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.
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:
There’s a new foreign jockey in town and he’ll be in action on Saturday at Seoul where there are 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. English race cards here.
Antonio Da Silva on a previous visit to Seoul
29-year-old Antonio Davielson Correira da Silva is from Brazil. He rode in his home country for 11 years, mainly in Sao Paulo and notched up over 700 winners including several Brazilian Group races.
He moved to Singapore in the summer of 2015 and enjoyed a successful stint at Kranji, even coming to Korea last year to partner Super Winner in the Korea Sprint.
Da Silva, who will be called “Antonio Davielson” in the Korean race cards, has a busy opening weekend in Seoul with six rides booked on Saturday and three on Sunday.
Notes on races to be simulcast overseas belows:
Race 5: Class 5 (1000M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million
1. LITTLE ANGELS – Yet to win in 22 but was 3rd at odds of 140/1 last start. More respect today but still an outsider.
2. LEAD UP – An all the way winner at the distance in April and then 3rd on first try at this class three weeks ago. With a quick start, she has a good chance here.
3. SUAN STAR – Last in slow effort on only start of 2017 so far at the end of April. Not devoid of talent but hard to back here.
4. SHINE QUEEN – Has been getting progressively further away in six outings at this class but may appreciate the drop back to the minimum distance today.
5. GANGCHONUI ACHIM – Hasn’t won in 5 attempts but has been close. 2nd on both tries at this distance. (more…)
The Singapore Turf Club has announced that eight-time Korean Champion jockey Moon Se Young has been granted a three-month visiting jockey’s license to ride at Kranji.
Kranji-bound: Moon Se Young (Pic: Ross Holburt)
Now 36, Moon debuted in 2001 and upon returning from national service, won his first Championship in 2008. Injury prevented him from repeating the feat in 2009 but in each subsequent year he has ended the season as Seoul’s Champion jockey, partnering more than 100 winners every time.
Moon rode his first Listed race winner in 2003 and his first Korean Group winner in 2004. He won Korea’s most prestigious race, the Grand Prix Stakes on Bally Brae in 2007 and the Korean Derby on Jigeum I Sungan in 2012. In total he has ridden more than 1300 winners and is only the second Korean jockey to surpass more than 1000.
Moon Se Young being greeted by the female members of the weighing room after his 1000th winner career winner
A brief suspension and a trip to Macau (where he rode for a short time in 2012/2013) for a Jockey Challenge meant Moon had made an uncharacteristically slow start to 2017, however, he roared back into form this past weekend winning the last four races on Sunday’s card at Seoul including his 3rd Donga Ilbo Cup win. That came on Meni Money, whose dam Pocketful Of Money, Moon partnered to win the KRA Cup Classic in 2007.
While the presence of Djordje Perovic in the Seoul weighing room had at last presented him with some domestic competition, Moon has long harbored ambitions to test himself in superior riding company. Additionally, with Busan-trained horses dominating the major races in Korea in recent years (internal Jockey Union rules prevent Seoul jockeys riding Busan horses and vice-versa), Moon’s opportunities in the very biggest races have been limited, leading him to look elsewhere for a new challenge.
Moon Se Young will relocate to Kranji for an initial 3-month period as soon as his work permit is issued.
It hasn’t taken Jan Havlik long to get off the mark in Korea. The Slovakian jockey debuted at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday and within 24 hours he had ridden his first winner, striking on board 10/1 chance Yeongung Geonmu (Exploit) in race 4 on Christmas Day.
That success enabled the 42-year-old Havlik to pick up a number of spare rides later in the day and he came very close to scoring again on another long shot, 22/1 Strong Road in the day’s final race, only to be denied by Mighty Gem, 3rd in last month’s Busan Governor’s Cup, right at the end. Saturday had been up and down for the newcomer as while he gt some good runs out of horses with low expectations, he had to miss his final mount of the day after suffering a injured toe. He was fit again in time for Sunday though.
Havlik and Djordje Perovic had previously been rivals for several years in Europe and with the early breakthrough will do no harm at all for the “Slovak Moore” as he seeks to emulate the “Serbian Frankie” at Seoul.
*In the weekend’s valuable 2-year-old races, Meni Bracing (Menifee) took Saturday’s contest for Korean-bred juveniles while US bred Dolkung (Afleet Alex) took the one for the imports on Sunday.
Lee Chan Ho, one of the most promising young jockeys at Seoul and who guided Choegang Schiller to victory in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup, has had his license to ride in races cancelled. The sanction, announced last Friday, is due to off-track incidents and is not related to racing or integrity.
Born in 1992, Lee Chan Ho debuted as a 21-year-old in June 2013 and quickly made an impression, riding out his apprentice claim in double-quick time. He partnered Wonder Bolt to 2nd place behind El Padrino in the inaugural Asia Challenge Cup in 2014 and returned to win the race one year later on Choegang Schiller.
That would be his only Group race winner although he also had Listed success in the Herald Business and Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup races in 2015 as well as this year’s Seoul trial for the Jeju Governor’s Cup. In total, he rode 179 winners from 1343 rides.
Like a number of jurisdictions in Asia, Korea has strict policies relating to conduct away from the racecourse as well as on it and unfortunately, it seems Lee Chan Ho fell foul of these one time too many.
Meanwhile Pasquale Borelli’s time at Busan is at an end. The Italian jockey had been under investigation for his ride on Yeonggwanguihunter at Busan on October 28th. The 2-year-old colt was sent off as odds-on favourite but finished a tailed-off last with Borelli adjudged by stewards to have restrained the horse. Borelli maintained that he believed the horse to be feeling an injury but a post-race veterinary exam showed no sign of lameness.
Ultimately, Borelli was handed a 12-month suspension which almost certainly means he has ridden his last race in Korea. Borelli debuted at Busan in October 2015 and in his year riding at the South Coast track, recorded 38 winners from 319 mounts.
Here’s the race in question, the horse is number 9:
Djordje Perovic on Sunday became the just the fifth foreign rider – and the first who’s not from Japan – to ride 100 winners in Korea.
Ton-Up: Djordje Perovic (Pic: Ross Holburt)
The Serbian jockey completed the feat on 14/1 chance Dream Sun in race 4 at Seoul on Sunday lunchtime and promptly followed up with another to take him to 101. That figure draws him level with Masa Tanaka as joint-fourth on the all-time foreign rider list.
Perovic’s achievement is arguably the greater as all of the other jockeys in the top ten, with the exception of Ikuyasu Kurakane, rode the vast majority of their winners at Busan which is well known to be more welcoming and accepting of overseas riders than Seoul.
Perovic has had to do it the hard way but he is now firmly established in the elite group of riders at Seoul. Despite missing three months of this year due to the need to fulfil license requirements elsewhere, he lies in 2nd place in the 2016 Jockey Championship behind champion Moon Se Young, four places ahead of 3rd ranked Jo Sung Gon.
Punters and others have often noted about Perovic that from the moment he gets on a horse in the parade ring until he dismounts after the race he is constantly stroking and soothing his horse. Very few jockeys do this in Korea. His style may look ungainly at times but it is extremely effective.
Next month Perovic has another opportunity when he is scheduled to partner a Korea-trained horse in the annual Goodwill Cup at Ohi in Tokyo. Well mannered, hard working and talented, Djordje Perovic has demonstrated that it is possible for a foreign rider to succeed at Seoul. May there be many more winners for the “Serbian Frankie”.
A new foreign jockey debuts at Seoul this Saturday afternoon. 44-year-old Italian Marcello Belli, a one-time champion jockey in Italy will take his first Korean mount in race 9. Also on Saturday at Seoul, Djordje Perovic makes his long-awaited return.
Marcello Belli (Pic: supplied by jockey)
Marcello Belli debuted in 1988 and has ridden approximately 1650 winners in Italy including success in Italian Group and listed races. Over the past three years he has maintained a win rate of 9.3% and a place rate of 21.6%. He is riding at Seoul on an initial three-month license until the end of November.
Although Belli has just the three mounts across the weekend, he has at least one live chance in the shape of Geumbit Ullim in Sunday’s race 4.
Fellow Italian-licensed jockey, Serbia’s Djordje Perovic, has been absent the past couple of months having had to fulfill license requirements elsewhere. Hhowever, the “Balkan Wolf” remains in 3rd place in the Seoul Jockey Championship and will be looking to pick up from where he left off with 14 rides across the weekend.
Belli and Perovic join Imran Chisty as the foreign contingent at Seoul.
Belli’s countrymen Pasquale Borelli and Paolo Aragoni are riding at Busan. Borelli rode a winner on Friday as did the third overseas member of the Busan jockey colony, Japan’s Yonekura Saoshi. Satoshi partnered Ms. Margaux to victory in the class 1 feature race for trainer Thomas Gillespie. Bart Rice also trained a winner on the day. Another foreign jockey has also been licensed at Busan as from September.
Yonekura Satoshi and Thomas Gillespie’s Ms. Margaux win at Busan (Pic: Ross Holburt)
Saturday sees racing at Seoul and Jeju starting from 2pm and running until 9pm. Daytime cards at Seoul and Busan on Sunday.
Click here for English Racecards.