Moon Se Young today went where only one Korean man has ever gone before and rode his 1000th winner.
A four-timer last Sunday had taken him to the brink and while he couldn’t quite close it out in the rain last week, it didn’t take him very long today.
Riding Cheonha Miin in race 1, a horse who under any other jockey would probably have been 2nd or 3rd favourite but under Moon was odds-on, he settled just off the pace, before finding the rail in the home straight and guiding his filly to a comfortable win.
There was no overt celebration; a brief handshake with 2nd placed jockey Choi Won Joon as they pulled up was the only sign that this was anything other than another routine victory.
Indeed back in the winner’s circle, Moon tried to play it down, however, the presence of a KRA broadcast team and a large number of well-wishing punters scuppered that idea.
After a brief interview, Moon was ambushed by the several female members of the jockey colony who, just like those punters who had gathered, were determined not to let such an occasion pass without due recognition.
1,000 winners may not sound like a lot, especially for a 33-year-old. However, Korea is a little different. Moon Se Young qualified in 2001, in an age when jockeys were restricted to just 5 rides a week. Not a day, a week. Even when that restriction was lifted – and after Moon had served his time in the military – he could (and still can) only race 2 days a week; an absolute maximum of 20 rides.
Yet in that time, Moon Se Young has won everything. Among almost every big Stakes race, his most memorable victories came in the 2007 Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae in 2007 and then in a string of big races, including the Korean Derby in 2012, on the remarkable Jigeum I Sungan.
Only “President” Park Tae Jong has won more races than Moon. Park, 15 years Moon’s senior, is currently out injured but is approaching 2,000 winners. He is probably the only jockey who is a household name in Korea.
Moon Se Young, one of Korea’s great sportsmen, must soon be approaching that status. He finished the day on 1,002 winners.
Race 1 – Seoul Racecourse – 1300M – August 16, 2014
1. Cheonha Miin (KOR) – Moon Se Young – 1.9, 1.4
2. Royal Power (KOR) – Choi Won Joon – 3.3
3. Morning Heights (KOR) – Lim Gi Won – 1.2
Distances: 1.75 lengths/2.5 lengths – 7 ran