Born on 26 July, 1970, in the Fukuoka prefecture, southwest Japan, Hiroyuki Uchida had childhood ambitions of becoming a gymnast.

However, he decided to be a jockey in the National Association of Racing (NAR) like his brother, Toshio, who also raced for the NAR before becoming a champion jockey in Korea in 2008.

Hiroyuki became apprenticed to the Matsuura Stables at Ohi racecourse, southern Kanto, and had his first ride in April, 1989, enjoying his first victory the following month. A first graded win followed in 1991 but Uchida’s early career failed to flourish until he began to enjoy considerable success in the early 2000s, becoming leading jockey in southern Kanto in 2004, with 413 victories to his name.

Overseas attention followed in March, 2005, as Uchida partnered Adjudi Mitsuo to finish sixth in the world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, while Uchida was also in the saddle when the Masayuki Kawashima-trained horse gained Group One victories in the Tokyo Daishoten in 2004 and 2005, as well as the Kawasaki Kinen and the Kashiwa Kinen in 2006.

The same year, Uchida rode a record 524 victories and became the first NAR jockey to ride over 400 winners in three consecutive seasons. After passing the 3,000 mark in the NAR in 2007, Uchida decided the following year to transfer to the more lucrative national Japan Racing Authority (JRA) and he enjoyed a superb first year, winning the Takarazuka Kinen on Eishin Deputy in June and partnering Oken Bruce Lee in the Kikuka Sho, the Japanese St Leger, in October.

He ended the 2008 campaign with 123 victories to his name, coming second in the jockey’s championship behind the legendary Yutake Take, but currently heads the JRA classifications this season.

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