Cheongdam Dokki

Cheongdam Dokki Strolls Home In YTN Cup

It was easy for Cheongdam Dokki. He confirmed his position as Seoul’s best horse by beating Clean Up Joy by five-lengths to win the YTN Cup at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

There was general agreement before the race that only a mistake by Cheongdam Dokki, a restrictive favourite, could see him lose and that if that happened, Clean Up Joy would be the only one equipped to take advantage. In the end, it was Clean Up Joy who made the mistake. Never a fluent starter, the 7-year-old made his customary leap as the gates opened and was even slower into stride than usual, making a tall order next to impossible. Cheongdam Dokki meanwhile, who had as usual been a handful in the parade ring, glided regally out of the barrier and into a lead he was never in danger of giving up.

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So easy for Cheongdam Dokki in the YTN Cup (Pic: KRA)

Under Park Tae Jong, Clean Up Joy ran his usual race, looping the field in the back-straight to move into 2nd place in the home turn. That he had enough in him to comfortably see off stablemate Shamrocker, speaks volumes about what a good horse Clean Up Joy is. But he’s not as good as Cheongdam Dokki. Right now in Seoul, nothing is.

For Cheongdam Dokki, it was a 10th career win on his 15th start. The time was slower than his win at the same distance in the Herald Business last month but he looked utterly within himself. Next stop is scheduled to be the concluding leg of the “Stayers’ Series”, the Busan Mayor’s Cup, on the south coast, on July 1st. Three Busan horses beat Cheongdam Dokki in the Grand Prix last December – Power Blade (who has the same owner), Triple Nine and Dongbang Daero. That was at 2300M. It would be a brave punter who takes on Cheongdam Dokki at 1800M. If he overcomes that, a serious attempt at the Korea Cup has to be on agenda.

YTN Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – May 27, 2018

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.1, 1.0
2. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeax Danseur)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.2
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Jang Chu Youl – 1.5
Distances: 5 lengths / 4 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Wonder Bolt (USA) 5. Wild Thunder (KOR) 6. Moonhak Chief (USA) 7. Places To Go (USA) 8. Miso Wangja (USA) 9. Winner Red (USA) 10. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 11. Chanma (KOR) 12. Cheonjeok (USA)

Round-up:

BUSAN SUNDAY

At Busan, Sun Day (Ingrandire) made it three wins from four starts in race 3. She’s half-sister to stablemate Today (Drosselmeyer) through their dam Gone Goodbye. Today has won ten of his twelve outings to date and is due to travel to Seoul to run in the SBS Sprint next Sunday. In Busan’s Sunday feature, Dynamic Dash (Pleasantly Perfect) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in just over two years, outstaying a strong class 1 field over 2000M.

SEOUL SATURDAY

Manoel Nunes rode his first winner since taking up a full-time license in Korea. The Brazilian rider, three times champion in Singapore guided Two Kay (Biwa Shinseiki) to an all the way victory in race 11. Two Kay, an older half-brother of Korean Derby 3rd place-getter Choinma, was winning for the fifth time in eighteen starts. Two Kay would turn out to be the final winner saddled by trainer Ha Jae Heung, who retired after a 35-year career on Sunday.

BUSAN FRIDAY 

It was left to the track’s foreign grooms and in some cases trainers themselves to saddle and lead up their horses as local stable staff went on strike. Open The Sky (Sky Mesa), 7th in last year’s Korea Sprint returned for the first time since that September day in Seoul. Though favourite, the three-year-old, with five wins from nine prior starts, would have to settle for 2nd as fellow Kim Young Kwan trainee Uju Star (Officer), took the win. Both Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice played their part in keeping the show on the road, carrying out parade ring duty with their horses and both were rewarded with winners; Rice combining with jockey Fergus Sweeney as the promising Geumsuryeong (Vicar) moved on to three wins from five in race 9.

