Foreigners in Korea

1st Korean Winner For Jockey Francois Herholdt

Francois Herholdt has ridden his first Korean winner. It came aboard favourite Jeonsaui Jilju (Tiz Wonderful)  for trainer Bart Rice in the 1300M race 4 at Busan on Friday afternoon:

It was Herholdt’s 19th ride in Korea since beginning two weeks ago. He had scored three 2nd places prior to the win.

It didn’t take long for number 2 to arrive either as Herholdt guided Queen Of Captain (Ecton Park) to victory in race 7 to complete a double on the day:

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Busan Friday: Francois Herholdt Debuts & Race-By-Race Preview (November 16)

Francois Herholdt will take his first mounts in Korean racing on Friday’s card at Busan. The South African jockey begins an initial four-month license with three rides across the eleven-race meeting on the South Coast which runs from 11:30 to 18:00.

Silver Wolf Power Blade Busan Ilbo 2018

It’s Friday! It’s Busan!

The globe-trotting rider has ridden in several countries amassing over 1000 winners in a career which began as an apprentice in Durban in 1989 and has taken in spells in Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius, France and Saudi Arabia as well as his native South Africa. Herholdt has ridden six Group winners in South Africa as well as notching up several more in neighboring Zimbabwe and was Champion Jockey in Mauritius in 2004. Earlier this year, the 44-year-old travelled to Ng’ong Racecourse in Nairobi to win the Kenya Derby on Freewheeler. Herholdt is well prepared for the challenges of making it in a new country and is finding his feet having arrived in Busan earlier this month.

“I was a bit lost the first two days but I’m a quick learner” said Herholdt “I’m really looking forward to riding on Friday”. He gets underway in race 1 where he partners the previously unraced two-year-old My Hero for trainer Cho Young Bae but it is another first-timer starter, Fusion Park in race 2 for fellow South African Bart Rice, that perhaps offers Herholdt his best chance of hitting the board on his first day.

Even if it takes a bit longer, he is prepared. “I’ve been watching a lot of the racing here and am very excited to start. My goals are to do well and I’m very confident that I will”. Herholdt will be joining Franco Da Silva as one of only two overseas jockeys currently full-time at Busan and who in his two years so far at the track has a Korean Derby victory among his almost 120 winners.

Da Silva may well be the man to follow on Friday too as he has ten rides across the day, including Jumbo Blade in the feature race 5. The Mineshaft colt steps up to class 2 for the first time having run out a four-length winner on his latest start to move to three wins from seven total outings and looks to have plenty more in the tank to enable him to win the 1800M handicap:

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

Maidens to begin with and five of the twelve are making their racecourse debuts. We’ll start with the experienced ones though and (5) GOLD TICKET improved to 2nd place on what was his third career start a month ago, beaten less than a length at this distance but a good winner. He’s well drawn here to lead and can go all the way. (11) YEONGSEONG STAR has raced twice so far, finishing in 3rd place on both occasions. She’s led until close to home both times and so long as she doesn’t have to use up too much effort getting to the front from gate 11, she can go close again. (4) SEUNGNI DAEJANG raced three times in the Spring recording two 3rd places of his own. He subsequently had some respiratory problems that resulted in surgery and he makes his return here having trialed adequately but unspectacularly at the end of last month. He could go well. Of the first-timers, both (2) SPARKLE and (8) HALLA HWANGHU caught the eye in trials and should go well first-up in what is quite limited company.

Selections (5) Gold Ticket (2) Sparkle (11) Yeongseong Star (8) Halla Hwanghu
Next Best 4, 7
Fast Start 2, 5, 8, 11

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens with just two of the twelve having raced before. This two debuted together on October 19th and while (11) I AM CHAMPION did nothing, beating just one home, (3) DOCTOR THUNDER ran rather well, coming back in 3rd place, running on nicely after a slow start. That may be enough to make her favourite here. Peter Wolsey and Jo Sung Gon combined for plenty of winners last week and they could get off to a god start this week too with (2) NAKITA. She’s the pick of the first-timers having looked competent trialing with experienced racehorses last Saturday. (5) YEONGSEONG HOPE and (8) MAN OF THE MATCH both won their trials, the latter in more impressive fashion, and both will also be well backed here. Bart Rice’s (10) FUSION PARK also looked like he knows what he’s doing and could go well first-up under South African jockey Francois Herholdt, who is making his Busan debut today.

Selections (2) Nakita (3) Doctor Thunder (8) Man Of The Match (10) Fusion Park
Next Best 5, 6
Fast Start 1, 2, 7, 8

Race 3: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

More juvenile maidens and this time five of the twelve have raced before. And all five of them acquitted themselves very reasonably indeed. Bart Rice’s (4) GOOD DANCER ran a good 2nd on debut a month ago, showing prominently and briefly leading close to home before being headed. A week later it was a similar story for (6) GABO DAY, who led almost the whole way around on his first appearance before ultimately having to settle for 3rd. Both were promising and the additional trip should suit. Good Dancer is marginally favoured between them (8) REVERSE SWEEP debuted at this distance and while he was a well-beaten 2nd, he did nothing wrong and can build on it here. (9) SEONGSAN POWER too raced well for 3rd on his racecourse bow on October 12th, also at 1300M and should be in the frame again. The one they’ll all need to beat though is first-timer starter (7) TRUE VALOR. Half-brother to some very useful racehorses, he’s looked strong and fast in two trials so far and could well come out on top first-up.

Selections (4) Good Dancer (7) True Valor (6) Gabo Day (8) Reverse Sweep
Next Best 9, 12
Fast Start 4, 6, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(7) MAKGANG YEOGEOL was just beaten a nose on what was her fourth career start three weeks ago. She steps up in trip for the first time here, should be on pace early and could go one better today. (3) CHEONNYEONUIJILJU also has a 2nd place to his name and he too tries further than the minimum for the first time today. (5) GIPPEUM DAY has raced at this distance before and while it didn’t go well, it was a full ten months ago. She returned form a long lay-off with a decent 2nd place over 1000M in October, beating a couple of these along the way and should go close here. (1) BAENGNICHONG and (2) TIZ LINE, the latter making just his second start having debuted in a tough race in (more…)

1st Day Winner for Fergus Sweeney At Busan

It was a good start to life in Korea for jockey Fergus Sweeney at Busan on Friday. He rode Rock Hard Seven (Rock Hard Ten) to victory for trainer Bart Rice in Busan race 10:

Sweeney had earlier ridden Thomas Gillespie’s Great Rock (Ecton Park) to 2nd place in race 9 and made all to win by nine-lengths on Rock Hard Seven, who was notching his 4th win in 6 career starts.

Manoel Nunes & Fergus Sweeney Set For Weekend Debuts at Seoul & Busan

There are two new foreign jockeys making their full-time Korean debuts this weekend. Three-time Singapore Champion Manoel Nunes will be in action at Seoul while British racing stalwart Fergus Sweeney will be legged up for the first time at Busan. Both riders are on initial four-month licenses.

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Manoel Nunes looks on at Seoul Racecourse last weekend

Manoel Nunes is no stranger to Seoul, having ridden in International Jockey Challenges and also having partnered Singapore-based horses in the Asia Challenge Cup and Korea Cup in the capital but this is his first time riding full time in Korea.

A native of Brazil, Nunes topped the Jockey Premiership in Singapore in three consecutive years between 2014 and 2016 and was runner-up in 2017, picking up numerous big race wins along the way.

42-year-old Nunes is also a six-time champion in Macau  where he is the most successful rider in the Macau Jockey Club’s history.  Nunes will be based at Seoul where his first ride is in race 3 on Saturday when he partners Lucky Race for trainer Yu Jae Gil.

Belfast-born Fergus Sweeney has had a long and distinguished career in the United Kingdom where he is closing in on 1000 career wins. His biggest success to date was on Twilight Son in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in 2016.

The 40-year-old Sweeney has some live chances at Busan on Friday including Great Rock for Thomes Gillespie. He’s the third British licensed jockey to ride at Busan after Darryll Holland and JP Guillambert. And Sweeney doesn’t just ride horses – the Noraebangs of Haeundae have been warned:

Simon Foster Trains First Korean Winner

Simon Foster is off the mark in Korean racing. The Australian trainer saddled his first winner at Seoul on Sunday afternoon as Yaho Aurora won the 1700M race 6.

