Kenny Seo

Jo Sung Gon & Kenny Seo Combine in Macau, Major King Flops at Pimlico

Mixed news from the overseas Korean racing diaspora over the past couple of weeks. There was an all-Korean connections winner in Macau but Minister’s Cup winner Major King was a major disappointment on his American racing debut.

Jo Sung Gon and Kenny Seo in the Taipa Winner's Circle (MJC)

Jo Sung Gon and Kenny Seo in the Taipa Winner’s Circle (MJC)

Seoul Racecourse based trainer Seo Beom Seok – better known as Kenny Seo – has been running a parallel stable in Macau for a year now, primarily training for Korean owners. Busan’s champion jockey Jo Sung Gon has been based in Macau since January.

On April 4, the Park Nam Sung owned, Kenny Seo trained and Jo Sung Gon ridden Liver Pool (All Bar One) took victory in the 1100 metre race 2 at Taipa. For trainer and jockey it was their 4th and 2nd winners respectively in the Special Administrative Region.

Taipa will host the Korea Racing Authority Trophy on May 2. The KRA Chairman will be among those making the trip from Seoul.

Seo’s attempt to make a go of things in Asia is at odds with the KRA’s seemingly never-ending fascination with the USA, a jurisdiction which despite the source of a large quantity of racehorses and breeding stock, has little in common with Korea and by their own admission, isn’t a model that authorities here are aiming to emulate.

The sending of 2-year-olds to Florida for early training has great merit and the latest batch of them will be returning to Korea next month much better for the experience. However, the habit of sending of mature Korean-bred horses to run in claiming races in the North-East is far more questionable.

2013 classic winners Speedy First and Major King headed Stateside in January and Major King (Pico Central) – who hadn’t exactly been pulling up trees in his most recent Korean outings was the first to make his debut. Korean racing fans are strongly advised to look away now.

It was hoped that the Pick Me Up and Baekpa debacles of 2008 and 2009 had been learned from but it seems we are doomed to keep repeating the same old mistakes – Horses that are bred and only trained in Korea are going to struggle when expected to race alongside animals that have been raised entirely differently.

More interaction with Asia-Pacific – of which the exchange races with Japan last year were a perfect example – is what’s needed now, not sending our Classic winners to plod around Pimlico.

Brazilian Jockey Fausto Pinto Durso Set For Seoul

Fausto Durso, who rode at the International Jockey Challenge in Seoul last month, is set to return to Korea for an extended stay after being granted a short-term license at Seoul Race Park.

Back To Seoul: Fausto Durso

Back To Seoul: Fausto Durso

The 39-year-old has spent the last few years racing mostly in Macau and was representing the Macau Jockey Club on his previous visit, during which he won the feature race of the event, the YTN Cup.

A Sao Paolo native, who racked-up over 700 wins in Brazil before coming to Asia, Durso has ridden more than 600 winners in Macau and has won the Macau Derby. He has also ridden in Dubai and Malaysia.

He he is winning the YTN Cup on Choichoro, reeling in Noel Callow on Dongseo Daeryuk:

The move is one of an increasing number of interactions between Korean and Macau. Seoul’s champion jockey Moon Se Young spent 3 months riding there earlier this year and Busan champion Jo Sung Gon is set to go soon. Additionally, Korean trainer Seo Beom Seok (also known as Kenny Seo) has set up a stable in Macau with 12 horses which he runs alongside his one at Seoul.

In other foreign jockey news, Japanese rider Ikuyasu Kurakane has been granted a 6-month extension to his license beginning October 1. Down at Busan, Britain’s Darryll Holland has also been offered an extension. Meanwhile, Joe Fujii, winner of the Grand Prix Stakes, Korean Derby and Korean Oaks during his time in Korea so far, is in the process of applying to the JRA in his native Japan.