Bart Rice

Bart Rice Tops 100 Winners At Busan

Bart Rice has reached a well-deserved landmark. The South African trainer saddled his 100th Korean winner at Busan Racecourse last Friday.

Rice had been on 99 winners since mid-April having had some near-misses but it only took until the first race on Friday to put that right as filly Jeonsaui Huye (Peace Rules) justified her odds-on tag to land her maiden victory under Chae Sang Hyun. Win number 101 wasn’t far off too as the same jockey guided Que Sera Sera (Concept Win) home in front in race 6.

The third foreign trainer to be licensed in Korea following Peter Wolsley and Joe Murphy, Rice arrived at the end of autumn 2013 and spent time building up his stable before sending out his first runners in late January 2014. He won with his first starter:

That established an impressive strike rate that has continued right up to the present day. Jeonsaui Huye was Rice’s 632nd Korean starter making for a win rate that stands now at 15.8% overall and 18.8% for the past year. No fewer than 40% of his runners in the past year (and 37.4% overall) have placed in the first three. He was 5th in the Trainer’s Championship in 2016 and currently lies in 7th place this term.

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Bart Rice and assistant trainer Pam Rice along with Joe and Young Sook Dallao at Busan Racecourse 

Rice has also been involved with what is a new concept in Korea – foreign ownership – saddling winners for both Joe Dallao and Barry Irwin. The Team Valor green and red aren’t the only famous colours his string sport, however, as top Korean owner Choi Byung Bu (of Triple Nine fame) has also sent a horse Rice’s way; Triple Five, who the trainer took to Kranji in Singapore to run in the KRA Trophy last year.

Bart Rice, who will turn 41 later this year, now has 33 horses under his care at Busan. He may be yet to win a Stakes race but that is surely only a matter of time and along with fellow expat trainers Peter Wolsley and Thomas Gillespie (and recently joined by David Miller), Rice is contributing to significantly raising the standard of competition at Busan. That’s true for jockeys too as apprentice Choi Eun Gyeung, the first Korean female rider to be assigned at Busan for many years, has landed on her feet in being attached to Rice’s stable.

So it’s 101 up for Bart Rice. He has a horse in his stable called “For Bart“. While that particular one may not have done a lot in his only start to date, there are likely to be plenty more happy owners over the next 100.

 

Seven-Timer Satoshi Shines & Holland Returns With A Double

The 2016 season wrapped-up at Busan on Saturday and it was a great end to the year for much of the foreign contingent at the south coast track. The returning Darryll Holland landed a double for Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice while Thomas Gillespie trained a double and Francisco Da Silva rode a winner. Star of the show though was Japanese rider Yonekura Satoshi who ended up in the winner’s circle on no fewer than 7 occasions on the 15 race card.

Holland, who resumed regular riding at Busan on Friday following a two and a half year absence, got off the mark on Sunday in race 4, guiding Peter Wolsley’s Secret Marine (Sea Of Secrets), a 5/1 chance, to a seven length win. Holland would go on to win the day’s feature race, a valuable test for three-year-olds, on Bart Rice’s Buhwarui Banseok (Tizway), who beat Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi by two-lengths. The victory – and a later one for Wonil Gangja (Cowboy Cal) in race 15, the final race of the year – capped a superb year for the Rice stable which has seen him finish in 5th place in the Trainer Premiership. Only Kim Young Kwan and Peter Wolsley had a better strike-rate and a top-three finish is surely on the agenda in 2017 for the South African handler.

Da Silva’s win was on the promising Shunsuke Yoshida owned colt Wonder Wall (Chapel Royal) in race 8 while the Gillespie-trained winner of race 7, Party Again (Singing Saint), was one of four victories on the day that took jockey Seo Seung Un to joint-1st in the Jockey Premiership on 104 wins for the year, level with You Hyun Myung. The weighing room is about to become a lot more competitive with Seoul jockeys Ham Wan Sik, Jo In Kwen and former Busan champion jockey, Jo Sung Gon, all set to ride full time at the track from January with only Kim Yong Geun headed in the opposite direction to the capital.