COMING UP NEXT WEEKEND

It’s mini International Week in Seoul with a string of Exchange races, but the big action comes in the form of a pair of big group races on Sunday afternoon:

SBS Sports Sprint: The 2nd leg of the Sprint Series and having beaten Power Blade in the 1st leg at Busan last month, Silver Wolf will look to follow up with a win on her home track. Power Blade won’t travel but a strong Busan continegent will with Today, Perdido Pomeroy and last year’s winner Doraonpogyeongseon expected to make the trip.

Ttukseom Cup: The 1st leg of the Queens’ Tour for fillies and mares aged 5-year-old or younger. Silver Wolf won this series last year but is now too old so Haeya, who spent most of 2017 chasing her, will have a real chance to get some big wins on the board.

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YTN Cup Full Preview: Cheongdam Dokki Takes On Clean Up Joy Again

Cheongdam Dokki has spent the past few months systematically replacing Clean Up Joy as Seoul’s top horse. Cheongdam Dokki beat the older horse in both the KRA Cup Classic last October and the Herald Business Cup last month with Clean Up Joy the defending champion in both and found time in between to finish ahead of him in the Grand Prix Stakes and beat him in a handicap for good measure. A year ago, Clean Up Joy won the YTN Cup and on Seoul on Sunday, Cheongdam Dokki will be odds-on to take it off him. 

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Cheongdam Dokki & Lim Gi Won winning the Herald Business (Pic: Ross Holburt)

A field of twelve will assemble for the YTN Cup, which the 2nd leg in the “Stayer’s Series” – the Herald Business was the 1st and the Busan Mayor’s Cup is the final leg on July 1st on the South Coast.

Cheongdam Dokki was very much a handful last year with mounting yard and post parade antics making him a difficult watch for those who had backed him at short odds. Since his 4th place in the Grand Prix Stakes when he set blistering fractions only to run out of steam in the closing stages of the 2300M, he appears to have calmed down and looks to be maturing as a racehorse too. Under Lim Gi Won, who keeps the mount despite both previous riders Moon Se Young and Kim Yong Geun being back from injury, he will be expected to dictate from gate to wire.

It’s still a ten-furlong horse-race though and anything can happen. Clean Up Joy, got within two and a half lengths of him in the Herald Business Cup and clearly isn’t a spent force yet. He will run his usual race, being badly away from the outside gate, which connections always request due to his awkward way of starting, and then improving in the back straight before finishing strongly. If he can be close enough at the top of the straight so Cheongdam Dokki feels he has some competition, then we may have a race.

Clean Up Joy’s stablemate Shamrocker will be there too as will Places To Go, who provides a final Stakes runner for trainer Ha Jae Heung, who retires this weekend. Places To Go enters off three consecutive class 1 wins and may have a say. Pioneerof The Nile colt Moonhak Chief, with five wins from his eight starts so far also takes his chance. It is probably a little too much too soon, but he looks to have plenty of promise for the future.

  1. AREUMDAUNDONGHAENG – Formerly top mare who has gone very cold of late David Breux tasked with bringing some spark to her.
  2. SHAMROCKER – Took on Cheongdam Dokki for speed in January which was predictably futile. Ran his own race in the Herald Business and did better, finishing a good 3rd. Should place again.
  3. WINNER RED – 4th behind Places To Go at 1400M on only start this year. Outsider but may challenge for the lead which could be interesting.
  4. WONDER BOLT – 2nd to Silver Wolf in the Sports Donga in March but well back behind Cheongdam Dokki, Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker in the Herald Business.
  5. PLACES TO GO – A revelation this year going 3 for 3 at Class 1. Tougher opposition today but placing chances.
  6. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – If he runs anything approaching his best, he wins leading from gate to wire.
  7. CHEONJEOK – Well back in the Herald Business and a big outsider today.
  8. MISO WANGJA – Not much in recent form stands out. Another who may well opt to take on Cheongdam Dokki early.
  9. CHANMA – Decent enough at class 1 finishing 4th behind Places To Go last start. Big ask here but outside chance of the minor money.
  10. WILD THUNDER – Class 2 winner at this distance on April 21st which allows him to take his chance here. Big step up in competition though.
  11. MOONHAK CHIEF – Plenty of promise and the only three-year-old in the race. First time at the distance and perhaps a little too much too soon.
  12. CLEAN UP JOY – Still very dangerous, if Cheongdam Dokki does anything wrong, he’s the one to take advantage.

