Eoma Eoma

Morfhis Downs Dokki Blade, Eoma Eoma To Upturn Sprint Ranks In Shock SBS Win

Morfhis  swooped late to score a stunning victory in the SBS Sports Sprint at Seoul, diving home to deny Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma under a fine steer from jockey Johan Victoire.

SBS Sports Sprint 2020

Morshis gets up to debu Do Kki Blade and Eoma Eoma in the SBS Sports Sprint

Busan Ilbo Cup top two Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ renewed hostilities disputing the lead in the early stages of the six-furlong G3 race, the second leg in the 2020 Korea Sprint Series.

Gaon Champ would quickly capitulate at the top of the stretch and it seemed upstart Eoma Eoma would pose the only threat to Do Kki Blade. That was to reckon without Morfhis whose stunning late show saw him duck inside to snatch victory at the death by a head.

Morfhis is a five-year-old American bred gelding by Stephen Got Even and and out of the Rubiano mare Chinchilla. He was a $150,000 purchase from the OBS 2017 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds. The win was his eighth in twenty-three runs and takes him on to career winnings of KRW 739 Million. For jockey Victoire it was his second Korean Group win following his success on Dolkong in last year’s Busan Mayor’s Cup while it was a first for trainer Lee Gwan-ho.

The win was notable on a number of fronts. Morfhis, who up until now was seen as a solid dependable class 1 campaigner with a strong finish who specialises at seven-furlongs, now finds himself in the top echelon of Korean sprinters and a serious contender for September’s Korea Sprint (should that race take place).

It also provided the rare sight of a top level Korean sprint race by a horse coming from well off the pace. While Doraonpogyeongseon, who won this race in both 2017 and 2018, was by no means a front-runner, he would usually emerge from a relatively handy position. Two furlongs out on Sunday, Morfhis was still in 11th place.

While beaten, Do Kki Blade confirmed his place among the elite and still has every chance of going on to claim the overall Sprint Series win but another big story coming out of the race was the emergence of Eoma Eoma. The three-year-old entered the race having not had to face a serious challenge in three prior outings yet despite drawing an unfavourable gate, only went down by less than half a length on the line after an excellent ride by Song Jae-chul.

Gaon Champ and Simjangui Godong both had off-days but will be expected to bounce back while the ever awkward Global Captain missed the start before running on well. At their best, all three can be winning chances in future feature races.

The calendar may now be up in the air for all these horses. The Seoul Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy was originally supposed to be the first leg of the Sprint Series in March. It is now tentatively scheduled for August 23rd. Then there is the Korea Sprint itself, still scheduled for September 13th.

Whatever happens in terms of the schedule, there is plenty to look forward to with these sprinters.

SBS Sports Sprint Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (July 26)

Arguably the most intriguing race in recent Korean racing history goes to post on Sunday afternoon in front of a spectator-less Seoul Racecourse, but fortunately live on television, in the shape of the Group 3 SBS Sports Sprint. There are 14 races at Seoul from 10:25 to 18:00 as well as 5 at Busan from 12:15 to 15:50. Here are the previews:

KRA Busan Ilbo Do Kki Blade Gaon Champ

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

The two-year-old colts and fillies kick off proceeding where they line up over the short course. (3) HWANGGEUM POWER is one of only two runners that have had a previous run. The Limitless Bid filly finished fourth on debut when settling well back from a wide draw and subsequently running on well. The on-fire Moon Se-young will be legged aboard her this time around and she will jump from a much better draw allowing her to settle closer. (6) HAPPY DAY trialed well and can figure at her first start. The Tiz Wonderful two-year-old clocked 63.6 seconds for the 1000m on a dry track, which reads relatively well for this race. (8) VICTORICA looks next best clocking a slightly slower time in her trial. She is a Colonel John filly who wasn’t fully urged in her trial. (1) STORM ROAD is the other runner that has had a previous start. She also gets a better draw today and can settle closer in the run.

