President's Cup

Raon First Beats Simjangui Godong & Winner’s Man to Win President’s Cup

Raon First, the only mare in the race, produced a home stretch burst up the inside to leave defending champion Simjangui  Godong and Korea Cup winner Winner’s Man behind and score a sensational win in the President’s Cup (2000M KOR-G1) at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The five-year-old is the first mare to win the race in its eighteenth year.

Raon First and Choi Bum-hyun win the President’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

Coming in off his remarkable triumph in the international Korea Cup in September, Winner’s Man was sent off as the restrictive odds-on favourite for what is the most valuable race of the year that is restricted to horses bred in Korea.  Last year’s winner Simjangui Godong was second in the market, ahead of Heunghaeng Jilju and the three-year-old Captain Yankee. Raon First was fifth in the betting but that was at 30/1, such was the market skewed towards Winner’s Man.

More renowned as a sprinter, Raon First ran 3rd in the Korea Sprint over 1200M the day Winner’s Man won the Korea Cup. But Raon First had raced at 1800M in the past, winning a Class 2 handicap in May of 2021 in addition to harvesting the Listed Donga Ilbo Trophy in restricted company against hopelessly outclassed fellow fillies and mares who she would probably beat at any distance from the minimum up to two miles earlier this year.

It wasn’t close. (Pic: KRA)

She had never tackled 2000M though and she had never faced anything like Winner’s Man around two-turns. Yet she beat him with ease. Settling handy instead of leading, jockey Choi Bum-hyun kept Raon First on the fence, saving ground the entire way around as outsider Jangsan Laser set a tough pace up front, matched by Winner’s Man and in the early stages, by Captain Yankee.

That shape would remain unaltered until the home straight when Captain Yankee quickly folded while Simjangui Godong loomed up to threaten. Staying on the fence, Raon First stole a couple of lengths on the turn and was quickly to the fore, hitting the front with just over 300M to go. It was then that the challenge from Winner’s Man was expected. It came, as did that from Simjangui Godong but any hope they had as quickly extinguished as the mare built up an unassailable lead a long way from home.

Raon First crossed the line two-lengths ahead of Simjangui Godong, who was himself a length and a quarter ahead of Winner’s Man in 3rd. The very game Jangsan Laser was a revelation in 4th, but Captain Yankee, also on pace early, found it hard to cope with the pace and finished back down the field. 

Raon First has always done things a little quirkily. She came to prominence in her juvenile season in 2019 when instead of entering the traditional Juvenile Series races, she was pointed to the race that was open to imported juveniles (she is a product of Musket Man and Pink Candy, who both arrived in Korea in January 2016). She duly won it in fine style. Since then, she has mostly been kept in filly and mare company for her Group race appearances – understandable given her superiority and the value of the purses – but after an out of character but excusable well back finish in the KNN Cup at Busan, she has been let loose in the really big races. She moves on to twelve wins from twenty-one starts and six of her last eight.

It was a first President’s Cup win for veteran jockey Choi Bum-hyun and also for trainer Park Jong-kon.

Simjangui Godong ran his usual strong race in 2nd and as for Winner’s Man, who suffered his first defeat in 2022 after six consecutive wins it was a first defeat of 2022.

President’s Cup Sunday Seoul & Busan: Race-By-Race Preview (November 13)

Sunday is President’s Cup Day. Click here for a full runner-by-runner preview of the most valuable race of the season that is restricted to Korean-bred runners. The big race is race 8 of an 11-race program at Seoul which runs from 10:45 to 18:00. There are also 6 races at Busan from 12:15 to 16:45 with King Of The Match in the feature. Here are the previews:

Winner’s Man will be seeking to add the President’s Cup to his Korea Cup success (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maiden fillies in the opener with six of the twelve racing for the first time. And among those debut-makers is the eagerly awaited (10) RAON EMPIRE. She’s half-sister to Raon The Fighter, currently the highest rated horse in Korea and she looked very well in two trials, crossing the line 1st in one and an unhurried 3rd in a fast time in the second when overcoming gate twelve. She will be a very short-priced favourite. (5) NAOL HAEGBOK did nothing on debut in June but was looked a better prospect when trialing up again behind Raon Empire in October. She should go better this time around. (1) YOUNGYOUNG SOCKS put in the best debut of those that have run before, showing on pace before finishing in the middle of the pack. She should have come on for that run and can improve here. (12) RED TAEPUNG should also improve from her debut while (4) WALGADAK looks the second best of the first timers.

Selections(10) Raon Empire (5) Naol Haengbok (1) Youngyoung Socks (12) Red Taepung
Next Best4, 3
Fast Start1, 5, 6, 10

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

(5) SUPREME STAR looks the one to beat here. Her best result to date came on debut but she has run well in two starts since including her latest when stepping up to this trip and posting a time as fast as any of the others here have managed when 5th. She sat handy that day which she will probably do again, and this time she can stick to her task. (2) DANAEUN ROSE has a 3rd and a 2nd from her first three outings. Her only poor result so far came when drawn very wide and being unable to find a position. That shouldn’t happen here as she can get an easy run to the front and can be in this a long way. (11) WORLD PLAY has run on pleasingly enough across three starts so far and is showing signs of improvement. He should be aiming to better the 5th place scored last time out at 1000M and can be running on late here. (3) VESPER and (7) NEVER NEVER STOP other potential improvers.

Selections(5) Supreme Star (2) Danaeun Rose (11) World Play (3) Vesper
Next Best7, 8
Fast Start2, 5, 8, 10

Seoul Race 3: Class 5 (1200M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(6) BLACK CHOCOLATE ran out an emphatic winner on debut over this distance on October 16th, settling midfield before cruising away in the home straight. He comes up in class today, but the manner of that win suggests there is more to come, and he is strongly favoured to maintain his 100% record here. (1) JEONGMUN PAPAGO got promoted to this level with back-to-back runner-up finishes at this distance before running 4th of twelve in a fair time on his first try at this class on October 9th. He can build on that here. (2) CONCORD QUEEN already has a 2nd place finish to her name at class and distance and from another good draw today can be on pace and in this a long way. (9) CHANCELLOR weakened late on at his latest start and may be better for being slightly back in trip today. (4) B. J. STORM another in the placing frame.

Selections(6) Black Chocolate (1) Jeongmun Papago (2) Concord Queen (9) Chancellor
Next Best4, 8
Fast Start2, 4, 5, 8

Busan Race 1: Class 6 (1200M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens in the opener on the south coast. (4) GOODY ran in improved 3rd at start number two over this distance on October 2nd having gone right back from a wide gate and then run on well. He draws inside for the first time here and if he can a little but more prominent, he could win here. (5) FINAL SEVEN enters with a similar record having also improved to 3rd on his second outing on October 9th. He too sat back and ran on and can continue his development here. (8) HAEUNDAE STAR also showed progress when racing for the second time He comes up in trip for the first time here and under a very light weight can be running on well. (3) FLYING TOUCH by contrast ran poorly at her second career start but based on her debut can be given another chance here. There are three debut-makers and among them, (1) MULTI HIT looks to have the best chance of an immediate impact.

Selections(4) Goody (5) Final Seven (8) Haeundae Star (3) Flying Touch
Next Best1, 6
Fast Start2, 3, 5, 6

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million