Who is the leading jockey at Seoul Racecourse since the start of June? Moon Se-young or Kim Yong-geun perhaps? Or maybe former champion Antonio Da Silva or the legendary Alan Munro? It’s none of them. Instead, it is second-year apprentice Kim Tae-hui, who has partnered seven winners in the timeframe, one ahead of veteran Jang Chu-youl with perennial champion Moon one further back following his four winners at the weekend.
True, there are some unusual circumstances. The plethora of Graded races in June meant weekends away in Busan for some of the leading jockeys, including Moon Se-young, who also saw a suspension lead to him only taking eleven rides in the capital all month.
Nevertheless, it is a remarkable achievement by apprentice Kim, especially given that she missed four months of the season through injuries sustained in a bad race fall in January. Having only debuted in July of last year, that means she only has approximately eight months of race riding experience and has still only had 172 race rides.
Although all jockeys, including apprentices, went freelance at the start of 2022, Kim Tae-hui has continued to benefit from support from Song Moon-gil, who has a strong arsenal at his disposal. However, it isn’t a simple matter of getting horses with a chance and Kim is making sure she converts these opportunities into the best possible placing more often than not. Since her debut, her overall win rate is 10% with a 20% quinella and 27% place rate.
Kim’s ability to ride a sound tactical race was on display on Saturday with her win on Smart Jeonsa in race 6, which she made look very simple indeed:
Kim Tae-hui isn’t the only youngster making an impression at Seoul. Lim Da-bin, a year ahead of her, has already ridden out his apprentice claim, while Kim A-hyun, also a 2020 starter is making good progress too, shedding 2kg from claim. She too is generally making the most of opportunities when they arise, as shown on her confident ride to win on favourite Tap Quality in race 7 on Sunday. Both Lim and Kim A-hyun are also in the top-ten for the period since June 1st.
Two new apprentices, Lee Sang-gyu and O Su-cheol have been licensed as of the start of this month and are expected to make their racing debuts soon.