Selections: (6) Cheongdam Dokki (12) Clean Up Joy (2) Shamrocker (5) Places To Go

Cheongdam Dokki Takes Care Of Business

Cheongdam Dokki eased to victory in the Herald Business Cup on Sunday, dismissing seven rivals, including Clean Up Joy, in the most facile of manners.

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Cheongdam Dokki and Lim Gi Won in the clear (Pic: Ross Holburt)

It was only Cheongdam Dokki’s second outing of 2018, having beaten Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker over the same distance in January. That time there had been something of interest in that Shamrocker had taken the favourite on for speed early. Futile, but momentarily interesting. He didn’t do it again and in a race utterly devoid of any tension, Cheongdam Dokki eased to his ninth win on his fourteenth career start. Clean Up Joy and Shamrocker chased him home with Sinjo Daehyeop in 4th.

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Lim Gi Won partnered Cheongdam Dokki for the first time (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Bigger tests surely await although it is hard to imagine anything at Seoul challenging him, certainly up to 2000M. Having taken both the KRA Cup Classic and now Herald Business off Clean Up Joy, he could well add the YTN Cup to his name in late May – Clean Up Joy won that last year too. The Busan Metropolitan Mayor’s Cup could be interesting, as he would likely run into Power Blade – also owned by Kim Byeong Jin. The big target though, must be September’s Korea Cup.

Herald Business Cup – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – April 22, 2018

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] – Lim Gi Won – 1.4, 1.1
2. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeux Danseur)] – Park Tae Jong – 1.1
3. Shamrocker (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – Jang Chu Youl – 2.2
Distances: 2.5 lengths / 1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Sinjo Daehyeop (USA) 5. Wonder Bolt (USA) 6. Cheonjeok (USA) 7. Storng Road (KOR) 8. Space Port (USA)

Seoul & Busan Sunday: Cheongdam Dokki / Race-By-Race Preview (April 22)

He’s currently the most exciting horse in Korea and on Sunday, Cheongdam Dokki (To Honor And Serve) will line up against seven rivals – six of whom he’s beaten before – in the Herald Business Cup over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse. He faces Clean Up Joy, who won the race last year, as well as Sinjo Daehyeop and Shamrocker. The Herald Business is race 9 on an eleven-race card at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. At Busan, there are six races from 12:40 to 17:05.

Cheongdam Dokki

See below for Busan Selections:

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Competitive opener and (5) SONGAM JEUNE beat a couple of these on her way to a solid 2nd place on what was just her second start on March 24th and has every chance of matching or even bettering today. She’ll be on pace early alongside (7) BAEKDUI TAEYANG, himself a good 2nd at the distance last time and likely to be well supported. The one to beat though might well be (1) HAENGBOK STAR. He’s come 4th and 3rd in his two prior outings and the extra half furlong today may be what he needs to get home in front. (9) GANADORA and first-time starter, the modestly named (3) THE KING, are others who can go close.

Selections (5) Songam Jeune (1) Haengbok Star (3) The King (7) Baekdui Taeyang
Next Best 9, 4
Fast Start 5, 7, 9

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old fillies only here and almost any of them could win. Simon Foster’s (3) SURFING POINT ran poorly on debut but improved last time. David Breux returns to the mount today and she has as much of a claim as any of them. (7) BETTINA and (2) MORAN DONGBEAK came home 2nd and 4th respectively when they raced each other at this distance back in January. Bettina races for the first time since then here while Moran Dongbeak has gone on to put in another couple of promising performances and both may be considered here. (6) STAR LIST did little on debut but could improve today while (8) ENJOY MY SHOW has a 2nd place to her name and could repeat in what is a very modest contest.

Selections (3) Surfing Point (7) Bettina (2) Moran Dongbeak (6) Star List
Next Best 8, 4, 12
Fast Start 4, 5, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-olds only and it’s another rather weak maiden. There is, however, an interesting debut-maker in the shape of (3) PRINCE OF SUN. He’s a half-brother to US based Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Mind Your Biscuits and has trialled up impressively. His Korea-based half-brother Baeksan Yeowang hasn’t exactly pulled up trees so far but Prince Of Sun could well have enough to win this. (6) GANGSANUI ACHIM and (11) STRONG LIGHT both come in off 3rd place finishes last time in very similar strength races to this, so both should be looking to at least repeat. (10) RAON OPTIMUS races for the first time since running reasonably well over 1700M in January and can be considered for improvement. (12) RUSSEL showed his first signs of potential ability when running 5th of 12 in an admittedly slow race at this distance a month ago and is another one to take into consideration.

Selections (3) Prince Of Sun (6) Gangsanui Achim (10) Raon Optimus (11) Strong Light
Next Best 12, 5
Fast Start 5, 7, 8, 11

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Decent race with plenty entering having shown very solid recent form. The pick of them though is (3) WOOSEORA ICHEON who just came up short when favourite at class and distance on March 24th, his second consecutive runner-up finish. He is well drawn once more to get on pace early and can complete the job this time. (4) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG and (11) BOLD SHINING also come in having performed strongly at this class in their latest efforts and they should be close. Jeongsang Dolpung’s most recent was 2nd at 1000M and he looks ready to take on a longer trip today. Three of the field are up in class following maiden wins last time although for (5) RULE OF SUM, that was a full fourteen months ago. The pick of the up and comers is (10) FRENCH STAR, who also tries further than the minimum distance for the first time.

Selections (3) Wooseora Icheon (4) Jeongsang Dolpung (11) Bold Shining (10) French Star
Next Best 6, 12, 5
Fast Start 2, 4, 10

Race 5: Class 4 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

A couple of standouts here although both will need to bounce back from slightly below-par showings last start. (6) YAHO SMART CAT won his first two races but could only manage 4th on his first try at both this class and at further than the minimum distance on March 24th. Hopefully he can have come on for that and can return to top form today. (more…)

(Belated) Weekend Round-Up: Final Boss Wins Segye Ilbo, Cheongdam Dokki Easy

Last year’s Korean Derby winner Final Boss kicked off his four-year-old campaign in style this past weekend, winning the first Listed race of the season, the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul Racecourse.

A good renewal it was too, with Final Boss sent off as second favourite behind Cheonji Storm. However, it was last year’s winner, Always Winner, who jumped out of the gate the quickest and into an early lead. It looked for a time he might just repeat his trick from twelve months ago and go all the way.

The big guns closed though. Cheonji Storm down the outside and City Star on the inside. And between the two of them came Final Boss, ears back and looking like he meant business. He struck the front just metres from the line and won by a neck from City Star with Cheonji Storm only another neck back in 3rd.

As they crossed the line, jockey Moon Se Young called across to Jang Chuyoul on City Star to inquire as to which of them won. After the race he said he wasn’t convinced that Final Boss could win such a race at a sprint distance (1200M) but the horse just took off in the closing stages and seemed desperate to get to the front.

Final Boss (Menifee-Sinseok Dolpa) moves on to nine wins from sixteen starts.

Cheongdam Dokki brutalized the Grand Prix field in December before ultimately running out of steam. He too began his four-year-old season at the weekend, appearing in Seoul’s feature handicap on Saturday.

He ws up against Shamrocker and and Clean Up Joy, both trained by Song Moon Gil and both of whom Cheongdam Dokki had seen off before.

