Cup Mile and Derby winners clash again as Korean Triple Crown concludes

The final leg of the 2024 Triple Crown takes place at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon and while there is no clean sweep on the line, there is still plenty of intrigue as a full field of sixteen line up for the Minister’s Cup (2000M KOR-G2).


All tackle the 2000M for the first time, including KRA Cup Mile winner Success Baekpa and Korean Derby victor Eunpa Sarang. Neither will start as favourite though with plenty of others having the potential to make an impact in what promises to be one of the most open Classic races in a long time.


HANGANG CLASS was last year’s Champion Juvenile but is yet to score in three efforts this term. He was 2nd in Busan’s Classic Trial over 1400M in March having missed the start and then being ridden hard to lead, and then came from off the pace to run 3rd in the Cup Mile when again slow away. Drawing the widest gate in the Korean Derby he began better and made it up to 4th place. This time the gate is much better and today can be the day. Franco Da Silva rides for trainer Gu Min-sung, who won this race with Captain Yankee in 2022.


KRA Cup Mile winner SUCCESS BAEKPA saw his run of victories ended at four when 3rd in the Korean Derby on May 12th but he was finishing as well as any in the Derby. He is another who can enjoy the extended trip and will have plenty of supporters. Jockey You Hyun-myung was successful in the Minister’s Cup on Hit Yegam in 2021.


One who joins the Triple Crown trail for the final jewel only is FANTASTIC FIELD and he may make for some appeal at what will probably be a big price.  He has won three of eight so far, but his latest effort was arguably as good as any of these have achieved when running a close 2nd to the undefeated US import Sky Wind (ineligible for this) over 1800M at class 3 level on May 17th. He may be worth a chance here. Trainer Lim Keum-man has won the race before, with Yeonggwangui Hunter in 2017. Jockey Jin Kyumis yet to score at Group level.


WORLD DRAGON is a winner of three from seven so far and while he didn’t run in the Cup Mile, he was 2nd in the Derby, having raced on pace for much of the way. His trainer Kim Young-kwan is the all-time leader in wins in three-year-old Classic races in Korea and teamed up with jockey Seo Seung-un to win this race in 2020. There is high chance that they begin as the betting favourite.


It may be a hard ask for 47/1 Derby winner (7) EUNPA SARANG to repeat, but having come from off the pace, the distance can suit, and he shouldn’t be dismissed. (1) NICE TIME, with Moon Se-young aboard, is another who will be right in the market.


The Minister’s Cup is race 8 on the 11-race Sunday program at Seoul with a local post time of 16:30.


Selections (4) Hangang Class (12) Success Baekpa (2) Fantastic Field (9) World Dragon
Next Best (7) Eunpa Sarang (1) Nice Time
Fast Start 2, 6, 11, 13, 16

Eunpa Sarang, picture Korea Racing Authority