Raon The Fighter roared back into the winner’s circle at Busan Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, running his rivals off their feet for a statement victory in the Owners’ Cup (1600M KOR-G3).
On his thirteenth career start, Raon The Fighter was sent off at a price greater than even-money for just the third time ever. That came off the back of two shock defeats in the Sprint Series, as he finished 2nd in both the Busan Ilbo Cup and SROA Chairman’s Cup in April and May. He was luckless both times both times, but those setbacks were enough for punters to be wary and also for connections to replace regular jockey Lee Hyeok with Moon Se-young.
From a good draw and on a hot and humid afternoon in Busan, Raon The Fighter turned the race into a procession. This time there was no stumble at the start, as there was in the Busan Ilbo. Nor was there a bump with Black Musk and then a speed duel with Hit Yegam happened in the SROA. Instead, Raon The Fighter got a clean break and an easy lead as You Hyun-myung opted to take a sit on Hit Yegam.
Hit Yegam and Simjangui Godong were still within a length at the top of the home straight, but once Moon Se-young let his mount off the bridle and asked for an acceleration, Raon The Fighter’s response was instant. Moon was able to stop riding fifty metres from the line and ease home for a four-length triumph, stopping the clock just eight-seconds outside Blue Chipper’s track record, set in this race in 2019.
Behind Raon The Fighter, King Of The Match closed significantly faster than anything else, but he couldn’t get past the ever game Simjangui Godong, the pair dead-heating for 2nd place, a full seven-lengths clear of Daemangui Gil in 4th.
Disappointments of the race were SROA winner Black Musk, who was 7th and especially Success Macho, who having suffered his first ever defeat in this race last year, was never a factor and only beat home one.
Raon The Fighter could very easily be thirteen for thirteen and closing in on Mister Park’s all time. It remains true though that he has only been beaten by Eoma Eoma and Black Musk and in mitigating circumstances.
His next outing will surely be in either the Korea Cup (1800M G3) or the Korea Sprint (1200M G3), the two international races at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 4th and one of the most exciting things about Raon The Fighter is we still have no idea what his best distance is. Nominations have been received from several countries for both international races, including Asian powerhouses Japan and Hong Kong, as well as from Europe. Whichever race he opts for, Raon The Fighter could very well offer the visitors a stern examination. Both King Of The Match (Korea Cup), an intriguing talent who like Raon The Fighter, is still only four-years-old, and Simjangui Godong (either Korea Cup or Korea Sprint) are likely to be involved on international day too.
Raon The Fighter is by Bayern and out of the Empire Maker mare Clarinda. He was imported in-utero although Bayern himself is now in Korea too, standing at Great Hill Farm on Jeju Island.
The Owner’s Cup marks the final Stakes race of the first part of the season. The tracks (including the Jeju Pony Racecourse) now take it in turns to take a week off. Jeju goes on vacation first meaning next week Busan goes solo on Friday, Busan and Seoul race on Saturday, and Seoul has a standalone meeting next Sunday. The next Graded races in Korea are the International Korea Cup (1800M G3) and Korean Sprint (1200M G3) at Seoul on Sunday September 4th.