Dean Holland has been officially licensed to ride in Korea. The Australian jockey has an initial four-month license, which became effective on March 1 and will run until the end of June. He is expected to start riding in the middle of this month.
27-year-old Holland began his apprenticeship in Adelaide before moving to Victoria at the age of 18 to work under top trainer David Hayes. It was back in South Australia though, at Morphettville Racecourse, where he recorded his biggest winner to date, partnering Tanby to victory in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup in March 2015. He also won the Group 1 Australasian Oaks on Small Minds at the same track in 2010 and has ridden in excess of 500 career winners.
Holland replaces Nicola Pinna, who finished his four months just before the Lunar New Year holiday. Pinna faced difficulties in terms of making weight and also with riding through the coldest time of year in Korea. Holland, still riding in Australia this week and not scheduled start riding until mid-March, as well as being able to do 50kg, is unlikely to have to deal with those two issues.
A number of Australians have ridden in Korea in the past, mainly at Busan. When the south coast track opened, three Australians were granted licenses; Mark Newnham, Nathan Day and Garry Baker. While the former two didn’t stay long, Baker ended up riding for an extended period and won some big races along the way. Nathan Stanley also enjoyed moderate success in 2011. As for Seoul, although Danny Craven rode full time short period in 2008, the experience of Australian riders has mostly been confined to jockey challenges and international races with Noel Callow winning two races and the overall challenge in 2013.
There are currently two other foreign jockeys riding at Seoul. Djordje Perovic is in top form at the moment and lies in 2nd place in the 2016 Jockey Championship with 15 winners, while Yuri Takahashi, who was doing very well at the end of last year, has suffered from a lack of quality mounts in recent months. Regardless, he has still managed to pick up 6 victories so far this year.
At Busan there are currently three Japanese jockeys; Ikuyasu Kurakane, Nozi Tomizawa and Makoto Okabe as well as Italian Pasquae Borelli.
Dean Holland is the son of jockey Darren Holland and is not to be confused with Briton Darryll Holland, who rode very successfully at Busan for a year between 2013 and 2014.
Because you can never have too many Deans – Busan has Dean Russell, a jockey trainer – another Australian, Brian Dean is set to become Seoul’s first foreign Trainer. While still at the moment sending out runners in Singapore, this Dean is in the process of setting up his stable, having been initially granted 18 boxes in the capital. Although there have to date been four foreign trainers active in Korea, all of them have been at Busan and Dean’s debut on a hitherto complacent capital backstretch is eagerly awaited.
*Thanks to Ross Holburt for pointing out that while Darren Hayes may or may not train some horses on his off-days, it is David Hayes who is the Melbourne Cup winning trainer. This has now been amended!