International Weekend Preview

It’s that time of year again – a time that is getting earlier and earlier. The 2010 International Jockey Challenge comes to Seoul Race Park this weekend, pitting six of Korea’s top riders against six visitors for a $20,000 prize. Here’s who’s in town this year:

Clockwise from top right: Oliver Castillo, Syu Ishibashi, Nial McCullogh, Akin Sozen, Muzi Yeni, Scott Seamer

Scott Seamer (Australia): Has won the Melbourne Cup. That’s enough for any jockey to retire happy with. However, aside from guiding Ethereal to victory in one of the world’s greatest races in 2001, Seamer has also won the Caulfield Cup, Golden Slipper and AJC Derby. He’s been Champion jockey in Brisbane where he now does most of his riding. Click here to see the closing stages of that 2001 Cup win.

Niall McCullogh (Ireland): Although riding in his home country suring the summer, McCullogh is perhaps best known for his time in the Asia with regular and successful stints in India. Read an interview with McCullogh from here.

Muzi Yeni (South Africa): Gerrit Schlecter won the challenge in 2007 and a number of South African jockeys have tried their hand full-time in Korea, most notable Martin Wepner. This year, they have sent up and coming rider Muzi Yeni, who has ridden just shy of 100 winners this season.

Akin Sozen (Turkey): Another up-and-comer, twenty-three year old Sozen has already ridden upwards of 600 winners in his homeland.

Oliver Castillo (USA): Thirty-four year old Castillo rode his 1000th race winner earlier this year at Laurel Park. Chilean born, Castillo has been riding in the US for the past thirteen years.

Syu Ishibashi (Japan): The neighbour across the water always send at least one jockey across. This year it is twenty-six year old Syu Ishibashi, who has over 250 winners from a six year career to date.

The Korean team has a familiar look about it. Park Tae Jong will be there as ever, and is joined by Moon Se Young, Yoo Sang Wan, Cho Kyoung Ho, Jung Ki Yong and Choi Bum Hyun.

The jockeys will compete in four races – two on Saturday and two on Sunday, ciulminating in the YTN Cup, under the lights on Sunday evening. They are races 6 (17:00) & 10 (20.00) on Saturday and 7 (17:45) & 9 (19:35) on Sunday.

Here’s what’s happening around the peninsula this weekend:

Friday August 20

Busan Race Park: 10 races from 15:00 to 21:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:30 to 21:30

Saturday August 21

Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 14:30 to 21:00
Jeju Race Park: 10 races from 16:30 to 21:30

Sunday August 22

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:30 to 21:00
Busan Race Park: 5 races from 16:20 to 20:05

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