While Seoul is dark this weekend, next week sees the first of two big events with an international flavour at the capital track.
On September 1, the SBS Goodwill Cup will involve 3 horses visiting from Japan – the first time foreign trained horses will have run in Korea. First up though on August 10 and 11 is the annual Seoul International Jockey Challenge when 6 visitors will take on 6 locals in the Jockey Challenge over 4 races culminating in the YTN Cup.
A strong line-up has been secured this year. Here is a run-down of the international team:
Niall McCullagh (Ireland) – Returning to Seoul after taking part in the 2010 event, the 44-year-old has been a consistent performer in his native Ireland for over 20 years.
Since his last trip to the Korean capital, he has secured the biggest prize of his career, guiding Royal Diamond to victory in the 2012 Irish St.Leger. Watch the race here.
Noel Callow (Australia – representing Malaysia) – A prolific winner whose big race victories include the 2005 Victoria Derby and the 2008 Singapore Derby, the globe-trotting Aussie Noel “King” Callow will be in Seoul to represent the Selangor Turf Club.
While successful at home, primarily on the Victorian circuit, it is in Asia where Callow is best known with a number of stints in Singapore – where he was leading Jockey in 2007 – and Malaysia. He has also ridden in Mauritius where he became something of a folk-hero among local racing fans.Here he is winning the 2008 Emirates Singapore Derby on Top Spin.
Fausto Pinto Durso (Brazil – representing Macau) – The Sao Paolo native, with nearly 700 wins in his homeland has been a long-term fixture in Macau where he has racked up over 600 winners.
His biggest triumphs came in 2010 when, among other Group 1’s, he won the Macau Derby.
He has also ridden in Dubai and Malaysia as well as the occasional weekend in Hong Kong. Here he wins the 2010 Macau Hong Kong Trophy on Viva Hong Kong.
Raymond Danielson (South Africa) – Qualifying in the same class as Richard Fourie and Muzi Yeni – both alumni of this event – Raymond Danielson has ridden nearly 500 winners in South Africa.
Danielson rode the winner of the Group 1 Champions Cup at Greyville in 3 consecutive years from 2009-2011.
Here he is winning the 2011 edition on The Apache.
Yucel Bilik (Turkey) – Turkey always sends one of its top jockeys to this event and this year is no exception.
Only last month, 29-year old Yucel Bilik landed the biggest win of his career, guiding Divine Light to victory in Turkey’s richest and most prestigious race, the G1 Gazi Derby. Watch the race here.
Shinichiro Akiyama (Japan) – This year, the JRA sends a 16-year veteran with nearly 800 winners to his name.
Lightweight jockey Shinichiro Akiyama has a number of big wins under his belt but is best known in his homeland for victories in the NHK Mile Cup and the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Here he is winning the 2012 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies on Robe Tissage
We’ll have more on the build-up to the event – including a look at the home team – over the next few days.
All jockeys will compete in 4 races; 2 on the Saturday and 2 on the Sunday. Mounts will be drawn on Thursday.
The same weekend will also see exchange races sponsored by racing authorities from Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Ireland and Macau.