Nozomu Tomizawa has left Korea. The Japanese jockey recently brought to an end his two year stint at Seoul Race Park and is returning to Australia where his family lives and where he rode previously.
Initially arriving for six months in August 2007, Tomizawa started a month after fellow Japanese rider Ikuyasu Kurakane. While Ikuyasu was quick to become reasonably well established, it took Nozomu a little while to build up rides and eventually, winners. Once he did, however, his obvious talent came through as he notched up a decent winning record despite not generally getting the better horses.
Six months became a year and then one year became two. Slowly overcoming the traditional huge disadvantages faced by foreign riders in Korea, not least by learning a little Korean, Tomizawa finshed with figures of 730 rides with 48 winners, 56 seconds and 71 thirds. Top rides always remained hard to come by – being the regular jockey on Gamadongja, a top sprinter, the notable exception.
There was talk of Nozomu following in the footsteps of Ikuyasu and going to Busan for a final few months in Korea but it was not to be. Instead he leaves as a jockey who has advanced the reputation of foreign riders at Seoul no end and the track – and punters – will miss him.
www.horseman.co.kr followed Tomizawa during his last weeks in Korea and produced a short video about him. This, as well as a couple of his race videos can be seen at the Enjoy Racing blog.
Get Katoh: Nozi’s departure leaves Toshiyuki Katoh as the only overseas jockey at Seoul and he must have felt the horses were out to get him on Sunday. In race 6, Dublin Gypsy bolted wildly from the gate and tried for a full furlong to throw him off. Katoh eventually managed to bring the filly under control and get her home only for Money Pokpung to promptly dump him over the outside rail on the home turn in the very next race. Fortunately he escaped injury and was able to ride the rest of the card.
* In other jockey news, it’s been confirmed that Kim Ok Sung’s season is over. The veteran rider suffered a broken ankle during track work last Wednesday and will be sidelined for at least six months.