Nicknamed 'The Weapon', Yuto Kumagai is a hard-working, friendly and talented member of the team at Wexford Stables. Always ready to greet you with a smile, Yuto has had his work cut out for him in his journey to become an apprentice jockey. Through sheer determination and strong will, he has been able to fulfil his dream career.
Yuto is well respected both within the team and in the wider racing industry and we are so pleased to have him aboard and look forward to seeing him excel over the coming winter months!
Yuto took the time to answer some questions for us as part of our 'Meet the Team' series..
How did you first get involved in the racing industry?
I always loved animals and as a young child I would often help my grandfather who owned a dairy farm. Originally, I was going to take over his farm, however in 2011 a tsunami hit my town and my grandfather also passed away. Due to this, I wasn't able to take on the farm and decided to look for other options.
I still wanted to work with animals, so when I was 17 I moved to Australia to pursue riding. Whilst in Australia, I learnt to ride show jumping and dressage horses.
I didn't get the opportunity to work with racehorses until I moved to New Zealand. I came over to be an apprentice jockey and began riding in Cambridge. Linda Laing recommended that I work for Wexford and I have now been at Wexford for over four years.
What is your current role at Wexford?
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Riding horses and winning races!
What has been your proudest racing moment with Wexford?
Having my first raceday ride and my first race win on a Wexford horse, Patch Prince.
Do you have a soft spot for one horse in particular?
I definitely have a soft spot for Asterix. I rode him everyday before the Derby and he gave me a great feeling.
One horse in the barn people should keep an eye on over the next few months?
Two Madison and ME!
What is your favorite thing about Wexford Stables?
Working with all the staff at Wexford makes me happy and I can always be positive at work.
Wexford have been a huge part of me reaching my goals. Lance, Scotty and especially Taiki have taught me a lot of riding skills. They have given me a lot of advice on becoming a good jockey, teaching me how to control my weight and get fit. Their help has been so important to me and I can say that I would not be where I am now without everyone's support.
We are so proud of Yuto and how far he has come in his time with us. Keep your eyes peeled for this up and coming apprentice, he should certainly be getting a few more wins on the board this winter!