Jo In Kwen and Kim Young Kwan were 2017 Champion Jockey and Trainer respectively at Busan Racecourse. Jo, in his first year at Busan having transferred from Seoul finished the year with 96 winners, 12 clear of 2nd placed Jo Sung Gon, while Kim as usual dominated the Trainer ranks, ending with almost double the number of winners as his nearest challenger.
Jo In Kwen returned to racing in 2016 having completed his two years of National Service and joined Jo Sung Gon and Ham Wan Sik in moving from Seoul to the South Coast for the 2017 season. He didn’t win any major Stakes races but led the standings in terms of wins the whole year.
The year finished with just two foreign riders at Busan and both Franco Da Silva and Yonekura Satoshi finished comfortably inside the top ten.
Busan Jockey Championship 2017 – (Total Wins & Win %age)
1. Jo In Kwen – 96 (18.2%)
2. Jo Sung Gon – 84 (19.2%)
3. You Hyun Myung – 78 (16.0%)
4. Choi Si Dae – 65 (14.3%)
5. Francisco Da Silva – 59 (13.7%)
6. Ham Wan Sik – 41 (12.9%)
7. Yonekura Satoshi – 38 (9.7%)
8. Lee Hyo Sik – 35 (10.9%)
9. Song Keong Yun – 27 (5.75)
10. Jin Kyum – 25 (6.9%)
The Trainers’ title is Kim Young Kwan’s every year and with the unparalleled access he has to a stream of expensive and well-bred new entrants year after year, he will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. His domination of the Group races was a little less than it has been in recent years though as he didn’t win a single one of the Classics. Ultimately Triple Nine and Power Blade were the stars again while his Ecton Blade won the Breeders’ Cup to head into 2018 as one of the prime Triple Crown contenders.
It was tight behind Kim this time around with An Woo Sung just taking 2nd place with Baik Kwang Yeol and Thomas Gillespie tied for 3rd, one ahead of Peter Wolsley in 5th. It was an exceptional year for Gillespie’s stable – he tied with Baik Kwang Yeol despite sending out 158 runners fewer and now has a 35-strong string containing some very good prospects.
Wolsley and Bart Rice perhaps had slightly less firepower in their barns compared with a year ago but both still put in creditable performances.
The 4th foreign trainer at Busan is David Miller. The New Zealander finished in 26th place in the standings in what was his first full year at the track but with only a small number of horses, maintained a very competitive strike-rate. He also recorded a huge success when I’m Your Father stunned Triple Nine to win the Group 3 Busan Mayor’s Cup in the summer.
Miller still has only 23 horses in his barn but with 12 of them being yet to race, the opening months of 2018 could be interesting.
Busan Trainer Championship 2017- (Total Wins & Win %age)
1. Kim Young Kwan – 96 (24.6%)
2. An Woo Sung – 49 (16.9%)
3. Baik Kwang Yeol – 48 (10.2%) (takes 3rd due to more 2nd and 3rd places)
4. Thomas Gillespie – 48 (15.4%)
5. Peter Wolsley – 47 (16.1%)
6. Kang Byung Eun – 41 (13.9%)
7. Mun Je Bok – 38 (13.2%)
8. Min Jang Gi – 35 (10.9%)
9. Bart Rice – 31 (11.4%)
10. Lim Keum Man – 29 (9.5%)
26. David Miller – 12 (10.6%)