There’s another new Japanese jockey on the South Coast. Kanichiro Fujii will have his first rides at Busan Race Park this coming weekend.
Fujii – who goes by Joe – was born in Nara, Japan but went to Australia at the age of 15 to train as a jockey. He debuted in 2001 and spent the next five years riding mainly in New South Wales, finishing 2nd in the State’s Apprentice Jockey race in 2006.
In 2007, Fujii spent nine months in Singapore where he won the Listed Chairman’s Trophy and rode third-placed finisher Jade in the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby.
After Singapore, Fujii went to Europe where he rode work in France for, amongst others, Criquitte Head before returning to Australia in 2008.
In 2009 he went to the USA and rode work at Belmont Park before relocating once more to Australia, this time to Queensland where he has been riding until recently. To date, he has ridden just shy of 300 winners.
Fujii is married and became a father for the first time earlier this month.
Riding on an initial four-month license and joins fellow Japanese riders Narazaki Kosuke and Yukio Abe as well as South African Gerrit Schlechter in making up the foreign jockey contingent at Busan. He will make his racing debut this Friday in race 7.
He told Korea Racing that he became interested in riding in Korea after speaking with Japanese riders Nozomu Tomizawa, Yoshi Aoki, Hiro Hamada and Akane Yamamoto – all of whom rode in Korea and have strong Australian connections, as well as Aussie jockey Garry Baker who rode at Busan from 2005 until 2007.