Christophe Lemaire and Mirco Demuro have made racing history by becoming the first foreign jockeys to be granted permanent riding licences in Japan.
Lemaire is one of the most high-profile jockeys in Europe, having enjoyed a string of big race successes in both his native France as well as internationally with 2000 Guineas winner Makfi and Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden.
He was retained jockey for the Aga Khan between 2010 and 2013 and has ridden in Japan on a temporary licence each winter for more than a decade, winning the Japan Cup in 2009 aboard Vodka.
A year earlier Demuro also scored in Japan’s richest race, before securing a permanent place in the country’s racing history when landing the Dubai World Cup on Victoire Pisa for trainer Katsuhiko Sumii
The pair passed an initial English language written test on the rules of Japanese racing last November, before undergoing an oral test in Japanese last month.
Lemaire announced the new chapter of his career via Twitter.
He said: “Glad to become a JRA jockey. Thanks to all the support. A new life begins !”