Michael Cox



Good days and learning days: Vincent Ho’s first weekend as a JRA jockey

Hong Kong’s local hero nabs his first win among an otherwise tough weekend at Niigata.

Vincent Ho came away from the first weekend of his Japan summer sojourn with a maiden winner but also a wealth of experience that he will use for the month ahead. 

Takayuki Yasuda-trained sprinter Kazenotanino Ayaka gave the Hong Kong jockey his maiden win on his first day at Niigata but Ho was also focused on what he learnt overall as he reflected on his 11 rides for the weekend. 

“Well, the first thing I would say is that it is very tough and competitive,” Ho said after the races on Sunday. 

“I am really happy to get that first win, it was a real thrill, and happy that I could get it for Mr Yasuda, who is sponsoring me on the trip.”

The 32-year-old was unplaced in his 10 other rides across the weekend but believes his performances can only improve now that he has a handle on things, on track and off.

“Everything is different, so it takes some getting used to; weighing out and the other raceday procedures,” he said. 

“And it was tough to get results today but I take it all as a chance to learn. It’s great to be doing something different.” 

Ho was competing against some of Japan’s leading riders at Niigata including Yuga Kawada, Mirai Iwata, Yuichi Fukunaga and Ryusei Sakai, and he will ride at the course again this weekend. 

After that he will spend two weekends based at Kokura, before ending his stay at Sapporo for the World All-Star Jockeys series. 


Vincent Ho celebrates his wins aboard Kazenotanino Ayaka at Niigata. (Photo: Shuhei Okada)

Ho said it was refreshing to ride in races in which there was genuine and even tempo after spending most of his career in the highly tactical Hong Kong arena. 

“It made me think that sometimes we just wait around a bit in Hong Kong,” Ho said. “Here the pace is on and it stays on, people want to find a position. They get going and keep going.”

“The other big difference was the length of the pre-race. It’s very hot but the horses walk a lot, for a long time before the race.” 



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