On a bad Monday morning for the Korea Racing Authority (KRA), the state auditor named it as one of seven public companies out of thirty one inspected that will face punishment for various wrongdoings. The KRA’s alleged offence appears to have been to declare overtime work payments as “basic fees” thereby paying its employees too much. The announcement has intensified calls in some parts of the media for the KRA along with the other public companies (including the Korea Coal and Oil Corporations) to be privatised, as well as speculation that executives in the companies – who are appointed by the government may be replaced after the April 9 National Assembly elections. See articles here and here.
The KRA has come under fire for Sunday’s late cancellation which apparently came after some racegoers had entered the track. Local press has put the cause of the cancellation of racing on what turned out to be a mild and dry, if slightly breezy, spring day on the supposedly all-weather track down to there being excessive salt in the track which, during Saturday’s downpours turned the course into a quagmire. This had severely impeded jockey’s visibility making racing too dangerous. Indeed both last Sunday and on Saturday, conditions did not look fit for racing. Sunday was the fourth day of racing called off at Seoul in the past year – one following the death of jockey Lim Dae Gyu during a race last August and another two in November due to industrial action.
Seoul Jockey’s Championship 2008
With just one day of racing over the weekend there wasn’t much change at the top of the leaderboard. Cho Kyoung Ho recorded two wins to Moon Se Young’s one to move to within ten winners. Shim Seung Tae also scored a double as did Choi Beom Hyun who moved into double figures for the year.
1. Moon Se Young 38
2. Cho Kyoung Ho 28
3. Park Tae Jong 18
4. Woo Chang Gu; Oh Kyoung Hoan; Choi Beom Hyun 11
Fight Back won today’s feature race at Busan Race Park with a strong finish to win the KRW40 Million handicap by four lengths from Miraculous Medal. Dropping down to 1600 metres for the first time since 2006, Kim Do Hyun timed his run well on the 3.6 second favourite winning going away from the field. The 3.5 favourite Sinsapung finished back in sixth and Keep it Quick went off third favourite but never featured and finished twelth out of thirteen.
Elsewhere on the card, there was another win for Soo Khoon Beng, guiding odds-on Olympic Champion to an emphatic nine length victory over Taejeongsan in race 4. A competitive two year old race was won by Yeongwonhan Useung on her racecourse debut with a one length victory over odds-on favourite Bishop’s Return and the second most valuable race of the day was won by outsider Seongsan Daegun (Kim Tae Jun) at 21.3 with a half length victory over Haeil and favourite Hannam Daegyo.
With today’s meeting at Seoul Race Park called off because of a water-logged track, the only other racing was at Jeju, however on the Island too there were problems with racing being abandoned after seven of the planned nine races.
Today’s card at Seoul Race Park has been called off because of track conditions. Racing at Busan and Jeju will go ahead
There was an upset in the feature race at Seoul Race Park this afternoon as Galsaem, starting at 1.3 was beaten into fifth place by outsider Cheonghae San (39.7). The eight year old, which had won 10 of its previous 54 races, moved steadily through the field before producing a fast final furlong to beat Star Wood by two and a half lengths.
Persistant rain overnight and throughout the day meant that just like last Sunday, the track was saturated which again resulted in a low crowd and tricky conditions for horses and jockeys. It was also a day of upsets as only one odds-on favourite came home in front – King’s Road, under ParkTae Jong in race 2. Shim Seung Tae rode 2 winners as did Cho Kyoung Ho.
Racing returns to Seoul Race Park at 11:20 tomorrow. Although the rain has stopped for now, showers are again forecast for tomorrow.
Boryeong Bulbit & Namsanui Jeonggi win / KB Soo gets third win / Seol DB rides treble
As noted on Horse Racing in Korea earlier this week, Boryeong Bulbit was the horse in form, and so it proved as the Cho Seung Keun ridden four year old made the most of a five kilo weight advantage to overcome 1.8 favourite Sinjin Gangja by a neck. Million Dollar (Yoo Hyun Myoung) led for most of the race but faded to fourth as Boryoeng Bulbit came through the field in the straight to land the KRW42 Million handicap at 19.7. Second favourite Mirae Cheonsa finished a disappointing ninth.
Earlier there was an impressive win for hot favourite Namsanui Jeonggi in race 6, Lim Sung Sil guiding the three year old to his third win in six outings in a dominant four length victory over 1400 metres. Jockey Seol Dong Bok rode three winners, the highlight being Huimang Messenger (8.2) in race 9 and there was a third Busan Race Park win for Soo Khoon Beng riding the wonderfully name Kkumkkuneun to victory in race 7 at 8.5.
Racing is back at Busan Race Park on Sunday at 12:40 with cards at Seoul and Jeju on both Saturday and Sunday.
There are 12 races on Saturday at Seoul Race Park with the first underway at 11:20 with the most valuable race being the last, a handicap over 2000 metres involving Galsaem and Best Condition. Sunday sees 11 races, again the first under orders at 11:20. Temperatures are likely to be on the cool side of mild with showers a danger throughout the weekend.
There are also nine races on both Saturday and Sunday at Jeju, with the first starting at 12:20 on both days. Busan’s Friday and Sunday cards are previewed below.
Cards have been published for this weekend’s racing at Busan Race Park. This Friday sees one more race than usual with the first of ten getting underway at 13:00 with races on the half hour until 17:30. Quantity isn’t necessarily matched by quality, however, and several races are thin on entrants with only four events attracting ten or more runners. Indeed, three races will only be paying out on the first two home as they only have seven runners. Feature race will be the last which is an 1800 metre handicap with a KRW42Million first prize. Among those lining up are Sinjin Gangja (7 wins from 15 runs) and Mirae Cheonsa (9 from 15), ranked third and fourth respectively in total money won at Busan, although neither are in winning form so far this year. In better form is Boryeong Bulbit (5 from 13) which has won the past two times out in improving company.
Sunday will see six races with Keep It Quick the best known name in the feature race. Racing starts on Sunday at 12:40.
When Australian Garry Baker left Busan at the end of 2007, the track was, for the first time in its short history, without any international jockeys on its roster. Not for long, however, as January 24, 2008 saw the debut of Soo Khoon Beng for a short stint at the track. Born in 1974 in Penang, he raced in Singapore for nine years becoming one of the top jockeys at Kranji, Singapore’s only racetrack. He was champion apprentice in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and in 2005 became Champion Jockey. Also in 2005, he scored the biggest win of his career aboard Terfel in the Singapore Gold Cup. During his career in Singapore he had 2832 rides and scored 380 wins and 342 second places (source-Singapore Turf Club). He returned to Singapore in April after riding 5 winners from 34 rides. Here is his first victory.