Yonekura Satoshi

Seven-Timer Satoshi Shines & Holland Returns With A Double

The 2016 season wrapped-up at Busan on Saturday and it was a great end to the year for much of the foreign contingent at the south coast track. The returning Darryll Holland landed a double for Peter Wolsley and Bart Rice while Thomas Gillespie trained a double and Francisco Da Silva rode a winner. Star of the show though was Japanese rider Yonekura Satoshi who ended up in the winner’s circle on no fewer than 7 occasions on the 15 race card.

Holland, who resumed regular riding at Busan on Friday following a two and a half year absence, got off the mark on Sunday in race 4, guiding Peter Wolsley’s Secret Marine (Sea Of Secrets), a 5/1 chance, to a seven length win. Holland would go on to win the day’s feature race, a valuable test for three-year-olds, on Bart Rice’s Buhwarui Banseok (Tizway), who beat Korean Oaks winner Ottug Ottugi by two-lengths. The victory – and a later one for Wonil Gangja (Cowboy Cal) in race 15, the final race of the year – capped a superb year for the Rice stable which has seen him finish in 5th place in the Trainer Premiership. Only Kim Young Kwan and Peter Wolsley had a better strike-rate and a top-three finish is surely on the agenda in 2017 for the South African handler.

Da Silva’s win was on the promising Shunsuke Yoshida owned colt Wonder Wall (Chapel Royal) in race 8 while the Gillespie-trained winner of race 7, Party Again (Singing Saint), was one of four victories on the day that took jockey Seo Seung Un to joint-1st in the Jockey Premiership on 104 wins for the year, level with You Hyun Myung. The weighing room is about to become a lot more competitive with Seoul jockeys Ham Wan Sik, Jo In Kwen and former Busan champion jockey, Jo Sung Gon, all set to ride full time at the track from January with only Kim Yong Geun headed in the opposite direction to the capital.

No-one finished the year in better form though than Yonekura Satoshi, who put on a sparkling display on Saturday. The highlight of his seven wins in the valuable 2-year-old race when he guided US import Drop The Beat (Mad Flatter) to a comfortable win over five rivals. He also teamed up with Thomas Gillespie to get 7/1 chance Great Song (Songangaprayer) home in race 14.

His closing day heroics meant Satoshi ended the year on 39 winners for 5th place in the standings. With a top line-up of overseas jockeys and now, possibly for the first time at Busan, some real depth in the domestic jockey ranks too, the first few months of 2017 are set to be an exciting time.

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Satoshi On Fire At Busan While It’s Bravo Belli at Seoul

Yonekura Satoshi continued his solid September with no less five winners at Busan last weekend. Meanwhile up at Seoul, Sunday was a milestone day for Marcello Belli as the Italian claimed his first Korean winner.

Since winning the KNN Cup on outsider Supreme Magic in July, Satoshi has finally found himself getting plenty of opportunities and the 41-year-old Japanese rider is converting them.

Taking advantage of a number of Busan’s top riders being in Seoul for the Jeju Governor’s Cup, Satoshi won the first race last Friday on Queen’s Queen and added two more later on in the evening before coming back out on Sunday and adding two more. None of the five across the weekend started at shorter than 5/1.

It’s still early days for Marcello Belli but the Italian rider got a big boost on Sunday as he partnered his first winner in Seoul. On a day of long-shot winners, Belli made all on 43/1 chance Northern Hojae in race 8 and just had enough left to hold off the  favourite by a nose on the line

It was Belli’s first win on what was his 21st ride at Seoul. He still has some considerable way to go to match fellow Italian-licensed Seoul rider Djordje Perovic but he’s now on his way.

Seoul’s other foreign jockey Imran Chisty also rode a winner on Saturday although Paolo Aragoni and Pasquale Borelli who were also in the capital for the weekend both saw their mounts come up short in the Jeju Governor’s Cup.

Busan’s fourth foreign jockey, Francisco Da Silva got his own Korean career off to a remarkable start. Debuting on September 9th, he won on his first two rides and added a third later that same day. The 37-year-old is yet to add to that tally but has had a few near misses and was suspended last weekend.

Marcello Belli To Debut At Seoul As Perovic Returns

A new foreign jockey debuts at Seoul this Saturday afternoon. 44-year-old Italian Marcello Belli, a one-time champion jockey in Italy will take his first Korean mount in race 9. Also on Saturday at Seoul, Djordje Perovic makes his long-awaited return.

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Marcello Belli (Pic: supplied by jockey)

Marcello Belli debuted in 1988 and has ridden approximately 1650 winners in Italy including success in Italian Group and listed races. Over the past three years he has maintained a win rate of 9.3% and a place rate of 21.6%. He is riding at Seoul on an initial three-month license until the end of November.

Although Belli has just the three mounts across the weekend, he has at least one live chance in the shape of Geumbit Ullim in Sunday’s race 4.

Fellow Italian-licensed jockey, Serbia’s Djordje Perovic, has been absent the past couple of months having had to fulfill license requirements elsewhere. Hhowever, the “Balkan Wolf” remains in 3rd place in the Seoul Jockey Championship and will be looking to pick up from where he left off with 14 rides across the weekend.

Belli and Perovic join Imran Chisty as the foreign contingent at Seoul.

Belli’s countrymen Pasquale Borelli and Paolo Aragoni are riding at Busan. Borelli rode a winner on Friday as did the third overseas member of the Busan jockey colony, Japan’s Yonekura Saoshi. Satoshi partnered Ms. Margaux to victory in the class 1 feature race for trainer Thomas Gillespie. Bart Rice also trained a winner on the day. Another foreign jockey has also been licensed at Busan as from September.

