Today was a revelation in the Grand Prix Stakes running a big – and unexpected – 3rd behind Triple Nine and Cheongdam Dokki. And at Busan on Sunday, the one-time confirmed sprinter burnished his two-turn credentials by winning the class 1 feature handicap over 2000M, despite carrying top weight of 60kg.
He was made to work for it though as under jockey Lee Hyo-sik, Today duelled for the entire length of the home straight with Great King, himself 5th in the Grand Prix and getting 4kg in weight from the favourite this time. Having come together with two furlongs to go they went back and forth all the way to the line. Neither Lee nor Great King’s partner Kim Hye Sun had any idea who had won but it was Today who had his nose down at the right time. A stride either side of the line, Great King was in front.
A winner of ten of his first twelve starts, Today went to Kranji in Singapore and ran 3rd over 1200M last July before being an also-ran in the Korea Cup in September. He ran 4th to Ace Korea in a Listed race in November before his unexpected appearance at the Grand Prix. It seems that at five-years-old, his near-future at least is at the further distances.
Up at Seoul, the banker favourite of the day was defeated as Spring Back went down as a heavy odds-on favourite in race 10. The three-year-old Gemologist gelding began his career so impressively last year but today couldn’t overcome 100/1 shot Super Socks who struck the front late and ran on to win by a length for Italian trainer Luigi Riccardi.
In the concluding feature at Seoul, another favourite was beaten as Panorama Show, a very solid winner last time out, had a poor day at the office. It was, however, slightly less of a shock than Spring Back’s reverse as the very good Gangtoma came on strong late to register victory. For the four-year-old Testa Matta gelding, it was a seventh win in thirteen career starts and his first at class 1.
Racing returns to Korea next weekend when the first Listed race of the year will be run. The Segye Ilbo Cup over 1200M will take place at Seoul on Sunday.