Triple Nine

Triple Nine Lands Sensational 4th President’s Cup

Triple Nine galloped his way in to Korean racing history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as he cruised to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup. The six-year-old struck the front a furlong and a half from home and eased to a dominant six-length win to eclipse the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae, who won three straight editions of the nation’s biggest race for domestically-bred horses between 2012 and 2012.

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Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle

At a packed Seoul Racecourse on a bright autumn afternoon, Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 2000M test which for the past fifteen years has decided the Champion Korean bred horse of the year and has also been when the season’s three-year-old Classic winners face the best older horses for the first time. So that was to be this time with Ecton Blade and World Sun, winners of the Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup respectively both taking their chance.

 Neither was able to show very much. Ecton Blade, a stablemate of Triple Nine, was hindered by a wide draw and was scarcely involved while World Sun, a closer, did eventually arrive on the scene but far too late. Other fancied contenders Cheonji Storm and Gangtoma also offered little. Instead it was left to Gasokbulpae, more noted as a sprinter and sent off at odds in excess of 90/1 and who set a game pace throughout, and Yaho Sky Cat, a 130/1 outsider to get the closest, eventually finishing in 3rd and 2nd respecitively. Another long-shot, Ultra Rocket was 4th.

They might as well have been in a different race to Triple Nine. Kim Young-Kwan’s stable star settled in midfield and gradually improved down the back straight before being shaken up by jockey Lim Sung Sil on the turn for home. From then on it was inevitable and Triple Nine duly took a stranglehold on the race in the home straight.

 The margin on the line was six-lengths, the greatest in Triple Nine’s President’s Cup. The time was his second quickest, half a second slower than last year’s. Then though he had Power Blade to contend with. While this year’s competition may not have been the strongest, the sheer consistency of Triple Nine over the past three years, as well as his exploits in Dubai in 2017, surely takes him to the top of the all-time ranks of Korean-bred horses, even ahead of Power Blade.

 Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, Triple Nine has won 14 of his 30 races in Korea and placed 3rd and 4th in the first two editions of the Korea Cup. For trainer Kim Young-Kwan it was a record fourteenth Group 1 winner while for jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a fifth G1. Three of those have now been on Triple Nine in the President’s Cup while he matched his mount’s achievement having also ridden Indie Band to win the race in 2013.

It may not be over yet. The Grand Prix Stakes is a possibility next month and given Triple Nine’s career to date, a return next year for a previously unthinkable fifth President’s Cup is surely not impossible.

 

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Triple Nine Bids To “Winx” The President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

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″

Triple Nine KRA

Can Triple Nine make it into the President’s Cup winner’s circle for the 4th time? (Pic: KRA)

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 (more…)

Can He Make It Four In A Row? Triple Nine’s President’s Cups So Far

A year ago, Triple Nine emulated Dangdae Bulpae in winning the President’s Cup for the third consecutive year. Now the six-year-old has a chance to enter unchartered territory as he bids to take home the trophy an unprecedented 4th time.

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Triple Nine (Picture: Alex Cairns)

It’s not only never been done in the President’s Cup before but it would be a first time in any Korean Group Race. Here are his wins so far:

2015 – Reward at least after Classic near-misses

Having finished 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace and 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band, Triple Nine beat both his fellow three-year-olds to more than make amends for missing out in the Triple Crown races. Under Lim Sung-sil, Triple Nine was sent out as slight faovurite and stalked the early leaders before unleashing in the home straight to score by three-lengths from Rock Band and outsider Ildeung Hanghaesa.

2016 – Putting his Stablemate, the Triple Crown winner, firmly in his place

Stablemate Power Blade had won all three legs of the Triple Crown but he was no match for Triple Nine, who two months earlier had also finished ahead of him in the inugural Korea Cup. The younger horse could get no closer than three-lengths on the line as Seo Seung-un steered Triple Nine to a comfortable win. Success Story, who had run well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the stand of the year came home in 3rd place. Two months later, both Triple Nine and Power Blade would themselves jet off for successful stints in Dubai.

2017 – Beating Power Blade Again

With Power Blade having recently finally started to get the better of his rival, most pundits were of the opinion that this time there would be a changing of the guard. Not a bit of it as with Lim Sung-sil up once more, Triple Nine collared Power Blade with a furlong to go, zipping by him as if he was wasn’t there to claim his hat-trick by two-legnths on the line. The board ended up identical to that od 2016 with Success Story once more in 3rd.

Dangdae Bulpae won three consective President’s Cups between 2010 and 2012 but while he did attempt a fourth in 2013, it proved a race too far as he finished 10th of 16 as Indie Band took victory and was retired afterwards. Both Indie Band and Dangdae Bulpae are now retired at Isidore Farm on Jeju Island – the farm where Triple Nine was foaled.

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Dangdae Bulpae now has his own bronze statue at Busan Racecourse (although his greatest wins were at Seoul he, just like Triple Nine, was trained on the South Coast). Triple Nine’s statue is already assured. If he wins on Sunday, it may just be in Gold.

Cheongdam Dokki Bounces Back To Retain KRA Cup Classic

Cheongdam Dokki successfully defended his KRA Cup Classic crown at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, taking victory on the 2000M Korean Group 2 event by two-and-a-half lengths and taking the first steps to putting defeat in the Billion Won Korea Cup International race last month firmly behind him.

Dolkong was a morning scratching, the Korea Cup runner-up having injured the frog of his hoof in a gallop this week. Although close to making the race, discretion proved the better part of valour and he was withdrawn as a precaution with the future in mind but that still left a high-quality field for Chongdam Dokki to defeat if he was to bounce back from the humbling he received when trying to match Japan’s London Town for pace in the Cup.

Defeat them he did. Sent off at long odds-on, Cheongdam Dokki led from the gate under jockey Lim Gi-won, who was restored to the mount, and looked a winner every step of the way. Triple Nine, racing for the first time since finishing 3rd behind him in the Busan Mayor’s Cup three months ago, hit his top gear late to come home 2nd while three-year-old US import Munhak Chief (by Pioneerof The Nile) scored a very promising 3rd.

Champion mare Silver Wolf came home 4th but there was no luck for two-time SBS Sports Sprint winner Doraonpogyeongseon, who ended up 6th of the 8 on his first try at 2000M.

Cheongdam Dokki Marches On In Mayor’s Cup

Cheongdam Dokki ventured outside of Seoul for the first time but the four-year-old made himself right at home on the South-Coast, beating a strong set of rivals to win the Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup on Sunday afternoon confirming his status as the top-rated horse in Korea.

Cheongdam Dokki Mayor's Cup Lets Run Park Busan

Cheongdam Dokki & Lim Gi Won winning the Busan Mayor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 1800M race, often called the “Summer Grand Prix” such is its usual strength, Cheongdam Dokki broke from the widest gate was unable to get to his favoured position on the lead. That was because King Of Ace got out much the quickest and under Franco Da Silva went on to set the pace. Aboard Cheongdam Dokki, jockey Lim Gi Won was happy enough to let the leader get on with it and settled at the front of the chasing pack with Cheonji Storm and 2nd favourite Triple Nine just behind him.

As the field entered the home straight, King Of Ace began to weaken and Cheongdam Dokki assumed command and while fellow Seoul-raider Cheonji Storm threatened to mount a challenge, Cheongdam Dokki comfortably saw him off in the final furlong to win by three-lengths on the line. Triple Nine, a three-time President’s Cup winner and former Horse of the Year, hit top gear late in the race but could only come home in 3rd place one ahead of last year’s winner I’m Your Father.

It was a breakout performance from Cheonji Storm, who was 6th in the 2016 Korean Derby behind eventual Triple Crown winner Power Blade, and who has matured greatly since missing seven months of last season. Triple Nine, making just his second start of 2018 ran well but was always likely to be too late reaching top speed to challenge Cheongdam Dokki over 1800M.

The win took Cheongdam Dokki, an American import by To Honor And Serve, to 11 wins from 16 career starts and was his second Korean Group race triumph following his victory in last autumn’s Group 2 KRA Cup Classic. He is unbeaten in 2018 with his last defeat coming in December’s Grand Prix Stakes over 2300M. It also gave him a new domestic rating of 130, the highest of any horse since the rating system in its current form began and Cheongdam Dokki is now surely on a path to face the ultimate test in Korean racing – taking on the international visitors in September’s Keeneland Korea Cup.