Selections (3) Hwanggeum Power (6) Happy Day (8) Victorica (1) Storm Road
Next Best 2, 7
Fast Start 6, 7

 

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Twelve three-year-old maidens go around here and it is not a strong race, to put it mildly. Ten of them have raced before but the only one to trouble the placing judges so far is (6) MAKALU POWER, who ran 3rd on what was his second outing on July 11th. It wasn’t a fast time but he won’t need to improve very much at all in order to feature here. We’re going to side with a debut-maker. (3) JANGSAN SASUDAE went through three trials and while it would be wrong to say he caught the eye, he showed improvement over the course of them and hit the line well in the latest of them. The other Korean born foal from his dam has won three from twelve and this s a very soft race to debut in. (11) SIMON STORM ran on reasonably well on debut and may improve. The other debut-maker (4) COLORS ONLY also has to be given a chance in what is the weakest company she will ever face. Her trial was a very slow one all-round so doesn’t offer too many clues but she looked competent enough.

Selections (3) Jangsan Sasudae (6) Makalu Power (4) Colors Only (11) Simon Storm
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 4, 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million 

The Korean-bred maidens will go over the short course in the third event. (8) P.K. DOLPUNG is the on top selection after clocking a quick trial. He resumes for his first run since January where he finished fifth behind Miracle Icheon. He has finished close-up on numerous occasions and is an each way chance. (3) JOY OF KING resumed in good fashion last start when third over the 1000m. The Federalist gelding hit the line in good style, if he can hold a position in the first half of the field he looks a main player. (4) CHEONSANGUI YEOIN debuted in good style over the 1000m when working across from a wide gate, before running on well in the straight. She can find a position with less effort from a good draw and do her best work late. (10) OVER ACHIEVE is second up after finishing midfield behind Gaja Plan earlier this month. She looks capable of running into the minor money.

Selections (8) P.K. Dolpung (3) Joy Of King (4) Cheonsangui Yeoin (10) Over Achieve
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 2, 11

 

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

Fillies only in this class 5 affair and all of them are pretty useful and all have a chance to win. Both (3) FORT SEUONE and (9) GEORGE QUEEN come in having won their respective debut races last month. George Queen made all and was the quicker of the pair and while they have an additional furlong to tackle today, she was finishing strongly and could well win again although with plenty of speed on her inside, the wide draw may not be to her favour. Fort Seuone looks suited to this distance and also has strong claims. (2) HANSEN CHOICE returned from the shutdown to win well over 1300M on June 20th, leading all the way around. She will also be challenging for what’s set to be a quite contested lead here. The other last start winner is (6) SOARA YEOJANGGUN who led all the way over 1400M but does perhaps have a bit to find against the speedier types that she faces here. OF the ones with experience at this level, (7) SAEROUN BOBAE and (1) LUISA came home 2nd and 4th when they raced each other in a similar all-filly race over 1300M on June 21st. Both came from behind the pace and Luisa especially looks as though she has scope for improvement.

Selections (9) George Queen (1) Luisa (7) Saeroun Bobae (3) Fort Seuone
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start  

 

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

There is pace-a-plenty in the fifth event on the card. (9) JEONJEONGSAGEUM showed ability in her first few starts before the racing hiatus. The Tiz Wonderful filly won her last start in January in good style and has since trialed well, clocking 61 seconds flat for the 1000m. Lim Gi-won, who knows the filly well will be aboard her once again. (7) GLOBAL GOLD resumed in good style when winning late last month. He has shown plenty of speed at his last couple of starts and when he has sat on speed, seems to do his best work. His time last start wasn’t the fastest but with some slight improvement he can be considered a winning chance once again. (4) WINNER BLUE is second-up after placing behind Captain Best last time out. He is another on-speed type who has drawn well for his eighth start. Antonio Da Silva sticks with the Old Fashioned gelding which is a positive. (10) WINNER TEMPLAR resumes and gets the services of Moon Se-young first up. The lightly raced four-year-old is yet to break maiden status but has placed on three occasions from four starts. She trialed up fairly last week, the draw looks her biggest obstacle.

Selections (9) Jeonjeongsageum (7) Global Gold (4) Winner Blue (10) Winner Templar
Next Best 1, 11
Fast Start 4, 6, 7, 9, 11

 

Busan Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Korean-bred three-year-old gallopers face off in the second event where the majority of the field is lightly raced. (4) INDY QUEEN is the on top selection after a good debut five weeks back. The Indie Band filly finished second behind Power Gate when sitting behind the leaders before letting down in good fashion. The 1200m should suit her chances and she has drawn well once again. (11) WISE GIRL has put a couple of good trials together. The Officer filly has been handed a wide draw to overcome on debut. If Iaonnis Polluis can find a position one of the fence she can be considered an each way chance. (8) THALE NOI lines up for her second start after finishing fifth on debut. The Ecton Park filly capitulated last start in the final stages, but should strip fitter for the run. (10) GENERAL ANN went over this distance last time out finishing fourth behind Honor Queen. She will need to improve to be considered a winning chance but is capable of collecting some prizemoney once again.

