Two of Korea’s top jockeys will relocate from January 1st. Seo Seung Un is going to Busan while the south coast’s champion jockey Jo Sung Gon will be based at Seoul.
Jo Sung Gon to Seoul is something that has been talked about every year for at least the past six and now the jockey who is about to be crowned Busan’s Champion for the fifth time, will finally go head to head with the country’s top rider in terms of numbers, Moon Se Young, in the capital.
With 658 winners from from 4181 rides at Busan so far (with one weekend to go), Jo leads the all-time winners’ list at the track and won the Championship in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. This year he will win the Championship this weekend and has become the first jockey at the track to ride over 100 winners in a calendar year.
Jo is, of course well-known to Seoul punters and was winning the nation’s most prestigious race at the track on Peter Wolsley’s Bold Kings only two Sundays ago. He won the Korean Derby on Sangseung Ilro in Seoul in 2009 and also partnered the remarkable Dangdae Bulpae to a hat-trick of President’s Cups between 2010 and 2012.
Seo Seung Un burst on to the scene in 2011, winning two races on his first day as an apprentice. He has gone on to ride 294 winners from 2170 rides at Seoul, finishing 3rd in the Championship in 2013 and 2nd in 2014. This year he finished in 3rd place but had a slightly disappointing end to the season, being only 6th best in the second half of the year.
Seo is a rare Seoul jockey in that he has tasted Group race success at Busan, winning the 2014 KRA Cup Mile on Cheongnyeong Bisang.
Another Busan rider, Hwang Jong Woo, will also transfer to Seoul (Hwang only rode eleven times in 2015). In other licensing news, Nozi Tomizawa and Pasquale Borelli have extended their licenses at Busan by three and six months respectively. As previously reported, Masa Tanaka, whose license expires on December 31st, is not renewing.
Jo Sung Gon is currently retained rider for Peter Wolsley and his departure eaves the Australian trainer with a dilemma in advance of the 2016 season with the rides on Triple Crown contender Banjaui Jewang and of course, Bold Kings, now up for grabs. While the depth in quality of horses is much greater at Busan, in the weighing room – where there is big gap between a small number of top jockeys and the rest – the depth in terms of top line riders is in favour of Seoul.