Busan Mayor’s Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1800M – July 1, 2018

1. Cheongdam Dokki (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)] –  Lim Gi Won – 1.4, 1.0
2. Cheonji Storm (KOR) [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] – Johan Victoire – 2.9
3. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.5
Distances: 3 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. I’m Your Father (USA) 5. Buhwarui Banseok (USA) 6. Saengil Gippeum (USA) 7. King Of Ace (USA) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Champ Line (KOR) 10. Iron Train (USA) 11. World Number One (USA) 12. Cheonjeok (USA) 13. Winner Red (USA)

Busan Mayor’s Cup: Cheongdam Dokki vs Triple Nine – Busan & Seoul All-Race Preview (July 1)

One of the highlights of the summer racing season takes place at Busan on Sunday when thirteen of the best horses on the peninsula go to post in the Busan Mayor’s Cup (Korean Group 3) over 1800M. They include last year’s winner I’m Your Father, but all eyes will be on the clash between three-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine and the new star on the stable-block, Cheongdam Dokki.

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Cheongdam Dokki

Cheongdam Dokki and Triple Nine have met once before, in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December last year. In a remarkable race, Cheongdam Dokki set a blistering early pace but wasn’t quite able to keep it up over the punishing 2300M – the longest distance currently used in Korean racing – and he ultimately finished 4th with Triple Nine running a big race in 3rd. Dongbang Daero, who closed late on and beat both running 2nd to winner Power Blade, is among those who join them on Sunday.

Since that Grand Prix, Cheongdam Dokki has looked invulnerable. He’s raced three times for three facile victories and has been steadily relieving Clean Up Joy, formerly the top-rated horse at Seoul, of the silverware he had amassed in recent years. Having beaten him in the KRA Cup Classic last autumn, Cheongdam Dokki beat Clean Up Joy in both the Herald Business and YTN Cups this Spring, the older horse having won all three of those races the year before. Now in advance of a likely tilt at the Korea Cup in September, he faces a true test, going to Busan to face Triple Nine on his home track. It is a test he will be expected to pass.

(I didn’t have the multi-million dollar studio at my disposal for this one so here’s a 10 minutes on Moviemaker Special!)

Triple Nine remains the benchmark against which all other horses are judged in Korea. He held his own at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the start of 2017 and returned to beat stablemate Power Blade on his way to a record-equalling third straight win in the President’s Cup. Power Blade would gain revenge in the Grand Prix but Triple Nine lost nothing in defeat that day. He has only raced once in 2018, making a rare foray into the handicap ranks in March and coming away, inevitably, with another victory. He did trial in public last week although offered few clues. The torch may be passed at Busan on Sunday.

Here are Busan’s Race-By-Race Comments including all-horses in the big race. Scroll down for the race-by-race from Seoul:

Race 1: Class 4 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

(7) SMART DANCER has won her latest two, both at this distance, in front-running fashion and while it means she is rapidly up in class, there is little for her to fear here and she has an excellent chance of making it three in a row. (9) MAY STAR beat (3) BAENGNYEON SONNIM as the pair came home 2nd and 3rd at class and distance on May 27th. Both can go well again with Baengnyeon Sonnim favoured to overturn that form. (1) WONDERFUL SHOW races for the first time in almost a year but has looked competent across a series of trials in the last couple of months and can go well first up. (6) RETURN OF THE KING comes in off a useful 2nd place ahead of three of these on June 10th and can go close again. (8) CHERRY VANQUISH was one of the vanquished that day, but it was just her second outing and she can improve here.

Selections (7) Smart Dancer (3) Baengnyeon Sonnim (8) Cherry Vanquish (6) Return Of The King
Next Best 9, 1
Fast Start 1, 2, 6, 9, 12

Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

Franco Da Silva was on (1) WONDERFUL MEMORY for his only previous win and he should be guiding the Lookin At Lucky colt to another here. He was a decent 3rd last time on his first try at this class and should have too much. (7) JANGHAN JILJU and (11) SAKISAKI came home 2nd and 3rd at class and distance on June 1st and look among the most likely to challenge the favourite although (2) JAEDOYAKUI BANSEOK was an improved 2nd last time out and is well drawn to get to the front from the gate once more. (10) WHITE POINT was disappointing behind Janghan Jilju and Sakisaki but came back out just two weeks ago to run a much better 4th and can look to at least match that today.

