Japanese rider in hospital after bad fall during race
Japanese jockey Yoshi Aoki suffered a bad fall at Busan this afternoon to bring a premature end to his second spell in Korea. The 34-year-old is in hospital with a punctured lung and a number of broken ribs after being thrown from his mount shortly after the start of race 5.
Aoki was due to leave Korea at the end of this month as had been riding outside of his native Japan for so long that his license there was about to expire. It was for similar licensing reasons that Toshio Uchida had to cut short his first stint in Korea.
Aoki first arrived in Korea in 2009 for a short stint at Seoul Race Park. Like everyone other foreign rider before and since, he found it hard going in the capital riding just two winners before departing at the end of his three-month license. He made an impression off the track though, memorably interrupting an interview with then Jockey Union President Kim Dong Kyun while wearing a rubber horse’s head during the KRA’s annual “Punters vs Jockeys” Sports Day. He returned to the peninsula in September last year, this time to the more welcoming Busan Race Park, where he has had much better success.
Primarily riding for Australian trainer Peter Wolsley (often on horses bred and owned by Pegasus and Isidore Farms – both Jeju outfits with a heavy foreign influence) he recorded 21 winners from 165 rides. Fittingly, today he won race 4 – the race prior to his fall – on Wolsley and Isidore Farm’s Yehudi Kkot (Yehudi).
With Hitomi Miyashita also leaving Busan this week it leaves Mr Pink, Toshio Uchida as the sole foreign rider at the track. Hiro Hamada and the injured Mai Beppu are at Seoul. Tonight, thoughts are with Yoshi Aoki for as speedy as possible a recovery from what was a very nasty fall and hopes that one day, he may return to Korea.