Jarred Samuel

Lee Yong Ho Winning At Busan While Takahashi Debuts At Seoul

Several new apprentice jockeys have debuted over the past couple of weeks at both Seoul and Busan with a couple of them catching the eye so far. Meanwhile there are comings and goings among the foreign jockey ranks.

Winning already: Apprentice jockey Lee Yong Ho

Winning already: Apprentice jockey Lee Yong Ho

Among the apprentices, the stand-out so far has been 18-year-old Lee Yong Ho who has already ridden 5 winners from his first 29 mounts at Busan. Lee, the youngest jockey to gain a license in Korea for many years, is the younger brother of Seoul rider Lee Chan Ho, who made a similarly impressive start to his career two years ago. The younger Lee had already built quite a reputation for himself before his debut and he has received support from trainers right from his first day.

At Seoul, the best so far has been another Lee; Lee Hyeon Jong. After several near misses the 21-year-old rode his first winner last Saturday and quickly followed up with another. He has only had 13 rides so far but 7 of them have finished in the placings.

Among the other new apprentices, Park Jae I and Jin Kyum, both at Busan, have managed to get 2nd places while Kim Do Jung at Seoul has a 3rd to his name.

Debuting at Seoul last Saturday was Japanese jockey Yuri Takahashi. The 28-year-old, who is affiliated with the Iwate Racing Association, endured a challenging opening weekend with seven rides, none of which had a chance. Hopefully things will get better for him in future weeks in the way they’ve certainly got better for Djordje Perovic. The “Serbian Frankie” rode his 14th Korean winner on Saturday and if he continues riding the way he has been, he looks set to be the first non-Japanese visiting jockey to make a real impact at the notoriously difficult Seoul.

The other foreign rider at Seoul, Jarred Samuel, who has been a popular and positive presence for the past four months, has opted not to renew his contract and will return to South Africa at the end of July. Samuel will be replaced and another foreign rider is expected to arrive at the end of August.

Down at Busan meanwhile, Ikuyasu Kurakane is set for his third Korean stint, having been granted a license once more. Kurakane won the “MVP Award” at Seoul Racecourse last year – an achievemnet that led to the Japanese NAR presenting him with a special prize at their annual “Grand Prix” awards ceremony in February.

Elsewhere, former Busan jockey Joe Fujii is now riding in Hokkaido and landed his first Japanese winner at Mombetsu Racecourse last week.

Jarred Samuel Makes The Breakthrough At Last

It has been a long time coming but finally the hard work paid off for Jarred Samuel at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon as he rode his first Korean winner. It was his 102nd ride.

The 27-year-old South African has certainly been keeping busy since arriving in Seoul in April getting on plenty of horses. However, none of them have ever looked to be potential winners.

The same could have been said about Raon Rusa (Pico Central). The filly won three of her first four starts and was second in another but came into race 7 this afternoon a 15/1 chance following a disappointing performance last month.

Samuel would not be denied this time though. Always handy, he brought Raon Rusa through in the home straight to overtake tiring leader Super Plucky and held off the Djordje Perovic ridden Ssen Sky by a length on the line for a foreign jockey one-two.

Hopefully it’s the first of many for the ever-positive jockey.

Djordje Perovic Ready For Seoul Test

Another new foreign jockey has arrived in Korea. Djordje Perovic has been granted a license to ride at Seoul Racecourse from May 1 and looks set to get his first rides next weekend.

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Djordje Perovic, seen here in the JRA, joins Seoul this month (Pic: supplied by jockey)

A native of Serbia, the experienced Perovic is licensed in Italy and has won races in nine countries since debuting as a 17-year-old in 1997. He is a 7-time “Jockey of the Year” in Serbia and holds the distinction of “Best Sportsman of the City of Kragujevac” which isn’t something we can all put on our resume.

Perovic has won Group races in Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia and Austria as well as Jockey Premierships at the San Rossore and Visarno tracks in Italy. Most recently he held a short term JRA license in Japan where he rode three winners.

In total, Perovic arrives in Korea with 827 career wins. He joins Jarred Samuel as the only two foreign jockeys riding at Seoul and it is a tough environment in which to be.

Samuel has been working very hard but is yet to make a breakthrough in the three weekends he’s been riding – he’s ridden in 40 races so far but he’s not been given a single one with any kind of chance.

Perovic knows it’s not going to be easy and is well aware that while several foreign jockeys have had success at Busan, only Ikuyasu Kurakane has truly been able to crack Seoul. He arrived in the Korean capital on Wednesday and has stated he is excited about the challenge. We wish him well.

Here he is in action in Japan:

And here in Italy:

Weekend Preview: Cherry Blossoms! Gyeongbudaero Vs. Beolmaui Kkum!

It’s springtime! The Cherry Blossoms are out and it’s set to be a great weekend of racing on the peninsula.

Seoul Racecourse Floodlit Cherry Blossom Festival runs from 18:00-22.00 from today until next Thursday

Seoul Racecourse Floodlit Cherry Blossom Festival runs from 18:00-22.00 from today until next Thursday

The big race of the weekend is at Busan on Sunday where the top two rated horses in Korea will face off over 1900M. Grand Prix Stakes winner Gyeongbudaero and Beolmaui Kkum will also face the likes of Gamdonguibada and Magic Dancer in a small but serious field in the afternoon’s feature.

At Seoul, South African jockey Jarred Samuel will make his Korean riding debut on Saturday with 6 rides.

Here’s what’s happening when and where across the weekend:

Friday April 10
Busan Racecourse: 10 races from 12:50 to 19:00
Jeju Racecourse: 8 races from 13:15 to 17:10

Saturday April 11
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10.50 to 18:00
Jeju Racecourse: 9 races from 12:20 to 17:10

Sunday April 12
Seoul Racecourse: 11 races from 10:50 to 18:00
Busan Racecourse: 6 races from 12:45 to 17:00

South African Jockey Jarred Samuel Set For Seoul

Two months after Ikuyasu Kurakane returned to Japan, Seoul Racecourse has a new foreign jockey with South African Jarred Samuel taking up a four-month license.

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Jarred Samuel (Picture: Gold Circle)

Samuel, a 27-year-old who was previously based in Durban, has ridden 103 winners since debuting in 2004 and was in Seoul watching the races this past weekend. He is available for rides from this week.

Able to make 50kg weight, Samuel will be looking to get more opportunities than some of the other foreign jockeys who have ridden at Seoul in the past.

Samuel will be the fifth South African jockey to ride regularly in Korea (many others have participated in the Seoul International Jockey Challenge). Chris Taylor and Stephan Swanepoel weren’t given many chances during their times at Seoul several years ago although Martin Wepner and Gerrit Schlechter both fared much better in their stints at Busan.

A huge football fan, he will no doubt fit in well in Korea as his favourite team is Manchester United, although he has pledged to attend some K-League too.

Just two months ago he was featured on a South African TV show: