Seoul Race Park took a very rare visible step in bringing itself in line with international racing recently as now for the first time, punters are able to see horses and jockeys returning to scale after each race.
Up until now, on conclusion of a race, runners and riders would disappear back into their subterranean lair, with only Stakes winners re-emerging for the crowd. Several months ago, construction began on a new enclosure just beyond the winning post for horses to return to immediately after each race, along with a building for jockeys to weigh-in before taking elevators back underground. Now, win or lose, every jockey has to unsaddle in front of whoever wants to watch with all the associated celebrations, recriminations and confrontations open for all to see.
It’s given punters an opportunity to show their appreciation (or otherwise) to the jockey who has just made them temporarily rich (or otherwise) and allows the curious a close up glimpse of exactly how shattered both runner and rider are after a race.
Most of all though, it has allowed a special window into the camaraderie that exists between the jockeys. Choice exchange of the weekend came after race 9 on Sunday – forgive Gyongmaman’s approximate translation:
Yoon Tae Hyoug: “Sang Woo. You’re a f*****g a******e”
Park Sang Woo: (mumbled) “Go f**k yourself”
Fun for all the family.