Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup: Full Preview as Raon The Spurt and Golden Power Take on Wish Me and Calm Strong

The Queens’ Tour reaches its conclusion at Busan on Sunday afternoon with the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup (2000M KOR-G3) and while the leader of the series and the nation’s top filly or mare, Raon First, isn’t in attendance following her President’s Cup heroics two weeks ago, a solid field of sixteen will take their chance. Golden Power and Raon The Spurt bring their Triple Tiara rivalry on to the senior stage while Group winner Calm Strong and Wish Me return.

Wish Me was a spectacular winner of the Jeju Governor’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

It’s been a long series, kicking off all the way back in March, when Raon First won the Donga Ilbo Trophy (1800M Listed). She then followed up in the Ttukseom Cup (1400M KOR-G2) in June but put in an uncharacteristically poor run in the KNN Cup (1600M KOR-G3) at Busan the following month. Following a four-month hiatus, the series returns with Raon First still atop the standings and even in her absence, only Wish Me, runner-up in the Ttukseom and KNN Cups, is able to catch her.

Wish Me won the non-series Jeju Governor’s Cup (1400M KOR G3) in track record setting time in October. Both distance and her wide draw will be a question mark here, but she is sure to be among the favourites.

The KNN Cup was won by Calm Strong, another who is done no favours by the draw. She followed up that victory with another at class 2 level over 1800M in August and can’t be ruled out.

When the first leg took place, Golden Power and Raon The Spurt were simply a pair of promising three-year-old fillies.  Since then, Golden Power has won all three legs of the Triple Tiara series while Raon The Spurt ran 3rd in the opening leg and then 2nd in the remaining two. They take on their elders here and Raon The Spurt is the one who may just find more improvement.

The Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup is the concluding event on a six-race program at Busan on Sunday with a local post time of 16:40. There are also eleven races on Sunday at Seoul. Here is a full run-down of all the runners:

1. ECOPIA – A winner up to 1800M at class 3 level when on pace but well back behind Calm Strong and Wish Me in her latest two. Drawn well to lead but an outsider.

2. GREEN DARC – Winner over 1800M at class 3 at Seoul two starts ago but well back when slowly away on latest outing. Can sit handy and run on but others favoured.

3. RAON THE SPURT – Never out of the top four and runner-up to Golden Power in the Oaks and Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup and to Wish Me in the Jeju. Great draw, the distance should suit, and she is a real chance.

4. BURNING PARTY – Won a trophy race at 1800M in a fast time in April but races here for the first time since May. Trialed very nicely, she is a wildcard here. Goes best on pace.

5. CHEONJI YEOGEOL – Consistent performer who has won at 1800M and was 5th behind Wish Me in the Jeju when drawn wide and then well back. Can settle midfield and run on and is a place chance.

6. GOLDEN POWER – Swept all three legs of the Triple Tiara before running 4th in the KNN Cup and 8th in the Jeju. Today’s distance should suit much better, she draws well and can settle on pace or midfield and may be hard to beat late on.

7. ACHIM HAMSEONG – Yet to win at higher than class 4, she tends to settle right back and does run on strong. The 2000M may be exactly what she needs although this is a big test.

8. SAKISAKI – Veteran mare who occasionally pulls off a big win. Likes to settle back and then run on and while a win is unlikely, at her best she can make the minor money.

9. EODIGANA – Won her only other start at this distance in last year’s Tiara final leg, she has mixed her form since then, albeit running in tough company. Looked well when trialing earlier this month and given the distance, can’t be completely ruled out.

10. CHOEGANG BLACK – Last year’s Oaks winner and then 2nd to Eodigana in the final leg of the2021 Tiara at this distance. Comes in off a close 4th in a fast time over 1400M. Back up in trip should suit and it’s not impossible.

11. EUNSEONG WINNER – Lowest rated in the race, her sole win was at class 6 level, but she acquitted herself well in the Triple Tiara, especially in the final leg at this distance when 3rd. Top jockey booking and more improvement possible.

12. FLAT BABE – Comes in off a class 3 win over a mile in a good time when settling midfield early on and taking things up turning for home. First attempt at further than the mile, at her best she can place if she gets the trip.

13. FLORIDA POWER – 5th in the KNN Cup and 3rd in the Listed Donga Ilbo at 1800M back in March. She hasn’t won since she was a three-year-old in 2019 and that won’t change here but a bold showing is possible.

14. CALM STRONG – Made all to win the KNN Cup at a mile before repeating the trick at class 2 level over 1800M in August. Ran well for 5th in a fast sprint over 1200M last time but this is more suitable. Will need some luck at the start though from the wide draw as she likes to lead.

15. QUEENS TOUR – A winner at this distance at class 2 level when making all makes her a contender here. Her best runs have come when leading early though so the draw is a big negative.

16. WISH ME – Runner-up in the KNN to Calm Strong and then in a trophy race at 1200M to Raon The Spurt before her track-record breaking win in the Jeju. She overcame a wide draw to lead that day and while this will be even more challenging, her quality could see her through.

Selections: (3) Raon The Spurt (6) Golden Power (16) Wish Me (14) Calm Strong