Tokyo – Nanako Fujita is set to make history in Sunday’s February Stakes in Tokyo, where she will become the first female Japan Racing Association jockey to compete in a Group 1 race.
The 21-year-old is the only female rider in the JRA ranks, and is already the most successful female jockey in JRA history, eclipsing the previous record of 34 held by Yukiko Masuzawa.
Last weekend Fujita rode her 50th JRA winner. In total she has 70 victories, with 20 coming on the rival National Association of Racing circuit.
She got acquainted with her February Stakes ride, Copano Kicking, last Friday when partnering the four-year-old for the first time at trainer Akira Murayama’s yard and on the track at Ritto training centre.
Fujita said: “He was very easy to ride. When I received this offer, I didn’t believe it, but was delighted. I want to say thank you to the owner and the trainer.”
Owner Sachiaki Kobayashi, who won the February Stakes with Copano Rickey in 2014, said he would ask Fujita to ride Copano Kicking following his latest victory in the Grade 3 Negishi Stakes last month. That success was achieved with the assistance of Irishman Oisin Murphy in the saddle.
Kobayashi said: “I think she is a good jockey. I wanted to ask her to ride a strong horse in a Grade 1. I believe that racing should make dreams for not only the fans but also the connections.” – www.racingpost.com