Akira Kajiya knew he had unfinished business in racing and his appetite to return to race riding is now paying off.
Kajiya didn’t ride in races for more than ten years before returning this year – his recent displays earning him praise from a range of trainers.
The youthful looking 36-year-old will be striving to keep up his run of success at a host of meetings over the next few days.
Kajiya, who is indentured to leading Canberra trainer Matthew Dale, has ridden three winners from his past five rides.
He will look to continue the trend at Cowra on Saturday, Moruya on Monday and Albury on Tuesday after a career high six rides at Canberra on Friday.
Known as Arky around the tracks, Kajiya said he has a lot to be thankful for especially to the trainers, headed by Dale, who have given him opportunities.
The Japanese apprentice started his career in Grafton before moving to Canberra with Dale where he rode in races and track work.
“My weight was the problem before, but now it is stable and I’m happier,” he said.
“I moved back home when I gave it away and didn’t doo much with horses for several years.”
During his time back home, Kajiya worked in a restaurant and often had this underlying belief he had unfinished business as a jockey.
That itch was with him for a long time until he made the decision to return to Australia and again link with Dale.
“I thought maybe as a holiday I would go back and ride a bit of track work and help out at the stables,” he said.
“My weight came down and I decided to ride again and I’m very happy I did.
“It wasn’t easy coming back to race riding to get to this stage and I appreciate the people who have helped me out.
“My fortune has changed and I’m glad I did it.”
Kajiya has been in strong demand with a number of trainers using his three kilogram claim which has come into play with horses like recent Wagga winner Cash Crisis for leading trainer Craig Widdison.
“I was really impressed with Arky not only the way he rode the horse, but how he presented himself before and after the race,” he said.
Kajiya hopes his run will continue with four rides at Moruya including Goldmine for Dale.
“Matt has helped me out a lot and I have a lot to thank him for,” he said.
Kajiya, who has no family involvement in racing, entered the racing industry because of his small stature and a horse racing clip he remembers form his pre-teen years.
“I was always small and I had happened to watch a horse race when I was 12 on television and I was fascinated by it,” he said.
“I had never ridden a horse before then and I thought one day I would try and be a jockey – I was optimistic,
“Now I’m in doing what I love and it’s going well.”