A couple of weeks after Tough Win had his retirement ceremony it was the turn of his trainer for his biggest wins, Shin Woo Chul, to have a retirement ceremony of his own at Seoul Racecourse last week. The 63-year-old trainer has reached the mandatory retirement age for trainers and will not apply to renew his license.
Shin has trained more winners than any other trainer in Korea – although that record will almost certainly be passed shortly by Kim Young Kwan at Busan – seeing his horses return victorious on 1149 occasions from a total of 8713 starters dating back to 1983.
Tough Win was his best horse although he also trained two-time SBS Cup winner High Point and 2003 Grand Prix Stakes winner Habidongju. Shin’s stable had been winding down recently with only 6 winners from 140 starters in his final 12 months.
Current leader of the Seoul Trainer’s Championship is Seo In Seok with 24 winners although only 8 winners separates him from 10th placed Bae Dae Sun in the ever noncompetitive capital. By contrast at cut-throat Busan, Kim Young Kwan leads with 66 with Peter Wolsley in 2nd on 36.
The end of June is the time when many licenses expire or come up from renewal and there are plenty of comings and goings this year.
Seoul jockeys Seo Do Soo, Kim Seok Bong, Kim Young Jin, Kho Sung Yi and Shin Dae Jun all surrendered their licenses at the end of June after careers of varying length and indifference. Some are likely to apply for training licenses. From Busan, Seo In Sub and Park Sung Kwang have also retired from the saddle.
For reasons recently reported, a higher than usual number of riding vacancies have recently arisen in the pony racing on Jeju Island and along with a slew of new apprentices, Busan’s Jo Hee Won and Seoul’s Yoo Mi Ra have relocated to the island to become pony jockeys. For both it looks to be a good opportunity to revive careers that had been drifting somewhat.
Five riders have successfully graduated from the academy and have become apprentice thoroughbred jockeys. Two will begin riding at Seoul shortly. They are 21-year-old Lee Dong Ha, who will be apprenticed to trainer Ha Jae Heung and 27-year-old Lee Cheol Kyung, who will be with Seo In Seok.
At Busan there are three new apprentices. 20-year-old Lee Hyo Sik will be with Kim Nam Joong. Jung Do Yoon, also 20, is apprenticed to An Woo Sung while the first Korean female jockey to be ride full-time at Busan since 2010 is 19-year-old Choi Eun Kyung. She gets a great opportunity to learn, having been placed with South African trainer Bart Rice.