Meanwhile in … Tokyo: two female apprentice jockeys join Nanako Fujita in JRA riding ranks

Horse Racing Nanako Fujita (centre) Manami Nagashima (left) Naho Furukawa, JRA female jockeys
Nanako Fujita (centre) flanked by Manami Nagashima (left) and Naho Furukawa, who will join her on the JRA

After five years riding on the Japan Racing Association circuit as the only licensed female jockey, Nanako Fujita is set to have company.

For among eight new applicants to have successfully completed the examination process there are two women, 18-year-old Manami Nagashima and Naho Furukawa, 20.

Nagashima will be apprenticed to trainer Yasushi Takahashi and Furukawa will join Yoshita Yahagi’s stable. They will begin their careers next month.

Horse Racing Manami Nagashima (left) and Naho Furukawa
Manami Nagashima (left) and Naho Furukawa will be the first new female jockeys on the JRA for five years

Fujita, 23, has achieved idol status in Japan since she joined the circuit and has ridden 128 winners, including two at Group level.

With more girls entering jockey school, the JRA last year took steps to entice more female jockeys from overseas to apply for a short-term licence by introducing separate eligibility criteria in the hope they could act as role models.

France’s Mickaelle Michel became the first to secure a licence but has had to cancel her trip due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Visit the Japan Racing Association website

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