Darryll Holland

Indian King & Darryll Holland Win First Leg Of 2017 Korean Triple Crown

If there is to be a Korean Triple Crown winner this year then his name is Indian King. The 74/1 outsider took the initiative under jockey Darryll Holland in the early part of the race and clung on to defeat Royal Ruby and American Power and claim the first Jewel in the Crown, the KRA Cup Mile at Busan on Sunday afternoon.

Punters couldn’t split Breeders’ Cup winner and runner-up Final Boss and Daeho Sidae sending them off as almost co-favourites but it was Illyu Star and longest shot on the board Taeyangui Jeonseol who were out of the gates the quickest. By the end of the straight, however, Holland had brought Indian King up alongside the leader and as they rounded the corner he kicked on in front and had stolen three lengths on the field as they straightened up.

The challenges would arrive too late. Daeho Sidae, expected to lead, offered little while Final Boss had far too much to do. Instead, while Holland coaxed his mount home, the one who would get the closest would be Royal Ruby. He had been the back-marker  for much of the race but flew home to get within half a length of the winner on the line. The Peter Wolsley trainee, who also started as an outsider, must surely be very much in the Derby mix now. American Power was just a further head back in 3rd while there was a 5-length gap back to Daeho Sidae who led home the rest.

KRA Cup Mile (KOR G2) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – April 2 2017

1. Indian King (KOR) [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] – Darryll Holland – 75.0, 17.5
2. Royal Ruby (KOR) [Chapel Royal – Red Ruby (Yehudi)] – Jo Sung Gon – 4.6
3. American Power (KOR) [Ecton Park – White Angelica (Quiet American)] – 1.7
Distances: 0.5 lengths / Head
Also Ran: 4. Daeho Sidae (KOR) 5. Final Boss (KOR) 6. Ice Marine (KOR) 7. Muhan Yeoljeong (KOR) 8. Illyu Star (KOR) 9. Wonder Wall (KOR) 10. Lion Rock (KOR) 11. Taeyangui Jeonseol (KOR)

Indian King [Biwa Shinseiki – Indian Diamond (Indian Charlie)] is a half-brother to Indian Star, winner of last year’s Jeju Governor’s Cup and one of the top sprinters at the track – she came out one race later on Sunday afternoon and ran 2nd over 1200M to Triple Five in a class 1 handicap.

Indian Diamond herself was an $18,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Sale in 2002. She ran 36 times at Seoul between 2003 and 2006 winning on 3 occasions and in addition to Indian Star has had three others make the track so far, although only one of them was a winner.

For trainer Mun Je Bok, it was his biggest win to date; his first Group 2 having previously won Group 3 events with Hangangui Gijeok, Perdido Pomeroy and of course, Indian Star. 

As for Darryll Holland, it was his first Listed or Group winner in Korea. After the race, Holland noted that he isn’t able to ride as many as he would like due to a minimum riding weight of 54kg. He paid tribute to the preparation done by the trainer and thanked him for putting him on. There’ll be no trouble making weight for the Korean Derby next month.

Can Indian King get 1800M at Seoul? It makes for a fascinating Derby on the second Sunday in May.

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.

Holland To Return / Havlik, Sanna Licensed / Belli Extended / Park Geum Man Retires

There’s news on the overseas jockey front with three new additions to the licensed ranks from the start of this month.

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Darryll Holland was most recently in Korea to ride in the Keeneland Korea Cup in September (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Darryll Holland, who enjoyed a successful spell at Busan a couple of years ago, returns to the south coast on a four-month initial license. He’ll be joined by Italian Mirko Sanna. Meanwhile at Seoul, Jan Havlik is set to join. The Slovakian is set to renew his rivalry with Djordje Perovic with whom he has reportedly regularly competed with across Europe. Meanwhile, Marcello Belli has come to the end of his initial four months and has been renewed for a further six:

Name/Nationality Racecourse Type License Period
Jan Havlik (Slovakia) Seoul New
(4 months)
2016/12/01
– 2017/03/31
Mirko Sanna (Italy) Busan New
(4 months)
2016/12/01
– 2017/03/31
Darryll Holland (UK) Busan New
(4 months)
2016/12/01
– 2017/03/31
Marcello Belli (Italy) Seoul Extension
(6 months)
2016/12/01
– 2017/05/31

Jan Havlik (42) turned professional in 1994 and in addition to his native Slovakia, has ridden in many countries across Europe for in excess of 300 career winners. He will be based at Seoul Racecourse.

