International Jockey Challenge: Day 1 Preview
Saturday sees the first two races of the Sixth Seoul International Jockeys’ Challenge. Their mounts were randomly drawn so let’s take a look at the prospects for the six visiting riders:
Race 6 (17:00): Domestic bred Class 4 (Allowance III-B) – 1400M
They picked this race well as it is unusually open with at least seven of the thirteen starters having valid claims for consideration (although only twelve jockeys are involved in the challenge, the races are open to up to fourteen entrants). Gangho Tansaeng (Yoo Sang Wan) has won two of his six starts but was disappointing at both class and distance last time. Meanwhile Wonder Heart (Moon Se Young) is a persistant placer but hasn’t won any of his fifteen races. Both will attract serious money though. Let’s run down the rides of the visitors:
Scott Seamer (Australia) – Yongho Yakjin (18starts/1win/2seconds) – Has had three races at this level without impressing but drops back to seven furlongs and has a chance of moneying.
Oliver Castillo (USA) – Tachys (14/2/0) – Dropping back to seven furlongs for the first time since joining this division. Well worth a place bet.
Niall McCullogh (Ireland) – Super Taepung (12/1/2) – Perhaps a half furlong too far for this colt who struggled at the distance last time However, connections seem to think he can cope and an outside punt must be considered.
Akin Sozen (Turkey) – Chowonui Hyanggi (19/1/2) – Second at the distance last time means she will be a short price this time. Not that she’s done anything to suggest she’s a winner, but the filly will have a lot of supporters.
Muzi Yeni (South Africa) – Golden Cat (19/1/1) – Finally broke his maiden last time but is in better company now. Will struggle to make an impression.
Syu Ishibashi (Japan) – Perfect Line (19/1/0) – Has nothing in her form that suggests she can make an impression here.
Race 10 (20:00) : Domestic bred Class 2 (Handicap) – 1400M
Potentially there’s one outstanding horse here. Big Easy, a three-year old gelding has won five of his six starts. Korean Jung Ki Yong picked him in the draw. Unproven at this level though, Big Easy won’t necessarily find it er…easy. Jaemi Best (Choi Bum Hyun) also looks dangerous and a few of the visitors are not without a chance either.
Scott Seamer (Australia) – Gancheorwang (32/3/4) – Third placed last time out and like a number of others, is dropping significantly in distance. Being placed would be a tremendous result.
Oliver Castillo (USA) – Red Sky (31/4/1) – Worth an outside bet. A decent sprinter who has been running at far too long distances recently. Will relish the drop back to seven furlongs.
Niall McCullogh (Ireland) – Jayeongwang (20/4/1) – Won an all fillies race in May to put her in this class. Should be outgunned tomorrow.
Akin Sozen (Turkey) – Happy Hero (32/1/7) – This persistant placer has trouble winning. Neither look likely.
Muzi Yeni (South Africa) – Battle Commander (24/4/3) – Another who should enjoy the drop down in distance. Accustomed to racing in this class, he has a chance.
Syu Ishibashi (Japan) – Smart Galloper (36/4/0) – Unfortunately for Ishibashi, again it’s difficult to see how this one has any chance at all.
Gyongmaman’s verdict: In both races, a Korean is likely to be on the favourite; It’s time for Wonder Heart to finally win in race 6 and Big Easy has done nothing to suggest he shouldn’t claim race 10. However, neither is nailed on and it’s not impossible that a visitor could claim both races.
We’ll have a round up of Day 1 of the challenge plus a preview of Sunday’s conclusion tomorrow.
Other than Muzi Yeni and Oliver Castillo getting mounts in Sunday’s race 10, none of the visiting jockeys – despite being granted a regular short-term racing license – will ride in any but the challenge races. Naturally, Gyongmaman would never suggest that this rather surprising state of affairs has absolutely anything at all to do with the Seoul Racecourse Jockeys’ Union. No, never would he make such a statement, because it er…obviously…couldn’t be true…could it…?