time before that, did nothing at 1700M either. He’s better than both of those and we’ll give him another chance today, reunited with the jockey who rode him the last time he ran well. (7) LOVE IT returns to racing for the first time since mid-July and looked good when winning a trial just last week. He goes straight into the placing frame along with (9) GOLD HORAH who, like Storm Navy Seal, hasn’t really done himself justice in his latest two outings and can go better today.
|Selections||(8) Wang Beotkkot (2) Useung Teukki (3) Storm Navy Seal (7) Love It|
|Next Best||9, 4|
|Fast Start||2, 4, 5|