The Busan Owners’ Cup (1600M KOR-G3) is only a decade old, but the list of past winners reads like a who’s who of Korean racing with Dangdae Bulpae, Triple Nine, Power Blade and Blue Chipper all on the honours board. This Sunday at Busan a strong set of twelve gallopers compete in the 2022 edition of the race and while the defending champion Meni Hero returns, all eyes will be on Raon The Fighter as he bids to end his losing streak at two.
Raon The Fighter breezed to victory in all of his first ten starts, de-throning Eoma Eoma atop the sprinting ranks with a crushing six-length win in the SROA Chairman’s Trophy (1200M KOR-G3) last November and showing he could stay by winning at distances up to 1800M.
The bandwagon ground to a halt on Raon The Fighter’s first trip to the south-coast in the Busan Ilbo Cup (1200M KOR-G3) in April when he stumbled at the start before being ridden hard to get on terms with the leaders, to no avail as Eoma Eoma ran out a three-length winner. On his return to Seoul to defend his SROA title in May, he was bumped at the start and then engaged in a speed duel with Hit Yegam, Black Musk picking him off on the line.
Raon The Fighter gets a good draw this time and with Moon Se-young being brought in to ride for the first time, he can be backed to get it right this time.
The probable second-favourite is Success Macho. A winner of nine of his eleven starts, Success Macho was 3rd in the Mayor’s Cup (1800M KOR-G2) in May and looks to be set for bigger things. Black Musk, King Of The Match and Simjangui Godong round out the other likely market leaders.
The Busan Mayor’s Cup is the last race on a seven-race Sunday card at Busan. Here’s a rundown of the entire field:
1. SUCCESS MACHO – A winner of nine from eleven with both defeats coming in Group company including his last start 3rd in the Mayor’s Cup when from gate eleven he was on pace and wide. Much better draw today and a big chance.
2. RAON THE FIGHTER – Won his first ten but comes in off two luckless seconds in the Busan Ilbo and Seoul Owners’ Cups at 1200M, stumbling at the start in the first and then being run down late by Black Musk in the latter. He has won up to 1800M, lands a nice gate here and with Moon Se-young aboard for the first time, he is the one to beat.
3. KING OF GLORY – Has run well for 2nd and 3rd in two starts at 1400M and 1800M since returning from five months out. Has won in a fast time at this distance. Draws well and should be on the pace and can be in this a long way.
4. DAEMANGUI GIL – More noted as a sprinter but he has won up to 1400M at class 1 level as recently as May. Rarely too far away but has been 4th and 6th in his latest two at 1200M and 1400M. At this distance and at level weights, others are favoured.
5. MENI HERO – Surprise winner of this race last year when it was run in November. That day he settled back in the field before running on strongly. He has only raced once since, finishing 3rd behind Raon First and East Jet in the Listed Segye Ilbo Trophy over 1200M in January. Looked well in a trial earlier this month but this is tough first-up.
6. HEUNGBARAGI – Runner-up in last year’s KRA Cup Mile to Hit Yegam and then 3rd in the Derby, he returned from seven months out to run a good 2nd over 1400M on June 12th. Should strip fitter for that run and is too good to be left out of the calculations.
7. BLACK MUSK – Beat Raon The Fighter to win the Seoul Owners’ Cup before running 2nd to Morfhis in the SBS Sports Sprint on June 19th, both at 1200M. Has only raced at this distance once before, when he led this race last year before weakening late on. More solid form now but distance may be the query with others more proven. Will be backed.
8. HIT YEGAM – The winner of two legs of the Triple Crown last year, including the KRA Cup Mile. He got into a mutually destructive speed duel with Raon The Fighter in the Seoul Owners’ Cup before leading in the Busan Mayor’s Cup a month ago and ultimately finishing a respectable 5th. Not impossible.
9. DIXIE AGAIN – A super 3rd in the Seoul Owners’ Cup before finishing well back in the SBS Sports Sprint. Untried at further than 1400M but his style has recently changed to be a hold up horse rather than a front-runner. Minor money would be a good result.
10. KING OF THE MATCH – Up and comer who came from well off the pace to run 4th in the Busan Mayor’s Cup. He made all to win at this distance in a fast time at class 1 level in April but was carrying a very light weight. Looks to have plenty of upside and can be given a chance at an each-way price here.
11. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Last November’s President’s Cup winner and two-time winner over 2000M at class 1 level this term. 4th in the Seoul Owners’ Cup and 2nd in the SBS Sports Sprint shows his versatility at any distance. Moon Se-young gets off to ride Raon The Fighter but don’t rule this one out.
12. SINGSING MARY – The only filly or mare in the race, she is also the lowest rated by a considerable margin. Her last four outings have been in Listed or Graded company, the best being her 5th in the Seoul Owners’ Cup. She’ll be the longest shot on the board.
Selections: (2) Raon The Fighter (1) Success Macho (10) King Of The Match (11) Simjangui Godong