The exploits of Ikuyasu Kurakane, who was recently named Seoul Racecourse Jockey of the Year, have now earned him recognition in his home country with the Japanese rider set to receive a “Special Award” at the upcoming NAR Grand Prix in Tokyo on February 5.
Although he didn’t win the Seoul Jockey Championship, Ikuyasu rode 102 winners in 2014 including his first Korean Group win, which came on Samjeong Jewang in the KRA Cup Classic in October. That, combined with the fact that he had achieved his total with significantly less quality rides at his disposal than his rivals, was enough for the Korean poll to go his way.
Now that news has reached Japan. The Special Award generally goes to a rider who has reached a particular milestone in his or her carrer but it is unusual for the NAR to grant such an award for a Jockey’s performance overseas. Previous winners include one-time Busan based Hitomi Miyashita, who was recognized on her retirement in 2011.
Kurakane, who’s home track is the NAR’s Kochi Racecourse, is currently in his second stint in Korea, having previously ridden at Seoul and Busan between 2007 and 2008.
Taking both times into consideration, he has 285 winners from 2293 rides in Korea. Remarkably, it is a record that puts him 11th on the all-time leading jockey list at Seoul Racecourse.