Herald Business Trophy: Moonhak Chief, Winner’s Man – Horse-By-Horse Preview of Stayer Series 1st Leg

Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner Moonhak Chief squares off with last year’s Korean Derby winner Winner’s Man in a battle of the generations in the Herald Business Trophy (2000M-Listed) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Can Moonhak Chief return to the top? (Pic: KRA)

In many ways it is an up-and-comers race. Five of the thirteen have yet to win at class 1 level, while three have won just the once at class 1. The remaining five have won twice or more at the top level.

Yet the old guard is headed by Moonhak Chief, who swept all before him in 2019, wining the International Korea Cup in the summer before finishing off that year by taking the season-ending Grand Prix Stakes. That was a long time ago but while failed to retain his Grand Prix title, he has remained a force to be reckoned with and was on target in a class 1 handicap three starts back and at his latest appearance, ran a good 2nd to President’s Cup winner Simjangui Godong.

Winner’s Man was a good winner of the Korean Derby and in his only start as a four-year-old so far, ran out a class 1 winner at this distance at Busan. The Herald Business marks his first real test among the elite.

Touch Star Man and Jeongmun Sai are among the others in the field likely to attract attention. Here’s a full run-down of all the runners:

1. GOOD PILSEUNG (USA) [Distorted Humor – Rossezza (Megdalia d’Oro)] – A winner of five from ten and last ran in February when he won at 1800M at class 2 level. Trialed up pleasingly in March, draws well and carries a light weight, but this is a big step up.

2. SHAMROCKER (USA) [Dublin – Portera (Lemon Drop Kid)] – A stalwart of Seoul, the nine-year-old has just the six wins but forty-two top-five finishes from fifty-two starts. Has run – and found the money – in almost every big race he has been eligible for. Excellent 4th in last year’s KRA Cup Classic but finished midfield in three starts since. Weight not ideal.

3. YAHO SMART CAT (KOR) [One Cool Cat – Fly Top (Petionville)] – It’s been a while since his last win and more than a year since his last placing finish. Has been running in sprints so hard to know what t make of him here but he will be among the longest shots on the board.

4. JEONGMUN SAI (KOR) [Simon Pure – Kayville (Giant’s Causeway)] – A revelation at the end of last year with a 4th place in the President’s Cup and 3rd in the Grand Prix. Has begun this season with 6th in the Segye Ilbo before a good 3rd at this distance at class 1 level. May not be a winning chance here but could go close. Settles back and runs on.

5. GREAT KING (USA) [Majestic Warrior – Margaret Smile (Concerto)] – Another old warrior whose best days might be behind him but is still capable of putting in a performance, including two starts back when 4th behind Winner’s Man. Can settle handy here and be in this a long way but a minor money finish would be an excellent result.

6. BOLT MAN (USA) [Midshipman – Just A Flash (Henny Hughes)] – He is the lowest rated in the race but has been prolific at the lower levels and while his wins haven’t been by huge margins, he has run good times. He comes out to 2000M, but he runs on in his races, he draws nicely and is down in the weights and could be an each-way prospect here. Tactically versatile and with a strong finish.

7. WINNER’S MAN (KOR) [Musket Man – Winner’s Marine (Volponi)] – He won the 2021 Korean Derby at this track and while he was then beaten in the Minister’s Cup, he was a winner on his only start so far this year which came over this distance at Busan on March 13th. He draws nicely, gets some weight from rivals and has every chance. Expect him to be on pace or handy.

8. MOONHAK CHIEF (USA) [Pioneerof The Nile – Tallulah Lula (Old Trieste)] – A Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes winner and while he is carrying 59kg, shouldn’t be ruled out. At his latest start, he led under 60kg, ultimately running 2nd to Simjangui Godong and he will be better suited under today’s non-handicap conditions. He’ll be handy in the run and could win

9. TOUCH STAR MAN (KOR) [Testa Matta – Useung Touch (Menifee)] – An excellent 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes over 2300M at this track in December, he returned to run 4th in the Segye Ilbo at a sprint distance in January, showing his versatility. Finished an underwhelming 6th behind Winner’s Man when sent off as favourite on March 13th over this distance at Busan. At his best, he is a winning chance here, but he can be hard to catch on his day.

10. BRIGADIER GENERAL (AUS) [Tapit – Amature’s Prize (Pure Prize)] – A horse who is perhaps better than his win-record suggests. He has a tendency to get a bit far back, a bit far wide, and find a bit too much trouble. Nevertheless, he runs on well and will be doing his best work late on. With a touch of luck in running, he can be close.

11. HEUK JEONSA (KOR) [Flat Out – Ballad Of Bertie (Saint Ballardo)] – A three-time class 1 winner over 1800M and has been placed in his latest two starts at this distance, the latest of them being a 3rd behind Simjangui Godong and Moonhak Chief. He is not favoured at the weights under today’s conditions, but can run a big race, nonetheless

12. WANG BEOTKKOT (USA) [ Discreet Cat – Folk (Quiet American)] – Yet to win at class 1 level but he has proved his credentials with an excellent 3rd in the Owners’ Cup at Busan over a mile last November and then kicking off this year with a solid 2nd place over 1800M. in February when handy throughout. He steps up to 2000M for the first time and while others are favoured, he can be competitive.

13. MUNHAK TIGER (USA) [To Honor And Serve – A Precious Memory (Honor Grades)] – It’s been a long time since his attest win and his last run of note was a 4th place behind Moonhak Chief four starts back. In company with Yaho Smart Cat, he will be one of the two big outsiders.

Selections: (7) Winner’s Man (8) Moonhak Chief (11) Heuk Jeonsa (6) Bolt Man