Mirko Sanna (32) is from Italy. He began race riding in 2000 and has been primarily based in Italy but has also ridden in Malaysia, Australia, Germany, France and most recently in Canada. He will ride at Busan Racecourse.

Darryll Holland (44) is a former Champion Apprentice in the United Kingdom. He returns to Busan Racecourse where he rode 66 winners from 350 mounts between February 2013 and June 2014.

Marcello Belli (44) has been licensed at Seoul Racecourse since August 2016. The Italian jockey has ridden 4 winners from 88 mounts and his license has been extended for a further 6 months.

In other jockey news, 2010 Korean Derby winning jockey Park Geum Man has opted to turn in his license. The 37-year-old debuted when Busan Racecourse opened in 2005 and rode 270 winners from just under 3000 career rides. His license expired at the end of November and he didn’t request a renewal.

Cheonnyeon Daero

Cheonnyeon Daero and Park Geum Man win the 2010 Derby (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Park had a relatively slow start to his career but under the guidance of trainer Peter Wolsley developed into, for a time, one of the top riders at Busan. His biggest win came on Cheonnyeon Daero in the 2010 Derby and he would go on to win the Busan Owners’ Cup on the same horse later that year. His other two group race wins both came in 2012 on Gyeongbudaero in the 2012 KRA Cup Mile and on Yapung in the Breeders’ Cup.

The Dazzler Bows Out Of Busan

Darryll Holland has returned to the UK after a successful 16 month stint in Korea. The British jockey racked up 66 winners from 350 rides in his time here, which puts him in 6th place in the all-time list of foreign jockeys to ride in Korea.

Darryll Holland (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Darryll Holland (Pic: Ross Holburt)

A few eyebrows were raised when Holland – a winner of numerous big races worldwide – arrived and many predicted that he would, like so many others before him, either leave quickly or at the very latest, quietly after his initial contract was up. To the pleasant surprise of the racing community – not to mention the delight of punters – he not only saw out his contract but renewed it twice.

Darryll Holland at Busan (KRA)

Darryll Holland at Busan (KRA)

Holland adapted well to life in Busan and while he experienced the similar frustrations to many foreign riders who come here, he embraced the local culture and got down to some serious hard work. Of course, the thing that overcomes all in racing is winners and he rode plenty of them.

It started on his debut day when he rode two winners and he never looked back. Riding for all of the top trainers here, including Busan’s main man Kim Young Kwan, he formed a particularly strong partnership with Australian trainer Peter Wolsley which saw them win the Gold Circle Trophy together with My Winner and culminated in a memorable Friday in January this year when they combined for four winners on a single afternoon.

Although they went their separate ways before the end of his time here, the Wolsley/Holland combination is one that will live long in punters’ memories.

He didn’t always see eye-to eye with the Stewards, feeling were overly keen to penalize what he termed “competitive race riding” – something that top local riders Mooon Se Young and Seo Seung Un, who try to ride in a similar way also complain of. Regardless, the Korea Racing Authority were as happy with him as punters were and made clear that he is welcome back at any time and supplying him with a glowing reference on departure.

Holland’s last ride in Korea was due to be on Indie Band in the Jeju Governor’s Cup at Seoul on June 29 but sadly Korea’s best colt fractured a leg in the build-up to the race. That meant his last ride was at Busan on June 22. It was, of course, a winner.

Here he is winning from gate 12 on a horse called Geumsaero back in January:

Bart Rice In Training Form At Busan While Shinichi Terachi Starts With A Winner At Seoul

Bart Rice added to his burgeoning Korean reputation by saddling two more winners this weekend as the South African trainer continued his impressive first season in Korea.

Winning: Bart Rice (KRA)

Winning: Bart Rice (KRA)

Haing sent out the extremenly promising filly Seungni Laser (Menifee) to record her 7th win in 12 starts on Friday, today it was the turn of another Kang Soo Hyeon owned runner – the similarly named Seungni Grand (Menifee) – to do the business.

