Ham Wan Sik

Clean Up Joy Wins The 2016 Grand Prix Stakes

Clean Up Joy downed Triple Nine and Power Blade to win the 2016 Korea Grand Prix Stakes at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

clean-up-joy

Clean Up Joy & Ham Wan Sik win the 35th Grand Prix Stakes (Pic: KRA)

Two-time President’s Cup winner Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite with Clean Up Joy splitting him and his stablemate, Triple Crown winner Power Blade, in the betting market.

And while Beolmaui Kkum set the early pace he was surprisingly joined at the front right away by Clean Up Joy – generally a bad starter but here away very keenly from the outside gate. This was bad news for the field with the most proven stayer in the race already at the front.

Clean Up Joy looked strong all the way around. Just as in the Korea Cup, Beolmaui Kkum’s race was over early and it was left to Triple Nine and Power Blade to give chase in the home straight. However, Clean Up Joy was away. His five-length advantage at the top of the stretch was down to under two on the line but jockey Ham Wan Sik had time to ease up and pose for the cameras as they passed the line.

Triple Nine was 2nd, besting Power Blade for the third time in a row before they both head to Dubai later this week. Goliath Marine ran a huge race in 4th while the ever honest Heba came home an excellent 5th.

Clean Up Joy (Purge) is a 5-year-old gelding. He was  $14,000 purchase from the OBS June 2013 Two-Year-Old sales. The Grand Prix was his 11th win on his 21st career start and took him to career earnings of over US$1.25Million. It was a career highlught win for both trainer Song Moon Gil and jockey Ham Wan Sik.

It also saw the Grand Prix being won by a horse trained at Seoul for the first time since Tough Win’s triumph in 2011 and means that whatever happens, the traditional season-ending finale will be run in the capital once more next year.

Grand Prix (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2300M – Dec 18, 2016

1. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeaux Danseur)] – Ham Wan Sik – 5.5. 1.7
2. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.0
3. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 2.1
Distances: 1.25 lengths / 5 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Goliath Marine (KOR) 5. Heba (USA) 6. CLean Up Cheonha (USA) 7. Success Story (KOR) 8. Dongbang Daero (USA) 9. Unbeatable (USA) 10. Speace Port (USA) 11. Gumpo Sky (KOR) 12. Halla Chukje (USA) 13. Cheonjeok (USA) 14. Winner Red (USA) 15. Muhudaeje (USA) 16. Beolmaui Kkum (USA)

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Clean Up Joy Romps Home In KRA Cup Classic

Clean Up Joy today showed why he’s the highest-rated horse at Seoul with an easy win in the KRA Cup Classic on a rainy afternoon in the Korean capital.

Jockey Ham Wan Sik departed from his normal tactics on Clean Up Joy and despite 5-year-old leaping rather awkwardly out of the gate opted to push forward to join the early leaders. On a wet track, it paid off handsomely. Clean Up Joy hit the front as the field entered the home straight and ran on to win by a comfortable seven-lengths on the line.

Clean Up Joy (Purge) was recording his 10th win on what was his 20th career start. He was 3rd behind Bold Kings in last year’s Grand Prix Stakes and 4th in this summer’s Busan Mayor’s Cup, beaten only by Beolmaui Kkum, Triple Nine and Success Story. Despite a reverse at the hands of Winning Andy – who also tried his luck here – when conceding 8kg in August, he fully vindicated punters who sent him off at long odds-on today.

Running 2nd was the ever-reliable Unbeatable (Eddington) while long-shot Cheonjeok (Shakespeare) got up for a very creditable 3rd place.

Clean Up Joy was a $14,000 purchase from the OBS two-year-old sale in Florida in June 2013. He’s now won in excess of $800,000 in prize-money.

KRA Cup Classic (KOR G2) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – October 16, 2016

1. Clean Up Joy (USA) [Purge – Greta’s Joy (Joyeaux Danseur)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.3, 1.1
2. Unbeatable (USA) [Eddington – Baxter Hall (Rahy)] – Song Jae Chul – 3.2
3. Cheonjeok (USA) [Shakespeare – Celtic Song (Giant’s Causeway)]
Distances: 7 lengths / 3 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Clean Up Cheonha (USA) 5. Dynamic Jilju (USA) 6. Bichui Wangja (USA) 7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 8. Winning Andy (USA) 9. Chief Red Can (USA) 10. Damyang Chukje (USA)

Mustang Queen Runs Wild In Irish Trophy

On a wild weather day in Seoul, Mustang Queen held off all challengers to win the Horse Racing Ireland Trophy.

Ham Wan Sik celebrates on Mustang Queen

Sent off as the 8/1 fourth favourite in the field of fourteen for the seven furlong Stakes race, Mustang Queen (Concept Win) was quickly towards the front. Taking the lead rounding the home turn, she never looked like giving it up as she ran on for victory by just over a length from favourites Imperial Star and Seungniuihamseong.