Selections (1) Wonderful Memory (2) Jaedoyakui Banseok (7) Janghan Jilju (11) Sakisaki
Next Best 4, 10
Fast Start 3, 4, 8

Race 3: Class 4 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(8) WORLD DAY is two for two and the Kim Young Kwan trainee steps up in class and also in distance with solid claims of maintaining his 100% record. This is a significantly stiffer test than what he has faced so far but he should be close to the front from the start and can overcome it. (6) MABEOPUI JILJU and (4) VIVA VICTORY come in having run 2nd and 3rd behind World Day’s stablemate Sun Day at class and distance on May 27th. Both are proven performers at the distance and cause World Day problems. So too can (5) CHOEGANG THUNDER, a winner at the distance in April and 2nd when dropped back to 1300M for his first try at this class three weeks ago. (10) YONGGU is up in class after a surprise win at a mile six weeks ago and while he will need to improve, could be an interesting outsider.

Selections (8) World Day (5) Choegang Thunder (6) Mabeopui Jilju (4) Viva Victory
Next Best 10, 7
Fast Start 1, 2, 4, 8

Race 4: Class 3 (1600M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Eight of the twelve raced each other at class and distance on May 27th (race 4) so we have plenty to go on. The surprise winner that day was (7) YEONGGWANG SEUNGNI, who struck the front late and ran on to win by half a length. She warrants more respect today, but we’ll still fancy her to get beaten. (2) JUSTINE MAGIC led for most of that race, ultimately finishing 2nd in what was his first try at a mile. He should have learned from that and can overturn the form here. (1) DYNAMIC ROOKIE was favourite that day and while he finished well back, is worth another chance today but the other likely ones didn’t run that day. (4) BAENGMUNBAEKDAP is up in class following a convincing win at the distance at the end of April and can be considered while (11) TUFELLO ran a solid 3rd on his first try at this class three weeks ago and should be in the frame as well.

Selections (2) Justine Magic (4) Baengmunbaekdap (7) Yeonggwang Seungni (11) Tufello
Next Best 1, 12
Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 12

Race 5: Class Open “The Busan Mayor’s Cup” (KOR G3) 1800M / Weight for Age / KRW 500 Million

  1. IRON TRAIN – Class 2 winner over this distance in May but only beat one home on his first class 1 try three weeks ago. Generally goes right to the back and closes. May pick off a few in the home straight.

 

  1. CHAMP LINE – Thomas Gillespie’s six-year-old is a very consistent type and he beat Buhwarui Banseok and Saengil Gippeum on his way to 2nd at 2000M last time. Usually runs at further than this but he can certainly make the minor money.

 

  1. DONGBANG DAERO – Ran a huge 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes last December but has been a little indifferent in five starts since. Another who perhaps wants a little further to be at his most effective, but he could make a value bet for the places.

 

  1. I’M YOUR FATHER – Last year’s winner returned from seven months out to land a narrow win over King Of Ace over a mile at the beginning of June, finishing very strongly. Fergus Sweeney keeps the mount today and he has a chance of an upset.

 

  1. BUHWARUI BANSEOK – Ran 2nd to Triple Nine at 2000M in March and beat Dongbang Daero and Champ Line at the same distance in April. Champ Line returned the favour last time, but this is a very solid, consistent horse. Another who probably prefers further.

 

  1. CHEONJI STORM – Won the Seoul Owners’ Cup over 1200M in March before crushing a class 1 field by ten-lengths in the capital at the end of April. Lots of talent he is a front-runner who is likely to take on Cheongdam Dokki early. That’s risky but anything could happen.

 

  1. WINNER RED – Only two starts in 2018 so far and was a long way behind Cheongdam Dokki in the YTN Cup last time out. An outsider today.

 

  1. CHEONJEOK – Last home in the YTN Cup at the end of May continuing a run of indifferent form. Little to no chance here.

 

  1. WORLD NUMBER ONE – A stablemate of Iron Train, he was a class 2 winner at this distance in March but has been a touch disappointing in two efforts since. Likely to go right to the back from the gate and may improve late but is an outsider.

 

  1. KING OF ACE – Has suffered from a number of injury setbacks and is two starts into his latest comeback. He ran very well for 2nd to I’m Your Father in a tight finish on June 3rd and makes for an interesting outsider here.

