Month: August 2011

It’s Busan vs Seoul In 2011 Korean Oaks

Full Field For Fillies Classic

Eight fillies will travel down from Seoul to take on six of the Busan’s finest in the 2011 Korean Oaks at Busan Racecourse this Sunday.

Kim Ok Sung and Sen Girl won the Sports Seoul and will head Seoul's Oaks challenge this Sunday in Busan

After three years of failure, Seoul regained the Derby this year and will be confident about finding a winner to make it a double in the Ladies’ Classic.

Sen Girl won the Sports Seoul Oaks trial in June and is joined on the trip South by the three fillies who finished immediately behind her in that race: Mustang Queen, Allegrissimo and Seungniuihamseong. The fact that all four of the fillies have their regular jockeys travelling down with them, suggests that they are confident.

Useung Touch heads the field on her home track. A surprise third place in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul last November, she returned to the capital to score another shock when she ran second to Gwangyajeil in the Korean Derby in May.

Useung Touch trails Gwangyajeil to the line in the Korean Derby

Areumdaun Party and Amass are also among the six strong contingent hoping to regain the Oaks for Busan which last year was won by 50/1 outsider Euro Fighter from Seoul.

It’s an open race, with a case to be made for almost all of the full-field of fourteen who will line up at Busan at 4:15pm on Sunday. The Oaks is race 5 of a 6 race card which begins at 12:30pm. The big race will also be screened live at Seoul Race Park where there is also a full program of racing.

Here is a full run down of the runners – Name, Pedigree, race records (Starts/1st,2nd,3rd), Jockey – All entrants are Korean-bred three-year old fillies and all will carry 55Kg:

Korean Oaks (KOR.GII) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Sunday August 21, 2011 – 15:35

1. Nicole Windsor [Yehudi-Miss Windsor (Sanction)] (14/3/2/1) – Lee Joon Chel
Beat Sen Girl over 1700m in May and has gone close in useful company since. Chance of a place or even better if things go her way.

2. Allegrissimo [Bon Vivant-Corporate Romance-Corporate Report)] (8/2/3/1) – Moon Se Young
Third behind Sen Girl and Mustang Queen in the Sports Seoul Oaks trial at Seoul, the extra 100 metres could be in her favour. With Moon Se Young on board, she can’t be ignored.

3. Haengunui Mannam [Creek Cat-Clever Lil (Lil’s Lad)] (9/3/4/0) – Lim Sung Sil
Her wins have come at sprint distances-she’s never travelled further than a mile and didn’t impress at that distance. On form, she’s an outsider.

4. Choichoro [Concept Win-Eunbiryeong (Mujaazif)] (6/3/1/0) – Kim Dong Chul
Bang in form, winning her last three races at 1000m, 1200m and most recently 1700m, moving up in class each time. A wildcard who could cause problems.

5. Amass [Jamine Langfuhr-Jideokjang (Didyme)] (9/3/2/2) – Jo Sung Gon
Another who has recently come into form, Amass is one of the few fillies in the race who has won at the 1800m distance. Has twice been beaten by Areumdaun Party in the past, those were at lesser distances. Jockey Jo Sung Gon is also not to be taken lightly in any Stakes race.

6. Gyeonghuimanse [Creek Cat-Tamna Jeilbong (Lost Mountain)] (8/3/0/1) – Kim Cheol Ho
Won exceptionally smartly over the distance last time out, albeit at Seoul. A good place chance.

7. Seungniuihamseong [Vicar-Hug And Kiss (Commander In Chief)] (8/3/2/0) – Shin Hyoung Chul
Beat Allegrissimo when wining over the distance in May but was fourth in the Sports Seoul. Will need to improve if she is to reverse that result.

8. Mustang Queen [Concept Win-Arouser (Golden Missile)] (7/3/3/0) – Cho Kyoung Ho
Narrowly beaten in the Sports Seoul, she tries her luck at 1800m for the first time and, with Seoul’s Jockey Championship leader Cho Kyoung Ho in the saddle, she’ll be one of the favourites.

9. Beauty Icheon [Capital Spending-Painted Mountain (Mountain Cat)] (11/2/5/0) – Jo In Kwen
Coming into form at the right time with her two wins coming in her last three outings. Was a solid second in a tough race over the distance at Seoul last time out. May offer some place value.

10. Flower [Menifee-Fancy Cheeks (Jade Robbery)] (10/2/4/1) – Kim Dong Young
Untried at the distance she is therefore, despite her ten runs to date, still something of an unknown quantity. She ran second to Useung Touch last time out though and, unlike most fillies in the race, has already made it as far as class 2 and therefore deserves some respect.

