Author: gyongmaman

Gaon Champ & Triple Nine Both Beaten But Bigger Challenges Await

Listed action returned to Korean racing this past weekend with the Segye Ilbo Cup kicking off the 2020 feature race schedule at Seoul on Sunday afternoon. And it was last year’s champion three-year-old Simjangui Godong who prevailed, defeating Do Kki Blade and favourite Gaon Champ in a tight three-way finish. Meanwhile down at Busan, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine returned following a thirteen-month absence but was unable to overcome a 60kg impost in the class 1 Handicap.

Simjangui Godong Segye Ilbo

Simjangui Godong (number 12) gets up to deby Do Kki Blade and Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Racing for the first time since running an excellent 3rd in last year’s Korea Sprint over the same 1200M distance, Gaon Champ was sent off as favourite for the Segye Ilbo Cup. For a first-up effort, he ran very well, recovering from a slightly sluggish start to put in a strong effort, briefly heading the field a furlong out.

He would be reeled in though as first Do Kki Blade and then ultimately Simjangui Godong swept past at the death with Simjangui Godong getting up to win by a head. It was a fine performance from Simjangui Godong, who was dropped back to six-furlongs for the first time having ended last season in big Stakes races around two turns, including a 3rd place in the President’s Cup that along with his runner-up finish in the Derby, secured him Champion Three-Year-Old honours.

It is likely that all three place-getters will next be targeted towards the SROA Chairman’s Cup, at the same distance on March 15, which is the first Group race of the year. It’s also the first leg of the Sprint Serie and it would be no surprise if  Gaon Champ overturns the form that day.

Returning from an even longer absence was Triple Nine. He didn’t race at all as a seven-year-old with his most recent appearance before Sunday coming in his victorious effort in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2018.

Such is his rating though that Triple Nine was assigned 60kg to carry in the 2000M handicap – 8kg more than any other in the race. With his customary late speed, Triple Nine almost defied the handicapper but it wasn’t to be as Jumbo Blade and New York Mangchi clung on to dispute a photo-finish – Jumbo Blade taking it by a neck.

Given the ansence and the weight, it was an excellent performance by Triple Nine and – his notoriously problematic fetlock issue permitting – one he can build on. At set weights there are still not many in Korea you would back against him.

Further down the ranks, things are looking quite promising. A couple of weeks ago, US import Mark Story (Dreamlicious) took his record to three wins from three starts, all of which had been achieved in fast times and in a facile manner. Last Saturday it was the turn of fellow American-bred Eoma Eoma (Algorithms) to burnish his credentials. The $60K purchase made his second start in Saturday’s race 8 and stepping up to 1300M, won by as many as he pleased, finishing just half a second outside the track record despite being eased down in the final furlong. Both look potentially the real deal and their inevitable meeting will be eagerly awaited.

 

 

Segye Ilbo Cup At Seoul, Triple Nine At Busan: Sunday Race-By-Race Preview (January 19)

The first Listed action of the year in Korea gets underway at Seoul on Sunday afternoon as Gaon Champ heads a field of 14 in the Segye Ilbo Cup over 1200M. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00.  Down at Busan, where there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05, four-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine makes his first start in thirteen months in the feature race 6.

Gaon Champ KRA

Gaon Champ (Pic: KRA)

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Not the strongest of maidens to open proceedings and having run 2nd on debut on December 21st, (5) THE KING CLASS gets the pick. True he was beaten eight-lengths by a useful looking winner, but he showed plenty of late speed to finish well. He must take care not to get too far back and if he does that, he can win. (4) MASTER FUTURE debuted the same day in a different maiden, running a competitive 4th and he can build on that here, in his case from the front. He’ll be joined on speed by (2) NUNBIT EUNYAK, who has had an interrupted career so far but should have come on for his run over 1300M in December to come into contention here. (12) BLACK SILVER has the fastest time of any of these over the distance and despite the wide draw, can be considered. There are three debut-makers and of them (11) ACE CHEONHA looks to have the best chance of making a positive impression first up.

