Shinichi Terachi has finished up his stint rising at Seoul Racecourse but there’s a familiar face back on the Korean racing scene as Nozomu Tomizawa returns to the peninsula to take up a 4-month jockey license at Busan.
It was a challenging four months at Seoul for Terachi. The 35-year-old was able to get on plenty of horses but he wasn’t given a whole lot of quality to work with and ends with 7 winners from 159 rides. Whenever he got a horse with a chance of winning, he got the job done including two winners on his final weekend.
He also won on one which didn’t look to have a chance. Terachi’s biggest victory came in June’s Sports Seoul Cup, the capital’s main Oaks trial race, on 27/1 outsider Geumbit Hwanhui.
His departure leaves the remarkable Ikuyasu Kurakane, currently 2nd in the Seoul Jockey Championship, as the only foreign rider in the capital.
That’s because it’s to Busan, where Masa Tanaka has been having to talk to himself in the weighing room since the departure of Darryll Holland and long-term injury to Joe Fujii, that Nozomu Tomizawa will go as he returns to Korea five years after he finished up his first stint here.
Tomizawa arrived in August 2007 and battled away for almost two years racking up 47 winners from 722 rides at Seoul. He didn’t win any Stakes races but is best remembered for his partnership with the gelding Gamadongja – a horse that was really a sprinter – on whom Tomizawa won four Class 1 races at distances from 1200M to 2000M.
It won’t be Tomizawa’s first time at Busan. He has one win from eight mounts at the South Coast track on weekends when he visited to ride in Stakes races. The 33-year-old has spent most of his riding career in Australia and should fit in well with the similarly Antipodean-accented Tanaka, who is also committed to the track until at least the end of this year.
As for Masa Tanaka himself, the hugely personable jockey currently lies in 8th position in the Busan Championship and produced a cracking ride in Seoul this past Sunday to guide New York Blue to 3rd place in the Asia Challenge Cup.
Two days before the Asia Challenge Cup, Tanaka rode a double at Busan, one of which was for trainer Bart Rice. The South African is maintaining his superb strike rate with 21% of his starters winning since he opened his barn at the track last December.
Rice currently lies in 12th position in the Trainers’ Championship, having saddled more than 100 fewer starters than all but two of the trainers ahead of him. One of those two is Peter Wolsley, currently clear in 2nd place.
No update on foreign riders in Korea would be complete though without talking about Joe Fujii, The man who took over Toshio Uchida’s title as “the most popular Japanese person in Korea” was in Seoul last weekend to watch the Asia Challenge Cup.
While his broken shoulder is expected to keep him out for another three months, the ever-positive Fujii was in high spirits and with his license to ride in Korea having been extended despite his injury, he was looking forward to getting back to business on the track as soon as possible.
Fujii has won the Derby, the Oaks and the Grand Prix Stakes. Korean punters are looking forward to his return just as much as the man himself.