11. Cyclone [Concept Win-Bakuachi (Debonair Roger)] (9/2/4/0) – Akane Yamamoto
Akane is in form but it would be a surprise if she picked up her first Korean Stakes win here. Cyclone has never gone further than a mile and disappointed on both her attempts at that distance. Nevertheless, if you bet jockeys, Akane is the one to be on at the moment.

12. Areumdaun Party [Menifee-Riverbrook (Montbrook)] (7/3/2/2) – Toshio Uchida
Toshio Uchida has already won one Classic this year on Soseuldaemun in the KRA Cup Mile and Mr Pink could grab a second here. Areumdaun Party won smartly over a mile last time out and showed enough to suggest the extra furlong won’t be a problem. One of the favourites.

13. Sen Girl [Strodes Creek-Badgering Shari (Badger Land)] (11/3/2/3) – Kim Ok Sung
Winning the Sports Seoul Oaks trial at Seoul automatically puts Sen Girl among the top picks here. Seemingly getting better with each run, she’ll be attempting 1800m for the first time and will have plenty of support in the betting.

14. Useung Touch [Menifee-Jenny Tudor (Gulch)] (8/4/2/1) – Choi Si Dae
Was a shock 90/1 third place in last year’s Breeders’ Cup and then ran Gwangyajeil close in the Korean Derby, also at long-odds. This time she’ll get the respect in the betting that she deserves and one her home track, could be favourite to walk off with the biggest prize.

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Record Breaking Jockey Hitomi Miyashita Retires From Racing

Hitomi Holds All-Time Japanese Win Record for Female Jockeys / Won 2009 Invitational at Busan

Hitomi Miyashita, the Japanese jockey who won the 2009 Lady Jockey Invitational, went on to spend a successful eighteen months riding at Busan Racecourse before returning to Japan this April. In her homeland, Hitomi holds the record for number of wins by a female jockey.

Hitomi Miyahshita (centre) after winning the 2009 Lady Jockey Invitational at Busan

Although the news broke last week, thirty-four year old Hitomi held a press conference at Nagoya Racecourse on Tuesday August 16 to officially make the announcement. According to the Kyodo News Agency, Hitomi cited her win on Ima Firecracker in the 2009 Lady Jockey Invitational at Busan – the race that led to her coming to Korea full-time – as being the highlight of her career.

In her time in Korea, from 660 rides, Hitomi ride 55 winners and 66 seconds for a win strike rate of 8.3% and a quinella rate of 18.3% and a place rate of 29.5% and was very popular among racing fans on the peninsula. She made one appearance at Seoul Race Park in the Grand Prix Stakes in 2009.

Here is her win on Ima Firecracker in the International Lady Jockey Invitational in 2009:

The second half of her time in Busan was more difficult than the first (as we covered here), however, Hitomi’s achievements opened the way for her Japanese successor at Busan. Akane Yamamoto, another Nagoya alumni, joined in July and is settling in well, riding her second double this past Sunday. Akane has now ridden five winners already but still has some way to go if she is to emulate Hitomi.

(h/t’s to @IshidaKazushi and @ss0325JP

South Africa’s Aldo Domeyer Wins YTN Cup

Turkey’s Ahmet Celik Is 7th KRA International Jockey Challenge winner

Aldo Domeyer and Tango Step return victorious in the YTN Cup

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.

Ahmet Celik on the Winner's Podium

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)

Ace Galloper Prepares for an easy victory



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.

Baekgwang Strolls back after finishing fifth

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.

Australia's Dwayne Dunn watches the Prize-giving ceremony

Ireland's Rory Cleary

YTN showed their race live on their News Channel

Ahmet Celik Wins First Leg Of Jockey Challenge

Turkey’s Ahmet Celik took victory in the first leg of the International Jockey Invitational at Seoul Race Park on Saturday evening. The Turkish rider guided 5/1 shot Sagunyukjin to a comfortable 4 length win ahead of Korea team captain Park Tae Jong on Bichui Adeul. Dwayne Dunn of Australia grabbed an unlikely third place for the International team on 33/1 outsider Yosulgongju.

Here’s the full result with win and place odds.

