JRA's Hiroyuki Uchida, the leading rider in the upper-tier racing circuit for 2010 with 125 wins for the year, has been invited to take part in the second Meydan Masters International Jockeys Championship this year in Dubai.
The series, in which Norihiro Yokoyama took part last year, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 17 and Friday, Feb. 18 at Meydan Racecourse, Dubai's new state-of-the-art course opened last year and the stage for the Dubai World Cup. Uchida, who was invited as the winner of Japan's Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) aboard Eishin Flash last year, will ride in four races over the two days.
The first day's races will be 1,600-meter and 2,200-meter events over the all-weather surface with purses of $110,000 and $150,000, respectively. The second day's races will be on turf, at distances of 1,800 meters and 2,400 meters, with purses of $110,000 and $120,000. Horses selected to run will have ratings in the 95 to 110 range.
Invitations to participate in the jockey championship have been extended to the winning riders of 10 of the world's premier races. Names of the other participants have yet to be announced.
Last year's inaugural challenge, which went to British jockey Richard Hills, also showcased the talents of Christophe Lemaire, Ted Durcan, Jamie Spencer, Corey Brown, Aaron Gryder, Ahmad Ajtebi, Lanfranco Dettori, Olivier Peslier, Ryan Moore, and Kent Desormeaux.
Uchida, a 40-year-old native of Fukuoka, a prefecture on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, received his jockey's license with the JRA in 2008. He began his riding career, however, in 1993, riding on the NAR circuit based at Ohi Racetrack in Tokyo. Uchida, as a boy, had originally aimed to follow in his father's footsteps as a gymnast, but instead life led him along a similar path as his brother, Shuichi, a former NAR jockey who notched over 500 wins during his career.
In 2007, Uchida became the 16th jockey to win 3,000 NAR races and the following year moved to the JRA, where he has continued his winning ways. In his first year with the JRA, Uchida was leading jockey for Kanto and second overall. He ended both 2009 and 2010 as JRA champion jockey for wins overall. In addition to last year's Derby win, Uchida has won top-level races every year since debuting with the JRA. In 2008, he captured both the Takarazuka Kinen, paired with Eishin Deputy, and the Kikuka Sho, with Oken Bruce Lee. In 2009, he won the February Stakes aboard Success Brocken. At present, Uchida is tied with Hiroki Goto for the top for this year with eight wins to his name.
© Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS). All Rights Reserved.