Yuri Takahashi

Sunday Round Up: Clean Up Joy Sprints Too

Clean Up Joy dropped down to 1200M but still ended up on top as he sprinted to a half-length win over Mirae Yeongung in Seoul’s Sunday feature.

Third in the Grand Prix Stakes last December, Clean Up Joy (Purge) is one of the top domestic-trained hopes for the Korea Cup later this year but on Sunday, he took the opportunity to race for a big prize at a sprint distance and he didn’t disappoint.

Sent off the odds-on favourite and ridden by Ham Wan Sik, Clean Up Joy pounced when early pace-setter Parang Juuibo faded in the straight. Mirae Yeongung and Djordje Perovic chased him home but never looked like getting up while Bichui Jeongsang was a further six lengths back in 3rd. The win was Clean Up Joy’s 8th in 16 starts and his 4th in his last 5.

While things went to form at Seoul, there was an upset of sorts in Busan’s Sunday feature as 19/1 Winner’s Marine took the inside line and ran on to defeat the Peter Wolsley-trained pair of Goliath Marine and favourite Leave It To Me by a length.

Winner’s Marine began her career with five straight victories and was well-backed for the KRA Cup Mile  – the first of the Three-Year-Old Classics – in 2014. She came 9th in that race and while she would go on to record a creditable 3rd place in that year’s Korean Oaks, she would not win again until yesterday. It was her 26th career starts.

Saturday at Seoul offered little in the way of outstanding action although jockey of the day was Kim Hye Sun, who rode a treble, including on Mighty Gem (Macho Uno) is what was ostensibly the day’s feature, an 1800M class 2 handicap. Honorable mention too for Yuri Takahashi who rode Super Commando (Archarcharch) to a three-length win in race 6. It is likely to be Takahashi’s final winner in the Korea with the popular Japanese rider heading home after the weekend’s cards.

Perovic Perks Up At Seoul As Foreign Jockeys & Trainers Enjoy Winning Weekend

Borelli, Tomizawa, Rice, Tanaka, Takahashi, Gillespie & Wolsley All With Winners Too

It’s been a mixed couple of months for Djordje Perovic but the “Balkan Wolf” was back smiling again having guided four winners home on what was an all-round good weekend for the foreign contingent in Korean racing.

Things hadn’t been going all Perovic’s way since losing the support of one of his main trainers after the KRA Cup Classic at the end of August. However, other trainers have continued to use him and this weekend it all came together as the “Serbian Frankie” – he has no shortage of nicknames – showed his class with a treble on Saturday and a further winner on Sunday.

Those four winners took Perovic to 28 in Korea. Meanwhile fellow Seoul rider Yuri Takahashi, whose Korean license was last week confirmed to have been extended until the end of April 2016 rode his 16th winner in the country on Saturday.

Down at Busan, Bart Rice saddled two winners on Friday, giving Masa Tanaka his 95th Korean victory and taking the Japanese rider one closer to his stated goal of 100 before his license ends. Rice also provided Italian rider Pasquale Borelli with one of his two weekend successes. Nozi Tomizawa also got home in front twice, the first of them a welcome win for trainer Thomas Gillespie.

Gillespie has still only sent out 35 runners in total but has 4 winners now and a remarkable place strike rate of 37%. Rice too takes care of his horses and doesn’t send them out for the sake of it and has a place strike rate of 31%. Peter Wolsley also sent out a winner on Friday and remains in clear 2nd place in the Trainer Championship. His place strike rate is also 37% and was bolstered by Ms. Margaux running a very good 2nd in the Governor’s Cup on Sunday.

Those foreign trained or ridden winners in full:

Djordje Perovic: 4 – Saturday Seoul Race 2 (Yeongam Arirang), Saturday Seoul Race 8 (Bulguruisinhwa), Saturday Seoul Race 13 (Sun Strong), Sunday Seoul Race 1 (Cin Cin Jjan)

Nozi Tomizawa: 2 – Friday Busan Race 9 (Professor Silver), Sunday Busan Race 1 (Green Mireu)

Bart Rice: 2 – Friday Busan Race 1 (Jangguneui Huye), Friday Busan Race 3 (King’s Rules)

Pasquale Borelli: 2 – Friday Busan Race 3 (King’s Rules), Sunday Busan Race 3 (Ganghan Namja)

Masa Tanaka: 1 – Friday Busan Race 1 (Jangguneui Huye)

Yuri Takahashi: 1 – Saturday Seoul Race 5 (Samba Festival)

Thomas Gillespie: 1 – Friday Busan Race 9 (Professor Silver)

Peter Wolsley: 1 – Friday Busan Race 5 (Dangdae Queen)

It wasn’t all good news for the foreign contingent though. Italian jockey Nicola Pinna was scheduled to debut at Seoul this past weekend but unfortunately was unable to make weight for his three mounts. Pinna’s disappointment was compounded as the first of those, Jeongsang Daegil in race 2 on Saturday, bolted up at 10/1 under replacement Lee Chan Ho. Pinna will hopefully get another chance next week when Japanese rider Makoto Okabe is expected to start at Busan.

