Day: January 16, 2011

Cool Women

Park Jong Hyun Lands First Winner / Kim Hae Sun Wins Again

Today was the coldest day in Seoul for ten years but for Park Jong Hyun, it will be memorable for a different reason. At her fifty-third attempt and as temperatures plummeted to a painful -16C, the young jockey rode her first ever winner.

Head Down: Park Jong Hyun drives Cheonnyeonmama to victory

And how ever long she rides for, her first winner will be one of her easiest. Three year old filly Cheonnyeonmama had won her first race easily at the tail-end of last season and is one of this year’s most exciting prospects. Although Park had ridden her in her race trials, Jung Ki Yong rode her on her racecourse debut.

This time, Park was given the nod to partner the US import and they were sent off long odds-on favourites for the five furlong race 4. Park immediately sent Cheonnyeonmama [Toccet – Lady Lust (Lord Carson)] into the lead and there was never any danger of them relinquishing it as they strode away from the field for a professional seven length win.

Park Jong Hyun (also known as “Park Jong Mi”) gained her license in July last year along with Kim Jung Jun, Jang Chu Yeol and Lee Gang Seo. Until today, Park was the only one of them to have failed to have recorded at least one win. Today, she nailed her first real opportunity to get it. All new graduates of the KRA’s Jockey Academy are of a high standard and Park has every chance of making a successful career.

Another winner: Kim Hae Sun

One year ahead of her is fellow female rider Kim Hae Sun. Today, Kim scored the thirteenth winner of her own career with a typically smart ride of favourite Don’t Worry in race 1. While Lee Shin Young and Lee Ae Li have both made decent careers, Kim looks likely to eclipse both of them and although it is early days, she could very well go on to be the first woman to compete in the highest echelons of racing in Korea.

There were no class 1 races on the peninsula today but a couple of useful three-year olds were in winning form. Colt Gwangya Jeil won race 7 at Seoul to make it two wins from three starts while down at Busan, filly Useung Touch, third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup, got her three-year old campaign off to a winning start in race 2.

The most valuable race of the day was at Seoul as four year old Cheonhajangsa (Tactical Cat) saw off the rest of a fourteen-strong field by half a length to seal victory in a class 2, 1800 metre handicap. In Busan’s feature, five year old mare Real Winner (Red Sky’s) came through late to score her second consecutive class 2 victory. She’ll be mixing it with the elite next time out.

So ends a weekend which wasn’t really fit for racing. The track staff did a great job in ensuring that there wasn’t even the slightest chance of racing having to be called off. The horses, as they always do, took everything in their stride and gave their all. A word too for punters as although the queues at the betting windows were slightly shorter than on a normal Sunday, 35,000 still turned out.

As for the jockeys, who even on the best of days need to have an ambulance following them around such is the routine danger of their profession, all deserve the highest praise. And for Park Jong Hyun, who returned to the winner’s circle as nonchalantly as one would expect of someone having just won on a 1/5 shot, on this coldest of days, the warmest of congratulations.

Seoul Racecourse - Sunday January 16, 2011