There’s another new Japanese jockey in town, bringing the total number of riders from across the sea to five.
Hirotaka Hamada debuted on Saturday and had six rides over the weekend. His best finish was second place on Aussie bred Seoului Gangja in Saturday’s race 10.
Hamada has been billed in Seoul as being the “new Nozi” after the popular Nozomu Tomizawa who rode at the track for nearly two years. Like Tomizawa, the thirty three year-old Hamada has done the bulk of his recent riding in Australia with over 100 wins from around 1000 rides in Queensland.
Hamada joins Toshiyuki Katoh and Kunihisa Hirase at Seoul, while Ketsuya Sameshima and Hitomi Miyashita are at Busan.
Like all foreign riders in Korea, Hamada will start out as a freelance jockey and will have to overcome passive hostility from the local jockeys’ union (who incidentally, have a new Chairman) as he seeks to establish himself. The weekend was a good start though and like all foreign riders, he’ll need to convert his opportunities into wins to make it as hard as possible for the local trainers to ignore him.
Best of luck to him.