A four-year old filly, Mustang Queen was sixth in last year’s Korean Oaks at Busan, the only race in her career so far in which she finished out of the money. A class 2 win last month sent her into today’s race in good form and she duly recorded her fifth win from fourteen starts.

Ham Wan Sik on Mustang Queen in the HRI Trophy Winner's Circle

For jockey Ham Wan Sik, it’s a fourth career Stakes victory and comes just a week after he rode his 400th career winner.

The Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Trophy has been a fixture on the Korean racing calendar for sixteen years now and is one of the longest running exchange races. The Irish authority also sends a jockey each year to participate in the International Jockey Challenge which this year will be held in August.

As ever – and unlike some other authorities who have exchange races here – officials from Horse Racing Ireland were on hand for the prize-giving ceremony. Indeed, HRI’s Mark O’Hanlon took to twitter later on to comment on the day.

The Horse Racing Ireland Trophy is one of several trophy exchange races held throughout the year

The KRA reciprocates by sponsoring a race in Ireland each year and it was in the Korea Racing Authority EBF Maiden at Leopardstown in August 2008 where a certain colt by the name of Sea The Stars recorded his first ever race win. It wouldn’t be his last.

In Korea there is a saying: “Kkot-Saem Chu-ui”, which roughly translates as the “The cold is jealous of the flowers”. It’s used when the dying winter season returns for one last hurrah, taking out the spring flowers in the process. Dawn broke in the capital this morning with brilliant sunshine. However, the wind quickly picked up and was up to gale-force at times.

Then a sudden blizzard arrived, with race 6 being run under floodlights in driving snow. Thirty minutes later, it was as if it had never happened with the sun out once again, the floodlights off and the snow melted.

The wind kept up though and all in all, it was one of the most unpleasant days at the track this winter. The cold certainly had its revenge on the spring flowers that the KRA has already planted around the track.

A quick blizzard covered the neighbouring mountains in snow

Sunday is another very big day, with the first Group race of the year in the shape of the Ttukseom Cup at Seoul. Here’s what’s happening when and where:

Sunday March 25

Seoul Race Park: 11 races from 11:00 to 17:45 including the Ttukseom Cup at 16:15
Busan Race Park: 7 races from 12:15 to 16:45 (Mister Park vs Dangdae Bulpae is race 7)

Life’s Pretty Easy For A Boy Named Seo

Ham Wan Sik landed his 400th career winner today but it’s Seo Seung Un who continues to make the headlines.

Seo Seung Un returns after his 25th winner

The young jockey became the quickest in modern times to reach 25 winners and seems sure to become the first apprentice jockey to ride out his weight allowance in his first year in the saddle.

Seo, who debuted last August, landed a double on his first weekend and hasn’t looked back since. Last Saturday he scored a “true treble”, with wins in races 6, 7, and 8 – something the vast majority of Korean jockeys go through their careers without doing.

Today he was in top form, guiding Magic Light (Exploit) to victory by a head in race 7.

Twenty-two year old Seo is fourth in this year’s Jockeys’ Championship and is already being touted by the Korean racing press as potentially the best riding talent to emerge from the country.

The real test will come when he loses his weight allowance. New apprentice jockeys start with a 4 kilo advantage, losing a kilo for every ten winners (there is no time limit on this) and then they are left to compete with the very best for rides. On all the evidence so far, this will not be a problem for Seo Seung Un.

Ham Wan Sik is a jockey who has had a lot of tests to overcome since he gained his license fourteen years ago.

One of the taller riders in the weighing room, Ham faces a constant struggle to keep his weight down and his fluctuating minimum weight has, on occasion, caused problems for him. Today, however, he became one of a select few jockeys in Korea to pass the milestone of 400 career winners.

Ham Wan Sik celebrates win number 401

It came in race 7 on the aptly named Bulls Eye (Ingrandire) and he quickly followed up with number 401 on Holy Moely (Nihon Pillow Neil) in race 10.

Ham Wan Sik debuted in 1998 and has three Stakes wins to his name, the biggest being the 2007 Owners’ Association Trophy, which he won on Gwacheon Ruler. His best year in terms of winners was in 2006 when he scored 53.

Indeed, it is possible that Ham’s silks are better known than he is. In Korea, jockeys wear their own colours and Ham’s appeared in the 2006 racing movie Gakseoltang and also in 2011’s Champ, where he was referred to by name as being a friend of the lead character. Today though, he was recognised for what he does on the track.

Racing returns to Seoul on Sunday and it is a big day as 2011 Grand Prix Stakes winner Tough Win make his season debut.