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.
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.
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.