Seoul Race Park – Race 9 – 1900M Handicap (Domestic Class 2)

1. Sagunyukjin – Ahmet Celik (Turkey) – 6.1, 1.7
2. Bichui Adeul – Park Tae Jong (Korea) – 6.4, 1.7
3. Yosulgongju – Dawyne Dunn (Australia) – 34.2, 7.3
4. Forest Wind – Moon Se Young (Korea) – 2.3, 1.2
5. Isangwha – Oh Kyoung Hoan (Korea) – 5.0, 1.8
6. Mannamui Chubok – Ronald Woodworth (Malaysia) – 19.9, 5.2
7. Pyeongchangjeil – Rory Cleary (Ireland) 9.3, 2.6
8. Photo Stone – Cho Kyoung Ho (Korea) – 24.1, 6.3
9. Choedayeonseung – Yoshihiro Furukawa (Japan) – 38.8, 6.0
10. Oregon – Jo In Kwen (Korea) – 36.3, 8.6
11. Helmitonia – Aldo Domeyer (South Africa) – 92.6, 18.4

Distances: 4 lengths/Neck

It was a good day for Celik who also picked up a ride earlier and landed a fourth place finish in a non-challenge race. The second and final leg of the challenge itself is the YTN Cup on Sunday evening and Celik will have his work cut out on outsider Hwansanguimulgyeol if he is to maintain his lead at the top. Korean jockeys seem to have landed the favourites although Aldo Meyer on Tango Step and Yoshihiro Furukawa on A Wanted Affair can’t be ruled out. The race is at 19.25.

In other races on Saturday, Jumong (Johar) scored a convincing win over K J Khan in the feature handicap. The four-year old was winning his second consecutive class 1 race. Earlier, there was a second Korean win for Makoto Noda. The Japanese jockey guided 3/1 shot Ace Bolt (Milwaukee Brew) to a two-length win in race 6.

Apart from the conclusion of the jockey challenge, Sunday at Seoul is set to be a big day. Baekgwang (The Groom Is Red finally makes his return after 18 months on the sidelines. The great grey will have it all to do though as he faces Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal), currently Seoul’s best domesticaly born horse.

Two races before the YTN Cup, Seoul will honour the jockeys who have lost their lives at the track over the years. The Jockey Memorial race was held for the first time in 2008, marking the first anniversary of the death of Lim Dae Gyu during a race at Seoul. A year later it was extended to remember all those jockeys – Seo Dae Won, Kim Tae Sung, Lee Jun Hee, Yoo Hun and Lim himself.

The Seoul Jockey Room (along with International visitors) stand before last year's Jockey Memorial race

The Jockey Memorial Race is now run on the last Sunday of night racing each year. A minute’s silence will be observed simultaneously in the weighing rooms at both Seoul and Busan

Sunday August 14

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 14:20 to 21:00 including the YTN Cup at 19:25
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 16:30 to 20:35

* We’ll have full real-time updates live from Seoul Race Park throughout Sunday on twitter – 3G and wi-fi permitting.

Baekgwang And Jockey Challenge Headline Big Weekend At Seoul

Six foreign jockeys are in town for The 7th KRA International Jockey Invitational which takes place at Seoul Race Park this weekend.

All twelve competitors in this weekend's International Jockey Challenge pose for pictures at Thursday's draw

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.

Lst week, the International Jockey Challenge was promoted as being 4races - all of a sudden, it's just 2

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.

Baekgwang and Park Tae Jong will be reunited on Sunday

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

Seventh International Jockey Challenge Set For This Weekend In Seoul

Riders from Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Turkey, Japan and Malaysia in town to take on home team

It’s that time of year again! The KRA mobilises its fleet of interpreters, punters look on in bemusement, and the local Jockey Union grits its teeth and stamps its feet at those foreigners taking our money! Yes, it’s the 7th International Jockey Invitational Challenge.

The International Jockey Challenge promoted on the Big Screen at Seoul last week

Six overseas riders will take on six Koreans for a $20,000 individual prize plus an overall team prize in four races over the weekend, culminating in Sunday night’s YTN Stakes. Home jockeys have dominated over the past two years, mainly die to luck of the draw for rides. This year’s draw takes place on Thursday and we’ll have a full run-down on respective riders’ chances over the next couple of days. In the meantime, here’s who’s in town:

International

As usual its a mixture of veterans and up and comers. The KRA has close links with all the national racing associations who are sending jockeys, however, for the first time in the event’s seven-year hstory, there will be no competitor from the USA. Here is a rundown of the international team (Name (age) – Country – Experience – Rides/wins/seconds/thirds):

Ahmet Celik (24) – Turkey – 7 years – 4661/510/522/503

Has recent experience in these kinds of challenges being part of the Turkish team that saw off the likes of Johnny Murtagh and Olivier Peslier in a Jockey Challenge at Veliefendi Racecourse in Istanbul last month.

Rory Cleary (24) – Ireland – 7 years – 3012/161/155/186

From a racing family, Cleary has ridden winners in multiple Listed races in ultra-competitive Irish racing, Cleary follows the likes of Wayne Lordan and Pat Shanahan in representing Ireland in Korea. See here for a detailed biography from Horse Racing Ireland.