Selections (5) The King Class (12) Black Silver (4) Master Future (2) Nunbit Eunyak

Next Best 11, 10

Fast Start 1, 2, 3, 4

 

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Twelve fillies line up in the second over the 1300m. (4) JEONJEONGSAGUEM comes off a solid performance last time out when finishing third behind Heunghaeng Jilju. The Tiz Wonderful filly ran through the line strongly on that occasion in a respectable time for this class. She’s drawn ideally to sit in the first half of the field before finishing off strong. (3) WIND HILL lines up for her second career start. The Colors Flying filly will step up to the 1300m for the first time which looks to suit based on her debut. She finished third behind Lady Kelly on debut when the margin was three and a half lengths. She will be better for the run and should be considered an each-way chance. (11) BORN TO GLORY ran on well last when debuting over the 1300m. The filly is likely to settle back from and awkward draw but can run on strong to collect some prize money. (7) SOARA YEOJANGGUN showed some improvement last start when finishing fifth and is another that can collect some minor money.

Selections (4) Jeonjeongsageum (3) Wind Hill (11) Born To Glory (7) Soara Yeojanggun

Next Best 10, 8

Fast Start 4, 7

 

Seoul Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) WONDERFUL PLEASURE was a beaten favourite over 1300M on December 2nd, leading for part of the race but getting headed late on and ultimately finishing in 6th place. The margins weren’t huge though, he has Alan Munro on board today and he should be on speed from the start with solid claims to overturn the form. (8) DIECO finished in 3rd place in that race, a couple of lengths ahead of Wonderful Pleasure. That continued a solid run of form for Dieco who, while a bit one-paced, should have enough about him to go close once more today. (7) JEONGMUN BOLT raced most ungenerously in his latest start but still managed to finished in midfield against a set of rivals superior to those he faces today. (11) KING KANMOREU has shown steady progress over three outings to date and is another who can aim for at least a place. (3) GLOBAL SUN did nothing wrong on debut at 1000M and may appreciate the additional trip today

Selections (6) Wonderful Pleasure (8) Dieco (7) Jeongmun Bolt (11) King Kanmoreu

Next Best 3, 5

Fast Start 2, 6, 8, 11

 

Seoul Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

There appears a lack of early pace in the fourth on the card. A beneficiary of the limited speed engaged is the last start winner (9) WANG TAENG I. The chestnut was impressive on debut when winning by an impressive seven lengths and clocking 1:21.1 for the 1300m. Shin Hyoung Chul is likely to shoot straight to the lead and should prove hard to catch. (3) MISSILE CANDY has been stuck in Class5 company for quite some time but has ran some reasonable races of late. The Twirling Candy entire comes off a last start third behind Ace Win when finishing the race of solidly. It is expected that Ham Wan-Sik will settle in the first four. (2) BISAYEON was unlucky last time out when having to overcome a wide draw and eventually finishing well beaten. The four-year-old has drawn better for this assignment and punters should refer to his effort two starts back when running second to Meni Hero. (12) JEJUI YOJEONG backed up her maiden win with a fair performance last start when fifth behind Clean Up Trio. She is a natural backmarker so the gate should not be an issue. Look for her late rattling off one of the faster sectionals.

Selections (9) Wang Taeng I (3) Missile Candy (2) Bisayeon (12) Jejui Yojeong

Next Best 8, 5

Fast Start 9

 

Seoul Race 5: Class 5 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(3) GO UP ran out a winner on debut in November, making all over this distance before running 2nd on her first try at this class in December, beaten seven-lengths by Eagle Eye. She’s nicely drawn to lead here and can return to the winner’s circle. It won’t be easy though. (10) SIMPLE STYLE was just half a length behind Go Up in 2nd place in that November race, before returning to register a win of his own a month ago. He’s up in class today and with Munro aboard, will be a big danger. (7) CLEAN UP TRIO comes in following an unexpected class and distance win four weeks ago. He carries an additional 3kg today, but his stable has remained in good form and a repeat isn’t impossible. (5) GAGANA was an eye-catching six-length winner over this distance on December 1st and while he steps up in class and into deeper waters today, he should be competitive. (12) GALAXY PEACE is two starts into a comeback following seven months out and can challenge for minor money.

