Lee Chan Ho

Sunday Seoul & Busan: Sports Chosun Cup Preview (June 18)

Sunday sees Sports Chosun Cup day at Seoul with 11 races from 10:45 to 18:00. At Busan there are 6 races from 12:40 to 17:05. English racecards are here.

Cheonnyeon Dongan Nonghyup

Lee Chan Ho returns (Pic: KRA)

Rewind to 2015 and Lee Chan Ho was on top of the Korean Racing World. On a glorious August afternoon at Seoul Racecourse, the young jockey, who had ridden out his apprenticeship in double-quick time, partnered Choegang Schiller to win the Asia Challenge Cup, defeating Singapore’s champion sprinter El Padrino on the way to what was then arguably Korean racing’s greatest victory.

Just over a year later it all looked over. After incidents away from racing, Lee found his license cancelled and a career possibly finished at the age of 24. Yet this weekend he’s back as the legal process has reached a stage where he can ride, at least for the time being, pending a final judgement.

The returning Lee admits to having had to lose 10kg in the two weeks since he found out he could resume riding, but he’s done it and will return to big race action when he takes the mount on Yeongnong in Sunday’s 28th running of the Listed Sports Chosun Cup.

Yeongnong probably won’t be favourite but he is one of a number in the hunt in what is a very competitive renewal.

Race 9: Class Open (2000M) Sports Chosun Cup / Allowance / KRW 200 Million

1. ROYAL VICTORY – Beaten by I Am For You and Yeongnong last start over 1400M but was a class 2 winner at 1800M the time before. Can look to place.

2. PERFECT SHINE – 3rd behind Royal Victory over 1800M in April, he’s consistently close but usually finds a few too good and most likely will here too.

3. KAWON – Full brother to a Korean Oaks winner, he’s the form of his life, winning 4 of his last 7. Likely close to the early pace, he’s not raced at this distance before but has to be in the frame.

4. YEONGNONG – 3rd on first try at class 2 behind I Am For You at the end of April, he’ll be on or close to the speed and while a win would be a shock, he can go close. (more…)

Jockey Woes: Lee Chan Ho Struck-Off / Pasquale Borelli Suspended For 12 Months

Lee Chan Ho, one of the most promising young jockeys at Seoul and who guided Choegang Schiller to victory in the 2015 Asia Challenge Cup, has had his license to ride in races cancelled. The sanction, announced last Friday, is due to off-track incidents and is not related to racing or integrity.

Born in 1992, Lee Chan Ho debuted as a 21-year-old in June 2013 and quickly made an impression, riding out his apprentice claim in double-quick time. He partnered Wonder Bolt to 2nd place behind El Padrino in the inaugural Asia Challenge Cup in 2014 and returned to win the race one year later on Choegang Schiller.

That would be his only Group race winner although he also had Listed success in the Herald Business and Nonghyup Chairman’s Cup races in 2015 as well as this year’s Seoul trial for the Jeju Governor’s Cup. In total, he rode 179 winners from 1343 rides.

Like a number of jurisdictions in Asia, Korea has strict policies relating to conduct away from the racecourse as well as on it and unfortunately, it seems Lee Chan Ho fell foul of these one time too many.

Meanwhile Pasquale Borelli’s time at Busan is at an end. The Italian jockey had been under investigation for his ride on Yeonggwanguihunter at Busan on October 28th. The 2-year-old colt was sent off as odds-on favourite but finished a tailed-off last with Borelli adjudged by stewards to have restrained the horse. Borelli maintained that he believed the horse to be feeling an injury but a post-race veterinary exam showed no sign of lameness.

Ultimately, Borelli was handed a 12-month suspension which almost certainly means he has ridden his last race in Korea.  Borelli debuted at Busan in October 2015 and in his year riding at the South Coast track, recorded 38 winners from 319 mounts.

Here’s the race in question, the horse is number 9:

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.

Ikuyasu Kurakane & Lee Chan Ho Ride High At Seoul

Lee Chan Ho shot to the top of his graduating class with a remarkable display of riding at Seoul Race Park this past weekend.

Winning: Lee Chan Ho

Winning: Lee Chan Ho

The 21-year-old apprentice, who debuted in June rode 4 winners on Saturday and added another on Sunday for a total of 5 wins from 11 rides.

He also managed 2 third-place finishes on Sunday.

Lee’s exploits take him to 10 winners from 79 rides in his short career so far and see him lose one of the 4-kilos of weight allowance that brand new apprentices are able to claim.

Still claiming the full amount are the three others who qualified with Lee. However, Kim Tea Hun, Song Jae Chul and Jo Han Beol are all also off the mark and it looks like we are seeing another good crop of young jockeys as the Seoul Jockey Academy continues to excel.

Another, altogether more experienced jockey, is also in a rich vein of form. Japan’s Ikuyasu Kurakane returned to Korea for a second spell earlier this year and a Sunday afternoon treble sees the 37-year old rise to 6th in the Jockey Championship with 37 winners.

Fellow Japanese rider Joe Fujii may be winning the big ones at Busan, but the workaholic Ikuyasu is bringing in the numbers at Seoul