Promising Waikato apprentice Taiki Yanagida will return to raceday riding at Counties on Thursday after being on the sidelines for a couple of months after a trackwork incident.
“I got injured when riding track work,” he said. “The horse shifted towards the fence and my ankle went against the fence and just snapped.”
It has been a relatively quick recovery for Yanagida, who suffered the injury in mid-April, and he said he is feeling back to normal after completing his rehabilitation.
“I had a cast on for four weeks. I have just had acupuncture, physio and I have been biking for quite a while.
“I am basically finished with the physio now, I don’t go very often. I’m going to the gym to try and improve my fitness.
“My foot has gotten a lot better and I started riding track work last Tuesday.”
Prior to his injury in April, the 25-year-old had posted 36 wins and was eyeing a tilt at the apprentice jockeys’ premiership. However, those aspirations were dashed after his injury.
“I was happy with the way I was going. I wasn’t really thinking about that (setting a goal for number of wins at the start of the season),” he said.
“In the summer, people started to support me quite a lot and I was given some good opportunities.
“At the start of this year I was aiming to win the apprentice premiership, but this injury put a stop to that.
“It will definitely be a goal for next season (to win the apprentice premiership).”
Apprenticed to Lance O’Sullivan, Yanagida moved to New Zealand nearly three years ago to pursue a career as a jockey, after initially getting interested in the sport while studying in Australia, and said he is enjoying his time in New Zealand.
“I was studying English in Australia when I was a high school student and a friend who was a Japanese university student took me to the racecourse one day and when I saw the jockeys I thought it would be interesting to become one of them,” he said.
“I came to New Zealand two-and-a-half years ago. I am very happy in New Zealand.
“He (O’Sullivan) always gives me a lot of good feedback on my riding. I am very happy working for Lance and Andrew Scott.”
Yanagida is taking a cautious approach with his return and is set to ride Quality Prevails in the IRT 1200 at Counties on Thursday for O’Sullivan and Scott, with his only other mount for the day, Patch Man, unlikely to get a start as the fifth emergency in the Mount Shop 1400.
“I am just riding two for my bosses on Thursday and then four on Saturday (at Tauranga),” he said.
“Andoyas, who is running on Saturday, will be a good chance (of winning).” – NZ Racing Desk