Selections (4) Indy Queen (11) Wise Girl (8) Thale Noi (10) General Ann
Next Best 2, 12
Fast Start 6, 10, 12

 

Seoul Race 6: Class 4 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

A field of imported maidens go around here with a big prize on offer and precisely half the field racing for the very first time. Of the experienced ones, (3) SUN BOOM is the only one to have hit the board so far, running 3rd on June 27th over this distance. It wasn’t a hugely impressive time and while he is well drawn to get on pace again, others are favoured today. (1) SPRING KING did little on debut all the way last December but having had a few months off, looked very sharp in a trial at the beginning of this month and comes straight into contention. (10) CHANGSEONG HIT and (12) JANGSAN GOLD finished 5th and 6th when they raced each other over 1200M on June 21st. Both should improve here with Jangsan Gold perhaps having the greater potential. Of the first time starters, (5) MIGHTY CHIP and (9) MUNHAK MOON are the standouts. Both won their trials in competitive times and both should be going close first up here.

Selections (1) Spring King (5) Mighty Chip (12) Jangsan Gold (9) Munhak Moon
Next Best 10, 2
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 9

 

Busan Race 3: Class 3 (1800M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

(7) WORLD TODAY is up in class and distance following a smart win over a mile at class 4 on July 5th. He already has a runner-up finish to his name over 1800M and is likely to be on pace here with solid claims to win again. (2) THE SABER is an intriguing entry. The Trappe Shot colt has just the three races behind him and steps up in class having won over 1300M in a fast time on June 26th. He ran on strongly that day though so while it is a big step up in distance, he may well be equal to it. (5) CURLIN FANTASY comes in having run a very good 2nd place behind the progressive Samseong Dokki. He is yet to win in nineteen attempts but that was a very good showing and he can place again. A number of the others failed to catch the eye on resumption over 1400M on June 21st. They will of course have all needed that race and (9) MALIBU BYEOL is perhaps the most likely to progress.

Selections (7) World Today (2) The Saber (5) Curlin Fantasy (9) Malibu Byeol
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 7, 9

 

Seoul Race 7: Class 4 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

The Korean Class 4 gallopers line up in the seventh over 1300m. (2) RAON HANNIBAL is the on top selection based on what she did last preparation. She was somewhat disappointing when first-up five weeks back but she should improve off that run, along with her connections hopefully getting a bit more work into her. She’s a winner of three races from ten starts, including one in this grade. (3) BIG CLASSIC looks another one with some more-than-average ability. The lightly raced four-year-old has had five starts yielding two wins and two minor placings. She has led at her past three starts so from barrier three we anticipate she will take up the running and prove hard to run down. (12) THANK YOU MOTHER lines up for her second-up run after finishing second when running on strongly last start. She has been dealt the carpark draw and will need some luck to find a position early. (5) CHEONNYEONUI BARAM was a winner when resuming and lines up in a tougher event. He carries just 52.5kg and with gate five looks one that can run into the minor money.

Selections (2) Raon Hannibal (3) Big Classic (12) Thank You Mother (5) Cheonnyeonui Baram
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 3, 4, 6, 9

 

Busan Race 4: Class 2 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

An even assembly of runners line up in the fourth where they will go over the six furlongs. (4) FIRST CHANGER is the on top selection after trialing up in great fashion on two occasions. Whilst the trials were quite some time ago, it shows us that the Two Step Salsa colt appears to be back to his best. He has won four races from ten starts and whilst his past couple of race starts have been disappointing, he looks forward enough to win this event. (6) BANJIUI YOJEONG was disappointing when resuming, in fact it was the first time the four-year-old has not collected a cheque when going to the races. It was a rather handy race he lined up in last start and this looks a much easier assignment. Seo Seung-un jumping aboard also gives us some confidence. (10) HAWK KING is a very capable racehorse on his day. He trialed up in good fashion back in April and lines up for his new preparation in this event. He has performed well over the six furlongs previously. (11) WONDERUL LION is another first-up runner. She has had the one start in Class 2 company where she finished midfield behind Seongsan Simon. With just the 51.5kg on her back she should be able to work forward as per normal and be there at the business end.

Selections (4) First Changer (6) Banjiui Yojeong (10) Hawk King (11) Wonderful Lion
Next Best 12, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 8: Class 4 (1400M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) MONEY ZIF was a class and distance winner on June 28th, coming from off the pace to score in a creditable time. He went up in the ratings because of that but an apprentice jockey takes a couple of kilograms off and he remains competitive here. A surprising winner at this level was (4) FIORE over 1700M on July 4th. It was a front-running performance but others are favoured today. Three of these raced each other at class and distance on June 21st. (2) HWANGGEUM HAE finished the best of them in 4th place behind Looking Good. He’s drawn well to get to the front here and looks a big danger. (6) SUPER ECTON came from well back to run home a strong 5th in that race. He has won at this distance already and will likely once more go back early and look to pass plenty late on. (5) JACOB went into the shutdown having run a solid class and distance 3rd. He hasn’t trialed since April and comes in here as the wildcard.

Selections (2) Hwanggeum Hae (6) Super Ecton (1) Money Zif (5) Jacob
Next Best 3, 7
Fast Start 2, 9

 

Busan Race 5: Class 1 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 110 Million

(6) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP has the fastest time of any of these at the distance although that came when he was chasing home Blue Chipper, who was in the process of smashing the track record. He ran 2nd to the progressive Ssonsal when giving away 5kg over 1400M two weeks ago and it may be that the weight plays a role again. If it does, then (8) PRO CONSUL could be the one to take advantage. The lightly-raced four-year-old was sensational when beating a decent class 1 field over this distance on June 26th and looks well set for another score here. (2) KING OF GLORY ran well for 3rd in the Busan Ilbo Cup last month over 1200M but eschews the second leg of the Sprint Series in Seoul this afternoon to take his chance here. (3) DIVIDE WIND ran 8th in that race and the stablemate of Baengmunbaekdap can get closer today.

Selections (8) Pro Consul (6) Baengmunbaekdap (2) King Of Glory (3) Divide Wind
Next Best 1
Fast Start 5, 8

 

Seoul Race 9: Class 5 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The Class 5 runners go over the two turns in the ninth event on the card. (7) CHOEGANG SINGI is yet to break through for his first win but has shown an appreciation for the middle distances. He clocked a good time when resuming over the two turns, finishing fourth behind Cheonnyeonui Godo. The Chapel Royal gelding should take improvement from the first-up run. (3) GLOBAL WANGJA has been promoted to Class 5 company after finishing second behind Coin Blade when first-up. It’s a considerable step up to the 1700m which is unchartered territory for the Colors Flying gelding, but he has been settling off speed running on strongly. (9) GAZUA is another that has shown some good performances over the two turns. He lacks early speed so look for him closing late. (1) GAROSUGIL is next best and capable of running into the money, where he goes over the two turns for the first time.

Selections (7) Choegang Singi (3) Global Wangja (9) Gazua (1) Garosugil
Next Best 4, 2
Fast Start 7, 8

 

Seoul Race 10: Class Open (1200M) SBS Sports Sprint (KOR G3) / Weight for Age / KRW 350 Million

