The Stayer Series holds its second leg at Seoul Racecourse this Sunday as ten go to post for the YTN Cup (2000M KOR-G3). And with Raon The Fighter now firmly ensconced atop the sprinting ranks following his dominant wins in the Busan Ilbo Sprint in April and the SBS Sports Sprint last weekend, the path appears clear for Winner’s Man to continue his dominance over the longer trips.
Having won the Korea Cup and Grand Prix Stakes in 2022, WINNER’S MAN, who also won the Korea Derby as a three-year-old, began the Stayer Series as the one to beat and he duly obliged in the first leg, the Herald Business Trophy (2000M KOR-G3) on April 16th when he struck the front in the home straight and ran on to win by three-lengths. Over the same distance and under a set weight scale, it is hard to see any other result on Sunday.
Winner’s Man does throw in the odd poor run though. He looked undercooked when 3rd behind Raon First in last November’s President’s Cup, and he was out of sorts when 4th on his seasonal re-appearance at class 1 level over 1800M in February. He was giving 8kg away that day but with all due respect to that day’s winner Flat Babe, Winner’s Man shouldn’t have been losing to her.
As for those who can take advantage should the favourite be below his best, TUHONUI BANSEOK looks the most likely. He was another who had an off day in that February Class 1 behind Flat Babe although in finishing 3rd, he did at least beat Winner’s Man. He ran 2nd in the Herald Business building on his breakthrough performance when 3rd in the Grand Prix Stakes, when he made excellent ground to almost catch Winner’s Man and Raon The Fighter. One of two in the race for trainer Bart Rice along with lively outsider Jessieui Kkum, Tuhonui Banseok will be a clear second-favourite again.
Tunhonui Banseok isn’t the only one in the gate to have finished ahead of Winner’s Man. SIMJANGUI GODONG did that when 2nd to Raon First when attempting to defend his President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) last November. He skipped the Herald Business but returned to the winner’s circle at Class 1 level over 2000M in April. Moon Se-young returns to the ride and he is a clear place chance again.
The top-three in the Herald Business was rounded out by BARBARIAN, a length and a quarter in arrears of Tuhonui Banseok. He too will be backed to place again. BLACK MASK had a poor day at the office in the Herald Business but shapes as the next best in what will be a final Group race ride for the retiring jockey Ham Wan-sik.
The YTN Cup is race 8 on Sunday’s 11-race card at Seoul Racecourse with a local post time of 16:10.