The twenty-third running of the Korean Derby will take place on Sunday, with a brilliant field assembled for the three-year-old feature. The 1800m Group One (Korean) will have the first seven runners to cross the line in the KRA Cup Mile line up, along with Roller Blade who was last year’s Breeders Cup winner and Champion two-year-old.
Roller Blade was an omission in the KRA Cup Mile due to an administrative error, resulting in the three-year-old now facing the 1800m first up. The Officer colt has had six starts to date, winning five of them and placing second on the one occasion he was beaten.
In the second half of last year, the Kang Hwan-min trained galloper won the Munwha Ilbo Cup, the NACF Chairman’s Cup and the Breeder Cup capping off a fantastic season as a two-year-old.
Roller Blade took his time to find his feet in the Breeders’ Cup before proving too strong in the run to the line. Kim Yong-geun has ridden the colt at his last five starts, the polished rider will be legged aboard once again and will have to overcome barrier fourteen.
Touch Star Man will line up in the feature after taking out the first leg of the Triple Crown, the KRA Cup Mile. The Testa Matta colt produced a brilliant performance when settling midfield, before being improved from the half mile and eventually going on to win by a length.
Jung Do-Yun will once again partner the Kim Young-Kwan trained chestnut with hopes of keeping a Triple Crown success alive.
Touch Star Man, picture Korea Racing Authority
The placegetters in the KRA Cup Mile, K N Road and Doctor Carson, will line up in the feature after tough performances.
K N Road has been a model of consistency, finishing in the top three on seven occasions from eight starts. His record includes runner-up in both the Breeders’ Cup and KRA Cup Mile which is strong form heading into Sunday’s race.
Connections of Doctor Carson decided to bypass the Breeders’ Cup last year and take on the imports in the Gyeongnam Domin Ilbo Cup, which he won in great fashion.
The Hansen looked the winner halfway down the Busan straight in the KRA Cup Mile, before feeling the pinch after a wide run throughout.
Save The World appeared to be the hard luck story of the KRA Cup Mile. The Menifee colt missed the start coming out of the gates a clear last, damaging his chances immensely. The Kim Young-min trained galloper recovered shortly after, hitting the line strongly to run fourth in the feature.
Recently arrived jockey Djordje Perovic will take over on Save The World, with the galloper’s former rider You Hyun-myun to stay and ride in Busan on Sunday.
Save The World has drawn barrier three in the feature, which will aid his chances greatly if Perovic can ensure he jumps on even terms.
Raon Tough Man tasted his first defeat in the KRA Cup Mile when finishing an admirable fifth when having his first attempt at set weights. Prior to the KRA Cup Mile, the Park Jong-kon trained galloper was known for setting a good pace and leading in his races. The Seoul based galloper struggled to get on speed early in the race, but finished off nicely to run into the minor money.
Of other runners to note, Determination will line up in the feature after a race day mishap resulted in the horse not taking it’s place in the field.
The horse was visibly worked up in the mounting yard before dislodging his rider Alan Munro, who suffered a broken wrist.
Connections turned to Plan B and placed him in a 1400m Class Three event in Seoul a fortnight ago, where the Colors Flying colt flew home to narrowly miss, finishing second by a neck behind Semyeong Gisang. The colt has drawn the outside for the feature which should not hamper his chances given his style of racing.
Finally, Legend Storm looks to add an unknown to the race after a brilliant Class Three win last time out over the 1700m. The Jung Ho-ik trained colt has won four of his six race starts, he carried 56kg to victory in his recent win clocking a good time. In-form veteran rider Park Tae Jong will ride the Officer colt after being on him for all of his six starts to date.
The twenty-third running of the Korean Derby will take place at 5pm Korean local time on Sunday, 6.00pm AEST on Sky Racing2.