Bally Brae, Former Horse Of The Year and Grand Prix Winner, Retired Aged 10 As Little Sister Breaks Maiden

Last Saturday at Seoul may hae drawn most attention for a jockey picking up a 6 month ban for a foolish ride, however, amongst the winners of 12 relatively low-key races, there was one notable filly, who broke her maiden at the fifth attempt.

Global Bally [Forest Camp-Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] took victory in race 3 by a length and a half at odds of 6/1. She is the half-sister of Bally Brae, Korea’s Horse Of The Year in 2006 and Grand Prix Stakes winner in 2007 and her win came one month after the 10-year-old finished 9th in what would be his final ever outing at Seoul Race Park.

Bally Brae and Moon Se Young win the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes (KRA)

The American bred Bally Brae [Yarrow Brae – Political Bluff (Unaccounted For)] is one of a few horses, Subsidy, Luna, Baekgwang, Baekpa who established themselves both as a champion racehorse and as a firm fan-favourite.

Imported in January 2006 after being (so the story goes) spotted in the US by Hong Dae You, then a jockey. His debut, with Hong in the saddle, was a winning one and began a run of four straight wins culminating in triumph in the 2006 Selangor Turf Club Trophy. A pair of Stakes runner-up finishes later and he found himself lining up for the Grand Prix Stakes at the end of the 2006 season. He wouldn’t win, leading most of the way before finishing second to Flying Cat (Western Cat).

It was in 2006 that he began the rivalry for which he will be most remembered. Bally Brae and Subsidy (Mr. Prospector) traded big handicap wins with each other throughout that year and 2007 – Subsidy getting the better of their most memorable battle. It was Bally Brae, however, now with Hong Dae You as trainer and Moon Se Young in the saddle, who claimed the biggest win of his career in the 2007 Grand Prix, with Subsidy four lengths adrift.

Bally Brae would continue to be the top horse on the peninsula in 2008. However, he was being restricted by a high handicap mark and defeat to Dongbanui Gangja (Broken Vow) in that year’s Grand Prix heralded the start of the changing of the guard. Two wins and a second place to start 2009 showed that there was still plenty of life left in the now seven-year old, but an injury then began to cause him problems. Although he recovered quickly, he never quite regained his old speed.

Despite this, he started 2010 with three straight wins. Inevitably this put his handicap mark back up and, over the next two years, while he regularly finished in the money, he would only score one more win. In another symbolic changing of the guard, earlier this year, both he and Dongbanui Gangja finished more than 10 lengths adrift of the new star, Smarty Moonhak (Smarty Jones).

His owners had pledged to retire him if he became uncompetitive and, after running ninth on April 14th, it was announced that he would not race again. Instead, he has been sent to the Korea Horse Affairs High School – a specialist school in Jeolla Province, run by the KRA which, in addition to the standard school curriculum, equips students with the skills they need to go on to work in the racing and equestrian industries. There he will have the status of “Visiting Professor” and, still race fit, will be ridden by the next generation of aspiring jockeys.

Bally Brae and Hong Dae You, first his jockey, then his trainer (KRA)

Bally Brae’s dam, Political Bluff, was imported to Korea in 2007. It is common practice for the KRA to buy the dams of good imported racehorses. the dams of Dongbanui Gangja and Tough Win have both arrived in Korea in recent years.

As for Global Bally, trained by Hong Dae You and ridden by Moon Se Young, she has a long way to go to emulate her big brother. With that first win under her belt though, she is finally on her way.

* Bally Brae’s great rival Subsidy was retired in 2010. Retrained as a riding horse, he sadly died in a paddock accident earlier this year.

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