Selections (3) Go Up (10) Simple Style (5) Gagana (7) Clean Up Trio

Next Best 12, 1

Fast Start 2, 3, 4, 7

 

Busan Race 2: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 60 Million

Fillies (and one mare) only here. (9) SECRET ILLUSION is up in class having won on debut over 1000M at the end of December, but she is going to have to improve significantly on that run to be competitive in this company. (2) FIRST STAR is perhaps the one to beat. Having registered her maiden win at this distance in early December she (more…)

Seoul Saturday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 18)

Saturday’s racing is at Seoul with 13 races from 10:45 to 18:00. Here are the previews:

Start

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

 A field of twelve Korean-bred three-year-old maidens line up over the 1300m in the first on the card. (10) ALCHAN NURI looks the one to beat coming off a good debut performance. The Federalist gelding flew from the tail of the field to finish second behind High Wonderful. The time was good for this grade and Kim Dong-Soo retains the ride. (7) NAUI SINHWA comes out of a strong form line where he finished fifth behind Lady Kelly who has since gone on and saluted once again. He has drawn slightly better in this event which may result in Kim Jeong-Jun being able to position the three-year-old closer to the speed. (8) DREAM FASHION is another that comes out of a strong race. The Old Fashioned colt was one-paced in the final stages when ending up fifth behind Dia Key. This is easier and he will benefit from the debut run. (3) A TO Z trialed last Friday finishing second in good time. His last run was at the start of December when running fairly over the 1300m. His performances in his trials suggest he can run into the money.

Selections (10) Alchan Nuri (7) Naui Sinhwa (8) Dream Fashion (3) A To Z

Next Best 5, 2

Fast Start 3, 8

 

Race 2: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Competitive race. (11) MIRACLE ICHEON has finished 3rd in both starts so far, both of them over this distance and last time in arguably better company than this. He’s not a fast starter though which may be of some concern but he has run on well both times – just running out of track. If he’s close at the top of the stretch, he should win. If he does leave himself too much to do again, (4) MAD DIVA could be the one to take advantage. She was beaten less than a length on her latest outing over this distance just before Christmas and from gate 4 should be on speed from the start. (5) P.K. DOLPUNG ran well for 4th on his first try at this distance last start and can better from a more favourable draw today. (3) LAST MAGIC steps up to the distance for the first time after a useful 3rd over 1000M a month ago while the solitary debut-maker, (6) TIZ CITY, did nothing wrong in trials and can go well first-up.

Selections: (11) Miracle Icheon (4) Mad Diva (3) Last Magic (5) P.K. Dolpung

Next Best: 6, 9

Fast Start: 3, 4, 5, 8

 

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Twelve Korean-bred maidens will go over the 1300m in the third event. (5) EAST CHAMP had his first go over 1300m last time out when finishing fourth behind Strong Red. The Ecton Park colt finished less than two lengths behind the winner last time out and this looks an easier assignment. (7) KOREA DAEJANGBU comes out of the same race where finishing fifth. The four-year-old is still looking for his first win after ten starts but he has run some reasonable races. (8) SPECIAL AGAIN maps to settle in the second half of the field and produce her turn of foot late. The filly will get the services of Alan Munro for the first time which is a positive. (6) SANARAE handed in her best career performance to date last time out when second behind Best Lucky. The Any Given Saturday filly ran only a fair time and will need to find a few lengths to be considered a winning chance.

Selections (5) East Champ (7) Korea Daejangbu (8) Special Again (6) Sanarae

Next Best 3, 4

Fast Start 6

 

Race 4: Class 5 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

(6) SAENAE SPURT recorded his maiden win at this distance in November and then ran a very good 2nd on his first try at this class on December 22nd. He comes from just off the pace with a good turn of foot and he could well be returning to the winner’s circle here. (11) GEOMPO’s maiden win last start had been coming and he made all to win very handily over 1000M. He’s up in class today but has already performed well at 1300M. He is a front-runner so the draw isn’t ideal but if he can get to the front then he has claims. (1) DASHING CANOE has proven competitive at this class. She goes well back at the start and her manners have been an issue but she could well run into some prize money late on. (8) MONEY SILK remains a maiden but is up in class following back to back runner up finishes and should be competitive from on the pace. (10) LUCKY MIDAS was 4th behind Saenae Spurt last time out and can aim to match that today.

Selections: (6) Saenae Spurt (11) Geompo (8) Money Silk (1) Dashing Canoe

Next Best: 10, 3

Fast Start: 8, 10, 11

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

 There is a severe lack of exposed form in the fifth where they will line up over the short course. (4) DANGCHAN BARAM appears to start favourite after finishing second behind Our Simon last time out. The filly crossed from barrier twelve to sit on speed and clock a good time for this grade. With the better draw today she should take up the running and prove hard to run down. (11) DREAM GIRLS will line up for her second start after a fair (more…)

Busan Friday: Race-By-Race Preview (January 17)

The last weekend of racing before the short Lunar New Year’s break gets underway at Busan on Friday with 12 races from 11:30 to 18:00. Here are thre previews:

RH7_2434

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

The first on the card will see a field of twelve Korean-bred maidens take to the track where either their sire or dam raced on Korean soil. (2) JUST WIN looks hard to beat after his debut. The Tamna Ace gelding ran an eye-catching second after sitting wide throughout over the 1000m. His dam has thrown some good horses but none better than 2011 Oaks winner Useung Touch. Just Win looks to settle just off speed and hit the line strong in a race that lacks early speed. (12) PINEUI KKUM has improved with each run and looks the likely pacemaker in the event. He was sent out at short odds last time in a similar strength event where he finished second. Expect him to cross shortly after the start and give them something to run down. (8) NAMYANG SEUGNI showed an impressive turn of speed last start when second behind Ultra Phoenix. The Chapel Royal colt has lacked early speed at all three starts to date but will be flying home. (4) THUNDER BAY lines up for his tenth start yielding four top-four finishes to date. He looks a place chance with a well-timed ride.

Selections (2) Just Win (12) Pineui Kkum (8) Namyang Seugni (4) Thunder Bay

Next Best 3, 6

Fast Start 12

 

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

Quite a weak maiden here so we can draw a line through the performance of (6) PARTY LION when stepped up to a mile last start and she sunk without trace. Prior to that she had shown promise though, with two 3rd placings over the 1300M. She looks nicely in here and while her propensity to be a touch sluggish out of the gates is a concern, she looks the one to beat. While we are drawing a line through things, we’ll do the same for (3) MAGIC STEALTH’s latest two. She drops back to the minimum distance today which is what she has done her best work over and she should go better. (1) CHEONJI DOKJU and (10) HUIMANG SOYEO are two others who while inconsistent, should be figuring in this company, however, the main danger could be a first-time starter. (2) KINGS LANDING was slowly away in her trial but made up very good ground. She’s likely to be ridden more forward on debut here and she has every chance of going very well first-up.

Selections: (6) Party Lion (2) Kings Landing (3) Magic Stealth (1) Cheonji Dokju

Next Best: 10, 5

Fast Start: 2, 4, 12

 

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

 A field of twelve inexperienced three-year-olds will go over the 1300m in the third. (5) BARBARIAN was extremely green on debut when bombing the start and switching back to the inside up the straight. Taking that into account, he displayed a nice turn of speed to finish fourth in one of the stronger form lines in this race. They ran a fast time for this class in that race and the Competitive Edge colt will be suited by barrier five in this assignment. (6) BANJIUI MAGIC comes out of the same race where he tried to lead throughout at his second start running fourth eventually. At his first start they ran a slick time where he finished second behind Raon Yeogol. He looks one of two pacemakers and he is drawn better so expect him to find the fence first. (12) STRONG MIND was good on debut when finishing third behind Secret Illusion over the 1000m. The colt ran on strong suggesting a cold ride from Jung Do-Yun will suit him again. The one concern is how big the deficit will be at the top of the straight. (10) GLOBAL TOP ran second on debut in a race that was relatively weaker than the aforementioned horses. Seo Seung-Un will be able to put her into the race early as she is the other galloper engaged with early speed.

Selections (5) Barbarian (6) Banjiui Magic (12) Strong Mind (10) Global Top

Next Best 8, 3

Fast Start 6, 10

 

Race 4: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

Three-year-old maidens here with all but two of the nine stretching out to a mile for the very first time. One of those two, (5) B.K. EUAN is set to be the top pick. The Alternation gelding has tackled this distance twice already and only came up short by a nose on his latest outing on December 29th. If anything, that was a stronger race than this and from gate 5 he will be expected to lead from the start and this time to not get caught. (7) POWER TRAIN has shown promise over three starts so far with the only problem being that by the time he’s hit his stride the race has been over. He should appreciate the step up to a mile today and can run on strongly. (8) MR. VALOR is another who looks like he will appreciate a bit of distance. He didn’t do much on debut but ran well for a close 4th three weeks ago and should be a contender here. (2) TOP SKY hasn’t done an awful lot on two starts so far but he’s another who tries the mile for the first time and the Kim Young-kwan/Seo Seung-un combination will tempt plenty. (9) ADELE CLASSIC was able to do very little from gate 14 last start but despite being drawn the widest again, should be able to get a prominent early position here and hold on for some prize money.

