Meanwhile in … Hakodate

Horse Racing Yutaka Take
Wombling free: Yutaka Take on clean-up duties on the island of Hokkaido

Yutaka Take leads team of jockeys on trash-collecting duties

Japan: Wimbledon Common has the Wombles to pick up its litter and the port city of Hakodate on Hokkaido has, er, 30 jockeys from the Japan Racing Association – led by the legendary Yutaka Take.

The riders donned their face masks last Monday [June 22] to volunteer for trash-collecting duties on the beach as a thank you to the city for allowing horse racing to take place during the coronavirus shutdown over the summer.

In the far north of Japan, Hokkaido is renowned as the ‘Horse Island’ owing to its status as the focal point of the country’s revered bloodstock industry.

Hakodate racecourse is in action both days every weekend during June and July; it is too cold otherwise. Feature event on a 12-race card the Sunday before the clean-up operation was the G3 Hakodate Sprint – won, needless to say, by Take on Diatonic.

“Horse racing cannot be held without the understanding of the locals,” Take told local reporters. “The horsemen are all very grateful to the city. Horse racing in Hokkaido, which is a horse-producing region, is indispensable.”

• Find out more about racing in Japan at the Japan Racing Association website

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