Ahn Hyo Ri

New Year Begins With Impetus

It’s got one of the most cumbersome names in the calendar but the New Year’s Commemorative Race lived up to its reputation of being a tough punting prospect as 9/1 shot Impetus landed 2014’s first big prize at Seoul Race Park.

Impetus and Park Tae Jong return to scale after winning the New Year's Commemorative race

Impetus and Park Tae Jong return to scale after winning the New Year’s Commemorative race

Now 4-years-old, Impetus (Exploit) came in to the race having won 4 of his previous 13 starts and was 6th most favoured by punters.

Under jockey Park Tae Jong he hit the front coming off the final turn and fought off the determined challenge of favourite Bulkkot Daewang, who finished quickly on the rail, by a neck.

In other news on what was a long 14-race opening day in the Korean capital, we saw our first dead-heat of the year as the judges failed to separate Space Gun and Speed King at the end of race 10.

One race earlier, we also unfortunately saw the first heavy fall of the year as jockey Ahn Hyo Ri was unseated from her mount on the final turn. Ahn required hospital treatment but horse was unhurt and continued without his rider.

New Year Commemorative Race – Seoul Race Park – 1800M – January 4, 2014

1. Impetus (KOR) [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] – Park Tae Jong
2. Bullkot Daewang (KOR) [Pico Central – Hwaju (Joindre)] – Cho Kyoung Ho
3. Daejangjeong (KOR) [Menifee – Ledge (Kris S.)] – Lee Sang Hyeok
Distances: Neck/2.5 lengths – 14 ran

Sunday January 5
Seoul Race Park: 10 races from 11:00 to 18:00
Busan Race Park: 6 races from 12:50 to 17:30

Weekend Round-Up: Watts Village Beaten at Seoul / Khaosan Wins for Wolsley at Busan

With all the Stakes races scheduled for 2012 now behind us, there were no big prizes on offer but still plenty of interesting action across the weekend.

Chilly but bright - Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

Chilly but bright – Seoul Racecourse, December 16, 2012

On Saturday, two-year old US import Watts Village (Forestry), winner of last month’s TJK Trophy went looking ofr his fifth straight victory at Seoul Race Park. Although sent off heavy favourite for the 1900 metre handicap, it wasn’t to be as he fell to defeat for the first time, Gwanggaetoham (Mizzen Mast), a year his senior taking the honours.

Having won the TJK Trophy, the same race that Smarty Moonhak won last year, there had been plenty of hype surrounding Watts Village. His third place yesterday suggests that while he is not the finished article, there is plenty of promise for next year.

At Seoul today there were upsets in both co-feature races. Haedongcheonwang (West Acre), odds-on favourite for the first of these, a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres, could only manage fifth place as 11/1 Cheonha Daeseung (Broken Vow) romped to a four-length win. In the finale, a rare class 1 sprint over 1300 metres there was an even bigger shock as 70/1 outsider Yeongung Icheon (Concept Win) just got up on the line to win by a neck.

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley with Khaosan, who won today

There was a similar margin of victory at Busan as Peter Wolsley’s old battler Khaosan (Sunday Well) engaged in a final furlong tussle with last year’s Minister’s Cup winner Dongseo Jeongbeol (Vicar).

It went right to the wire but under Jo Sung Gon, Khaosan just got victory on the nod. If the winning post had been a stride sooner or a stride later, the result would have gone the other way but it didn’t and the records will show an eighth win for the seven-year old.

The win was Khaosan’s first since he won the Owners’ Cup last year on appeal and incredibly, his first by actually crossing the line in first place since April 2010. Khaosan is not a fast horse but he is tough and sound – he’s run fourteen times this year – and thrives on the Busan sand. His win today takes his career earnings up to nearly US$800,000.

In the other feature at Busan, Canadian bred 27/1 shot Ilgeumbit (Don Eduardo) was the surprisingly comfortable winner, giving young apprentice jockey Kim Hyun Joong the biggest victory of his career to date.

To conclude, a story of another apprentice. At Seoul this afternoon, Ahn Hyo Ri rode the eighth and ninth winners of her career before finding herself unceremoniously thrown off her mount inside the gate before race 8. There were a nervous few moments as she was carried away from the scene. She got up and walked into the ambulance herself but it was a reminder of both the highs that jockeys can experience along with the dangers they face.

Next weekend, Busan takes a break but there is racing as usual at Seoul and Jeju.

New Jockeys Beat The Odds

Ahn Hyo Ri, Park Hyun Woo, Kim Hyun Joong All Win

Two apprentice jockeys scored their first ever career winners in the unlikeliest of circumstances at Seoul this past Saturday.

Park Hyun Woo and Ahn Hyo Ri demonstrate traditional awkward Korean poses after their debut wins at Seoul (Pic: Ilgan Sports)

Park Hyun Woo and Ahn Hyo Ri both graduated from the KRA Jockey Academy this year and debuted last month.

Neither had won on from their few rides to date coming into last weekend but that changed as first Park and then later Ahn both rode long priced winners.

Race 2 saw Park ride 280/1 chance Misojanchi to a half-length victory, overtaking champion jockey Moon Se Young on Jeilgosu in the final furlong. It was the longest priced winner at Seoul for some years and an encouraging performance in the saddle from Park who looked very much at home in the finish.

Late on in the afternoon, it was Ahn’s turn. Her win came in race 8 on 53/1 chance Time Zone. Always well-placed, the pair overtook early pacesetter Vicar Summit in the final furlong and went on to record a relatively comfortable length and a half victory.

Winner at Busan: Kim Hyun Joong (Pic: Ilgan Sports)

Down at Busan another new apprentice was also riding a long-priced winner last weekend. Kim Hyun Joong, who debuted at the same time as Ahn and Park, got his second career victory on Sunday.

And it was an impressive performance as, on 48/1 Busan Prince, he beat out South African rider Gerrit Schlechter riding odds-on favourite Gwangsok Engine by a nose in a photo finish.

It’s early days but it seems we have another talented crop of young apprentices. With young jockeys these days being given much more of an opportunity to prove themselves than they once were – owners and trainers knowing that they’ve been better trained than their predecessors – no doubt there will be plenty more visits to the winner’s circle for all of them