After six years officiating for the KRA at its Seoul and Busan Racecourses, Australian Brett Wright is returning to his homeland to take up a position with Racing Victoria. Wright was behind the binoculars for the last time in Korea at Busan’s meeting this past Sunday.
After joining the Racing Office of the Australian Jockey Club in Sydney in 1979, Wright eventually became a steward and, after 21 years’ service in Australia took up a position in Macau in 2000 where he would stay for four years until coming to Korea to take up a position as stipendiary Steward and “Special Consultant on Racing Issues” with the KRA – a position that was created as part of the KRA’s “Internationalization” program.
During his time in Korea, Wright was on the panel at Seoul Race Park before transferring to Busan where he became Chief Steward in late 2008. While the rest of the internationalization program is still in its infancy, Wright – joined later on by fellow Australian, the late James Perry – has nevertheless been instrumental in a number of initiatives that have helped racing here develop.
Tangible developments such as the introduction of new equipment – pacifiers being the best example – and the production of English language stewards’ reports are the most obvious. However, behind the scenes progress in terms of welfare issues, bringing rules – including those related to use of the whip – more in line with international standards and generally assisting in raising the standard of stewarding in Korea, will perhaps be considered more important achievements of his tenure in the long-term.
With Brett Wright’s departure, it leaves James Smith at Seoul as the only foreign steward on the peninsula. However, Wright will be replaced with hiring of a new steward – most likely American this time – for Busan currently in its final stages. Busan will also recruit a foreign Handicapper.
Horse Racing in Korea wishes Brett Wright and family all the best in Australia.