Selections: (5) B.K. Euan (7) Power Train (8) Mr. Valor (2) Top Sky

Next Best: 9, 1

Fast Start: 5, 9

 

Race 5: Class 6 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 25 Million

 There doesn’t appear to be any superstars in the making in this fifth as a field of twelve will go over the mile. (2) LATINUIHYANGGI looks a main chance after running second at her second start last time out. The filly hit the racing scene as a three-year-old last year when finishing midfield on debut. She then improved last start to finish second albeit beaten fifteen lengths by Blue Power. Quite a few of these runners come out of that race where she held them off safely. (11) GIANT’S HEART showed significant improvement last time out when finishing third to Ultra Phoenix. The chestnut will step up to the mile for the first time where his previous starts indicate he should run it out okay. (4) THE SUN OF GOD is yet to place at his six career starts to date but has ran fair times at his past two starts. This assignment looks an easier take and he can run into some money. (5) GOLDEN RAIN was well beaten last start when sixth behind Monopoly in a slightly stronger race. There will need to be some improvement as he struggled to run the mile out strongly last start.

Selections (2) Latinuihyanggi (11) Giant’s Heart (4) The Sun Of God (5) Golden Rain

Next Best 10, 4

Fast Start 5

 

Race 6: Class 5 (1600M) Allowance / KRW 40 Million

It took (4) BLUE POWER five goes to get his maiden win but when he managed it, he did it in style, running out a fifteen-length winner on his first try at a mile on December 6th. He found things less easy on his first try at this class two weeks ago when 4th to the very (more…)

Korean All-Time Leading Money Winner Triple Nine To Return Sunday Following Thirteen Month Absence

Triple Nine, four-times President’s Cup winner and all-time leading money earner in Korean racing, has been declared to run at Busan Racecourse on Sunday. It will mark the now eight-year-old’s first outing in a race since winning the Grand Prix Stakes as a six-year-old in December 2018.

Triple Nine KRA

Triple Nine is scheduled to return on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

The race is the last on Busan’s six-race Sunday card and is a class 1 handicap over 2000M. With his domestic rating of 130, Triple Nine will carry 60kg putting all eleven of his rivals out of the handicap. He will therefore be giving all of them at least 8kg in weight.

The race is the last on Busan’s six-race Sunday card and is a class 1 handicap over 2000M. With his domestic rating of 130, Triple Nine will carry 60kg, putting all eleven of his rivals out of the handicap. He will therefore be giving all of them at least 8kg in weight.

It had been originally hoped that Triple Nine would be back to seek a fifth President’s Cup win in November and he accordingly re-qualified a month ahead of that race. However, a recurrence of a fetlock joint condition set him back in his training and he didn’t make the start line. He trialed again in November looking competent but only returned to full work just prior to the turn of the year.

A winner of five Korean Group 1 races, he also holds a win in the Group 2 busan Owners’ Cup and in 2017 raced at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Although he didn’t manage to pick up a win, he ran well enough to earn a spot in the Godolphin Mile on World CUp night.

Bred by Isidore Farm and owner by Choi Byung-bu, who also owns Blue Chipper, Triple Nine has won fifteen of his thirty-one races for prize money of 4.2 Billion Korean Won. Trainer Kim Young-kwan has engaged Cypriot jockey Ioannis Poullis, who rode New Legend to win the 2019 President’s Cup.

Fifth Korea Cup & Korea Sprint Set For Sunday September 13 in Seoul

The 2020 Korea Cup and Korea Sprint will be run at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday September 13. This year’s editions will be the fifth running of the races, both of which boast a purse of 1 Billion Korean Won.