In addition to Takahashi’s extension, the KRA also confirmed last week that Ikuyasu Kurakane (who was suspended this week) has had his jockey license extended until April 2016. Good news for punters and less so for the local jockey colony. “Good”, is the only sensible reaction to that.

Busan has undoubtedly benefited from the presence of foreign trainers and that is set to be extended to Seoul. Applications have been received over the past couple of months and the first overseas trainers to be granted licenses in the capital will be announced soon.

Italian Jockey Pasquale Borelli Set For Busan

There is a new foreign jockey in the weighing room at Busan as Pasquale Borelli joins on an initial license that will run until the end of the year.

Pasquale Borelli is set for Busan (Pic: Supplied)

Pasquale Borelli is set for Busan (Pic: Supplied)

The 32-year-old Italian has landed over 900 wins in a professional career that began in 1999, among them victories in 20 Listed races.

Another Italian licensed jockey, Serbia’s Djordje Perovic has met with sustained success at Seoul since joining earlier this year and despite parting company with trainer Lee Shin Young at the end of August, has continued to show his class and bring in the winners.

Also at Seoul, Japanese rider Yuri Takahashi has been quietly making a name for himself. Like Perovic, it took Takahashi a while to build up some momentum following his July debut but in riding his 10th and 11th winners last weekend took him up to the extremely creditable quinella strike rate of 22%.

Borelli joins Busan where among foreign jockeys Masa Tanaka is currently top man, lying in 6th place in the Jockey Championship with 39 winners in 2015 so far. Ikuyasu Kurakane has picked up where he left off since returning to Korea in the summer while Nozi Tomizawa contines to get plenty of rides and lies in 15th place in the table. Noboyuki Oyama finished up his ten-month stint in Korea at the end of September.

Lee Yong Ho Winning At Busan While Takahashi Debuts At Seoul

Several new apprentice jockeys have debuted over the past couple of weeks at both Seoul and Busan with a couple of them catching the eye so far. Meanwhile there are comings and goings among the foreign jockey ranks.

Winning already: Apprentice jockey Lee Yong Ho

Winning already: Apprentice jockey Lee Yong Ho

Among the apprentices, the stand-out so far has been 18-year-old Lee Yong Ho who has already ridden 5 winners from his first 29 mounts at Busan. Lee, the youngest jockey to gain a license in Korea for many years, is the younger brother of Seoul rider Lee Chan Ho, who made a similarly impressive start to his career two years ago. The younger Lee had already built quite a reputation for himself before his debut and he has received support from trainers right from his first day.

At Seoul, the best so far has been another Lee; Lee Hyeon Jong. After several near misses the 21-year-old rode his first winner last Saturday and quickly followed up with another. He has only had 13 rides so far but 7 of them have finished in the placings.

Among the other new apprentices, Park Jae I and Jin Kyum, both at Busan, have managed to get 2nd places while Kim Do Jung at Seoul has a 3rd to his name.

Debuting at Seoul last Saturday was Japanese jockey Yuri Takahashi. The 28-year-old, who is affiliated with the Iwate Racing Association, endured a challenging opening weekend with seven rides, none of which had a chance. Hopefully things will get better for him in future weeks in the way they’ve certainly got better for Djordje Perovic. The “Serbian Frankie” rode his 14th Korean winner on Saturday and if he continues riding the way he has been, he looks set to be the first non-Japanese visiting jockey to make a real impact at the notoriously difficult Seoul.

The other foreign rider at Seoul, Jarred Samuel, who has been a popular and positive presence for the past four months, has opted not to renew his contract and will return to South Africa at the end of July. Samuel will be replaced and another foreign rider is expected to arrive at the end of August.

Down at Busan meanwhile, Ikuyasu Kurakane is set for his third Korean stint, having been granted a license once more. Kurakane won the “MVP Award” at Seoul Racecourse last year – an achievemnet that led to the Japanese NAR presenting him with a special prize at their annual “Grand Prix” awards ceremony in February.

Elsewhere, former Busan jockey Joe Fujii is now riding in Hokkaido and landed his first Japanese winner at Mombetsu Racecourse last week.