At the fourth time of asking, Triple Nine has finally done it. The four-time President’s Cup winner had come up short in the previous three Decembers but on Sunday afternoon in the fading light at Seoul Racecourse, the six-year-old produced a storming late run to overhaul rival Cheongdam Dokki and win the Grand Prix Stakes.
Triple Nine, picture Korea Racing Authority
Cheongdam Dokki, who had bested Triple Nine in both the Busan Mayor’s Cup and the KRA Cup Classic, was sent off as favourite with Triple Nine second in the market and just as he did last year, it was Cheongdam Dokki who took a hold of the race early. Unlike twelve months ago, this time the pace was relatively sedate as Lim Gi Won tried to conserve his mount for the onslaught to come.
It was no surprise that Triple Nine’s stablemate Today joined Cheongdam Dokki on the early pace. The sprinter turned out to be no mere spoiler though, running a huge race to finish in 3rd place. As they headed into the home straight, Triple Nine still had plenty to do, but do it he did. Still in 4th place with a furlong to run as Today briefly touched the front, Triple Nine hit top gear flashing past and running on to finish a length ahead of Cheongdam Dokki and Today on the line. Dolkong made the best of a wide draw to come home 4th.
For trainer Kim Young Kwan it was an unprecedented fifth win in the Grand Prix with Today’s 3rd place the icing on an especially rich cake. For jockey Lim Sung Sil it was a second victory following his triumph on Indie Band, for the same trainer, in 2013.
With the victory, Triple Nine passed the US$4Million in prize money but perhaps more importantly, at this stage of his career, had finally proved that he could win on the biggest stage in Korean racing. Triple Nine may have an unprecedented four President’s Cups, but that race is restricted to Korean bred horses. He may have run extremely well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival last year, but he did not actually manage to win a race.
There are no more questions for him to answer now as Triple Nine unequivocally joins the greats of Korean racing.