Industry mourns Taiki Yanagida
The New Zealand racing industry is mourning the death of popular Matamata-based jockey Taiki Yanagida who passed away shortly after 8pm today. The 28-year-old suffered critical injuries following a fall in the last race at the Cambridge race meeting on Wednesday, 3 August and had been on life support at Waikato Hospital.
His mother Kayano, and younger sister Chiaki, arrived from Japan last Friday and Taiki’s friend and fellow rider Yuto Kumagai accompanied them to Waikato Hospital.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Taiki’s family – his mother Kayano, sisters Chiaki and Ayano, and his grandmother. We share their grief at the loss of such a talented, friendly, and well-liked young man,” New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing CEO Bruce Sharrock said.
“Taiki was recently able to spend a month back at home with his family following a lengthy period where he could not travel home due to Covid, and we hope they take comfort from the memories created during that time,” he said.
The close-knit nature of the racing industry will mean that Yanagida’s loss is felt widely and the NZTR CEO encouraged industry participants to be mindful of this.
“Our thoughts are also with those at Wexford Stables, members of the O’Sullivan-Scott team were Taiki’s New Zealand family, and they will all be impacted by his death.”
“The tragic loss of one of our own always hits hard and we need to be aware of how others might be feeling and processing this loss,” Sharrock said. “We are also particularly conscious of Taiki’s fellow jockeys and will be ensuring there is support in place for them.”
Sharrock said that NZTR had been focusing on what could be done to assist Yanagida’s family from the moment Taiki was transported to hospital. “We have been conscious of the fact that they needed to be comfortable every step of the way, including how and when news of his death was relayed, bearing in mind the fact there are other family members to consider,” he said.
“We will now be assisting Taiki’s family as they make plans to take their son and brother home.”
“Many people have been in touch wanting to contribute to the family in some way, and we will be organising an account for contributions to be passed on to Taiki’s family,” Sharrock said.