Its the 6th edition of the Korea Cup, the second since the COVID-19 lockdown of 2000, 2001, but will it be a Yoshida Family showdown, between Teruya and Kazumi Yoshida.
With Teruya Yoshida having his 4yo former UAE Derby winner Crown Pride jumping from Gate 14 of 15 runners, and carrying the 14 saddle-cloth, he’ll be racing in his yellow, black, red silks.
In accepting his ‘Win-n-You’re In’ invitation to the Kentucky Derby las year, he finished 13 of 20 runners to Rich Strike, and in now coming off a ‘nose’ second in the dirt Teio Sho over 2000m.
Earlier this season in the Persian Gulf, Crown Pride was fifth to fellow countryman Panthalassa in the $20m Saudi Cup and then fifth again in the Dubai World Cup to the Japanese Ushba Tesoro.
In expectingly to be racing on the pace, or close, he is looking to be the one to beat, he will again have Yuga Kawada in the saddle for trainer Koichi Shintani having been home-bred Shadai Farm.
With Teruya and Kazumi Yoshida being joint CEO’s of the family owned Shadai Farm, Crown Pride is by the Yomiuri Milers Cup winner Reach The Crown, from the good dirt winner Emmy’s Pride.
The Kazumi Yoshida owned Gloria Mundi is also a big chance, and is expected on the pace having last won over 2400m on dirt, and in May the Heian Stakes of 1900m for trainer Ryuji Okuba.
To be again ridden by Yuga Kawada, he’ll be starting from the outside 15 barrier, and will be wearing the traditional Yoshida red and yellow, but with red-green hooped sleeves and green cap.
Also home-bred by Kazumi Yoshida thorough his family owned Norther Farm, Gloria Mundi is also sired by Japan Derby winner King Kamehameha, from group winning Italian mare Bellotte.
However, it’s the rising star Tuhonui Banseok who will again be meeting last year’s Korea Cup winner Winner’s Man, having beaten him in his last two starts of the YTN Cup and Busan Mator’s Cup.
Trained by South African Bart Rice, Tuhonui Banseok will start from 12, while Winner’s Man will jump from 8 having also won last year’s Grand Prix, with the Korean Derby winner Global Hit in 4.
Not to be dismissed in racing mid-field is the Hong Kong visitor Apache Pass, for Damien Lane in 13, in having drawn attention to be able to finish-on at 1600m and 1800m on the Seoul sand track.
The Gumpu from France has drawn 2 for trainer Tony Castanheira and being tactically versatile he can race on the pace, or settle mid-field and run on and has a 1-2-1 record in his last three starts.
Now elevated to International Group 3 status, this 6th Korea Cup is run over 1800m on sand at Seoul’s Let’s Run Park, with 3YO c&g on 55kg, 3YO fillies 53kg, 4YO c&g 57kg and 4YO fillies 55kg.
Also elevated to International Group 3 status for the first time is the Korea Sprint of 1200m, also run on sand and it’s the Koichi Shintani trained Remake who last won the Cluster Cup of 1200m.
In also winning the Capella Cup in December, Remake campaigned in the Persian Gulf this season running third in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint, and fifth in the Golden Shaheen when slowly away.
On returning to Japan, he was a credible second in the Procyon Stakes, and now starts from Gate 6 with jockey Yagu Kawada, and is sired by the UAE Derby winner Lani, for owner Koji Maeda.
Drawing the rails is the 1351 Turf Sprint winner Bathrat Leon who also won Godolphin Mile last year in handling both turf and all-weather, and is rated a top chance on the Seoul sand track.
To be ridden by Ryusei Sakai for trainer Yoshito Yahagi and owners Hiroo Racing, Bathrat Leon is by the Japan Derby and Prix Niel winner Kizuna, the family of Serious Attitude and Goldsmith.
From Hong Kong is Duke Wai from Gate 11 in the hands of Damien Lane for Pierre Ng, having won over 1200m winner in March, and by Per Incento, he’s the family of Helena Vitality and Even Bright.
Last year winner Eoma Eoma is looking to return to form following only win this year having drawn 2 with Franco de Silva, while Ssonsal jumps from 5 with Yoo Seung Wan having defeated Eoma Eoma in the Chairman’s Trophy, and is in addition to with Daehan Jilju and Raon Tap Man.
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