Busan Mayor’s Cup: Race-Of-The-Year (so far) Full Preview

A sensational set of stayers will assemble for the Mayor’s Cup (1800M KOR-G2) at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The final leg of the Stayer Series has turned into a full-on local trial for the International Korea Cup, which will be run in Seoul on the first Sunday of September, with a who’s who of recent Group race winners in what could be the race of the year so far.

Winner’s Man the 2021 Korean Derby winner is set to be favourite. He is a perfect three for three in 2022, with victories in the first two legs of the series, the Herald Business (2000M KOR-L) and the YTN Cup (2000M KOR-G3) at Seoul.

In the YTN, Winner’s Man beat Haengbok Wangja, the 2021 Grand Prix Stakes (2300M KOR-G1) victor and the latter returns for another crack at him here. Also in the starting gate will be President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) winner Simjangui Godong as well as double Classic winner and runner-up to Winner’s Man in the Derby, Hit Yegam.

YTN Cup 1st and 2nd Winner’s Man and Haengbok Wangja return at Busan on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

It’s not just the Group winners. Along with a set of class 1 stalwarts, two exciting up and comers will also present their credentials on the elite stage. Tuhonui Banseok has won his latest two at this distance in fine style which Success Macho is a winner of nine from ten so far. Both will have plenty of backers.  

Then there are the two old Champions. Cheongdam Dokki has won this race before – but then there is little he hasn’t won – back in 2018, but on his only scheduled start so far this year, refused to load. Blue Chipper comes in off a disappointing effort in the Busan Ilbo Sprint despite having won at this distance in January. On their day though, both may still have a race in them.

1. TUHONUI BANSEOK (USA) [Verrazano – Sense Of Beauty (Street Sense)]

O: Lim Byung-ho T: Bart Rice J: Franco Da Silva

8(4/2/1) KRW 166,700,000

Flying through the classes and comes in off a nine-length win at class 2 level over this distance, eased down in a quick time. He is an on-pace galloper so the draw bodes well and while this is a quantum leap up in class, he can be considered.

2. HIT YEGAM (KOR) [Take Charge Indy – Desert Heat (Mr. Prospector)]

O: Kim Joon-hyun T: Bang Dong-suk J: Lim Sung-sil

13(9/3/0) KRW 872,700,000

Won the KRA Cup Mile and Minister’s Cup last year and runner-up in the Derby. Disregard his latest two outings over the sprint journey, although he stuck gamely on last start after leading, he comes back to his preferred distance today and is beautifully drawn.

3. WINNER’S MAN (KOR) [Musket Man – Winner’s Marine (Volponi)]

O: Lee Gyeong-hui T: Choi Ki-hong J: Seo Seung-un

16(11/2/1) KRW 1,109,230,000

Korean Derby winner who is three for three this year. His latest was the YTN Cup over 2000M at Seoul, comfortably seeing off Haengnok Wangja. He is an on-pace galloper who is nicely drawn here, he’s in-form and race fit and he can win.

4. BLUE CHIPPER (USA) [Tiznow – Dixie City (Dixie Union)]

O: Choi Byeong-bu T: Kim Young-min J: Park Jae-i

20(10/2/3) KRW 1,308,550,000

The one-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 3rd placegetter began the year with a welcome return to the winner’s circle at class 1 over 2000M before dropping back to 1200M and the Busan Ilbo Sprint when he was last of ten. He’s been back to trial since and looked very well but this is a hard ask first up.

5. SIMJANGUI GODONG (KOR) [Jigeum I Sungan – Howareyou (Whywhywhy)]

O: Oh Jong-hwan T: Ji Yong-cheol J: Moon Se-young

26(10/1/3) KRW 1,288,700,000

Has been racing in peak form and while he dropped back to a sprint distance for a terrific 4th in the SROA Chairman’s Trophy last month, he returns to his preferred two turns today. Won the President’s Cup over 2000M last year and is a two-time winner over that trip at class 1 level in 2022. Big chance.

6. HEUNGHAENG JILJU (KOR) [Colors Flying – Fashioned (Smart Strike)]

O: Lim Han-yong T: Lee Joon-chel J: Jo Sang-beom

21(8/2/7) KRW 648,830,000

Class 1 winner at 2000M in January before back-to-back 3rd places over 1800M. Only been outside the top four on two occasions, he was 3rd to Simjangui Godong in the President’s Cup last November. Others favoured but he can go close.

