show me:

news preview


The 2024 Korean Triple Crown gets underway at Busan on Saturday night as thirteen three-year-olds line up for the first jewel, the KRA Cup Mile (1600M KOR-G2).

Wonderful Lear Hangang Class GS 2024. Photo: Korea Racing Authority
Wonderful Lear Hangang Class GS 2024. Photo: Korea Racing Authority

Six colts have made the trip down from Seoul to face seven from the host track and it is a race of many chances.

Champion juvenile HANGANG CLASS will probably start as the betting favourite locally, but he comes in having been beaten in Busan's Classic Trial, the Gyeongnam DoMin Ilbo Trophy (1400M KOR-Listed) in February, when taken down late by WONDERFUL LEAR. The pair meet again with Hangang Class this time much better drawn.

NICE TIME was Seoul's best juvenile last year, and he has started 2024 in fine fashion with two wins, including in the capital city's Classic Trial. He will be ridden by Moon Se-young, who last week won the opening leg of the Triple Tiara on Eclipse Berry and could well make it a double here. 

DOCTOR KINGDOM had plenty of near misses throughout the juvenile series last year but an improvement shouldn't be ruled out while his stablemate, BACCHUS, has taken the same route that last year's winner Betelgeuse did, and is already a winner at 1800M, let a lone a mile. SUCCESS BAEKPA and STORM BREAKER are others who skipped the Juvenile Series and the Classic Trials to take a different path here.

1. HANGANG CLASS – Dominant seven-length winner of the Breeders' Cup in December to be crowned champion juvenile. He was favourite for Busan's Classic Trial in February but was a touch slow out of the widest gate and was then ridden hard around the outside to ultimately establish a four-length lead turning into the straight before being picked off late. He is drawn much better today for an easier run and his class can see him through. The favourite. 

2. WONDERFUL LEAR – Picked off Hangang Class late on to win Busan's Classic Trial, he is a winner of three from six. He has mixed his form and Hangang Class beat him twice last year. Don't read too much into his midfield finish at this distance in January in a tough and quick race against older horses at class 3 level. He can be very competitive here. 

3. NICE TIME – A winner of five from six stars so far with his only defeat coming at Busan when 4th in the Breeders' Cup. He was slowly away in Seoul's Classic Trial but showed a lot of heart to haul himself to the lead and then to keep it under pressure. The mile may well suit. 

4. LALA KA – Won the Listed NACF Chairman's Trophy but has never come close to repeating his explosive exploits from last August's Rookie Stakes. 5th of ten at class 3 level in his only start this year back in January, he does at least come in here fresh, and the mile could be to his liking.

5. DOCTOR KINGDOM – Just the one win but plenty of near-misses including 2nd in the Gimhae Mayor's Trophy, 3rd in the Breeders' Cup and 3rd in the Classic Trial. That means he has form to overturn, but he does have experience racing over 1800M at class 3 level. Stablemate of Bacchus, he will be in plenty of top threes.

6. GANGNAMBULCHUNGGAK – Won his first two starts before finishing runner-up on his first try at class 4 over a mile on February 17th having led early. Had to recommend over some of these at this stage but plenty of potential. 

7. MOTO MOTO – Won his first four races in style making all before running out of steam very early on his latest showing at the end of January. Has since trialled fairly. There is a high chance of different tactics this time and he can't be completely dismissed. Stablemate of Wonderful Lear.

8. EUNPA SARANG – Well back in the Breeders' Cup but ran a strong 2nd to Nice Time in the Seoul Classic Trial, coming from off the pace and almost getting up. Will need to improve again but a minor money chance.

9. BACCHUS – Similar to Betelgeuse, who won this race last year for the same trainer, he didn't run in the big juvenile races or the Classic Trial, but he is a two-time winner at 1800M already, up to class 4 level. Likes to settle midfield and run on and a real chance.

10. FLYING KHAN – Has only won up to class 5 level and ran 4th in the Breeders' Cup. He does have experience of this distance, having run 5th in a fair time at class 4 in December when he led. Others preferred this time.

11. STORM BREAKER – Comes in under the radar but not to be easily dismissed, having won two of his last three, most notably his latest over 1800M at class 4 level on February 24th when making all. 

12. SUCCESS BAEKPA – The only one in the field to have won at a mile already, which he did at class 4 level last time out when coming from well off the pace at class 4 level, to make it three wins in a row. His dam won the Korean Oaks, and it would be no surprise were he to go close here. 

13. TAEPYEONG HERO – A winner at class 4 level over 1800M two starts back before being beaten into 5th when favourite on his return in February. Ability but probably among the outsiders here. 

Selections   (1) Hangang Class (2) Wonderful Lear (3) Nice Time (9) Bacchus
Next Best   4, 5
Fast Start   1, 2, 7, 10


Racing and Sports