Day: March 7, 2015

Rafale Downed As Goliath Marine Wins Again At Busan

Highly rated 3-year-old Rafale slumped to defeat as trainer Peter Wolsley and jockey Jo Sung Gon cleaned-up at Busan on Friday.

While he was always going to be favourite, Rafale (Colors Flying) was sent off at impossibly short-odds for the 1900M class 2 handicap and while he looked well-placed entering the home straight, it was second-favourite Goliath Marine (Volponi) who sprinted away from the field to claim his 3rd win from his last 4 starts. Rafale, who was 2nd in last year’s Seoul Breeders’ Cup and was an easy winner when tried around two-turns for the first time in January, came home 4th.

Goliath Marine was the 4th winner of the day for Australian trainer Peter Wolsley, who returns to the tope of the trainer’s championship as a result. Earlier, he’d sent out Happy Hana (Biwa Shinseiki) to win race 5 and Choedae Gangja (Didyme) to win race 6 before his up and coming import Different Dimension (Into Mischief) landed a 3rd win in 3 career starts in race 10.

Lee Hee Cheon rode Choedae Gangja but the other three were all ridden by Jo Sung Gon and Jo would also get four winners on the day with a perfectly timed ride on Morning Hwiparam (Everydayissaturday) in race 8. Jo showed his quality in the saddle by bringing the gelding from last to first through a crowd of horses in the home straight, stealing victory on the line by the narrowest of noses.

Wolsley wasn’t the only foreign connection at Busan among the winners yesterday. Nozomu Tomizawa rode favourite Daejiui Jilju (Admire Don) to victory in race 3 while his fellow Japanese rider Masa Tanaka scored in race 7 on Triple Nine (Ecton Park). From the Kim Young Kwan stable, Triple Nine has now won three of his four starts to date.

Racing returns to Busan on Sunday when Success Story, Ghost Whisper, Cheonji Bulpae and Gumpo Sky all feature in the main handicap.

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TV News Trains Sights On Racing

It wasn’t the best of weeks publicity wise for Korean Racing. The highest profile instance was last Sunday evening when one of the country’s most-watched TV news magazine programs, MBC TV’s “Sisa Magazine 2580”, produced a 15-minute segment on the KRA’s new race plan and specifically the objections to it from breeders, owners and trainers.

Those objections centre around the removal, with the exception of some Graded and Listed events, of separate races for domestic-bred horses at class 1 and class 2 level coupled with the raising of the limit that can spend on importing racehorses (now up to $50,000 for colts and geldings and no limit at all for fillies) and the potential impact of this on the domestic breeding industry.

A lack of consultation and the perceived high-handed way in which it was introduced came in for strong criticism during the program.

Additionally, the program alleged that messages left on the KRA’s “voice of customer” section in support of the new system were posted from computers with IP addresses belonging to the Authority itself, (internet commenters pretending to be somewhere or something they are not has become a somewhat hot issue in Korea over the past couple of years following some high profile political cases). While it is not 100% impossible that these were punters in the Seoul Racecourse Internet Cafe expressing their admiration of the Authority, viewers will have drawn their own conclusions.

The MBC program came one day after cable channel JTBC, was among media outlets reporting that a jockey, described as being a “20-year veteran” was under investigation for allegedly accepting money in exchange for providing information to illegal gambling interests. As a criminal investigation is underway, the jockey in question can’t be named in Korea for legal reasons.

There was some good coverage too; a video went viral in Korea of a horse used to pull tourist carriages being beaten by its owner (caution, link shows distressing scenes). The KRA tracked down the horse and rescued it. All good, however, the goodwill generated by that episode will likely have been lost over the week.

All in all, is is good to get back to racing this weekend.