Of all the crises that could potentially befall South Korea, a punter wouldn’t necessarily have put his money on a kimchi shortage being the most likely to actually happen. Yet happen it has. As The Economist noted, “Forget mad dictators. The price of cabbage is what really worries Koreans.”
The track has not been immune. The abberation to the left is what passes for a bowl of steamed kimchi at the Seoul Race Park buffet these days. Partially fermented weeds would be a more accurate description. Even that’s expensive. As prices continue to rise, there seems no end in sight to the shortage.
Luckily one thing there’s no shortage of this weekend though is top flight racing. And very interesting it is too as we have races at distances unusual to Korea.
Three of those big races are at Busan on Friday where we have class 1 events at seven, eight and eleven furlongs. Korean racing history is littered with talented sprinters whose careers stutter because there are no valuable races run at less than 1800 metres but tomorrow, Night Moves, Baekjeom Manjeom and Ganghan Yeoja are among twelve horses who get their chance at a class 1 prize over 1400 metres.
Also on show on Friday will be Mister Park, winner of his last eight races, facing his stiffest test when he comes up against Namdo Jeap over the latter’s favoured distance of a mile. The younger Mister Park has a two kilo advantage and will be favoured to make it nine in a row.
There are entertaining cards at Seoul on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s feature sees Gi Ra Seong head the weights in a 1900 metre handicap – rather unfair on the six-year old given that he is without a win in seven starts this year. On Sunday the feature is a rare race over the Grand Prix distance of 2300 metres. It’s competitive too. Victory Town will carry top weight out of the twelve runners but with no form at the distance, it is real stick-a-pin-in-it stuff. Here’s what’s happening:
Friday October 22
Busan Race Park: 10 races from 12:00 to 18:00
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 13:30 to 17:30
Saturday October 23
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 11:20 to 17:40
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 12:10 to 17:10
Sunday October 24
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:20 to 18:10
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:40 to 16:30