Ikuyasu Kurakane has been named Seoul Racecourse Jockey of the Year and the Japanese rider celebrated in style on Saturday by riding a treble to become the first ever foreign rider in Korea to claim 100 winners in a season.
While Moon Se Young was crowned champion with an out of sight 162 winners (which won’t be added to after he was slapped with an 8-day ban by stewards last weekend), it was Kurakane – who gets nothing like the pick of the rides Moon does – who was adjudged to be most desrving of the award.
And the hardest-working jockey in Korea – riding 8-lots each morning is the norm for Kurakane – has certainly had a great year. A clear second in the Jockey Championship, he began Saturday on 98 winners. He was soon on 101.
He took race 3 on 11/1 chance Yeoui King (Admire Don) to move to 99, before completing his ton an hour later as 5/1 Grand Bleu (Peace Rules) did the business in race 4. The best was yet to come though as he threaded his way through a crowded field to steer 16/1 chance Queen Pico (Pico Central) to an unlikely win in race 5.
It’s a year that saw Ikuyasu win the KRA Cup Classic on Samjeong Jewang but the majority of his wins come at the less glamorous end of racing here. Hard work has certainly paid off and he is in great demand among Owners and extremely popular among punters.
They will be hoping that the 39-year-old isn’t quite done in Korea yet.