The 2014 Korean racing season got underway at Busan today and the track’s foreign jockeys were on fire as they helped themselves to 7 of the 12 races.
Masa Tanaka kicked things off with victory in race 3 on 6/1 chance Bada Gangja with Darryll Holland getting off the mark for the year in the next with a 2-length win on Thunder Ray. Race 5 saw Joe Fujii get in on the action as he guided US-bred gelding Smart Energy to a 6-length triumph.
Local jockeys Park Sung Kwang and Kim Jeong Woong grabbed the next two before Fujii completed a double with an unexpected win on 19/1 outsider Uribong in race 8.
Holland wrapped up a double of his own in race 10, piloting Peter Wolsley’s Vicar Sun home before Fujii took over once more and snatched the final two races of the day on Queen’s Blade and Cheonji Jeonseung to complete a remarkable four-timer.
Fujii, who turned 30 on New Year’s Eve, finished 2nd in the Busan Jockey Championship in 2013, winning both the Korean Derby and Oaks along the way. For Holland, it was a welcome return to the saddle and the winner’s circle after being forced to miss last weekend’s bumper cards through suspension. Meanwhile the ever-reliable Tanaka was continuing the good form he showed last week when he won his first Korean class 1 race.
Saturday sees opening day at Seoul where it’s not likely to quite as successful for the visitors among the capital jockey colony. Ikuyasu Kurakane is suspended leaving Fausto Durso as the only foreign jockey in action. On Sunday there is racing at both Seoul and Busan.