Seoul Racecourse has a new foreign steward. James Smith made his first appearance behind the binoculars this past weekend.
Smith who – if the picture to the left is anything to go by – is a man who clearly appreciates a good tie, is a fifty-six year old American and has spent most of his career officiating at tracks in Oregon, principally Portland Meadows but has also had stints at Minnesota’s Canterbury Park and Iowa’s Prairie Meadows.
He’s joined what is usually a five-man panel at Seoul but will occasionally be seen guesting at Busan and Jeju as the KRA likes its stewards to sit on different panels from time-to-time. Down at Busan an Australian, Brett Wright, is currently Chief Stipendiary Steward.
In addition to race day duties, the job description of overseas Stewards in Korea also includes being a “Special Advisor” on racing related issues, particularly with regard to the “internationalization” of Korean racing – not an easy task in Seoul.
The position had been vacant for five months since previous incumbent James Perry returned to his native Australia last September. Perry was sadly lost in the Queensland flooding last month.