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Korea versus Hong Kong: who has the best stewards’ reports?

The area the KRA has truly excelled in recent times, and left the Jockey Club lagging, is in the production of truly entertaining racing wraps from the stipes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 May, 2017, 6:37pm

Korean racing is the rising force in Asian racing; more than 50,000 fans attended Saturday’s Korean Derby and turnover and prizemoney place it among the top five racing jurisdictions in the world.

Yet the area the KRA has truly excelled in recent times, and left the Hong Kong Jockey Club lagging, is in the production of truly entertaining stewards’ reports.

Although an indispensible tool for any serious punter, from a purely literary standpoint, stewards’ reports are usually best used as sleep aides.

Case in point was the Jockey Club’s 760-plus word, War and Peace-like ode to Kei Chiong Ka-kei’s horror show on Contribution on Wednesday.

That was going to be the topic of this blog, but then this release from KRA stewards late last month landed in our inbox.

It is a truly inspiring piece of storytelling.

Thursday 20th April, 2017

Integrity Department Report

Stewards today (Sunday 30th April, 2017) concluded an inquiry into a physical altercation between Jockey Kim Gui Bae and Jockey Jun Duck Yong at approximately 9:00pm at the Jockeys’ Dormitory.

Jockey Kim Gui Bae stated that he told Jockey Jun Duck Yong to turn the music off as it was too loud, but Jockey Jun Duck Yong verbally abused Jockey Kim Gui Bae and thereafter a physical altercation occurred between both riders and Jockey Kim Gui Bae fell down.

Stewards told both riders that their actions affected the dignity of being a Jockey.

After hearing all the evidence both Jockey Kim Gui Bae and Jockey Jun Duck Yong licence was suspended to ride in races for a period of four (4) days for Misconduct.

Jockey Kim Gui Bae suspension will commence with immediate effect, however Jockey Jun Duck Yong suspension will commence after the completion of his medical leave.

Some background, Kim Gui Bae is 55, with a career spanning 38 years in the saddle, having first ridden in 1979. In that time he has ridden a grand total of 311 winners. That is less than 10 per year and on average less than one per month. So what does this tell us? Well, he is old, at least for a jockey, and he is probably getting a little cranky – given the lowly strike rate.

This is Gui Bae. He has pretty much nailed the ageing jockey look. It is likely he has a pretty low tolerance for late night dormitory shenanigans.

So when some 37-year-old upstart like Jun Duck Yong starts playing his K-Pop in the jockeys’ dorm at 9pm, which is way past Kim’s bed time the night before a race meeting, it’s game on.

Details of the actual physical altercation are scant, which is disappointing, but like all good writing it leaves the reader to use their imagination to fill in the gaps, and it does feature the line “Jockey Kim Gui Bae fell down”.

Whether he fell down as a result of a punch from Kim or fell down through sheer physical exhaustion is not made clear, but know this, there is nothing more frightening than a famished and dehydrated 50-something year-old jockey banging on your dormitory door at 9pm.

After being told that their actions affected the dignity of being a jockey, which is debatable, really – I mean is anybody that surprised? – both riders were given a four-day suspension. The kicker is that Jun’s ban begins after completion of medical leave. What isn’t made clear is whether or not the medical leave is required because Jun got his backside handed to him by old man Kim.

We’d like to think so, that the extra time given to Kim is the stewards’ serving a warning: “if you want to fight other jockeys, make sure you win”.

So when it comes to KRA versus HKJC, big brother might be in front, for now, but Asian racing’s sleeping giant is coming, and it’s starting with the best stewards’ reports this side of Malaysia.