President’s Cup 2022 – Full Preview

Ten weeks on from his memorable Korea Cup victory, Winner’s Man returns to action and to Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon, where he will be hot favourite to win the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1).

Simjangui Godong won the President’s Cup in 2021 but faces a tough ask when defending it at Seoul this Sunday (Pic: KRA)

Winner’s Man ran down Japnese visitor Sekifu and Korea’s top-rated horse Raon The Fighter in the Korea Cup (1800M IG3) in September and he returns to the 2000M distance at which he won May’s YTN Cup for the President’s Cup, the most valuable race of the year restricted to Korean-bred horses.

After horses from Busan dominated the race for a decade – with Triple Nine alone winning four consecutive President’s Cups between 2015 and 2018 – the streak was broken in 2021 when Simjangui Godong finally got the home team back on the board.

While Winner’s Man will almost certainly start at odds-on, a fair set of challengers have assembled, headed by last year’s winner Simjangui Godong. The three-year-old crop is best represented by Captain Yankee, a winner of two legs of this year’s Triple Crown, while the older but in-form Heunghaeng Jilju can also provide a stern examination.

The President’s Cup is race 8 of an 11-race program at Seoul on Sunday with a local post time of 16:20. Here is a full run down of the field:

1. LOOKING GOOD – Ran 3rd to Determination in the Listed Sports Chosun and then 5th behind Winner’s Man in the G3 YTN Cup, both over 2000M. His latest two outings at class 2 level haven’t caught the eye and at level weights, this looks a hard ask.

2. HEUNGHAENG JILJU – Potentially testing material for Winner’s Man. A winner of ten from twenty-four he is still on the up and is a four-time class 1 winner at this distance.  He can race forward or settle midfield and while a previous attempt in elite company was unsuccessful, on times for this distance, he is right in this.

3. SIMJANGUI GODONG – The defending champion, having come from midfield to win this race a year ago. He has won twice at class 1 level since, both at this distance but his latest four outings have been in Group class. He was an also-ran in the Korea Cup, but prior to that registered two runner-up finishes (one of them a dead-heat) behind Winner’s Man in The Busan Mayor’s Cup and 1800M, and then Raon The Fighter in the Busan Owners’ Cup. Don’t rule out another big run.

4. JANGSAN LASER – Skipped class 2 entirely and won on his first start at class 1 over 1200M in August before finishing 2nd in a valuable trophy race on international weekend. Well beaten behind Heunghaeng Jilju on his latest outing on October 2nd. Likes to be on pace but this looks challenging.

5. CHIEF INDY – One of few horses to have finished ahead of Winner’s Man, which he did when 2nd in the final leg of last year’s Triple Crown. He gets his chance here having won a trophy race on international weekend over 1800M, but he did struggle on his only try at regular class 1. Moon Se-young, who usually rides both, opts for Simjangui Godong but while Chief Indy may not be a winning chance, he can be competitive. He can settle in midfield and run on.

6. RAON FIRST – The only mare in the field, she is more known as a sprinter having run 3rd in the Korea Sprint over 1200M on international day. She has won at Listed level over 1800M in restricted fill & mare company, but this is her first try at 2000M. She likes to run on pace and while the distance is a question, she can be in this a long way.

7. CAPTAIN YANKEE – Lightly raced three-year-old who won two legs of the Triple Crown this year, the Cup Mile and Minister’s Cup, while finishing 3rd in the Derby. The Minister’s Cup win was over this distance and was emphatic as he settled back in the field and ran on very strongly. Has only raced once since and was 4th at class 2 level in Busan at the end of August, but the distance will suit here, and he will be running on. 

8. BAEKSAEK GWANGCHAE – Runner up to Jangsan Bada in the Listed Ilgan Sports at 1800M in July and has subsequently finished 2nd twice more at class 2 level to see his rating tick over in class 1 territory. Tough ask here at level weights.

9. CHOEGANG GAME – Returned from five months off to score very well over 1800M on October 15th when on-pace throughout but that was at class 3 level. A winner of five from eleven but this is a big step up.

10. WINNER’S MAN – Proved himself to be the best stayer in the country with his win in the Korea Cup over 1800M in September when he settled midfield and wide before improving in the back straight and then running down Sekifu and Raon The Fighter to win. That was his sixth consecutive victory with the last four having been Listed, G3, G2 and Korean Group 1. He should be too good again.

11. JANGSAN BADA – Gets his chance here having won his latest two, a listed race in July at 1800M and then a trophy race on international weekend at 1700M. He won both well and in good times, but this will be his first run against a better caliber of opposition and his first at 2000M. He likes to race forward and minor money would be an excellent result.

12. BLUE POWER – A winner at this distance at class 2 level at Busan in June, he ran fairly for 5th behind Barbarian at class 1 level two weeks ago, again over 2000M. He can race on pace or settle back but at level weights this looks difficult.

13. LUCKY WORLD – Yet to race beyond 1800M or at anything stuffer than class 3 level. He has run consistent times in his latest three around two turns, but he has the lowest rating in the field by a big margin and with no weight advantage it is hard to see him making an impression.

14. FOREVER DREAM – Three-year-old who, as a gelding, wasn’t eligible for the Triple Crown series. Gets his chance after a good score over a mile at class 2 level in October leading gate to wire. His wins have come from the front, so the draw isn’t kind here.

Selections: (10) Winner’s Man (3) Simjangui Godong (2) Heunghaeng Jilju  (7) Captain Yankee