Koreans could not have hoped for better Dean at Kranji

Even if Brian Dean has stopped training in Seoul and has already returned to his native Bendigo, he has not quite cut off all ties with Korean racing.

The former Kranji trainer, who called time on his 15-month Korean training career (racking up 28 winners for an amazing 18.7% strike rate) last month, was on hand at the Singapore International Stables on Friday morning, checking on the two just-landed Korean contenders in next Sunday’s Korea Racing Authority Trophy (1200m), Choegangja and Zentenary.

Dean was busy making sure the two horses were nicely settled in, liaising with Singapore Turf Club staff and vets dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s on all issues pertaining to their next 10-day stay at Kranji, but he would surely be forgiven for spending a little bit more time with Choegangja.

The Australian mentor used to train the US-bred four-year-old by Silver Train, whom he took over as a one-time winner, and went on to saddle him to five wins in a row! Choegangja is now with a newly-licensed Korean trainer, Jun Seung Kyu.

“He was a Class 4 horse when I got him and he’s won five in a row for me,” said Dean who did not travel with the two Korean horses, but arrived here a couple of days earlier.

“He ran last at his last start for me, but you can put a line through that run. He missed the start and with all the kickback you cop when you do that, it was hard for him to catch up.

“He’s a Class 1 horse in Korea and I would rate him as one of the best horses I’ve trained in my time in Seoul, but he would probably be up to a Class 2 horse here.

“I don’t know the form of the other horse (Zentenary) as well, but I was asked to oversee them while they’re here and I was quite happy to do that.

“It’s good for the Koreans to have someone who knows the system here, it will help them settle in better. As for the language barrier, my interpreter Narae Lee is also here to help.

“I saw both horses this morning. They have both travelled well, and have stuck their heads in their feed bins straightaway.”

Dean said both horses will just be kept to morning hand-walks until Monday when they will be put through their paces. Again, the 59-year-old horseman is tapping into his old network for a bit of a leg-up.

“Aslam will ride Choegangja from Monday. But the connections have yet to decide who will ride him in the race,” said Dean.

Erasmus Aslam was Dean’s stable jockey and track rider for many years before his boss left for Korea last year. No jockey has yet been booked on Zentenary either.