By Jon Lees
France: Mickaelle Michel has secured her ‘dream come true’ after being granted a short-term licence to ride on the Japan Racing Association circuit.
Michel, 25, will return to Japan next month to prepare for a two-month visit from February 6 until March 28.
She is the first European female jockey in JRA history to receive a licence to ride on Japan’s top tier.
Breaking the news on Twitter, Michel said: “Great news. My dream come true. JRA accepted my short-term licence, that’s amazing. I can’t wait to come back in Japan, too excited.”
Michel will be sponsored by the powerful Shadai Farm and trainer Kenichi Fujioka. Shadai supported her last visit to Japan earlier this year when she rode 30 winners to set a new record for the most wins by an overseas jockey on a short-term licence on the second-tier National Association of Racing circuit.
Michel’s partner and manager Frederic Spanu said: “It’s amazing news, we are so happy. Mickaelle is ready to fight and is so motivated.
“She will have a licence for two months from February 6 until March 28.”
Michel has ridden 16 winners in France this year since returning from Japan in April and also partnered her first Group winners, registering G2 and G3 successes in Italy.
Her long-term goal is to gain a full-time JRA licence. She has continued to take lessons in Japanese and English and will take the opportunity of next year’s visit to sit the first stage of the JRA exam
Michel has a huge following in Japan and will join Nanako Fujita as the only women competing on the JRA.
Earlier this year the JRA announced new qualifying criteria for foreign female jockeys to encourage more to visit Japan and become role models to a new generation of young female jockeys.
• Visit the Japan Racing Association website