Biographies

Hanako Varian

Hanako Sonobe 

Born in 1976, in Saitama Japan. 

My passion for horses began from the age of 14 when I learnt to ride and got into showjumping at a riding club close to home. I was privileged to meet the ex racehorse Captain Cook whom I rode and competed. Captain and I formed a close bond and he inspired me to learn more about 'the horse'.

Opportunities to be around horses in Japan are very limited and most children who are interested in riding often learn to ride on ex racehorses. Furthermore, there are not many opportunities to get an education relating to horses so I decided to go to university in the UK to learn more. 

I studied at the Royal Veterinary College for one year and then joined the University of West England where I finished a BSc Equine Science.

After university I returned to Japan seeking a job where I could combine my language skill with my horse knowledge. It would be the first time I was introduced to horse racing as I took up a role working at a JRA subsidiary company called The Japan Association for International Horse Racing. Here we dealt with any international racing matters and worked closely with the International Department in the JRA.  I spent two and a half years in this role and had to quickly learn all the aspects of the horse racing industry and also the different roles within the racing authority in order to translate and interpret accurately to the various visitors.

I believe my contribution to the industry comes from bringing a strong knowledge of Japanese and worldwide racing coupled with an innovative and open eyed approach to business.

This knowledge would become a foundation for me when I applied to join the very first Darley Flying Start Program (a management course for the horse racing industry which was established by HH Sheikh Mohammed of UAE in 2003.) I was very lucky to be accepted in the first ever group and spent two years traveling the world visiting countries including: Ireland, UK, America, Australia and UAE. 

My prior experience working gave me an opportunity to compare Japan with many different countries that I travelled through. During the course, I learnt many aspects of the industry including breeding, pedigrees, breaking, training, feeding, veterinary, sales, racecourse management, business, law, marketing, hospitality and finance. 

Following the Darley Flying Start course, I initially worked with a consigner in Florida preparing two year olds for the breeze up sales before moving to Newmarket in 2006 where I took up a position within Darley as a marketing co-ordinator for Darley Japan. I would spend ten years working for Darley Japan and during that time my role evolved to become Director of Racing. This involved managing HH Sheikh Mohammed’s racehorses in the JRA racing program as well as the strategic running of the company.

In 2016 I finished working for Darley and moved on to progress my own business as a bloodstock consultant whilst also allowing more time to get involved in Varian Stable with Roger. I believe my contribution to the industry comes from bringing a strong knowledge of Japanese and worldwide racing coupled with an innovative and open eyed approach to business. I also have a deep passion for 'the horse' and would like to further contribute and evolve the opportunities for retired racehorses to have a second career. I get my inspiration from my retired racehorse, Captain Cook as for sure I wouldn't be here without him.

 

園部花子

1976年埼玉県生まれ。14歳の頃、近所の乗馬クラブで障害馬術を始める。高校生の時に愛馬キャプテンクックに出会い、さらに馬のことを知りたくなり、高校卒業後に渡英し獣医学、馬科学を学ぶ。帰国後、競馬国際交流協会(当時)に2年半勤め、通訳、翻訳を通して日本の競馬の様々な分野を学ぶ。2003年より2年間、アラブ首長国連邦首相のモハメド殿下が主催する、競馬産業専門の養成研修機関であるダーレーフライングスタート(現ゴドルフィンフラングスタート)に参加し、アイルランド、イギリス、アメリカ、オーストラリア、ドバイで、競走馬の生産、血統、育成、調教方法、飼養管理、獣医関係、せり、競馬場運営、経営、法律、マーケティング、ホスピタリティ、ファイナンスなど競馬に関わる様々な分野の研修を受ける。卒業直後は若馬を早い時期に仕上げる調教方法に興味をもち、アメリカの2歳馬のせりコンサイナーで働く。2006年にダーレー本社のあるイギリス、ニューマーケットに移住し、ダーレージャパンのマーケティングを担当、その後レーシングディレクターとして、モハメド殿下の所有する競走馬の管理や経営方針などを定める取締役を勤め、2016年に退社。現在はロジャーとともにヴェリアンステーブルを経営しつつ、国内外に向けた馬の選定など、ブラッドストックコンサルタントも行なっている。

これからも日本と世界の優れているところを積極的に取り入れてビシネスを展開し、常識にとらわれず、業界の発展に貢献して行けたらと考えている。また引退競走馬のセカンドキャリア支援も積極的に関わっていきたい。