Norihiro Yokoyama, Jockey at his best, working alone in Ritto and his “anti-outer stable | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Norihiro Yokoyama, Jockey at his best, working alone in Ritto and his “anti-outer stable

Riding "Yayoi Prize" Matenro Leo

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Norihiro Yokoyama is one jockey senior to Yutaka Take. The veteran rider, who has ridden many famous horses, is in great form this year… (’14 Japan Derby)

The footsteps of the spring classics can now be heard.

On March 6, the 59th Yayoi Prize Deep Impact Memorial, a GII trial race for the Satsuki Sho (Japanese horse race), will be held at Nakayama Racecourse.

The leading role will be played by Dough Duce, who won all three races of the G1 Asahi Cup and was crowned the best 2-year-old stallion of the year. Since this is the first time since Deep Impact that Yutaka Take, who has been his jockey’s partner since the Shinta race, will appear with an undefeated horse, he was expected to be the overwhelming favorite even before the race.

The day before the race, the advance odds for a single win were 2.1x, with Doudeuse as the favorite. Matenro Leo, the Kisaragi Prize winner, is the fifth favorite at 10.8 times, with Norihiro Yokoyama riding.

Norihiro Yokoyama, who has already won 11 races this season (as of February 28), including three major prizes, will be riding Leo. In recent years, the mainstream rotation has been to win the Kisaragi Sho in February and go straight to the Satsuki-sho.

The participation of Kisaragi Sho horses goes back to Narita Top Road in ’99. The combination of Derby trainer Kunmitsu and Derby jockey Nori Yokoyama is attracting a lot of attention to see what kind of intention the pair has in running him.

Horse racing fans are also talking about the success of the Kun & Yokoyama duo, who also won the G3 “Shinzan Kinen” in January with Matenro Lion. Kunshi said

Leo is more of a derby type, and Orion is more of a mile type.

Orion is considered a strong contender for the G1 “NHK Mile C” in May.

The “unique duo” of Nori-san from the East (Miho Training Center) and Kun-sensei from the West (Ritto Training Center) was formed in the fall of last year. After winning the Kisaragi Award, Mr. Kun said, ‘Why don’t you come to Ritto Training Center? He revealed that he had invited Mr. Noritake to join him and said, “I think he now understands why (I did so).

It is true that that race was one in which Nori’s riding technique shone through. He came from the outside to line up with Dantes Vieux on the inside, and the two horses exchanged chases over the last 200 meters. In the end, he won by a nose.

Kunshi also said that after the Yayoi Sho

I think that if he and I can combine our skills, we can do something.”

He has full confidence in the company.

Nori-san is living alone in a weekly apartment he rented near Ritto Training Center. He is shy, so he doesn’t say it in words, but it seems that he has quit taking the trainer’s exam and changed his direction to ‘one jockey for life. He seems to be saying, ‘I can go anywhere with just one whip.

One of the divine rides by Nori Yokoyama, who boasts a total of 2,875 JRA wins, was the “8th JBC Ladies Classic (AC GI).

Nori-san rode the 6th favorite, Ange Desir, to a head-to-head victory after a heated battle with the 1st favorite, Rabbit Run, ridden by M. DeMuro. What surprised me was the positioning at the first turn. He was in a good position on the inside while starting from the big outside gate 16.

After the race, Nori said, “It’s perfect. It was as if he had gone into a warp. It really is craftsmanship. I was also surprised to see Nori-san appealing to the jockeys with a tone that said, ‘Kanto jockeys are here, too!

Ange Desir, who won her first G1 race, was also a horse managed by trainer Kun.

Nori-san was too late to make the Kansai region his base of operations. It was too late for Mr. Nori to base himself in the Kansai region, as there were many cases of trainers such as M. DeMuro in the west and Hayato Yoshida in the east moving to the region in order to increase the number of horses they ride. But Mr. Nori accepted Mr. Kun’s invitation for a different reason. I think it was because he wanted to ride from training. Even Leo had been riding him in training since before his debut, and we watched his growth together.

As the mainstream of training and adjustment of horses at outfitted stables (pastureland with certain facilities) has become the norm, the situation in the training center seems to be changing as well.

Before the Corona disaster, the number of cases of Nori riding in training had been decreasing. It was not unusual to see him sitting on a bench outside the training stand, and he would make self-deprecating comments such as, ‘I guess people like me are hard to handle.

Even trainer Kun seems to feel the same way.

It was more than 10 years ago, but since that time, I have been saying, ‘If the Shadai Group becomes too strong, horse racing itself will become uninteresting. (I said, ‘There are treasure horses in Hidaka (Hokkaido), too.

Even Leo is a horse from a farm in Hidaka. It seems that Nori’s style of carefully training horses at his own stable, rather than relying solely on outside stables, has moved Nori’s heart.

With the popularity of “Uma Musume,” famous horses from the past have been attracting renewed attention. In the “Yayoi Award,” legends Nori Yokoyama and Yutaka Take, who have ridden such famous horses, will surely show us a heated battle at the Nakayama Racecourse…

  • Photo Yasuo Ito/Afro

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