Six foreign jockeys are in town for The 7th KRA International Jockey Invitational which takes place at Seoul Race Park this weekend.
However, for the first time in the event’s history, it’s only going to be contested over two races. As recently as Monday this week, the KRA was putting out promotional literature with four races advertised but by the time of Thursday’s draw it was down to just two, one on Saturday and the YTN Cup on Sunday.
We’ll look at the “circumstances” cited for this after the event, in the meantime let’s just look forward to the weekend’s racing.
Here are the handicaps for the two international races – only 11 are entered for the first race so Shin Hyoung Chul misses out. In the YTN Cup there is a full field of 14 so Kim Hae Sun and Moon Jung Kyun pick up rides even though they are not part of the challenge (Name, age, sex, weight carried (Runs/1st/2nd/3rd) Jockey):
Saturday August 13 – Race 9 – Domestic bred Class 2 Handicap – 1900 Metres – 19:20
1. Sagunyakin – 5,H,54Kg (34/3/4/3) – Ahmet Celik (Turkey)
2. Bichui Adeul – 5,G,56Kg (37/1/7/2) – Park Tae Jong (Korea)
3. Pyeongchangjeil – 5,G,55Kg (16/3/3/2) – Rory Cleary (Ireland)
4. Photo Stone – 6,M,54Kg (24/3/2/4) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Korea)
5. Isanghwa – 5,M,54Kg (18/4/2/0) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Korea)
6. Oregon – 5,H,54Kg (23/2/3/6) – Jo In Kwen (Korea)
7. Yosulgongju – 6,M,54 (44/3/4/4) – Dwayne Dunn (Australia)
8. Forest Wind – 4,C,57.5Kg (14/4/0/2) – Moon Se Young
9. Choedayeonseung – 4,F,54.5Kg (18/4/0/4) – Yoshihiro Furukawa (Japan)
10. Mannamui Chubok – 5,H,54Kg (27/4/2/5) – Ronald Woodworth (Malaysia)
11. Helmitonia – 5,G,54.5Kg (32/2/3/6) – Aldo Domeyer (South Africa)
Verdict: This is a pretty poor Class 2 handicap. Ahmet Celik and Rory Cleary look to have the best draws of the visitors as both Sagunyakin and Pyeongchangjeil have strong claims. Moon Se Young on Forest Wind and Oh Kyoung Hoan on Isanghwa look set to be the main dangers from the home team.
Sunday August 14 – Race 9 – YTN Cup Stakes Listed Foreign bred Class 2 Handicap – 1900M – 19.25
1. Fortunata (USA) – 4,F,54.5Kg (17/2/1/3) – Shin Hyoung Chul (Korea)
2. Chongalcheoreom (NZ) – 5,M,54Kg (32/1/2/5) – Dwayne Dunn (Australia)
3. Burning Sky (JPN) – 4,F,54Kg (21/2/3/1) – Cho Kyoung Ho (Korea)
4. Alpha Lady (AUS) – 5,M,54Kg (24/2/2/0) – Ronald Woodworth (Malaysia)
5. Sky Center (USA) – 6,M,54.5Kg (35/1/6/4) – Rory Cleary
6. A Wanted Affair (USA) – 3,F,54Kg (9/2/2/2) – Yoshihiro Furukawa (Japan)
7. Blueband Mama (USA) – 4,F,56Kg (10/2/4/0) – Park Tae Jong (Korea)
8. Silent Dashing (USA) – 4,F,55.5Kg (9/3/3/0) – Jo In Kwen (Korea)
9. Kkochyeoul (USA) – 3,F,55Kg (10/1/6/1) – Kim Hae Sun
10. Imperial Girl (USA) – 3,F,56Kg (12/2/0/4) – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Korea)
11. Pilseung Korea (JPN) – 4,F,54Kg (26/0/1/3) – Moon Jung Kyun
12. Uigiyangyang (USA) – 4,F,54Kg (24/2/3/3) – Moon Se Young (Korea)
13. Tango Step (KOR) – 4,F,55.5Kg (14/5/1/2) – Also Domeyer (South Africa)
14. Hwansanguimulgyeol (KOR) – 6,M,54Kg (31/4/2/5) – Ahmet Celik (Turkey)
Verdict: The YTN is arguably the weakest Stakes race of the year so it is tempting to go for one of the three-year olds who is potentially an improver. A Wanted Affair and Blueband Mama fit this criteria but in terms of form, Imperial Girl, Silent Dashing and Kkochyeol (not part of the challenge) have claims. Korean bred Tango Step hasn’t been entered for the fun of it either. It will be a very competitive betting race.
In addition to prize money (just over 5% goes to the jockey in Korea), the jockeys are competing for an overall prize of $20,000 for the rider who scores the most points ver the two races. A win gives 20 points, second 10 and third 6.
Once the Jockey Challenge is done with, something special is set to happen at Seoul on Sunday evening. In the late feature handicap Baekgwang [The Groom Is Red – Grey Crest (Gold Crest)] is set to make his return after 18 months out.
The grey, winner of the 2006 Minister’s Cup is now eight years old and due to injuries has only ever raced 23 times. He’s won 11 of those and his battling come-from-behind style has won him legions of fans. His sister Baekpa won the 2007 Korean Oaks and 2008 SBS Cup and together they are perhaps the most popular Korean horses of the past decade.
We don’t know what kind of form Baekgwang will be in though he looked good in his qualifying trial last month. If he’s at his best, he will have every chance. It is a rare event in Korea that punters cheer for the name of a horse rather than its number, however, that is what will happen under the lights at Seoul at 8:30pm on Sunday
* Also on Sunday, the last evening meeting of the year, will be the 3rd Jockey Memorial race. We’ll have a preview of that race along with the story behind it on the site tomorrow.
Here’s what’s happening for the rest of this weekend:
Saturday August 13
Seoul Race Park: 12 races from 14:20 to 20:50
Jeju Race Park: 9 races from 16:20 to 21L10
Sunday August 14
Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:20 to 21:00 inclusing the YTN Cup at 19.25
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 16:30 to 20:35