FLASHBACK: Masaji Haruki outside the Coffs Harbour Racing Club stables when he was an apprentice.
FLASHBACK: Masaji Haruki outside the Coffs Harbour Racing Club stables when he was an apprentice. Bruce Thomas

Haruki enjoying his time in New Zealand

JAPANESE jockeys such as Noriyuki Masuda are hitting the jackpot in local racing but a former Coffs Harbour rider caught the eye of punters at the weekend.

One time Gordon Yorke apprentice Masaji Haruki, 30, has resurrected his career in New Zealand.

On Saturday he rode a masterful race to land Five Kings a winner at the Gore meeting for Otautau trainer Bruce Tapper.

Haruki was having his first ride after an extended break and Tapper chalked up his first training success after receiving a licence in July.

The pair met through trainer Yorke who is a long -time friend of Tapper.

As an apprentice in Coffs, Haruki strapped Natural Destiny and rode him in track work.

Tapper bought the grey stallion and now stands him at Phuttocks End stud at Otautau.

While Haruki's apprenticeship didn't set the world on fire - he only rode six winners - he has found the key to the cantankerous four-year-old Five Kings.

A barrier rouge with a history of dumping riders, the comeback jockey seems to have forged a link.

They combined for two slashing barrier trial wins and the weekend victory took a motza off the tote.