Given her ride today , we might as well make Lee Shin Young the next in our series of jockey profiles. There are currently three female jockeys riding at Seoul. The best known outside racing circles is Lee Ae Li who received a lot of publicity when a movie about a female jockey was released a couple of years ago. Another is Lee Geum Ju, however, she has not ridden for quite some time. The most successful is Lee Shin Young. Debuting in 2001 (on the same day as Geum Ju, Ae Li debuted a year later) at the age of 21, Shin Young has a record of 72 wins from 674 rides, a strike rate of just over 10% with a place strike rate of 19%. Over the past year she’s maintained her win rate with 12 wins from 113 rides. No doubt a video of today’s race will appear online in due course, but until then, we’ll make do with this effort from 2006.
Danny Craven picks up fourth winner
Aussie jockey Danny Craven got his first winner of 2008 and his fourth in Korea in the last race of this afternoon’s meeting at Seoul Race Park. Craven had already had two unplaced rides before winning race 11 on the Australian bred Cash Parade which came home the 4.2 second favourite, two and a half lengths ahead of Yoo Sang Wan on Baekjonmupae in a race worth 22Million won to the winner.
Ride of the day came from Lee Shin Young, one of only two female jockeys at Seoul, who pulled off an outstanding victory in race 8 on outsider Nokhaji at 31.2. Lee took the horse from the back of the field to the front in the back straight to lead ny three lengths with three furlongs to go. Inevitably the field pulled her back, however, in the last furlong Lee asked the horse to go again and found the front right on the line a nose ahead of Jeon Deok young on Sollong Goes. A truly remarkable ride which was greeted with rare applause by racegoers – rare especially as clearly no-one had backed the horse.
Elsewhere there were two winners each for Moon Se Young and Park Tae Jong. Park’s second coming in race 6 which saw a blanket finish with the first four horses within a length of each other. Generally it was a day of outsiders with Magic Victor at 1.6 in race 4, the only successful odds-on shot all day. The feature race of the day saw victory for Flying Cat at 13.2 (Oh Kyoung Hoan) but only after favourite Secret Weapon (Park Tae Jong) had been disqualified.
Overall some exciting racing, especially races 6 and 8. Racing gets underway tomorrow at 11:00 at Seoul, 12:20 at Jeju and 13:00 at Busan.
There’s racing at all three tracks over the weekend. Busan started things off with nine races this afternoon and will run a further six on Sunday with the first off at 13:00. The feature race is the last at 16:10, an 1800 metre handicap worth 32Million won to the winner. Jeju has nine races on both Saturday and Sunday.
Seoul gets underway at 11:00 on Saturday and Sunday mornings. There are 11 races both days. Race 10 is the feature race each day off at 16:50 on Saturday and 17:10 on Sunday both with a 34Million won first place prize. After this week’s temperatures of -10, the weekend is expected to be warmer with temperatures perhaps even making it to the right side of freezing.
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.
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.
There are currently 63 jockeys retained at Seoul Racecourse. Over the next few weeks, Horseracing in Korea will profile some of the leading ones. We may as well start with the man of the moment, Moon, Se Young.
Born in 1980, Moon made his debut shortly before his 21st birthday in 2001. His 7 year career has seen him pick up two Group 3 races, a Group 2 (The Minster of Agriculture Cup in 2004), the JRA Trophy and most recently, the Group 1 Grand Prix race in December 2007. However, it’s his strike rate rather than his big race wins that set him apart at the moment. As of Janaury 2008, he has 1485 career rides with 230 winners – a strike rate of 15.5%. He’s getting better too. In the last year alone the figures are 381 rides and 74 winners – a strike rate of 19.4% with 33% of all his rides placing. Moon is potentially the dominant jockey of the next decade in Korea. He’s also the jockey first out of the stalls riding number 8 in our banner at the top of this page! Here he is winning the 2007 Grand Prix on Bally Brae.
The Times (and others) reported over the weekend that the Chinese government is to allow racing and eventually even legal betting on the mainland. How long before there’s a “Chinese Jockey Club Handicap” at Gwacheon?
Well…it was bitterly cold, but the absence of any wind made it a tolerable day at Seoul Race Park. Racing at Busan made for more breaks in the day’s card than is comfortable for a good day’s racing – but more on that later. On the track, the big race was race 10, a 1900 metre handicap, won in a close finish by Jungtongsung a 17.2 outsider ridden by Cho, Kyoung Ho a length ahead of Hongji (Jung, Ki Young) and Totoro (Ikuyasu). The strong favourite, Sebyokdongja (Moon, Se Young) was unplaced. Another odds-on favourites was overturned – Free Woody in race 6 getting beaten at 1.9 by Hammer Punch (3.6) but others came up, Headline News won Race 4 for Cho, Kyoung Ho and Erectus had his first outing of the year comfortably winning race 7.
There was another full card at Busan this afternoon. While it is an excellent idea to run races at Busan on Sunday to try to get people in the south of the country to go the track on the weekend (really there is no point in spending billions of won on a racetrack if you’re only going to run races on a Friday!) it is a shame that this means less races at Seoul. Ideally they should maintain full programs at both. For development of racing in Korea it is important that Busan runs weekend racing but it also important the Seoul Race Park offers an attractive day out if, as the KRA claims, it wants to move beyond being just a company that caters to the misery of gambling debts. Interestingly, the Busan races were valuable with prize money in the races that were simulcasted to Gwacheon matching that of Seoul. Korea Racing Blog will report on a card from Busan soon to see what’s happening down there.
Jockey’s Championship 2008: It looked like Cho, Kyoung Ho was going to catch up with Moon, Se Young until Moon won the last to move ahead again:
1. Moon, Se Young 6
2. Cho, Kyoung Ho 5
3. Yoon, Dae Keun 4
4.=. Yoo, Sung Wan; Choi Beom Hyun 3
6=. Ikuyasu Kurukane; Park Tae Jong; Shin, Hyoung Cheol; Jung, Ki Young 2
Over the three days of racing in 2008 so far, 21 jockeys have ridden winners. Despite being unsuccessful today, Moon, Se Young still leads after his treble last Sunday ahead of Yoon, Dae Keun and Cho, Kyoung Ho.
1 Moon, Se Young 4
2= Cho, Kyoung Ho; Yoon, Dae Keun 3
4= Shin, Hyoung Cheol; Choi, Beom Hyun; Yoo, Sung Wan; Ikuyasu Kurukane; Jung, Ki Young 2
Eleven races again saw 11 different jockeys in the winner’s enclosure and a reasonable turn out at Seoul Race Park for what was an average Saturday card in terms of quality. There were two joint main races – the final two and it was in the first of these that we saw the day’s best contest. A 17.7 outsider, Leaders, ridden by Ikuyasu Kurukane took the race by a nose from Eunpamense (5.5) under Park, Tae Jong with the 2.2 favourite Yuel Mountain three-quarters of a length back in third.
In other races, apprentice jockey Choi, Won Jun rode his third career winner in race 9, a race notable for the fact that the favourite went off at 4.0 – exceptionally high by Korean standards – and was unplaced. Choi’s horse was second favourite at 4.5.