Darryll Holland has returned to the UK after a successful 16 month stint in Korea. The British jockey racked up 66 winners from 350 rides in his time here, which puts him in 6th place in the all-time list of foreign jockeys to ride in Korea.
A few eyebrows were raised when Holland – a winner of numerous big races worldwide – arrived and many predicted that he would, like so many others before him, either leave quickly or at the very latest, quietly after his initial contract was up. To the pleasant surprise of the racing community – not to mention the delight of punters – he not only saw out his contract but renewed it twice.
Holland adapted well to life in Busan and while he experienced the similar frustrations to many foreign riders who come here, he embraced the local culture and got down to some serious hard work. Of course, the thing that overcomes all in racing is winners and he rode plenty of them.
It started on his debut day when he rode two winners and he never looked back. Riding for all of the top trainers here, including Busan’s main man Kim Young Kwan, he formed a particularly strong partnership with Australian trainer Peter Wolsley which saw them win the Gold Circle Trophy together with My Winner and culminated in a memorable Friday in January this year when they combined for four winners on a single afternoon.
Although they went their separate ways before the end of his time here, the Wolsley/Holland combination is one that will live long in punters’ memories.
He didn’t always see eye-to eye with the Stewards, feeling were overly keen to penalize what he termed “competitive race riding” – something that top local riders Mooon Se Young and Seo Seung Un, who try to ride in a similar way also complain of. Regardless, the Korea Racing Authority were as happy with him as punters were and made clear that he is welcome back at any time and supplying him with a glowing reference on departure.
Holland’s last ride in Korea was due to be on Indie Band in the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul on June 29 but sadly Korea’s best colt fractured a leg in the build-up to the race. That meant his last ride was at Busan on June 22. It was, of course, a winner.
Here he is winning from gate 12 on a horse called Geumsaero back in January: