Day: January 17, 2008

Australian jockey talks about time in Korea

Gary Baker completed two years at Busan Race Park at the end of 2007 and has now returned to Australia to resume his career riding on the Gold Coast Baker spoke to the local press on his return about his time in Korea. Although Baker had a successful time in Busan, becoming one of the track’s top jockeys, especially in his first year, it seems he didn’t enjoy it as much as he hoped. His comments about the weather are to be expected but the one that should make the KRA take note is “But you did get the feeling they didn’t particularly want you there and I was happy to come home after two years.” The article from goldcoast.com.au can be read here. They lose marks for that overused headline.

Baker originally came with two other Australians, Mark Newnham and Nathan Day, both of whom only lasted a few weeks before deciding to end their contracts as the winter kicked in. The one remaining Australian jockey in Korea is Danny Craven at Seoul who has 3 winners, 1 second place and 3 thirds from 46 rides since his debut in November 2007.

Jockey Profile – Park Tae Jong

The jockey with the most rides and most wins in his career is Park Tae Jong. Now 42, Park debuted in 1987 at the old Seoul Race Park. As of the start of 2008, Park has had 8800 rides with 1358 winners – a career strike rate 15.4% and is currently the hardest working jockey in Korea with 526 rides in the past year yielding 96 winners. His place strike rate in 2007 was a remarkable 30.6% with only Moon Se Young recording a better one.

Despite his excellent strike rate, 2007 was the first year since 1998 that Park failed to win any of the year’s big races. Throughout his career he’s won every major race including back-to-back Korean Derbys in 1999 and 2000. Here he is leading from start to finish in a race from October 2007.