Returning for a 6-month lay-off and running for Rice for the first time, the 4-year-old colt was sent off as 2nd favourite in the mile-long race 6. However, under Darryll Holland, he was always well-positioned and once the field entered the home straight, was the only likely winner.

Weighing in with winners: Darryll Holland (KRA)

Weighing in with winners: Darryll Holland (KRA)

Rice now has quite remarkable figures of 14 winners, 5 seconds and 2 thirds from his 47 starters in Korea to date. Like fellow foreign trainer, Australia’s Peter Wolsley, Rice shows exceptional judgement in entering his horses where they are most likely to win.

Punters foolishly let Seungni Grand go off at 9/2 today, preferring to put their money on an overbet weak-favourite in the shape of Powerful Namhae. They’ll be watching Rice’s horses a lot more closely from now on.

Seungni Grand was the first of a late double for Darryll Holland, taking his win tally for the weekend to three.

Next Sunday is the Korean Derby at Seoul and with Rice and Wolsley both having entries – two in the latter’s case – it looks like the biggest ever foreign-connected contingent will be making its way to the capital.

Another visitor making a great start to his time in Korea is Japanese jockey Shinichi Terachi.

Shinichi Terachi at Seoul on Sunday

Shinichi Terachi at Seoul on Sunday

The 34-year-old debuted at Seoul on Saturday and was on target on board his second ride, recording a 4-length win on 5/1 shot Bujeon Jajeon.

Terachi – who will be called by his given name in Korean racecards, debuted in Japan in 1997 and has 116 winners in the NAR.

He joins the well-established Ikuyasu Kurakane as the only foreign presence in racing at Seoul (on the track, anyway). Ikuyasu also grabbed one winner over this weekend, claiming Seoul race 5 on Saemyeongjang.

Jockey of the day at Seoul though was once again Seo Seung Un. He rode three winners on the day, including taking out the feature race on Siggeureounachim.

200-Up Kurakane Heads High Performing Visitors

Ikuyasu Kurakane reached a major milestone over the weekend, when he became the first foreign jockey to ride 200 winners in Korea.

200 winners: Ikuyasu Kurakane (Pic: Ross Holburt)

200 winners: Ikuyasu Kurakane (Pic: Ross Holburt)

His two victories across the weekend, on Big Show on Saturday and Ms. Celtic Senior on Sunday, took the Japanese rider to 201 victories from 1711 rides across two stints riding on the peninsula.

Now 38, Kurakane originally came to Korea in 2007 and spent a successful 18 months riding at Seoul and Busan. During this period he won what remains his only Stakes race to date, the 2007 Nonghyup Trophy on Pilseung Giwon.

Kurakane returned to Seoul in April last year and quickly established himself as among the track’s top riders.

An exceptionally hard-worker in the mornings, he doesn’t get the biggest rides, but unlike many foreign jockeys here before him, he does get the numbers and when on a fancied horse, he generally converts it into the win. He currently lies 3rd in the 2014 Championship

His feat is made all the more impressive in that the vast majority of his winners have come at Seoul, a track where he is the only foreign jockey to have enjoyed even moderate success. At Busan, it is a different story although still by means easy for the visitors.

Kurakane’s license has been extended by 6-months, as have those of Busan-based trio Darryll Holland, Joe Fujii and Masa Tanaka.

Royal Ascot winning rider Holland is the KRA’s marquee jockey and after overcoming a challenging first few months, he’s now reaping he benefits, taking out another feature race at Busan on Sunday and is currently in 2nd place in the Busan Championship.

Grand Prix Stakes, Korean Derby and Oaks winner Fujii is just two places back. Tanaka too is a regular visitor to the winner’s circle. The “foreign jockey quinella” is now a very popular bet among punters.

In the barn at Busan things are going well too. After his 2nd place finish last year, Peter Wolsley currently leads the 2014 Trainers’ Championship in numbers of winners – ahead of even the Kim Young Kwan machine. Meanwhile, South African Bart Rice has made an impressive start with 5 of his 23 runners to date returning victorious.

Korea is still a very difficult place for foreign jockeys to ride as the recent experiences of Jerome Lermyte and Fausto Durso show, making the achievements of the likes of Kurakane even more notable.