He monstered them. Shamrocker came to challenge early but had little to offer in the closing straight leaving Clean Up Joy, who had complicated things for himself early on with his habitual leap as the gates opened, closing strongly. Cheongdam Dokki was almost pulled up by this stage though as he eased to his eighth win from thirteen outings. He should perhaps really be in Dubai right now as this is too easy and it looks like we may have to wait until the summer to see him actually be required to finish off a race properly.

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 27) – Cheongdam Dokki!

It’s been a bitingly cold week on the Korean peninsula but the worst seems to be over and there is a good 12-race card at Seoul on Saturday with the 1st at 10:45 and the last at 18:00. And what better way to warm up than with the 2018 season debut of Cheongdam Dokki? He goes in race 11. Here are the previews:

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Cheongdam Dokki makes his 2018 debut on Saturday (Pic: KRA)

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Just fillies here and plenty in with a shout. (6) SEONGBUL CHAMP has shown some ability in three starts so far including a good 5th of 12 in tougher company than this last start. She trialled up nicely a couple of weeks ago and is a prime contender here. (5) BETTINA’s best result so far came on her only prior outing at this distance and with Djordje Perovic on board, she too looks to have a strong chance. (1) HWANSANGUI BIT showed improvement on her second start and can maintain it here while (9) RUBY FALLS and (12) MORAN DONGBEAK are others who can get close.

Selections (6) Seongbul Champ (5) Bettina (1) Hwansangui Bit (9) Ruby Falls
Next Best 12, 2
Fast Start 1, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(9) JEONGSANG DOLPUNG led for much of the way round over 1300M last start and dropped back to the minimum distance today, is the one to beat. He previously ran 4th at this trip in a tougher race than this and can get it right this time. (3) BIG AURORA has shown some talent, principally when running 2nd at this distance in October only beaten half a length by Ji Seoni, who went on to win again. He’s disappointed as favourite in two losing efforts since but gets another chance here. (1) CHEONGDAM QUEENS and (4) SAE DIXIE are likely to challenge Jeongsang Dolpung for the early lead and can stay on until the business end of the race while (2) BIG THUNDER did nothing particularly wrong on debut and can improve.

Selections (9) Jeongsang Dolpung (3) Big Aurora (1) Cheongdam Queens (2) Big Thunder
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 4, 9

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

With a 4th and a 2nd in her two starts to date (4) MASYA will be strongly favoured to finish on top here. In both those races, she’s come from well back and finished strongly and that’s what she’ll be looking to do here. Should she leave herself too much to do though, (10) HANSEN BAROWS can take advantage. He could well get an easy lead early on and that’s going to put pressure on the favourite. He could conceivably stay on all the way around. (1) THE FINAL has been 3rd in both her races so far, the latest at this distance and she has every chance of continuing that run today. (5) MACH SEUNGNI and (7) PALDO GANGTA looks best of the rest.

Selections (4) Masya (10) Hansen Barows (1) The Final (7) Paldo Gangta
Next Best 5, 8
Fast Start 10 


Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

A winner on his debut in November and then a close 3rd behind Sinui Myeongryeong and Mask in a valuable race on Christmas Eve, (6) COMPLETE SWEEP is strongly favoured. He made all in that first-time win and should be able to get on or close to the early speed today and should win. (11) SEUNGRI SIDAE was one-paced on his latest on a (more…)

Power Blade’s Grand Prix The Best Yet

On Sunday, we probably saw the best Grand Prix Stakes we ever have. The 2015 edition, won by Bold Kings, was outstanding, while for those of us who go in for that sort of thing, Tough Win’s 2011 victory over fellow “troika” members, Mister Park and Smarty Moonhak will always be special, even if the race itself wasn’t that exciting.  Power Blade’s victory this year, on the other hand, was in a race that involved a win by a genuine star in a contest that wasn’t settled until the final stride.

