100th Winner for Jo In Kwen / Mister Park Streak Hits Fourteen
Jo In Kwen passed an important milestone at Seoul Race Park today as he became the first of the “New Generation” of Korean jockeys to record his 100th winner. The landmark arrived in race 4, as Jo partnered favourite, Power Runner to a routine two-length victory. It was his 811th ride since making his debut in June 2008.
The “New Generation” comprises graduates of the KRA’s Jockey Academy which, with overseas riding instructors, has been churning out riders with a more westernized style and approach to racing. Of course once they graduate and are apprenticed to a trainer – all ex-jockeys themselves – they are expected to ride in the old style. However, class is gradually begininng to show through and the likes of Jo, Boo Min Ho and this year’s stand-out debutant Jang Chu Yeol are some of those young riders making quick in-roads into the upper-echelons of the weighing room.
Among them is Kim Hae Sun who looks like she has a chance of being the first female rider to break through to the top-tier. Today, she scored her 21st career winner with a typically dashing performance on Ganghanyeosin in race 5. That Ganghanyeosin was favourite is telling. Kim is the first female rider to have regular opportunities on fancied horses. And when she gets those opportunities, she converts them at a rate equal to anybody’s.
In the feature race today, Jo In Kwen could only manage second place, albeit on a 35/1 outsider, as 4/1 High Point took the honours by a comfortable five lengths. It was five-year old High Point’s second consecutive victory and his first at class 1.
Down at Busan, Korea’s current number one horse Mister Park (Ecton Park) further enhanced his reputation as he moved onto fourteen straight wins by taking the feature race. Facing exclusively foreign-bred opposition for the first time and with a relatively unknown jockey on board, punters still sent the 2010 Grand Prix winner off as the long odds-on favourite. And, despite one or two nervous moments, he didn’t let them down. Bounding out of the gate into an early lead, Lee Dae Yeon and Mister Park had the race fully under control from the beginning and looked set for a comfortable win.
However, as they entered the home stretch, Sinheung Hwangjae, a five-year old Australian bred horse emerged from the field and challenged the leader on his inside. With two furlongs to go, he drew level and for the next furlong the lead changed hands a number of times. For just a moment, it looked as though the champion was going to falter but it was only for a moment. As they entered the final 150 metres, Mister Park shifted gears again and eased away from his opponent, recording a three-length victory on the line.
The streak is intact – following defeat on his racecourse debut, Mister Park has now gone fourteen races without suffering another.
* Yesterday at Seoul, the “rubber match” between Jumong and Bally Brae was crashed emphatically by Strong Demand (Read The Footnotes), who justified his favourite tag by scoring a two and a half-length victory in the feature race. Jumong (Johar) got the better of Bally Brae (Yarrow Brae) as the pair finished second and third respectively to take a 2-1 lead in their 2011 head-to-heads.
Next week it’s the big one. The 14th Korean Derby. All the build-up will be here throughout the week.