Yaho Aurora (Rock Hard Ten) was a twelve race maiden going into the race and started at odds in excess of 20/1. However, under jockey Cho Han Byeol, he sat nice and handy throughout and outstayed the rest in the home straight to win comfortably.  For jockey Cho, it was a first win since returning from national service at the start of the year.

Trainer Foster opened his barn towards the end of last year and has been steadily putting together his string. He now has ten horses under his care and Yaho Aurora was just his thirteenth runner. He got his first placed finish last week when Pegasus Farm’s Jungle Beat ran 2nd on his debut.

It would be a surprise if Yaho Aurora went on to do very much but now the breakthrough has been made, hopefully Simon Foster can will be sending out many more winners.

Silver Wolf Strolls To Donga Ilbo Cup Win

Silver Wolf was the dominant filly or mare of 2017, sweeping all three legs of the Queens’ Tour and she got her six-year-old win underway in the best possible fashion with a dominant win in the Donga Ilbo Cup. In doing so, it gave Djordje Perovic a Listed winner on the Serbian jockey’s last day at Seoul before leaving on an extended sabbatical to recover from a back injury. 

It was always going to be a mismatch.  Just eight fillies and mares opted to take her on over the 1800M, a mix of slightly faded talents and not quite up there prospects. Perovic brought Silver Wolf to the lead at the top of the stretch and the pair eased away from the field for an easy nine-length victory.  43/1 outsider Lead Money came home 2nd with 38/1 Chang Se in 3rd.

Australian-bred SIlver Wolf (Orotorio) has now won 10 of her 21 career starts, three of them Graded Stakes races (the Queens’ Tour last year) and now two Listed (adding to the Munhwa Ilbo Cup last autumn). It was only as a five-year-old last year that she really showed her ability and while she is now too old to run in the Queens’ Tour races, she will surely be a danger in other big races, especially at sprint distances.

As for the other “wolf”, Djordje Perovic; known as “The Balkan Wolf” has been suffering from a back injury for some time and the constant grind that goes with being a top freelance jockey in Korea makes recovery very difficult. While it’s true there are only two race days each week, a freelancer is expected to ride an awful lot of track-work six days a week if he wishes to ride in the races – din’t ride the work and you don’t ride the race. It’s the same for the top local jockeys with Moon Se Young speaking last year about how it is increasingly hard to do.

PeroMoon

Moon Se Young (left) & Djordje Perovic embrace after the last at Seoul on Sunday 

Perovic would go on to ride the final two winners on the card too, finishing off with Choegang Schiller (Artie Schiller) beating Another Smart One (Smarty Jones) in the class 1 finale. Moon Se Young was on the runner-up and the pair shook hands after the line. Their rivalry over the past three years has brought another aspect to racing at Seoul and with any luck, it will be renewed when Perovic returns which, if all goes well, could be around Korea Cup time.

Luigi Riccardi Trains First Korean Winner

It hasn’t taken Luigi Riccardi very long to get among the winners in Korean racing. On Sunday afternoon, Rocket Queen won the 1700M race 7 giving the Italian trainer his first Seoul success with just his second runner.

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Luigi Riccardi on the Korea Racing Broadcast Channel following his first win

Rocket Queen actually has a history with foreign trainers having previously being with Brian Dean and giving the Australian trainer his final Korean winner last June. She’s one of 17-horses in Riccardi’s fledgling Seoul barn and on Sunday was sent off as 2nd favourite for the Class 3 handicap. And under jockey Jeong Jeong Hee, Rocket Queen made all for very comfortable four-length score.

Riccardi came close to adding another later one race later with his only other runner of the weekend, Choego Money having to settle for 2nd in race 8.

The 49-year-old Riccardi arrived in Seoul last autumn having previously trained extensively in Europe and held assistant trainer positions in the United States. He and Australian Simon Foster became the 2nd and 3rd foreign trainers to be based at Seoul following Brian Dean who spent a year here between 2016 and 2017.  Foster too has sent out a total of three runners so far and is in the process of building up his stable.