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Power Blade wins the Grand Prix (Pic: KRA)

Cheongdam Dokki, the three-year-old favourite, set a pace that was quite brutal by Korean standards. In a Grand Prix Stakes, only Ugildongja in 2009 and Beolmaui Kkum in 2014 had set anything close to his early sectionals – and both finished well back in their respective fields. Cheongdam Dokki didn’t. The final time of Power Blade broke the 2300M track record by over a second and was precisely three seconds quicker than the fastest previous Grand Prix – the aforementioned 2009 edition, which was won by Dongbanui Gangja.

The horses who went with Cheongdam Dokki – or at least tried to – simply had nothing left for the closing stages; Diferent Dimension, Dynamic Dash and last to succumb, Silver Wolf, fading through the pack. The only one who kept pace early and had something to offer was the outstanding Triple Nine. Lim Sung Sil, possibly fearing that Cheongdam Dokki was simply too good, began to get after Triple Nine as they began the long turn for home, a full four-furlongs out, in order to keep up with the leader. At the same time Oh Kyung Hwan on Power Blade and Park Jae I on Dongbang Daero opted to save energy and allowed their mounts a more leisurely trip, ultimately paying huge dividends in the closing stages.

It is therefore perhaps testament to the sheer ability of Triple Nine and the huge potential of Cheongdam Dokki that they still managed to finish 3rd and 4th respectively after such stiff early efforts. Less than three lengths separated the winner and 5th placed Buhwarui Banseok.

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Power Blade in the Grand Prix winner’s circle (Pic: KRA)

Dongbang Daero had finished 3rd behind Saengil Gippeum in what was a trial for the Grand Prix over 2200M at Busan at the beginning of November. Saengil Gippeum blew them away that day but Dongbang Daero had finished the quickest, running on very nicely to become involved in a finish in which there was just half a length separating 2nd and 6th. Buhwarui Banseok was also involved in that finish and he too ran on very well on Sunday.

Last year’s winner Clean Up Joy didn’t look the part before the race and never really featured, ending up in 7th place.

It became clear around two furlongs out that Cheongdam Dokki wasn’t going to be able to keep things up the whole way around. Triple Nine got first crack at him but Power Blade and Dongbang Daero simply had too much in reserve and Power Blade’s class saw him home by a Head on the line.

It is a shame that neither Triple Nine nor Power Blade will be returning to the Dubai World Cup Carnival as both look eminently capable of winning a race this time around. Connections have other plans, however, and hopefully they’ll get a nice long rest through the worst of the winter – although in all honesty, it would be no surprise to see one or other lining up in a nondescript Class 1 handicap come February. The pair of them have been such good ambassadors for Korean racing over the past three seasons, that they went overseas even once is something we can be grateful for. That trip, plus their showings in the Korea Cup and Sprint demonstrated that the pair of them could hold their own to a good (not elite, but good) standard anywhere.

Trainer Kim Young Kwan can divide opinions, but there can be no denying that when a horse of his comes out to run in a big race, his team will have it in peak condition and Triple Nine and Power Blade are the epitome of this – Triple Nine’s Godolphin Mile aside (and he was in desperate need of a spell then), they never seem to have an off-day.

Both now have claims to be the top Korean-bred horse ever. Power Blade’s Triple Crown and Grand Prix matching up with Triple Nine’s President’s Cup hat-trick. Their prize money earnings are almost identical with both breaking the 3 Billion Won barrier at the Grand Prix.  They’ve raced each other seven times now with Triple Nine leading the head-to-head by 4 to 3  – although Power Blade has now won three of their last four meetings.

We head into 2018 with plenty to be excited about on track. Cheongdam Dokki’s development along with the pair who ultimately didn’t run in the Grand Prix, Dolkong and New Citadel. Then there is the emergence of a new domestic three-year-old crop which looks stronger than this year’s. Still on top for now though are Power Blade and Triple Nine and next year they will still only be five and six-years-old.