Cambridge Edition

Jockey ‘had no regrets’, says mother


A Riccarton race meeting came to a standstill last Wednesday as the industry acknowledg­ed the death of jockey Taiki Yanagida.

The 28-year-old died in Waikato Hospital last Tuesday night after suffering serious head and spine injuries in a fall at the Cambridge Jockey Club on August 3.

A moment’s silence was held in Christchur­ch, with jockeys wearing black armbands and fellow jockey Kozzi Asano wearing Yanagida’s silks for the day.

Japanese-born Yanagida was riding Te Atatu Pash when the horse came down on top of him 250m from the finish line.

Yanagida’s mother, Kayano, said in a statement that while being a jockey was not what she would have chosen for her son, she took comfort in knowing that he never doubted his path.

‘‘Taiki repeatedly said he had no regrets,’’ Kayano said.

Yanagida had returned to Japan to visit his family a month earlier and Kayano said they would always remember that when they thought of him.

‘‘Taiki’s achievemen­ts could not have been reached without the support from each of his friends, acquaintan­ces and horseracin­g associates. With their help, he was able to overcome difficulti­es, always aiming ever higher. We express our deep gratitude,’’ Kayano said.

Yanagida’s manager, Ted McLachlan, said not only had New Zealand lost a first-class jockey but also a fantastic person, who was known for his huge smile.

McLachlan had managed Yanagida for the past 18 months.

‘‘He badgered and badgered me, and it was one of the best decisions I have made, he was a remarkable young man.

‘‘He was like a son, working with him every day and sorting out his rides.’’

McLachlan said Yanagida’s death was going to leave a big gap in a lot of people’s lives.

‘‘He loved what he was doing. He was very focused on wanting to be a jockey and getting better at being a jockey.’’

He acknowledg­ed that Yanagida was well aware of the risks of the sport.

‘‘He had such a love and passion for the sport. But jockeys can’t go out thinking of the risks.’’

Friend, colleague and jumps jockey Emily Farr said everyone at Wexford Stables in Matamata, where Yanagida did his apprentice­ship under Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, was devastated.

‘‘He was hardworkin­g, polite, incredibly humble, he was the nicest guy, I haven’t got enough words to describe how great he was.’’

Farr said Yanagida was the jockey you put on the sensitive horses to get the best out of them.

‘‘He was one of the kindest jockeys in my eyes. His passion for horses was incredible.’’

Farr said Yanagida was very dedicated to his job and would not go out partying with the rest of them.

‘‘His work ethic, he had a place he wanted to achieve, and he was not going to stop until he achieved what he dreamed.’’

McLachlan expected there to be a memorial held in New Zealand before Yanagida’s ashes were taken to Japan with his mother, Kayano, and younger sister Chiaki, who travelled from Japan.

New Zealand Thoroughbr­ed Racing chief executive Bruce Sharrock said a bank account had been set up for those wanting to provide some form of support for the family.

Donations can be made to 01-0517-0063944-07 using the reference Taiki.

Meanwhile, Australian-based Kiwi jockey Michael Walker has told Australian media that he is not who he used to be after a serious fall in Melbourne on August 2.

He was airlifted to hospital and placed in a coma after a fall at Pakenham jumpouts.

The Group 1-winning jockey has been cleared of any spinal or internal injuries after been brought out of the induced coma.

It was reported that Walker did not know when he would be able to leave hospital or what the longterm effects of his brain trauma were.

 ?? TRISH DUNELL ?? Taiki Yanagida died last week after suffering serious injuries in a race fall at Cambridge Jockey Club.
TRISH DUNELL Taiki Yanagida died last week after suffering serious injuries in a race fall at Cambridge Jockey Club.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand