Ikuyasu Kurakane, who rode at Seoul and Busan for 2 years between 2007 and 2009 will return to Korea. The 38-year-old jockey has been granted a 6 month license to ride at Seoul Race Park beginning from April 6.
Along with countryman Nozomu Tomizawa, Ikuyasu joined the jockey ranks at Seoul in mid-2007 and quickly established himself among the top riders at the track, winning the NACF Chairman’s race on filly Pilseung Giwon (Silent Warrior), that autumn. After 18 months at Seoul, he moved to Busan in late 2008 and continued to be successful there, ultimately notching a total 106 winners from just over 1000 rides in Korea.
The jockey recently landed his 1500th career winner in Japan but had been looking for an opportunity to return to Korea for some time. He’ll join Yukio Abe at Seoul, who has had a quiet time since relocating from Busan last year but who recently extended his contract by another 4 months. At Busan, where foreign jockeys tend to have an easier time of things, Joe Fujii and Darryll Holland are the only 2 foreign riders.
Ikuyasu was one of the few foreign riders who did not struggle in the past to get rides at Seoul. His return, coming as it does at the same time that champion jockey Moon Se Young arrives back in Korea from his 3-month stint in Macau, means things could be about to get very competitive in the capital’s weighing room.