Winner Star

Minister’s Cup 2022 – Full Preview of the Final Leg of the Triple Crown

The Korean Triple Crown of 2022 reaches its climax on Sunday afternoon and while the Triple Crown itself isn’t on the line, champion three-year-old honours very much are as KRA Cup Mile winner Captain Yankee and Derby winner Winner Star are among a full sixteen-strong field in the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2).

Winner Star won the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Captain Yankee was a 40/1 winner of the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan on April 17th, launching a late run to thread through leaders Complete Value and Seungbusa to score. Winner Star was an impressive winner of the Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul on May 15th, swooping from a handy position and winning by two lengths from Seungbusa and Captain Yankee.

This time they have an additional furlong to contend with as well as a maximum field of sixteen. In addition to Winner Star and Captain Yankee, Seungbusa, with a 3rd and a 2nd from Cup Mile and Derby returns, as does Complete Value, last year’s champion juvenile, who was sent off as favourite for both races, finishing 2nd and 6th. A bold showing in the final leg can’t be ruled out from the son of Girolamo and he could end up being sent off as favourite again.

Wow Wow and Tiz Barows produced strong Derby performances and may appreciate the additional distance while among those who skipped one or both of the first two legs of the series, Beomi Naeyeo Onda and Burui Geom look perhaps the most likely to step up.

Beomi Naryeo Onda will be ridden by Franco Da Silva, one of four foreign jockeys to have rides in the race. Djordje Perovic will partner Winner Star, as he did in their Derby success, while Johan Victoire will be aboard Tiz Barows, and David Breux on Nubi Gangja.

The Minister’s Cup is race 8 on a 10-race program at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday. Here is the horse-by-horse:

1. FLYING THE CHAMP [Cowboy Cal – Thebignbadestbunny (Smart Strike)]

5(2/1/1) KRW 62,800,000

O: Kim Hyeong-sun T: An Woo-sung J: Park Jae-i

Class 5 winner over 1400M at Busan before stepping up to 1800M at class 4 and running 2nd to Burui Geom. Top jockey comes up from Busan to ride him and a money finish is possible.

2. TEN BAGGER [Cowboy Cal – Sugar Victory (Peace Rules)]

9(2/0/0) KRW 45,800,000

O: Kim Myung-sik T: Kang Sung-o J: Lim Da-bin

(more…)

Winner Star Lands Djordje Perovic Second Derby Win

Winner Star closed late to overhaul Seungbusa and win the 25th running of the Korean Derby (1800M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, and in doing so, gave jockey Djordje Perovic his second win in the biggest of the three-year-old Classics.

Winner Star wins the Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Just as in the KRA Cup Mile, Complete Value was sent off as favourite, ahead of the first jewel’s winner Captain Yankee. As expected, Seungbusa set the pace, and the Sports Seoul Trophy winner was in it for a long way as Complete Value stalked handy and looking as though he was ready to make a move.

It never happened. In the home straight, Seungbusa pressed on, and while Complete Value’s challenge waned, Winner Star ran on down the outside of the field, striking the front in the final furlong, and went on to win by two-lengths.

Captain Yankee’s late charge saw him come home in 3rd while Tiz Barows was an excellent 4th. Another Triple Crown series newcomer Wow Wow was 5th ahead of Complete Value in 6th.

Winner Star sees off Seungbusa (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Winner Star was the only horse in the starting gate to have already won over the distance and after the race, winning jockey Djordje Perovic stressed the importance of that to in-house broadcaster, KRBC.

“His (Winner Star’s) previous experience at nine-furlongs was the key. The Derby was the target and so we prepared really well. We focused on the tactics for the race and where we needed to be in the final stage. It worked out perfectly.”

On a day where there were more racegoers in Seoul Racecourse than at any other time since before the pandemic, Perovic had a message for his fans: “I am so grateful for the support from racing fans here and I am very happy I can repay them by winning this race.”

Perovic went on to acknowledge the bumper Sunday crowd, who had taken advantage of the traditional free entry on Derby Day with the total attendance as big as for a Korea Cup. Perovic previously won the Derby on Save The World in 2020 at a pandemic-enforced deserted Seoul Racecourse. “I actually don’t think I have ever raced in front of so many people as were here today. It was brilliant.”

For Perovic himself, it was yet another milestone. The Serbian jockey nicknamed the “Balkan Wolf” last month overtook Ikuyasu Kurakane to become the most successful foreign jockey in terms of winners in Korean racing history. Winner Star was his 350th race win in the country. He now joins Park Tae-jong, Moon Se-young and Kim Yong-geun as the only riders to have won the Korean Derby more than once.

(Pic: KRA)

As Perovic noted in his interview, Winner Star was the (joint) most experienced runner in the race and the only one to have previously won at the distance, having already raced against older horses on plenty of occasions. That’s why the Derby was only his third win on his eleventh career start. Winner Star is by Concord Point and is out of Jangguneui Huye, who did her racing in Korea and is herself by Korean bred stallion Gaeseon Janggun (by Duality). He was bred by his owner Kang Hoon-pyo and is trained by Baik Kwang-yeol, who previously won the Derby in 2015 with Yeongcheon Ace.

Winner Star’s damsire, Gaeseon Janggun, won the Minister’s Cup in 2008. Winner Star will get a chance to emulate that as the final leg of the Triple Crown is the 2022 Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday June 12th.