He’s nicknamed the “Smile Jockey” but Kim Ok Sung wasn’t doing an awful lot of smiling at Seoul Race Park this weekend. On Saturday the jockey, a twenty-two year veteran of the track, ran into difficulty on a horse named Murim Choegang in race 6. The four-year old was sent off favourite for the eight and a half furlong race but was at the back of the field until they entered the home straight. Passing horse after horse in the final two furlongs, Kim and Murim Choegang finished third and a summons to the Stewards’ room was inevitable.
Stewards decided that Kim was responsible for Murim Cheogang being off the pace and handed him a ten-day ban – which will rule him out until the end of February. Another slap on the wrists for careless riding in race 8 capped a miserable day.
The suspension is a big blow to Kim, who has only recently returned from a three-month lay-off after an injury sustained during trackwork. But his bad weekend was just getting started. On each raceday five jockeys are selected for a random breath-test. Almost inevitably Kim Ok Sung was one of those names pulled out of the hat on Sunday morning and sadly for him, he had evidently been indulging on Saturday evening.
With a blood alcohol level above the allowable threshold, Kim was stood down from his Sunday rides and handed a further four-day ban on top of the ten days he received on Saturday. To add insult to injury (or to a headache anyway), one of the mounts he missed out on was 100/1 shot Daewangho, who was guided to a shock victory by Park Byeong Yun.
See you in March Kim Ok Sung!