7. JEONGMUN SAI (KOR) [Simon Pure – Kayville (Giant’s Causeway)]

O: Kim Jae-young T: Hong Dae-you J: Park Tae-jong

20(6/3/4) KRW 444,320,000

A big 2nd to Winner’s Man in the Herald Business at 2000M in his latest outing on May 1st, continuing his strong record in Graded company. He led that day but has run well from off the pace too and while today’s weight scale is less in his favour, a strong showing can’t be ruled out.

8. HEUK JEONSA (KOR) [Flat Out – Ballad Of Bertie (Saint Ballardo)]

O: Kim Chang-hee T: Kim Dong-kyun J: Ham Wan-sik

22(9/4/3) KRW 514,400,000

More than a year since his most recent win but he regularly holds his own in elite company and ran 3rd to Winner’s Man on his latest start in the Herald Business on May 1st. Tactivally versatile, he won’t be among the favourites but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise were he to place.

9. HAENGBOK WANGJA (USA) [Daredevil – First Installment (Broken Vow)]

O: Lee Bang-hoon T: Park Youn-gu J: Kim Yong-geun

18(5/8/1) KRW 834,510,000

The 2021 Grand Prix Stakes winner has maintained solid form since, finishing as runner-up in both his two subsequent starts, beaten by today’s rivals Simjangui Godong and Winner’s Man. Both times he was giving weight away though, which he doesn’t here and he should be kept safe. Big chance.

10. TOUCH STAR MAN (KOR) [Testa Matta – Useung Touch (Menifee)]

O: Uh Man-sik T: Kim Young-kwan J: Jung Do-yun

18(8/5/1) KRW 1,031,380,000

A big 2nd in the Grand Prix Stakes behind Haengbok Wangja in December but his form has drifted a little since then. 5th in the Herald Business and 11th in the YTN Cup in his latest two means he has a lot of horses to overturn form on.

11. SUCCESS MACHO (KOR) [Macho Uno – Black Lace (Afleet Alex)]

O: Lee Jang-hyun T: Min Jang-gi J: You Hyun-myung

10(9/0/0) KRW 311,160,000

A progressive galloper sweeping all before him with his only defeat coming in his only previous attempt in Group company last November. He has posted super times at this distance and he looks set for big things. Draw is a touch wide but he should be a big player here.

12. CHEONGDAM DOKKI (USA) [To Honor And Serve – Elusive Gold (Strike The Gold)]

O: Kim Byeong-jin T: Tony Castenheira J: Park Eul-woon

38(18/7/2) KRW 3,095,000,000

While a winner as recently as last October, he struggled in his last three races on 2021 and refused to load the only time he has appeared in 2022. Since then he has gone through two enforced trials – winning both – but while he is still a champion, his testiness these days makes him impossible to recommend with confidence.

13. KING OF THE MATCH (USA) [Casino Prince – Fought The Fight (War Front)]

O: D R M City T: Kim Young-kwan J: Choi Si-dae

9(5/2/1)

Ran a creditable 6th of eleven in the YTN Cup, which was another leap up in class following a Class 1 win at a mile despite not even having raced at class 2. 1800M should suit and while he carries more weight this time, can be competitive.

14. BARBARIAN (KOR) [Competitive Edge – White Haven (Unbridled’s Song)]

O: Lee Il-hyung T: Bang Dong-suk J: Djordje Perovic

20(9/7/2) KRW 483,760,000

Comes in having run 3rd to Success Macho over 2000M on May 15th when giving him 4kg. The form of that race has been boosted by the runner-up, Crazy Conti, winning last week. Consistently runs fast times, regardless of the distance and can be competitive but this is a hard ask.

15. SUPER SOCKS (USA) [Two Step Salsa – Ms. Lucille (Orientate)]

O: Kim Chang-sik T: Luigi Riccardi J: Lim Da-bin

32(11/1/4) KRW 729,850,000

Established class 1 performer but has come up short in the past when faced with the very elite. A winner in March at 1800M when carrying 52kg. Has been back to trial since his last outing in May but he will be an outsider here.

Selections: (3) Winner’s Man (5) Simjangui Godong (9) Haengbok Wangja (11) Success Macho

Next Best: 1, 2