Sing Sing Cat

All Smiles For 500-up Kim Ok Sung As Sing Sing Cat Rolls Back The Years

It’s taken him 28 years but Kim Ok Sung grinned his way to his 500th career winner at Seoul Racecourse on Saturday and fittingly he did it aboard one of the grand old campaigners of the track, as Sing Sing Cat returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013.

Kim Ok Sung...500-up

Kim Ok Sung…500-up

It doesn’t sound hugely impressive but in actual fact it is. For many of those 28 years, Kim Ok Sung was, like every other jockey, restricted to five rides per week. He is one of very few jockeys of his generation who have managed to last more than ten years in the saddle in a fast changing racing environment where the young jockeys are far better trained than those who went before. He is 6th on the all-time winner’s list.

If you had to choose a jockey to spend an evening on the soju with, it would probably be Kim Ok Sung. If you had to choose a jockey to bet your mortgage on in a race, it probably wouldn’t be Kim Ok Sung. Popular with punters with his man of the people routine and his ability to always be quick with a quip in retort to a heckle in the parade ring he has, to put it diplomatically, sailed close to the wind with the Stewards on a number of occasions.

Yet somehow, he always manages to come out the other side and Saturday’s 500th win was typical. Riding 50/1 shot Sing Sing Cat, Ok Sung unexpectedly gunned him out of the gate into the lead and essentially pulled down the pants of the rest of the field who never got back on terms, the jockey punching the air as he and his mount crossed the line still a full 5 lengths clear of the rest. Champion jockey Moon Se Young was the first to congratulate him.

Kim Ok Sung is nicknamed the “Smile Jockey” due to his ever-present Cheshire Cat grin. His biggest win was all the way back in 1996 when he won the Grand Prix Stakes on Hula Mingo. The grin was widened on Sunday when he rode winner number 501.

A mention is due of Sing Sing Cat (D’Wildcat) too. He was a 50/1 winner on Saturday but back in 2012 he stunned Tough Win to claim victory in the KRA Cup Classic. A regular money winner since, the 7-year-old was recording his 12th win on his 41st start.

Down at Busan, top-rated horse in the land Beolmaui Kkum slumped to his second consecutive defeat. This time it was Cowboy Son (Cowboy Cal) who won Busan’s Sunday feature race with Oreuse (Smoke Glacken) returning from a year out running 2nd and beating Beolmaui Kkum into 3rd.

Now attention shifts to the Korean Derby. We are just five days away!

Tough Win Leaves It Too Late As Sing Sing Cat Pounces On KRA Cup Classic

Grand Prix Champion suffers rare defeat at Seoul while filly Pureun Energy wins Busan Juvenile Prize

Tough Win was given far too much to do in the home straight as Sing Sing Cat ran away with the KRA Cup Classic on a gorgeous autumn afternoon at Seoul Race Park today.

SIng Sing Cat and Lee Sang Hyeok in the KRA Cup Classic winner’s circle

Grand Prix champion, number one horse in Korea and long odds-on favourite, Tough Win (Yonaguska) was, as has been normal in his recent races, sent straight to the back of the field. Meanwhile Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal), winner of this race last year, made the running with Sing Sing Cat (D’Wildcat) close behind.

Generally Tough Win quickens at the end of the back straight, this time, however, jockey Cho Kyoung Ho didn’t ask the five-year old to begin improving his position until they came off the final corner meaning he had to go right around the field to get a run. While he made up 11 places and more than 25 lengths in the home straight, Sing Sing Cat was travelling too well to be caught and held on to win by a length.

Three-year old Nolbu Manse also managed to resist Tough Win, although had the race been a few metres longer – or had the favourite been asked to improve a little earlier – things could well have been very different.

Sing Sing Cat [D’Wildcat-Freddy Fenter (Fenter)], a four-year old colt, moves on to 9 wins from 20 starts and puts himself right into contention for the season ending Grand Prix in December. Tough Win will no doubt be back that day although different tactics will be needed if he is to avoid another ignominious defeat.

