Triple Nine returned to the winner’s circle in some style as he defeated Success Story and stablemate Rock Band to win a strong renewal of the Owners’ Cup at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
Despite having suffered reverses to Diferent Dimension and Beolmaui Kkum in his last two outings, Triple Nine was sent off the slight odds-on favourite for the mile long race which was dominated by the favourites for the duration.
Success Story and Rock Band started quickly as expected but under Kim Yong Geun, Triple Nine was always handy and comfortably got the best of them in the home straight, running on to win by a length from Success Story with Rock Band a further half back in 3rd.
Success Story keeps his run of solid performances going since returning from Dubai. He is yet to win but has two 3rds and now a 2nd racing in very tough company. Rock Band, three races into a comeback following a lengthy spell out through injury also showed he is back to near his best.
Triple Nine and Success Story were both among preliminary nominations for September’s Korea Cup at Seoul. Given the strength of some of the overseas nominations, they are going to be very much up against it. Success Story was up against it in Dubai too though and he exceeded expectations. Hopefully they can both exceed expectations next month.
It promised to be a great occasion and so it proved as in the sunshine of a glorious autumn afternoon at a packed Seoul Racecourse, Triple Nine avenged two big race defeats to stablemate Rock Band to romp away with the President’s Cup.
Triple Nine after winning the President’s Cup
Triple Nine was 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace, 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band and 2nd in the Owner’s Cup once more to Rock Band. He had picked up a minor Stakes of his own in between and today punters were split between the two three-year-olds. In the end Triple Nine started as favourite by the tiniest possible margin.
That faith by punters was to prove well-founded. Rock Band, ridden by Kim Yong Geun, would lead early with Gumpo Sky and High Five for company. Lim Sung Sil meanwhile kept Triple Nine just behind, stalking the leading three.
The question as they turned into the home straight was would Rock Band find another gear and go away? He wouldn’t. But he did stay on well. Sotong Sidae briefly got his nose in front at the furlong pole but travelling down the outside by far the best of them was the winner. Triple Nine collared them all and then lengthened away, already in front by three lengths on the line.
Rock Band rallied himself for 2nd while Masa Tanaka brought home the fast-finishing Ildeung Hanghaesa to edge Sotong Sidae out of 3rd. Gumpo Sky was 5th with Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace in 6th.
Triple Nine and Rock Band meant yet another big race 1-2 for the Kim Young Kwan trainng juggernaut. It was a clean sweep too for Ecton Park and for the Isidore Farm on Jeju Island where he stands. Triple Nine is the third product of a mating between his sire Ecton Park and his dam, the wonderfully named A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap). She already has three more full siblings to today’s champion; a filly and two colts, on the ground. Rock Band and Ildeung Hanghaesa are also both Isidore products.
For jockey Lim Sung Sil it was a second President’s Cup win. He rode Indie Band, Rock Band’s elder brother, to victory in 2013. He would go on to win the Grand Prix Stakes on the same horse.
Indeed, for the past two years, the winner of the President’s Cup has gone on to win the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes back at Seoul over 2300M in December. Triple Nine, who has now won seven of his eleven starts and has finished 3rd in the other four could well be there and could well make it three in a row. In a sign that he may not be coming to the Grand Prix, Rock Band was this week nominated for the Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi, also in December.
As expected, the race was once again dominated but Busan horses with them occupying five of the top six spots. The exception was the ever-improving Sotong Sidae who stepped up again to finish a very gallant 4th. Busan has been entering horses in this race for six years now and has won on all six occasions. The two tracks face each other again on the south coast next Sunday in the final leg of the Queens’ Tour. It’s hard to see the capital’s trainers starting to make amends there.
President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – Oct 18, 2015
1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 2.4, 1.1 2. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.2 3. Ildeung Hanghaesa (KOR) [Ecton Park – Saeroun Bulpae (Northern Afleet)] – Masakazu Tanaka – 3.5 Distances: 3 lengths / 0.5 lengths Also Ran: 4. Sotong Sidae 5. Gumpo Sky 6. Yeongcheon Ace 7. Heukgisa 8. Pinot Noir 9. Impetus 10. Mupae Daewang 11. Singgeureounachim 12. Haemaru 13. High Five 14. Goliath Marine 15. Yaho Sunshine 16. Jeongsang Bima
In what turned out to be a repeat of the Minister’s Cup, Rock Band led home stablemate Triple Nine and Korean Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace to score a commanding victory in the Owners’ Cup at Busan on Sunday afternoon.
Rock Band wins the Minister’s Cup (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)
In the final leg of the Triple Crown at Seoul in July, Triple Nine had been sent off as the odds-on favourite with Rock Band fourth in the market. With Triple Nine, 2nd in the Derby and the Minister’s Cup, having finally got a Stakes race win in the Gyeongnam Do-Min Ilbo Cup in August, he was favourite again ahead of Success Story and with Rock Band third choice.
Rock Band in the Owners’ Cup winner’s circle (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)
Once more, Rock Band made a mockery of that. Success Story, showed the way early on but Rock Band was always very handy and took things up entering the home straight. From then on the result was never in doubt.
Under jockey Kim Yong Geun, Rock Band ran on to win by just under two lengths with Triple Nine and Yeongcheon Ace chasing him home to complete an identical 1-2-3 to that in Seoul in July.
Jockey, Trainer and Breeder (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)
It was Rock Band’s 6th win from 7 career starts, his only defeat coming when he got a dreadful trip in his first try around two-turns in June.
A full-brother of Indie Band, the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner, Rock Band didn’t race as a 2-year-old but now looks the pick of his crop. Hopefully, he will return to Seoul to attempt to emulate big brother in the President’s Cup later this autumn.
It was another solid performance by Triple Nine in 2nd. He has now raced 10 times with 6 wins and 4 second places. He too is trained by Kim Young Kwan, Busan’s top trainer and just like the winner, is by Ecton Park. The 1-2 was another triumph for Isidore Farm, where Ecton Park stands
Owners’ Cup – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – September 6, 2015
1. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 6.4, 3.1 2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5 3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae Distances: 1.75 lengths/3 lengths Also Ran: 4. Ildeung Hanghaesa 5. Doraon Hyeonpyo 6. Success Story 7. Gumpo Sky
* Elsewhere over the weekend, the Seoul Racecourse track-record for 1700M fell for the third time this year. The capital’s track – quicker than ever in recent months – was racing extremely fast following a storm on Saturday morning. Perfect Clone (Exploit), having broker the Korean-bred record for five furlongs earlier in the day before Special Joy (Kitten’s Joy), under Djordje Perovic, took a second off the previous best set by New White Socks in July, in winning the 1700M race 9
Rock Band led from gate-to-wire to win the Minister’s Cup at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon, holding off Triple Nine who had to settle for 2nd in his second consecutive Classic race.
The Rock Band/Triple Nine 1-2 was a remarkable achieivement for Isildore Farm, who bred the pair of them and also – although we have come to expect it by now – for trainer Kim Young Kwan.
Rock Band was sent off as the 4th fvourite in the betting in a field that was depleted in terms of numbers by the scratchings of Daegunhwang and Bulpae Line. Last time he faced such a small field, Rock Band got stuck in traffic and suffered his only loss to date. This time, jockey Kim Yong Geun decided to take the race by the scruff of the neck and lead from the gate.
Derby winner Yeongcheon Ace was slow to settle in the early stages but went with the leader as did Triple Nine, who began the race as favorite, and KRA Cup Mile winner Rafale. It was a lead Rock Band would never relinquish. Triple Nine lost some ground beginning the long turn for home and that would prove crucial as Rock Band had enough in hand to hold off his late charge and take victory by half a length on the line.
Yeongcheon Ace battled on for 3rd while Doraon Hyeonpyo, last year’s champion juvenile, got up for 4th ahead of a tiring Rafale.
For jockey Kim Yong Geun, it was a 2nd Classic of the year after winning the Korean Oaks on Jangpung Parang, also for trainer Kim Young Kwan, at Busan last month.
Minister’s Cup (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – July 19, 2015
1. Rock Band (KOR) [Ecton Park -Plie (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 8.6, 3.4 2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.3 3. Yeongcheon Ace (KOR) [Menifee – Dixie Avenger (Dixie Union)] – Choi Si Dae – 1.5 Distances: 0.5 lengths/2.5 lengths Also ran: 4. Doraon Hyeonpyo (KOR) 5. Rafale (KOR) 6. Seonbong (KOR) 7. Yuseong Fighting (KOR) NR. Daegunhwang (KOR) NR. Bulpae Line (KOR)
Rock Band is the full-brother to Indie Band, another product of Isildore. Indie Band won the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes but has been sidelined for the past year. The younger brother never raced as a 2-year-old and today was only his 6th career start. There could be much more to come from him.
Next week, Busan takes its summer vacation but there will be plenty of action at Seoul. Trainer Kim Young Kwan will be in Singapore to saddle Gamdonguibada and Nobody Catch Me in the KRA Trophy at Kranji. He’ll not be training a 1-2 finish there. Today though, Rock Band was throroughly on song.
Rock Band saw his unbeaten record wither away in the Busan twilight on Friday as the much-vaunted three-year-old crashed to his first defeat on his first try at 1800M.
Rock Band [Ecton Park – Plie (Dixieland Band)] is the full-brother of the 2013 President’s Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Indie Band. Unraced as a two-year-old, he debuted in March and before Friday had won each of his four races with ease.
Stepped up to 1800M and also up to class 3, the main danger on Friday was expected to be Yeonggwanguitaepung, who had been so disappointing in the Korean Derby last month. However, with Rock Band sent off the long-odds on favourite, the one they all overlooked was Cheonji Hero (Volponi).
Under You Hyun Myung, 30/1 chance Cheonji Hero made the early running and remarkably would go on to make all. Rock Band on the other hand, found himself caught up first behind the erratically racing Choegang Bulpae and then behind a wall of Yeonggwanguitaepung, Lucky and Sinheung Menifee, the latter two travelling slowly.
By the time jockey Kim Yong Geun had managed to extricate himself, Cheonji Hero – no superstar but no mug – was long gone. Rock Band finished like the KTX to Cheonji Hero’s Mugunghwa but came up three lengths short. He will surely win next time.
Other reputations did emerge intact yesterday. Rock Band’s stable-mate Triple Nine (Ecton Park – A Little Poke) was 2nd in the Korean Derby at Seoul last month and back at his home track he came out in the feature race to record his 5th win from 7 starts. Racing well within himself under jockey Lim Sung Sil, the colt secured a very comfortable three-length victory.
Like Rock Band, Triple Nine is also not one to hit the front too early. Unlike Rock Band he safely managed to navigate a 13-strong field rather than getting lost in traffic among just 6 rivals. Both will be back and both could be present in some of the big Autumn Stakes races.