Aldo Domeyer (24) – South Africa – 4 years – 2288/194/204/193

A Champion apprentice in South Africa, Domeyer is nicknamed “The Candy Kid” after his Champion Jockey father “The Candyman” Andrew Fortune, Here is an interview with TAB Online from last year in which he cites Muzi Yeni, who competed in last year’s challenge, as one of his role-models.

Dwayne Dunn (38) – Australia – 22 years – 6656/876/2-3 1454

Now considered a veteran, Dunn has won many top class races including the Caulfield Cup and four consecutive victories in the Blue Diamond Stakes. Dunn has also ridden in Hong Kong.

Yoshihiro Furakawa (34) – Japan – 15 years – 5093/267/329/351

The experienced Furukawa’s biggest wins in his homeland have come in the 2009 Queen’s Stakes and the 1997 Hanshin Sansai Himba Stakes. Last year’s Japanese entrant, Syu Ishibashi won the final leg of the challenge, the YTN Cup, which again provides the Stakes finale on SUnday evening.

Ronald Woodworth (38) – Malaysia – 17 years – 5266/546/524/528

The only visitor to have ridden in Korea before, Woodworth came to Seoul in 2008 to ride in the Selangor Turf Club Trophy. During his career in Malaysia and Singapore, Woodworth has ridden 24 Stakes winners.

Korea

The home side sends out pretty much its “A-Team”. As usual, Park Tae Jong heads the list of usual suspects. Jo In Kwen, currently enjoying a breakthrough season in fourth place in the title race, joins the team for the first time.

Park Tae Jong (45) – 24 years – 10800/1696/1541/1289
Shin Hyoung Chul (44) – 23 years – 5494/583/602/547
Cho Kyoung Ho (35) – 10 years – 3804/648/534/411
Moon Se Young (30) – 10 years – 3526/608/478/410
Oh Kyoung Hoan (31) – 12 years – 2541/251/235/226
Jo In Kwen (24) – 3 years – 916/115/97/77

The challenge consists of four races – two each on Saturday and Sunday – culminating in the YTN Cup Stakes on Sunday evening. They are:

Saturday August 13: Race 6 – 16:50 – 1400M
Saturday August 13: Race 9 – 19:20 – 1900M
Sunday August 14: Race 6 – 16:35 – 1400M
Sunday August 14: Race 9 – 19:10 – 1900M (YTN Cup Stakes)

Jockerys receive 20 points for a win, 15 for second and then it decreases in increments of three down to sixth place.

* UPDATE (Aug 11) – Race cards have been published for this weekend and, contrary to the original schedule released by the KRA, the international jockeys will only take part in one race on each day – race 9 on both Saturday and Sunday.

New Yeongcheon Racecourse Approved But Punters May Pay

All regulatory requirements have been fulfilled and Korea’s third thoroughbred racecourse will definitely be built at Yeongcheon.

The site in Yeongcheon that will be a racecourse by 2014

The site in North Gyeongsang Province was selected by the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) in February 2010 and the planning and approval process is now complete. However, in exchange for granting another track, the regulator has demanded further draconian restrictions on gambling on horse racing.

To start with, the KRA will have to close one off-track betting site this year and a further two next year if Yeongcheon is to be able to open in 2014. The KRA currently maintains 34 off-track betting “Plazas” in towns and cities across Korea in order to provide a legal betting outlet for punters who cannot get to the tracks in Seoul and Busan. Anecdotal evidence suggests that illegal betting houses have been more than happy to fill the void in areas where no legal outlets are available, especially since the regulator-enforced closure of the K-Netz online and phone betting platform two years ago. Depressingly, this looks set to increase.

Secondly, and perhaps more fundamentally, the KRA is to agree to press ahead with requirements for all legal punters to be issued with an electronic ID card which will record all transactions they make at the track. The idea, which has been in trials since last year, is ostensibly to identify potential problem gamblers at an early stage and to prevent punters exceeding the 100,000 won per race bet limit by visiting multiple betting windows or terminals. On the plus side, there are suggestions that it may also be used as a “mileage card” whereby punters will get a 1% rebate on all wagers.

Naturally the massive amount of personal information it will collect nor the big juicy contracts to be handed out for setting up and administering the scheme have nothing to do with it.

So it looks like we are set for Yeongcheon – out in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the vague vicinity of Daegu. It isn’t the most logical place to put a racetrack but then neither was the inaccessible site where they decided to build the Busan track. And neither was the place where they decided to build the Jangsu Training Centre in Jeolla Province (levelling half a mountain in the process instead of going somewhere flat). However, those planning decisions worked out very well for some people. No doubt Yeongcheon will too.