Jockey Kim Hyo Seob is set to retire from the saddle shortly and join the training ranks, according to reports by the Korean Racing Journal over the weekend. The 44 year old Kim, who suffered a heavy fall during racing on April 26, will go to the United States to observe training methods before returning to Korea to take up his license. While breeding in Korea has improved in recent years, the performance of thoroughbreds on the track is still sub-standard and training quality is an area that has been identified as being in need of improvement.
Kim Hyo Seob debuted as a jockey in 1987 and has ridden 851 winners from 5794 mounts. While spending much of his career in the shadow of Park Tae Jong, who qualified at the same time and has established himself as Korea’s greatest ever jockey, Kim has nevertheless won the Korean Derby once, the Korean Oaks twice and the Ttukseom Cup twice, most recently this year’s renewal on Mighty Runner last month. Other contemporaries such as Ahn Byung Ki, Woo Chang Gu and Chun Chang Ki have already taken up trainers’ licenses.
Kim will not be the only one heading to the the States. The KRA is to send two young jockeys over to train. One of these is reported to be Seoul based Yoo Seung Wan, the 24 year old having ridden 41 winners in his first two years since qualifying. The other is yet to be determined. In horse terms, 2007 Oaks winner Baekpa is already in the States. The mare is yet to race since arriving in late March