No-one finished the year in better form though than Yonekura Satoshi, who put on a sparkling display on Saturday. The highlight of his seven wins in the valuable 2-year-old race when he guided US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) to a comfortable win over five rivals. He also teamed up with Thomas Gillespie to get 7/1 chance Great Song (Songangaprayer) home in race 14.

His closing day heroics meant Satoshi ended the year on 39 winners for 5th place in the standings. With a top line-up of overseas jockeys and now, possibly for the first time at Busan, some real depth in the domestic jockey ranks too, the first few months of 2017 are set to be an exciting time.

Miller’s Time: Kiwi Trainer Breaks Through At Busan

Dynamic Star was a winner on debut at Busan on Friday and the 2-year-old Hansen colt landed not only his own maiden win but also a Korean maiden win for New Zealand trainer David Miller.

Miller, who previously trained in Malaysia, has been steadily establishing his stable since arriving in Korea in early autumn and has now assembled a string of 21 horses.

Dynamic Star, a 5/1 shot having put in a reasonably impressive performance in a trial last month, was Miller’s 14th runner and under jockey Chae Sang Hyun, he pulled clear in the closing stages to win by a comfortable three-lengths on the line. Hopefully it will be the first of many.

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David Miller

Miller brings the total number of overseas trainers at Busan to four. Finishing 2nd to Dynamic Star on Friday was Agnes, trained by Thomas Gillespie.

The Irish trainer is almost 18 months into his time at Busan and is quietly moving into the upper echelons of the Busan ranks. He currently lies 10th in the 2016 standings and is sure to rise. Gillespie was 2nd only to Kim Young Kwan in prize-money won in November courtesy of Ms. Margaux giving him his first group winner in the Gyeongnam Governor’s Cup.

Already firmly established in the top tier of trainers at Busan is Bart Rice. Although the South African’s stable has had a quiet couple of months, he remains in 5th place in the Championship and maintains a very impressive strike-rate. Also in the top tier of course, is Peter Wolsley. The Australian saddled his 400th Korean winner last week and will finish in 2nd place in the Championship.

Three overseas trainers in the top ten can only be good for the overall standard at Busan. Can David Miller make it four in 2017?

 

Weekend Round-Up: Choi Eun Kyeung Rides First Winner

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.

Dallao Does It Again

Two weeks ago we were able to report that Joe Dallao seen a horse of his win for the first time in Korea. Now, the American owner, one of the first batch of foreign owners to be licensed in the country – and the only one to be resident in Korea – has had another as Majestic Beauty ran out the winner of race 3 at Busan in the Dallao colours on Friday afternoon.

Majestic Beauty (Whywhywhy) took a long time to get to the track but had shown wnough promise in a 4th and 2nd in two starts this year to be sent off as favourite for the 1300M event. And under jockey Kim Yong Geun, fresh from completing the Triple Crown on Power Blade last week, she pretty much made all to win by a length on the line.

Dallao’s first winner was Noble Warrior and the Biwa Shinseiki gelding runs again at Busan on Sunday. Both he and Majestic Beauty are trained by Bart Rice, who’s reamarkable run of form continued with a further winner later in the day. The South African trainer is currently in Singapore to oversee Triple Five’s challenge in the KRA Trophy at Kranji on Sunday.

Busan Friday: Barry Irwin Gets First Korean Winner / Seo Seung Un Rides a Six-Timer

Team Valor’s Barry Irwin landed his first winner as an owner in Korea as his filly Chastity broke her maiden at the fourth attempt at Busan on Friday afternoon.

It was something of a surprise as well as Chastity [Vicar – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)], who had begun her career with a pair of 2nd place finishes either side of the New Year, hadn’t raced since bleeding after her third start in mid-February. While she looked ok in a trial two weeks ago (behind the returning Hangangui Gijeok, who stole all the attention in that particular morning heat), she was sent off at odds approaching 25/1 for the 1400M race 6.

Under apprentice Lee Yong Ho those odds were well and truly defied as, always prominent, Chastity collared early leader Lucky Hanma at the furlong pole and ran on to win by a comfortable length and three-quarters on the line.

Barry Irwin was introduced to racing here by Team Valor member Joe Dallao and while he hadn’t had the best of luck with either Chastity or his other Korean horse, a Hawk Wing gelding named Swoop, he maintained his interest and now those famous crimson and forest green silks have come in front in yet another country. A very welcome presence in Korean racing, hopefully it will be the first of many.

As with Dallao’s first winner last week, Chastity was prepared by Bart Rice and the South African trainer’s remarkable run of form continued later on with another relative outsider Choegangiji (Mineshaft) winning the class 2 race 10 with Yonekura Satoshi in the saddle.  Yeongcheon Ace was 2nd in that race, a result that sees last year’s Korean Derby winner finally promoted to class 1.

With thirteen starters in July and six winners and his hot streak dating back to the start of May, Rice will take his up and coming 3-year-old Girolamo gelding Triple Five to race in the KRA Trophy at Kranji in Singapore next Sunday. Given the stable’s current form, he has to be given a chance.

Speaking of remarkable form, with so many of Busan’s top jockeys away in Seoul this weekend, Seo Seung Un was always likely to have a good Friday in the saddle at home on the south-coast. Good it was. Seo partnered no less than six winners on the afternoon including two for Aussie trainer Peter Wolsley, to close the gap on championship leader You Hyun Myung.

Saturday July 16
Seoul Racecourse: 12 races from 14:00 to 21:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:55 to 17:50

Sunday July 17
Seoul Racecourse: 10 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 13:00 to 17:30

Dallao’s Delight: Noble Warrior Is American Owner’s First Winner

“I think he could hear me screaming at the finish line” said Joe Dallao after watching – energetically – his horse Noble Warrior get the best of a tight finish to race 6 at Busan on Friday afternoon. It was the American’s first winner as an owner in Korea.

Joe Dallao is a long-time resident of Korea and took a possibly unique route into thoroughbreds by way of pigeon racing. Believe it or not, the birds have a Studbook and Dallao, from his Ilsan base, turns out to be one of the foremost pigeon racers on the peninsula. A few years ago Dallao, an executive at an American company in Seoul, decided to look beyond the loft and turned his attention to racing. He first took an interest in racehorses in his native United States with Barry Irwin’s Team Valor and at the same time started to investigate the possibility of owning in his adoptive country.

The trouble was that foreigners – even those living in the country – were unable to own racehorses. Dallao lobbied and lobbied and finally in 2014, as the KRA put its internationalization program into action, a small number of foreigners were permitted to own. Joe Dallao was in the first group to be granted a license.

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The English language Korea Racing Broadcasting Channel was launched today – and Noble Warrior was one of the first winners

Teaming up with South African trainer Bart Rice, Dallao bought two horses last year. They were a Whywhywhy filly called Majestic Beauty and a Biwa Shinseiki gelding named Noble Warrior. Both took a long time to get ready with Noble Warrior running just once as a 2-year-old and Majestic Beauty not at all.

Bart Rice – who is in sparkling form these days and will send his horse Triple Five to Singapore for the KRA Trophy later this month – got them right though and Majestic Beauty has shown promise with a 4th and a 2nd in two starts over the past couple of months. Noble Warrior meanwhile began placing and has been getting better as the distances have lengthened. Today, on his second start at class 5 and his second at a mile; benefiting from a slight weight advantage and a ground saving ride by You Hyun Myung, he got it spot on. Noble Warrior hit the front at the top of the stretch and gamely battled on to win by half a length. It was his 7th career start.

Joe Dallao was active at the Jeju sales again this Spring and then plans to import a horse from the US later in the year. Whatever they achieve and no matter what Noble Warrior goes on to do from here, no doubt today will have been special.