A Lockdown Career In Korea

Fransie soldiering on under restrictions

While we are all enduring the lockdown in our own way, spare a thought for well travelled jockey Fransie Herholdt, who is stuck in Korea over 12000km away.

He outlined his situation in a recent exchange of communications with Tabnews.

“I got home for a few weeks to see the family in February, After returning to Korea we had 3 race meetings and then on the 23rd of February racing was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Francois Herholdt (photo: Equine Edge)

Francois Herholdt (photo: Equine Edge)

“We were originally told 2 weeks no racing. But the number of infections was increasing rapidly. I had one gentleman who was positive in my apartment building and the jockeys’ were then basically quarantined and no racing could take place.

“We were told we would only start racing on the 27th March again. I then hit panic stations about what I would do for an income. Just before the 27th we had another address from the government and they decided they would start racing the 10th April which then became the 19th and now the 1st of May.

“Like everyone else, this has been the most stressful time for me as I  have a family to provide for at home. I feel completely helpless. I am not part of the jockeys association and therefore cannot  take any loans from the club to help with some of my expenses here and back home.

“South Korea was hit very badly our death rate as well as infections climbed drastically but people listened and we were able to contain it fairly quickly. Schools and sporting events over 100 people are the only ones that have not gone back as yet. They have been extra cautious so there is no chance of a second cluster of infections coming in.

“I have really missed racing but I had no choice but to stay here as for me to fly out when we were still allowed to was a bit risky and basically I was safer staying put.”

Fransie has been in Korea for a year and a half, racking up 37 wins from exactly 400 rides at a respectable strike rate of 9.25%.

Former Zimbabwe and KZN based trainer Bart Rice has been a staunch supporter. Rice has done well in the east himself. Since arriving there at the back end of 2013, he has scored 197 wins from 1464 runners which equates to an above average 13.45% success rate.

And Herholdt is grateful

“My time here has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Not easy being away from family but I am very thankful to have Bart Rice and his wife Pam here, they have been amazing in helping me whenever I needed something. Bart and Peter Wolsley (another Korea based trainer) have been so supportive – I am very thankful for every chance I am given. I have enjoyed the racing here – not so much the winter though” he ruefully concludes.

  • Tabnews

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