Taipa

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.

Jo Sung Gon Gets Golden Number One Win in Macau

It’s not been an easy few months for Jo Sung Gon. Things got a little better for Busan’s Champion Jockey this weekend though as he finally made it into the winner’s circle in Macau.

Jo Sung Gon in the Macau Winner's circle (MJC)

Jo Sung Gon in the Macau Winner’s circle (MJC)

The victory came on his 42nd ride at Taipa Racecourse since taking up a 6-month license in January.

And a perfectly timed ride it was too, swooping late on Aussie bred Golden Number One (Happy Giggle) to steal the 1100 metre race 6 on Saturday right on the winning line.

The undisputed number one Korean jockey at Busan, Jo has found opportunities hard to come by in Macau – Golden Number One paid $160.50 on the Macau tote – but no doubt will benefit for the experience in the long-term.

In Korea, Jo Sung Gon has ridden 480 winners including the Korean Derby, Korean Oaks and three successive President’s Cups – Korea’s richest race – on Dangdae Bulpae. He’s currently stable jockey to Australian trainer Peter Wolsley.

Click here for race result and replay from the Macau Jockey Club.

ht: @hiromi9884