Overseas Jockeys in Korea All-Time Top Ten

1. Ikuyasu Kurakane (Japan) – 201*
2. Toshio Uchida (Japan) – 138
3. Kanichiro Fujii (Japan) – 116*
4. Garry Baker (Australia) – 78
5. Narazaki Kosuke (Japan) – 68
6. Eiki Nishimura (Japan) – 60
7. Hitomi Miyashita (Japan) – 56
8. Darryll Holland (United Kingdom) – 52*
9. Martin Wepner (South Africa) – 49
10. Nozomu Tomizawa (Japan) – 48

* Still riding in Korea

Holland & Wolsley Clean-Up At Busan

The emerging combination of Australian trainer Peter Wolsley and British jockey Darryll Holland was in top-form on Friday with the pair combining for 4 winners at Busan.

Darryll Holland weighed in a winner for Peter Wolsley  4 times on Friday

Darryll Holland weighed in a winner for Peter Wolsley 4 times on Friday

It looked for a time that South African trainer Bart Rice’s debut winner was going to be the story of the day among Busan’s foreign contingent.

However, Wolsley and Holland took over, winning race 5 with 11/1 Never Seen Before (Ecton Park), race 6 with even-money favourite Bulpae Dongja (Purge) and race 7 with 2/1 favourite Cinderella Man (Southern Image), the latter an 8-length stroll.

They weren’t finished either as they returned to take race 10, with 8/1 Gaseumeuro (Pico Central) getting the better of a very tight finish with the Masa Tanaka ridden Sea Monster.

With Wolsley’s stable jockey Jo Sung Gon in Macau for the first few months of 2014, the Wolsley, Holland partnership is one that will be watched closely – by punters and rivals.

Yesterday’s wins took Holland to the top of the 2014 Busan Jockey Chaampionship with 10. Wolsley is joint-top of the trainers’ table with 7 alongside Kim Young Kwan.

* In Friday’s feature race at Busan, there was a welcome return to the winner’s circle for Gyeongbudaero (Menifee).

The 2012 KRA Cup Mile winner was 6th in the Grand Prix Stakes on his last outing in December and out-battled US import Donggeupchoegang (Bernstein) – to who he was conceding 7 kilos – to win the 1900M class 1 event by a nose.

Indian Blues For Watts Village

Watts Village scored an unforgettable victory in Tokyo last November but found himself brought back down to Earth this afternoon as he was handed a defeat on his season re-appearance at Seoul Race Park.

Indian Blue & Ikuyasu Kurakane

Indian Blue & Ikuyasu Kurakane (Pic: Ross Holburt)

And it was a horse ridden by a Japanese jockey that did for him as Ikuyasu Kurakane guided Indian Blue (Henny Hughes), 4th in the Grand Prix Stakes last month, to victory by a length.

On board Watts Village, Seo Seung Un tried to repeat the same tactic that served him so well in the Japanese capital and headed straight for the front. By contrast, Kurakane took Indian Blue right to the back.

There was a key difference this afternoon though as they were racing over 7 furlongs as opposed to 6 in Tokyo and this time Watts Village just couldn’t hold on. Once Indian Blue got into the gear in the home straight, it was just a matter of time and she swept by inside the final 50 metres.

Indian Blue was recording just her 4th win in 14 starts, however, she’s only been outside the money on 2 occasions and has shown she can claim prizes at distances ranging from 1000-2300 metres. It seems the best is still to come for her. As for Watts Village, now that a trip to Dubai is off the table, he’ll be back. He still looks very difficult to beat at sprint distances.

Despite being beaten on Watts Village, the day was by no means a write-off for Seo Seung Un. One race earlier, the jockey guided filly Cheonnyeon Dongan (Ecton Park) to a comfortable victory in the first of the 2 co-feature races.

Now entering her 4-year-old season, Cheonnyeon Dongan was 4th in last year’s Korean Oaks but followed it up with back-to-back Stakes wins in the Dong-a Ilbo Trophy and NACF Chairman’s Cup. Today made for her 3rd straight win and her first against class 1 mixed company.

Down at Busan, it was another successful day for Darryll Holland. The British jockey now lies in joint 1st-place with Joe Fujii in the Busan Jockey Championship after victory on promising US import K Teryus (Not For Love) in race 5. Holland is yet to draw a blank at a single meeting in 2014.

