Kim claims Young Guns Challenge in Korea
Seoul Racecourse opened its International Racing Festival over the weekend with the seventh version of the Asian Young Guns Jockey Challenge, a four-race event for apprentices. The challenge, first held at Flemington in 2009, was being hosted by Korea for the first time and brought together riders from six countries as well as Macau and Hong Kong.
The Seoul-based Kim Dong Soo took home honors in winning the jockey challenge with a total of 72 points, far ahead of runnerup Jack Wong from Hong Kong with 42 points. Macau’s Choi Yee Mo managed third place with 31 points total. Japan’s representatives, NAR’s Tsubasa Sasagawa was fifth overall after tallying 19 points total from a second, seventh, and two 13th-place finishes. JRA rider Fuma Matsuwaka shared a three-way tie for sixth place with a total of 16 points. Matsuwaka scored a personal best fourth in the top-class race of the event, in addition to a fifth, sixth, and ninth in the other three legs.
Also participating were Jo Hee Won, who is based at Busan, and Chong Wong Kam representing Malaysia. Jye McNeil rode for Australia and See Zhi Yong for Singapore. Joshua Oliver held the flag for New Zealand and Craig Zackey for South Africa.
The two Korean riders were among the least experienced of the participants, along with Malaysia’s Chong and Hong Kong’s Wong. Kim had only 417 rides going into the challenge, Jo 255, Wong 161 and Chong had a career total of 271 rides. Matsuwaka, on the other hand, has already been up for 1,021 races and Sasagawa for more than double that.
Points were allocated for the first eight positions, with 25 points going to the winner, 15 for seconds and on down to one point for eighth. A scratching gave the designated rider an automatic six points.
The races in the event were the No. 4, 5, 7, and 9 on the Saturday, Aug. 29 card at Seoul.
The first leg, run over 1,000 meters and open to horses with a local rating of between 41 and 55, went to Kim aboard the 3-year-old colt Nabom, with Wong a far second and McNeil finishing in third place. Sasagawa, riding the 6-year-old Maximum Speed, finished far off the front in seventh place. Matsuwaka beat the last place runner by a neck aboard Cyber King.
The second leg, also for horses with ratings of 41-55, was run over 1,400 meters and open to Korean or foreign-bred horses. U.S.-bred horses swept the top four spots. Macau’s Choi, who sat out all but the second leg due to illness, won aboard the Proud Citizen-sired 3-year-old colt Hwanggeum Sesang. Cho Han Byeol came second on Giant Hold, by Hold Me Back and See finished in third on the Colonel John-sired Power Symphony. Matsukawa finished in fifth place aboard the Japan-bred Gukje Myeongpum, a 2-year-old colt by Falbrav out of the French Deputy mare Ifrita. Sasagawa, riding the U.S.-bred 2-year-old filly Lucky Shiny, crossed the line a head before the last-place finisher.
The third leg, over 1,200 meters for Korean-bred runners with a rating of up to 40, gave Sasagawa his best result of the day. Sasagawa rode the 4-year-old gelding Eutteum Wangja to a second-place finish 4 lengths behind the winner Ganginhae, who gave Kim his second win of the day. Song Jae Chul finished in third place. Matsuwaka’s Semyeong Yeosin finished in sixth place, just over a length behind the runnerup. McNeil’s mount was scratched.
The final leg, the race for the highest class of runners was over 1,400 meters. Named the Singapore Turf Club Trophy, the fourth leg was an open-class, weight-for-age event for horses with a rating of no higher than 105. Jack Wong captured it aboard the American-bred Yeondu, a 5-year-old by Got The Last Laugh. Kim racked up more points with a second on the D’Wildcat-sired U.S.-bred 5-year-old Gasok Bisang and McNeil took third place on the U.S.-bred colt Nuri Narae. Matsuwaka on East Glory finished in fourth place 2 lengths later and Sasagawa brought up the rear of the 13-strong field on the U.S.-bred Cross Bar.
In finishing order by score were: Kim (72), Wong (42), Choi (31), McNeil (27), Sasagawa (19), Matsuwaka (16), See (16), Zackey (16), Jo (13), Chong (6), Oliver (4).
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