  1. GAON CHAMP – Last year’s winner is so consistent and having drawn gate 1 shouldn’t have to go around a horse. Narrowly beaten by Do Kki Blade in Busan, he has every chance of overturning that form.
  2. SSONSAL – The only challenger from Busan and a super class 1 winner over 1400M earlier this month. The absolute elite class may find him out though.
  3. SPRING BACK – Good sprinter. Finished behind Morfhis last start and 4th to Blue Chipper in last year’s Korea Sprint. Perhaps has a bit to find.
  4. MUNHAK PRINCESS – First start since January 2019 and while trials have been consistently fast, she’s very much been thrown in the deep end here.
  5. MUNHAK WINNER – Hasn’t won beyond Class 2 and well back in the Busan Ilbo. Plenty to find here.
  6. DO KKI BLADE – The logical favourite after that Busan Ilbo win. He’s drawn a much better gate this time so it should be easier for him to be on pace and he’s a big chance.
  7. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Didn’t get much luck in Busan but beat both Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ in January. Not impossible.
  8. MEDICI GLORY – Lightly raced four-year-old returned for the first time in over a year to run 5th behind Morfhis a month ago. Talented but this is tough.
  9. EAST JET – Class 3 winner over this distance in June but this is massive step up in competition.
  10. EOMA EOMA – The wildcard faces his first test. Shown brilliance in his three wins from three starts and drops in weight here. The question is can he adapt to the intensity of this class – or can he in fact bring his own and blow them away?
  11. GLOBAL CAPTAIN – Super on his day. Ran uncontrollably wide on his latest start in February and then had a hard time showing enough manners to re-qualify. Unpredictable so hard to be confident first-up.
  12. MORFHIS – Very good class 1 horse. Wide draw shouldn’t be too much of a problem as he can just follow the leaders. Whether he has enough explosive pace to blow past them is another matter. Probably not.

 

Verdict: The Korea Sprint winner will almost certainly emerge from this race. (10) EOMA EOMA could be something special but going on the knowns, rather than the unknowns, (1) GAON CHAMP and (6) DO KKI BLADE are the ones to beat.

Selections (1) Gaon Champ (6) Do Kki Blade (10) Eoma Eoma (7) Simjangui Godong
Next Best 11, 3
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 11

 

Seoul Race 11: Class 4 (1700M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Another event over the two turns in the eleventh. (11) HIDDEN SOCKS resumes over the 1700m coming off a superb trial. He ran into some handy types at his first four starts including Blue Chiton and also Determination on debut. Moon Se-young will partner the chestnut as he resumes, based on this being his easiest assignment to date he looks the one to beat. (3) ECHO BILL finished off strong when resuming to finish third behind Shu Leub. With a good draw jockey Johan Victoire may be able to get the Daredevil colt to settle closer to the speed. He is yet to win but looks as if he is building to one shortly. (10) HWANGGEUM LUCKY is another import that is yet to breakthrough. He is first up since February and gave followers some confidence in a recent trial when winning his heat, it was a good time considering the short course is not a strength of his. (12) BIG TRIPLE is a last start winner over this distance, he broke through at start six. He settled off speed last time out before finishing off well. He will have to carry 57kg from the outside gate this time around.

Selections (11) Hidden Socks (3) Echo Bill (10) Hwanggeum Lucky (12) Big Triple
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 5, 6, 11

 

Seoul Race 12: Class 3 (1800M) Allowance / KRW 75 Million

(8) BRIGADIER GENERAL ran out a good winner at class and distance on June 27th, scoring by four-lengths. The handicapper certainly noticed him and he carries a whopping additional 5.5kg today. That may prove too much for him to repeat but he should be close. (2) MR. TURNER was the horse four-lengths in arrears in 2nd place that day. The turnaround in weights today should mean he gets closer and could win. He will go back early and finish strong. (9) FLASH JET and (1) EMORY SOCKS came home 4th and 5th respectively when they raced one another at class and distance on June 20th. Both came from well back in the field to run on very well and both look firmly in the hunt today. The wildcard is (3) EVER THE CHAMP. He was a battling winner at this class over 1700M in back in January taking the late developer’s record to three wins from his latest four. He hasn’t raced since and performed only fairly in a May trial. Kim Young-geun stays aboard though and he must be considered. In a race with absolutely nothing that likes to lead, he may get to the front very easily and dictate his own pace.

Selections (9) Flash Jet (8) Brigadier General (2) Mr. Turner (3) Ever The Champ
Next Best 1, 4
Fast Start 3

 

Seoul Race 13: Class 3 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

They will go like the clappers in the thirteenth event with over half the field considered on-speed runners. (9) MY HAWK goes on top after finishing second behind the handy East Jet when resuming. He is a winner of four races from fourteen starts with a handful of minor placings. He settled midfield last start suggesting Ham Wan-sik can take a sit behind the leaders if need be. (1) BEYOND OVER clocked an impressive time for the 1400m last time out when first-up. With another handy draw she can sit on the coattails of the leaders before reeling off a fast last 400m in the event. (6) DADDY GLORY will make her first appearance since November last year. She trialed up in good fashion last week when clocking 60.6 for the 1000m, winning her heat. She has won three and finished in the top four on nine occasions from eleven starts. (12) RUNNING BOX gets a horror draw but on her day is capable of winning a race like this. She finished third behind East Jet last start where they clocked a good time. Moon Se-young taking over is a big lead for punters.

