Raon The Fighter opened his five-year-old campaign with a statement performance, crushing a hopelessly outclassed Class 1 field over 1800M at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.
Sent off as a prohibitive favourite under the lights in what was the final race of the day as dusk fell across the capital, Raon The Fighter was quickly in command of the twelve-strong field and had opened up a big lead even before the home straight, with the rest unable to match his tempo. Asked for a brief effort by Lim Gi-won, who was partnering him for the first time, the Bayern entire was then eased in the final stages, crossing hte line ten-lengths to the good of The Gumpu in 2nd place.
Runner-up in both the Korea Cup and the Grand Prix Stakes, the goal for Raon The Fighter in 2023 is to win a Group 1 race, and to achieve that, he is going to have to overcome the horse who beat him on both those occasions, Winner’s Man. The 2022 Horse of the Year is slated to make his first start of the year at Busan next Sunday.
Assuming that Raon The Fighter remains targeted at staying races as opposed to dropping back to the sprinting distances (at which he is still probably the best horse in the country, even including Eoma Eoma), the first race in which he and Winner’s Man could conceivably meet is the Herald Business Trophy (2000M KOR-G3) at Seoul on Sunday April 16.