Moonhak Chief

Moonhak Chief won the fourth running of the Korea Cup (Pic: KRA)

In the previous four runnings, the interntational invitational Korea Cup and Korea Sprint have featured horses trained in the USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE, France, Great Britain and Ireland. The 2019 Cup was won by Korean Horse of the Year Moonhak Chief while the Sprint went to Blue Chipper, who went on to finish 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

On the domestic front, the Triple Crown kicks off on April 5th with the KRA Cup Mile at Busan. The Korean Derby is at Seoul on May 10th with the Korean Oaks run one week later at Busan on May 17th. The final jewel in the Crown is the Minister’s Cup at Seoul on June 14th while the fillies who have gone the Triple Tiara route have the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, also in tha capital, on June 21st.

After the Oaks, Busan’s next most valuable race, the Mayor’s Cup, won in 2019 by Dolkong, is in its usual position on the last Sunday in June.

Big autumn features the KRA Cup Classic and President’s Cup are both in their traditional spots in early October and November respectively, while the season finale Grand Prix Stakes will have its thirty-ninth running take place on Sunday December 13. All three are at Seoul.

Two new Listed races are on the calender at Busan, both named after horses who were stars of the early years of Busan Racecourse. The Luna Stakes will be run over a mile on April 26th while on September 27th, the Areumdaun Jilju Stakes will take place at 1200M. They will be the first races in Korea to be named in honour of past racehorses.

The first Listed race of the season is the Segye Ilbo Cup at Seoul this coming Sunday January 19. The first Group race is the SROA Chairman’s Cup (KOR G3) on March 15.

The full 2020 calender will be posted on the official KRA website soon. In the meantime, racegoers should be aware that there is no racing at any of the tracks in Korea on the weekend of January 24/25/26 due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

 

Today & Baengmunbaekdap To Race Each Other At Dubai World Cup Carnival Meeting Thursday

Today and Baengmunbaekdap will both make their Dubai World Cup Carnival debuts on Thursday. The Kim Young-kwan trained pair line up against one another in Race 5 on the Meydan card, a Dirt Handicap over 1600M.

today

Today (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

With the Dubai handicapper having assessed both at a mark of 98, Today and Baengmunbaekdap look nicely in, getting 3kg from top weighted Thegreatcollection. Second highest rated in the race is Ambassadorial, who ran 3rd in last September’s Korea Cup in Seoul before ending an also-ran in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.

Godolphin are well represented as usual and their relatively unexposed four-year-old Dubai Icon, a winner of three straight races in the UK last year, can be a danger while Doug Watson’s Midnight Sands has won three in a row at Meydan.

Even in Korea, few could confidently say which of the pair is the better. They last met in the Listed Kookje Shinmun Cup over 1400M at Busan in November when Baengmunbaekdap – a 20/1 chance – ran out the three-length winner ahead of the odds-on favourite Today.

That was Baengmunbaekdap’s most recent start. He ran (a very distant) 2nd to Blue Chipper in the Owners’ Cup at a mile in July but struggled on all three of his trips to Seoul in 2019, albeit at longer distances, including 7th behind Ambassadorial in the Korea Cup. Today rounded out his season by finishing 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul in December.

Today began his career as very much a sprinter, winning ten of his first twelve starts and running 3rd in the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore in 2018. Since then he has been up and down the distances with his most recent win being at 2000M last January. He then didn’t race again until September and the Korea Sprint.

Baengmunbaekdap

Baengmunbaekdap (Pic: Ross Holburt/KRA)

Both Baengmunbaekdap and Today are very solid horses and while neither are superstars, they perhaps won’t need to be in order to at least be competitive here. If either one runs to their best, a place finish is a realistic target. Pat Cosgrave, who won on Main Stay for Korea at the Carnival in 2017, as well as partnering both Triple Nine and Power Blade to good finishes, will ride Baengmunbaekdap, while Dane O’Neill will be aboard Today.

As for Blue Chipper, a stablemate of both Today and Baengmunbaekdap, it is hoped that he will return to full work next week following a bout of travel sickness. If things go to plan, The Godolphin Mile is his target, while the Korea Sprint winner also holds an entry for The Riyadh Dirt Sprint, a 1200M race on the undercard of the Saudi Cup.

The race is Race 5, Mina, on Thursday evening’s Carnival card at Meydan with a post time of 20:50 Dubai time (1:50am Friday morning in Korea). See www.emiratesracing.com for more information.