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Yonekura Satoshi and Thomas Gillespie’s Ms. Margaux win at Busan (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Saturday sees racing at Seoul and Jeju starting from 2pm and running until 9pm. Daytime cards at Seoul and Busan on Sunday.

Click here for English Racecards.

Catching Up: Supreme Magic & Yonekura Satoshi Won The KNN Cup

I’ve been away. There are several things to catch up on, most notably developments with regard to the Korea Cup and Sprint, however, the day before I left, the big action was the second leg of the Queens Tour, the KNN Cup at Busan.

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Yonekura Satoshi and Supreme Magic win the KNN Cup (Pic: KRA)

Billed as a battle between Bichui Jeongsang and New York Blue, the race was instead won by a 70/1 outsider as Supreme Magic flew home late on under a perfectly timed ride by Japanese jockey Yonekura Satoshi, to take the honours.

A full-field of sixteen contested the KNN Cup, which was run over a mile. Unusually for a big Stakes race – and a welcome change – Seoul sent a strong contingent to the race including Bichui Jeongsang, who had won the first leg of the tour, the Ttukseom Cup, in the capital in June. She would be sent off as second favourite, behind New York Blue, 3rd in the Ttukseom Cup and who fell in this race last year when expected to win.

Last year’s Korean Oaks winner Jangpung Parang would set the early pace with New York Blue handy while Bichui Jeongsang, coming out of a wide gate, went right to the back. Supreme Magic settled just a couple of spots off the back of the field. Not that many were paying too much attention to where she was.

In the home straight, Jangpung Parang was quickly done and New York Blue took things up.  It looked like this may be her year but that was to reckon without the closers. Once she found a  run, Bichui Jeongsang finished the quickest of them all, but it was too late and she only managed 5th. Instead, out of nowhere emerged Supreme Magic on the stands side to sweep past and run on for a surprisingly comprehensive two-length win.

Supreme Magic [Lookin At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] was a $27,000 purchase from the June 2014 Ocala sale in Florida. A four-year-old, she finished 8th in the Ttukseom Cup but had just been promoted to class 1 following a pair of victories and a 2nd place at class 2. The win was her 5th in 14 career starts.

It was a huge win for jockey Yonekura Satoshi. The Japanese rider has had plenty of rides since starting in Korea in April but had been afforded little in the way of quality. Nevertheless, he’s managed to get 27% of his mounts home in the first three. Supreme Magic was his 9th winner at Busan and of course, his biggest so far. The 40-year-old Satoshi’s license has been extended for six months to run until the end of next January. Hopefully there are plenty more winners to come.

The KNN Cup (KOR G3) – Busan Racecourse – 1600M – July 24, 2016

1. Supreme Magic (USA) [Lookin At Lucky – Thru N’Thru (Stormy Atlantic)] – Yonekura Satoshi – 73.4, 8.5
2. New York Blue (USA) [Candy Ride – Aim For The moon (Deputy Minister)] – Lim Sung Sil – 1.2
3. Silver Wolf (AUS) [Orotorio – Ready For More (More Than Ready)] – Yoo Seung Wan – 2.6
Distances: 2 lengths / 1.75 lengths
Also Ran: 4. Who’s Perfect (USA) 5. Bichui Jeongsang (USA) 6. Ms. Margaux (USA) 7. Areumdaundonghaeng (USA) 8. Jangpung Parang (KOR) 9. Winner’s Marine (KOR) 10. Hwanggeumbitjijung (KOR) 10. Model Line (USA) 12. Bear Queen Trophy (USA) 13. Rush Running (KOR) 14. Yuseong Tiger (KOR) DNF: Balios Queen (USA)

Four Foreign Jockeys Newly Licensed In Korea

Four foreign jockeys have recently been licensed in Korea. Japan’s Yonekura Satoshi began riding at Busan on Friday and is about to be joined on the south-coast by Italian Paolo Aragoni. Meanwhile at Seoul, India’s Imran Chisty and Australian Patrick Keane have arrived in the capital and are set to start as soon as possible.

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Paolo Aragoni is set to join Busan (Pic: Supplied by jockey)

35-year-old Paolo Aragoni debuted in Italy in 1997 and has ridden seven Group 3 and numerous Listed race winners in his home country among more than 700 career winners overall. His riding weight is 53kg.

Yonekura Satoshi has been riding in Japan’s NAR since 1994, most recently based at Kanazawa Racecourse. The 40-year-old jockey has partnered over 1300 winners throughout his career and has a riding weight of 51kg.

Imran Chisty turned professional in 1997. The 39-year-old Indian rider has mainly been at the Bangalore Turf Club where over the past three years he has 216 winners while achieving a Moon Se Young-esque quinella strike-rate of 33%.He can ride at 50kg.

The youngest of the newcomers is up and coming Australian jockey Patrick Keane. Based in Victoria, 23-year-old Kean has a quinella strike rate of 15.3% over the last three years on the ultra-competitive circuit there.

Aragoni and Satoshi join Makoto Okabe, Ikuyasu Kurakane and Pasquale Borelli at Busan taking the foreign jockey contingent on the south-coast up to five following Nozi Tomizawa’s departure last month.  Chisty and Kean’s addition at Seoul mean there are now four foreign jockeys in the capital, Djordje Perovic and Dean Holland being the others.