Speed Young Downs Fantastic Kingdom For Juvenile Crown

Fantastic Kingdom came up short in his bid for a clean-sweep of top juvenile races, as Speed Young romped by for a comprehensive victory in the Breeders’ Cup (1400M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Speed Yong wins the Breeders’ Cup – no, not that Breeders’ Cup (Pic: KRA)

Having prevailed in the Busan Rookie Stakes, the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes and the Gimhae Mayor’s Trophy, Fantastic Kingdom was sent off a slight favourite over the filly Jeulgeounyeojeong who had pushed him all the way in the Gimhae, over the shorter distance of 1200M a month ago.

The filly was scarcely a factor though as Fantastic Kingdom sat on an early pace that was set by Sun Dragon and Lucky Sun. Both “Suns” would fall away quickly as Fantastic Kingdom took up the running three furlongs from home. He looked set to go on, only for Speed Young, who had drawn the widest but one gate and then sat back in the field, to loom up.

With just over a furlong to run, Speed Young sped by and ran on to win by a comfortable five-lengths with Nonghyup Chairman’s Trophy 3rd placegetter Nanometa also emerging from the rear to claim 2nd place ahead of a tiring Fantastic Kingdom in 3rd.

The winner, who was racing for just the third time, was sent off slightly in excess of 10/1, fourth overall in the market. The relatively short odds reflected that in addition to his Areumdaun Jilju Stakes 2nd, he was just one of four who had previously won over the 1400M, coming from off the pace and beating a filly in Smarty Dolpung who herself went on to win in fine style on Friday.

Speed Young is from the final crop by Menifee and is out of Tapestry (by Fusaichi Pegasus). He was bred by Nokwon Farm and was purchased for 100 Million Korean Won by owners D R M City at the November 2021 KTBA Yearling Sale – a sale at which D R M signed for five of the top seven sale-toppers. He is trained at Busan by Bang Dong-suk, who sent out Hit Yegam to win two legs of the Triple Crown last year. You Hyun-myung, who rode Hit Yegam to both those wins, also partnered Speed Young.

Given that it was the only Group race on the schedule, the victory was enough to see Speed Young win the Juvenile Series and for Nanometa to leapfrog Fantastic Kingdom to claim 2nd. Only time will tell but the early indications are that this year’s two-year-old crop has been a good one and we could be set for a fascinating Triple Crown series in 2023, which will kick off in April with the KRA Cup Mile.

Next week the Stakes season draws to a close with the traditional season finale of the Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) at Seoul on Sunday afternoon. Korea Cup winner Winner’s Man is scheduled to run as is that day’s runner-up and subsequent KRA Cup Classic winner Raon The Fighter. President’s Cup heroine Raon First is also expected to be in the starting gate as is defending champion Haengbok Wangja as well as Simjangui Godong and Dubai Carnival hopeful King Of The Match with seventeen remaining in at this stage.