Multiple Grade 1 winner Gun Runner is working towards his next target the Pegasus World Cup. The last time we saw him on the racecourse, he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar in great style and his reappearance has been eagerly awaited by many. The Pegasus World Cup takes place in January, and it is only the second time the race has been run. Arrogate won the race in 2017 and should Gun Runner go on to win the 2018 edition, that will be two huge stars that have won the race since its inception.
The field for the 2018 Pegasus World Cup looks to be similar to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with the first four home all set to oppose each other again. The second horse, Collected, the third horse West Coast and War Story, who came in fourth place, will all be looking to peg back Gun Runner, although they are sure to have a fight on their hands against this exceptionally tough front-running colt.
West Coast and War Story will fancy their chances of performing better if ridden with a little more urgency. While Collected was able to stay close to Gun Runner, the other two seemed to leave their challenges too late in the race at Del Mar, and let Gun Runner get away from them. With that in mind, expect to see them a lot closer to the pace in the Pegasus World Cup, to try to counteract the running style of Gun Runner.
Gun Runner won five of his six races in 2017, and the only time he was beaten was by Arrogate at Meydan. In that race, there were a lot of horses up close, causing a frantic early pace and that really worked against Gun Runner. That is what is required if he is to be beaten on his first start of 2018, and it is those who finished behind him at Del Mar that will have to force the pace and put pressure on him.
Those who like fairytale endings will, of course, be hoping that Gun Runner can again show his superiority and class and win the $16 million Pegasus World Cup. This will be the final time we see Gun Runner on a racecourse, he is set to go straight to stud after the race and it would be fitting to see him go out with a victory. If you fancy this to happen then you will be backing him to win the race in January. The racing tips from Timeform will be out shortly and it will be interesting to see how they read the race, and if they too think that Gun Runner can complete the fairytale.
His trainer Steve Asmussen has started the slow process of working the horse back up to form and expect to see plenty of gallop reports from him over the coming weeks to let us know how Gun Runner is performing. He is expected to ease into work before the festive period, before stepping up to faster work when we hit the New Year. With so much at stake in his final race, Asmussen will take leave nothing to chance and we are sure to see Gun Runner looking as good and as fit as he has ever done before.
All eyes will be on Gulfstream Park in Florida in January, and the whole crowd in attendance will be hoping to see a great farewell run from Gun Runner. While many people may back other horses in the field, secretly, everyone will be hoping to see the fairytale ending that this multiple Grade 1 winner deserves. It would be a shame to see him bow out in any other way then what we have been used to seeing him, by getting out early being close to the lead and fighting off his challengers in true Gun Runner style. This would be the perfect ending to an exceptional career on the race track, and a final reminder of just how good this horse is, before he begins his career in the breeding barn, where he is sure to be in high demand.