Turkey’s Ahmet Celik Is 7th KRA International Jockey Challenge winner
South African Aldo Domeyer guided 21/1 shot Tango Step to victory in the YTN Cup at Seoul Race Park this evening. However, while Domeyer got the Stakes win glory, it is Turkish rider Ahmet Celik who heads home with the bigger check after securing overall victory in the two-race International Jockey Invitational.
Korean jockeys had very much the better of the draw for rides in the YTN Cup but it was one of those not involved in the challenge itself, Kim Hae Sun, who immediately set out for the lead on 5/1 Kkochyeoul. She may not have been taking part in the challenge, but she was out to secure some history and become the first Korean woman to win a Stakes race. It looked like it may happen too as Kkochyeoul remained in the lead until midway down the home straight. Almost last as they began the long turn for home, Domeyer and Tango Step began picking off the horses in front of them and, shifting onto the rail, hit the front with a furlong to go.
Once in the lead, the result was never in doubt and they raced away to record a two length victory from Kkochyeoul with 8/1 Fortunata in third under Shin Hyoung Chul. Tango Step was one of only two Korean bred entrants in the race. She moves onto six wins from fifteen starts. Domeyer returned to the unsaddling enclosure with arms in the air and shouting in celebration – a refreshing change from the poker-faced automaton-like response to a Stakes win that we are accustomed to here.
The next best placed international rider was Ahmet Celik, all the way back in eighth on Hwansanguimulgyeol, but with Celik having won the first leg of the challenge and Domeyer while Domeyer finished last, it was enough for the Turkish jockey to take overall victory. Korean riders filling places 3-7 meant that, for what it was worth, Korea took the team prize.
YTN Cup – International Jockey Invitational – Seoul Race Park – 1900M – August 14, 2011
1. Tango Step (KOR) [Jump Start – Jewell Dare (Woodman)] – Aldo Domeyer (Turkey) – 22.8, 5.5
2. Kkochyeoul (USA) [Essence Of Dubai – A Star Has Risen (Rock Band)] – Kim Hae Sun – 2.9
3. Fortunata (KOR) [Eurosilver – Eleanor’s Song (Seattle Song)] – Shin Hyoung Chul (Korea) – 2.6
Distances: 2.5 lengths/1.5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Uigiyangyang (Choi Bum Hyun – Korea) 5. Burning Sky (Cho Kyoung Ho – Korea) 6. Blueband Mama (Park Tae Jong – Korea) 7. Imperial Girl (Oh Kyoung Hoan – Korea) 8. Hwansanguimulgyeol (Ahmet Celik – Turkey) 9. Silent Dashing (Jo In Kwen – Korea) 10. Sky Center (Rory Cleary – Ireland) 11. Pilseung Korea (Moon Jung Kyun) 12. Cheongalcheoreom (Dwayne Dunn – Australia) 13. Alpha Lady (Ronald Woodworth – Malaysia) 14. A Wanted Affair (Yoshihiro Furukawa – Japan)
After the Jockey Challenge there was a moment that Korean racing fans have been waiting a long time for as Baekgwang (The Groom Is Red) made his return to the track after an eighteen month layoff. It had been the grey’s third lengthy spell on the sidelines after previously undergoing stem-cell treatment on his troublesome knee. He was always going to be up against it today as taking him on was Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) currently Seoul’s number one ranked Korean born horse.
And it was a routine victory for Ace Galloper as he cruised to the front entering the home straight and effortlessly opened up an unassailable lead, crossing the line six lengths ahead of second placed Natural Guy. Baekgwang, who was kept well-placed throughout by Park Tae Jong, was unable to come up with his traditional closing burst of speed but still managed to finish in a creditable – and moneying – fifth place. Concerningly, he did seem to be slightly hobbling as he left the unsadddling enclosure. We know better than to write Baekgwang off though so hopefully it won’t be the last time we see him on the track.
Next week we return to a daytime schedule and it’s at Busan where the main action will be. Once more there is a South African connection with the Gold Circle Turf Club Trophy up for grabs, however, the main event is undoubtedly Sunday’s Korean Oaks. We’ll begin the build-up right here, very soon.