KRA Cup Classic (KOR G3) – Seoul Race Park – 2000M – Sunday October 21

1. Sing Sing Cat (USA) [D’Wildcat – Freddy Fenter (Fenter)] – Lee Sang Hyeok – 8.3, 1.8
2. Nolbu Manse (USA) [Simon Pure – Reason To Fear (Kris S)] – Ham Wan Sik – 1.6
3. Tough Win (USA) [Yonaguska – Maggie May’s Sword (Sword Dance)] – Cho Kyoung Ho – 1.1
Distances: 1 length/0.75 lengths – 14 ran

Down at Busan, the first of the year-end Juvenile championship races got underway in the form of the Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup. And there was a surprise as 14/1 shour Pureun Energy (Menifee), one of only two fillies in the race scored a narrow victory.

Last year’s winner Gyeongbudaero went on to win one Classic and finish second in another. Pureun Energy may or may not live up to that, however, in the short-term, she has won herself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup at Seoul next month where she will race for overall champion juvenile honours.

Gyeongnam Sinmun Cup – Busan Race Park – 1200M – October 21

1. Pureun Energy (KOR) [Menifee – Cheongsan Ilho (Nediym)] – Lim Sung Sil – 14.0, 3.0
2. Yapung (KOR) [Menifee – Wild Life (Wild Again)] – Park Geum Man – 2.7
3. Fantastic Jazz (KOR) [Menifee – Sorority Jazz (Dixieland Band)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.3
Distances: Head / 1 length – 10 ran

Weekend Round-Up: Abe, Kosuke, Schlechter In-Form at Busan

Foreign Jockeys Win Five Of Six

It wasn’t a good Sunday for the local Jockeys’ Union in Busan. While apprentice rider Jeong Dong Cheol did manage to win race 2, he was the only Korean rider to score on the six-race card at the south-coast track as the visiting jockeys continued to show how things are done.

Winners: Yukio Abe

Yukio Abe, Narazaki Kosuke and Gerrit Schlechter had all ridden winners on Friday and it was the Japanese pair who led the way again today, each landing a double.

Abe guided one-time Korean Derby hopeful Predict (The Groom Is Red) to a five-length win in race 3 before landing the afternoon’s feature race on Champion Belt (Exploit).

Winners: Narazaki Kosuke

Kosuke meanwhile bookended the card with wins in race 1 on US filly Damyang Jukbuin (Harlan’s Holiday) and in race 6 on hot favourite Tamna Hwangje (Montbrook).

As for Schlechter, the South African came very close to pulling off a shock in the feature race on Peter Wolsley’s Khaosan (Sundaw Well), however, Champion Belt just had enough in him to hold off the ever-game seven-year old by a nose. Schlechter was not to be denied in race 4 though, partnering Jeoldae Jijon (Dixieland Band) to a similarly narrow win.

Although all three are relative newcomers to the track, Abe, Kosuke and Schlechter now make up three of the top four riders at Busan with Jo Sung Gon the only local able to compete with them. Wherther this inspires the local riders or simply fosters resentment remains to be seen. One thing that is for sure though, is that the visitors are getting the best rides because connections believe they are far more likely to help their horse win than the locals.

Winner: Gerrit Schlechter

How different to Seoul where Makoto Noda, who has been plugging away manfully for nearly a year now with little success, must look at his countrymen down south with something approaching envy. On the plus side, his license keeps on getting renewed, on the minus side, that may be because he doesn’t win very much. At least he gets plenty of rides. Some of the visitors, such as young JRA jockey Sho Ueno who went back to Japan last week, don’t even get that. Today, Noda was on plenty of horses but for the most part, they were slow horses.

Winner: Prime Galloper

Not slow was Prime Galloper (Strodes Creek), winner of the Sports Kyeonghyang Cup, Seoul’s Sunday feature race. Under veteran jockey Park Tae Jong, the four-year old scored a narrow win over Geuma Champ (Vicar) and Andy’s Runner (The Groom Is Red). It was his seventh win from eighteen career starts.

Saturday at Seoul saw feature race favourite Jumong (Johar) struggle under top weight for the second consecutive start. This time he went down to a four-length defeat at the hands of fellow US import Sing Sing Cat (D’Wildcat).

Stakes action returns to Seoul next Sunday in the shape of the Sports Chosun Cup. We also have potential appearances at Seoul by Tough Win and at Busan by Mister Park – the two top-rated horses on the peninsula.