Selections (9) My Hawk (1) Beyond Over (6) Daddy Glory (12) Running Box
Next Best 10, 4
Fast Start 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11

 

Seoul Race 14: Class 2 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 90 Million

Very tricky race to conclude the card. (11) TOP BRAIN is an established class 2 competitor and while he is inconsistent, he looked very well in a trial in May and can go close here. A couple of starts back, he beat the very consistent (7) CHOEGANG GOSU. The five-year-old doesn’t win out of turn but can be relied upon to run well and can add to his impressive placing record here. (6) TAP FASHIONED ran well for 3rd behind Gaenari Song over 1200M a month ago and stretching out to 1400M may be to his benefit here. (12) RED BLADE struggled when beaten over 1900M by (8) FLYING FORD among others last month. He should have come on for that run though and the drop back in trip can suit. (9) BANYA DONGHAENG came from well back to run 4th at class and distance on June 27th and he can match or better that today. (5) DAEGUN JEPAE was lame last time so put a line through that. At his best he is a real contender and arguably the one to beat in a wide open race.

Selections (5) Daegun Jepae (11) Top Brain (7) Choegang Gosu (6) Tap Fashioned
Next Best 12, 2, 1, 8
Fast Start 1, 2, 10

 

 

Gaon Champ & Triple Nine Both Beaten But Bigger Challenges Await

Listed action returned to Korean racing this past weekend with the Segye Ilbo Cup kicking off the 2020 feature race schedule at Seoul on Sunday afternoon. And it was last year’s champion three-year-old Simjangui Godong who prevailed, defeating Do Kki Blade and favourite Gaon Champ in a tight three-way finish. Meanwhile down at Busan, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine returned following a thirteen-month absence but was unable to overcome a 60kg impost in the class 1 Handicap.

Simjangui Godong Segye Ilbo

Simjangui Godong (number 12) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Racing for the first time since running an excellent 3rd in last year’s Korea Sprint over the same 1200M distance, Gaon Champ was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. For a first-up effort, he ran very well, recovering from a slightly sluggish start to put in a strong effort, briefly heading the field a furlong out.

He would be reeled in though as first Do Kki Blade and then ultimately Simjangui Godong swept past at the death with Simjangui Godong getting up to win by a head. It was a fine performance from Simjangui Godong, who was dropped back to six-furlongs for the first time having ended last season in big Stakes races around two turns, including a 3rd place in the President’s Cup that along with his runner-up finish in the Derby, secured him Champion Three-Year-Old honours.

It is likely that all three place-getters will next be targeted towards the SROA Chairman’s Cup, at the same distance on March 15, which is the first Group race of the year. It’s also the first leg of the Sprint Serie and it would be no surprise if  Gaon Champ overturns the form that day.

Returning from an even longer absence was Triple Nine. He didn’t race at all as a seven-year-old with his most recent appearance before Sunday coming in his victorious effort in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2018.

Such is his rating though that Triple Nine was assigned 60kg to carry in the 2000M handicap – 8kg more than any other in the race. With his customary late speed, Triple Nine almost defied the handicapper but it wasn’t to be as Jumbo Blade and New York Mangchi clung on to dispute a photo-finish – Jumbo Blade taking it by a neck.

Given the ansence and the weight, it was an excellent performance by Triple Nine and – his notoriously problematic fetlock issue permitting – one he can build on. At set weights there are still not many in Korea you would back against him.

Further down the ranks, things are looking quite promising. A couple of weeks ago, US import Mark Story (Dreamlicious) took his record to three wins from three starts, all of which had been achieved in fast times and in a facile manner. Last Saturday it was the turn of fellow American-bred Eoma Eoma (Algorithms) to burnish his credentials. The $60K purchase made his second start in Saturday’s race 8 and stepping up to 1300M, won by as many as he pleased, finishing just half a second outside the track record despite being eased down in the final furlong. Both look potentially the real deal and their inevitable meeting will be eagerly awaited.