 

  1. TRIPLE NINE – The gold standard in Korean racing. He beat four of these when winning his only start of 2018 to date in March, giving them plenty of weight too. He offered few clues when trialling up half-heartedly last weekend. Superior to all of these except Cheongdam Dokki and were he to win, it would be arguably his greatest achievement yet. He won’t challenge the Seoul horse for the lead but at this distance, neither will he let them get too far away. He often takes some time to hit top gear and that may be his undoing at 1800M.

 

  1. SAENGIL GIPPEUM – Has been beaten by plenty of these in recent starts at varying distances. Plenty of talent and has Busan’s champion jockey on board but will be an outsider here.

 

  1. CHEONGDAM DOKKI – His three outings this year have simply confirmed what we already knew – he is now better than Clean Up Joy. Here he has a chance to stamp his authority on all of Korean racing by beating Triple Nine at his home track. He is stepping back in trip for the first time since last September but even that should be in his favour. The widest gate is perhaps not ideal, but he has the speed to get to the front anyway and it would be a surprise were he not to hold off all-comers – including Triple Nine.

 

VERDICT: (13) CHEONGDAM DOKKI should take a big step towards asserting his hegemony by defeating (11) TRIPLE NINE. He’ll be on pace early and while there is a risk of an early speed battle with (6) CHEONJI STORM, he should have too much to able to cope with this and to see off everything else over 1800M. Cheonji Storm can go well as well as can last year’s winner (4) I’M YOUR FATHER. (2) CHAMP LINE and (10) KING OF ACE make for some potential value.

 

Selections (13) Cheongdam Dokki (11) Triple Nine (4) I’m Your Father (6) Cheonji Storm
Next Best 2, 10, 3
Fast Start 6, 13

Race 6: Class 3 (1400M) Handicap / KRW 75 Million

Small field to finish with and there are two up and comers here. After a few near misses, (1) UNSEOK has now won three in a row by handy margins and while he’s up in class and slightly in distance today, has every chance of making it four.  (3) GEUMSURYEONG has the best chance of beating him. He’s won three from five and was runner-up in the other two and there could well be more to come. He will lead early and Unseok will have to (more…)

Triple Nine & Clean Up Joy Are Winners Again at Busan & Seoul

Two of Korea’s most popular horses returned to the winner’s circles at Busan and Seoul yesterday with Triple Nine and Clean Up Joy prevailing in valuable Sunday handicaps.

Three-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine had put in a strong effort in December’s Grand Prix Stakes, trying to counter early leader Cheongdam Dokki but ultimately finished 3rd behind stablemate and rival Power Blade. Following three months off, he returned to action on Sunday in the 2000M “Road To Group 1” feature on the south coast.

The race attracted a strong line-up and Triple Nine had to work for his win, with You Hyun Myung sitting towards the back of the field as the early pace was set, inevitably, by Success Story. Although he had plenty of traffic to negotiate in the home straight, the gap did open up and Triple Nine, carrying 60kg, ran on nicely to win by two lengths. Buhwarui Banseok, who also ran so well in the Grand Prix, came home in 2nd place ahead of Good Casting who, a disappointing effort over 2200M last month aside, has been a revelation in recent months.

It’s a good start to the season for the now 6-year-old Triple Nine which will likely have a bid an unprecedented fourth President’s Cup and another tilt at the so-far elusive Grand Prix as its ultimate targets.

Clean Up Joy has already won a Grand Prix, having been victorious in 2016’s season finale when he beat Triple Nine by just over a length. Although his 2017 started strongly with three consecutive wins, including in the YTN Cup, he lose his way a little in the second half of the year.

A chastening experience when not looking 100% in the Busan Mayor’s Cup in the summer was followed by 3rd place for Clean Up Joy in the KRA Cup Classic, a race he’d won in each of the two previous seasons as three-year-olds Cheongdam Dokki and New Citadel announced their arrival on the elite scene. He could then only run 7th in the Grand Prix before beginning 2018 with another defeat at the hands of Cheongdam Dokki.

Clean Up joy had a significantly simpler task then Triple Nine, facing only six rivals in Seoul’s “Road To G1” event. Such was his rating superiority that all of them were out of the handicap and accordingly carried 52kg to Clean Up Joy’s 60kg. Under Park Tae Jong, he hit top gear at the two furlong pole and cruised away for a visually impressive seven-length score.

There will be tougher tests to come.