Holland couldn’t score in the feature race though (not having a ride in it didn’t help) as Choi Si Dae guided High Five (Creek Cat) to a 3-length victory from My Key (Macho Uno).

Next weekend is the last before racing takes a short break for the lunar New Year holiday. As such, a number of big names are expected to be in action, especially at Busan where beaten Grand Prix runners Beolmaui Kkum and Gyeongbudaero are entered.

Se Young’s Super Six

Champion jockey Moon Se Young was in imperious form at Seoul on Sunday, riding the winner in 6 or the 10 races on the card.

Moon Se Young

Moon Se Young

As has been mentioned many times on this blog, the standard of riding in Korea has been getting better and better over the past few years.

Seo Seung Un, while not the champion, was undoubtedly the jockey of the year in 2013 by virtue of his outstanding performance with limited firepower.

Lee Chan Ho, a first year apprentice is showing great potential, while Jo In Kwen pushed Moon all the way last year.

However, if there was any doubt as to who is the number one in the weighing room, it was dispelled today. All his mounts had chances and Moon brought them home with ruthless efficiency.

Those wins included both co-feature races, firstly with Brig (Menifee), a 4-year-old who was 4th in the Korean Derby last year and looks set to fulfil his potential this time around.

Then there was Bichui Wangja (Roman Ruler), a 4-year-old American import who held off two long shots to record his 5th career win. Seo Seung Un had ridden Bichui Wangja in all his previous outings before today. With Moon being available though, the ride went to him.

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

A smile would be nice: Even after Bichui Wangja give s him his 6th winner of the day, Moon Se Young is in no mood for celebration

Earlier in Moon’s haul was Feel So Good (Ft.Stockton). The only Korean bred horse to win a race in the United States returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 4 outings, winning race 6 by a nose. He’ll be in class 2 company next time out.

Down at Busan, we have some quality riders too although with Jo Sung Gon off to Macau, most of them are now foreign.

Joe Fujii and Darryll Holland both picked up where they left off from Friday by riding winners. Fujii added to his Friday four-timer by scoring a routine win on hot favourite Not Anymore (Casino Prince) in race 4. It was a 3rd win from 7 starts for the Aussie filly who has never finished worse than 3rd.

Two races later, Holland, who rode a double on Friday, landed the feature race for the 2nd time in as many meetings, guiding Grand Teukgeup (Menifee) to a comfortable win over 7 furlongs.

Four-Timer Fujii Leads Magnificent Seven For Foreign Jocks At Busan

The 2014 Korean racing season got underway at Busan today and the track’s foreign jockeys were on fire as they helped themselves to 7 of the 12 races.

Smiling: Masa Tanaka (left) and Joe Fujii (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Smiling: Masa Tanaka (left) and Joe Fujii (Pic: Hiromi Kobayashi)

Masa Tanaka kicked things off with victory in race 3 on 6/1 chance Bada Gangja with Darryll Holland getting off the mark for the year in the next with a 2-length win on Thunder Ray. Race 5 saw Joe Fujii get in on the action as he guided US-bred gelding Smart Energy to a 6-length triumph.

Local jockeys Park Sung Kwang and Kim Jeong Woong grabbed the next two before Fujii completed a double with an unexpected win on 19/1 outsider Uribong in race 8.

Winning: Darryll Holland (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Winning: Darryll Holland (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Holland wrapped up a double of his own in race 10, piloting Peter Wolsley’s Vicar Sun home before Fujii took over once more and snatched the final two races of the day on Queen’s Blade and Cheonji Jeonseung to complete a remarkable four-timer.

Fujii, who turned 30 on New Year’s Eve, finished 2nd in the Busan Jockey Championship in 2013, winning both the Korean Derby and Oaks along the way. For Holland, it was a welcome return to the saddle and the winner’s circle after being forced to miss last weekend’s bumper cards through suspension. Meanwhile the ever-reliable Tanaka was continuing the good form he showed last week when he won his first Korean class 1 race.

Saturday sees opening day at Seoul where it’s not likely to quite as successful for the visitors among the capital jockey colony. Ikuyasu Kurakane is suspended leaving Fausto Durso as the only foreign jockey in action. On Sunday there is racing at both Seoul and Busan.