There’s been quite the heatwave across the peninsula for the past week and with temperatures in Seoul hitting 35C, it was probably for the best that it coincided with the capital track’s summer vacation. It wasn’t much cooler at Busan, which returned following its own weekend off last week and where there were no less than 23 races across Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday will have been memorable for apprentice jockey Choi Eun Kyeung. The 19-year-old qualified from the Jockey Academy this spring and was sent to Busan where she is not only the track’s only female jockey but also the first Korean female to be licensed there since 2010.
Choi landed on her feet on the South Coast, however, being assigned to South African trainer Bart Rice. She made her debut back on July 10th, riding For My Sis to a par 5th place. She didn’t have another ride until Saturday when her boss put her on Barry Irwin’s Swoop in race 2 at Busan. Swoop, who had raced 6 times without success, was sent off as an 8/1 chance for the 1000M race and didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, exiting the gate hesitantly and was last into stride.
However, the three-year-old improved around the turn and under a hands and heels ride from Choi, picked off his rivals in the home straight, running on to win by half a length. It was a second Korean winner for US owner Barry Irwin and another for Bart Rice who continues to be the in-form trainer at Busan. As for Choi, it was her only ride of the weekend and she suddenly finds herself with a 50% win rate.
In other races at the weekend, Diferent Dimension (Into Mischief) returned to the winner’s circle in Sunday’s feature handicap. Peter Wolsley’s US import struggled under a high weight last start but ran away from a decent class 1 field in the 1800M test. Diferent Dimension now has 8 wins from his 13 starts and was ridden by Seo Seung Un, who was partnering his 6th winner of the weekend.
Among the foreign jockey ranks, both Yonekura Satoshi and Paolo Aragoni rode winners.