You Hyun Myung has ridden his 1000th career winner. The two-time Busan Champion Jockey became the third Korean rider to reach the milestone with victory on Grand Jilju in race 3 at Busan on Friday.
The forty-year-old You debuted in 2002 at Seoul before relocating to the then brand-new Busan Racecourse in 2005. He rode his first Group winner in 2006 when he partnered the famous Luna in a winning effort in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.
“I’m really happy to have finally done it” the jockey told KRBC on returning to the winner’s circle. “I felt quite a bit of pressure as no-one has done it at Busan before. I really wish that the generation of jockeys who are coming up behind me will do it too and I also hope they can do it faster than I have”.
His biggest win to date was in 2010 Grand Prix on Mister Park while he also has two KRA Cup Miles (Rafale in 2015 and Divide Wind in 2018) and a KNN CUp (Haeya in 2018) to his name. His most recent big win came in the G3 Owners’ Cup in July on Blue Chipper, who he may well partner in the Korea Sprint next month.
The only other Korean jockeys to have reached 1000 winners are Park Tae Jong, currently on 2083, and Moon Se Young (1545), both of whom have spent their entire careers at Seoul, which offers more races.
Busan rider Jeon Jin-Gu is bound for France where he will represent Korea in the Prix Longines Future Stars race over a mile at Chantilly Racecourse on French Oaks Day this Sunday June 16.
Jockey Jeon Jin-Gu, seen here after riding his first winner (Pic: KRA)
“I was really honoured to get the call-up and it’s exciting to get the opportunity to ride horses abroad” said Jeon Jin-Gu of his invitiation. “I’m looking forward to riding local (French-trained) horses and getting to ride at Chantilly Racecourse”.
Now 23-years old, Jeon Jin-Gu debuted in 2017 and has amassed 42 wins from 593 rides so far for a win-rate of 7.1%. He has a quinella strike-rate of 14.5% with 21.1% of his mounts finishing in the first three.
“I rode my first winner on just my second race ride” said Jeon “That’s the most memorable moment of my career so far”.
In addition to the race itself, jockeys will also have the opportinity to ride trackwork for local trainers. Other jockeys set to participate in this year’s even include Thomas Stockdale of Australia and Kabelo Matsunyane of South Africa, the latter coached by former Korea-based Jockey Trainer Robert Moore.
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:
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.
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: