‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira looks set to make a sensational return to Hong Kong following his failure to secure a full-time Japan Racing Association licence.
Moreira, a three-time champion jockey in Hong Kong, had intended to start a new chapter of his career in Japan. Those plans, however, were scuppered after he failed a test on the history of Japanese racing, rendering him unable to ride in the country once his current short-term licence expires this year.
Moreira now looks poised to complete a return to Hong Kong after ten-time champion trainer John Size stated his intention to enter an application for the Brazilian to become his new stable jockey.
Responding to reports of a possible collaboration, Size told the South China Morning Post: "That's our intention, [but] the application hasn’t gone in yet. There’s a facility here where a trainer can apply for a retained rider, so there’s an opportunity there for that at the moment.
"If the Jockey Club looks on it favourably we’ll take the next step, but the timing is a little unclear at present. I have started to talk to some owners and I haven't come up with much resistance so far."
In the short-term, Moreira will continue to ride in Japan until travelling to Australia for the Melbourne Cup on November 6.
Ping Hai Star to miss Cup
The excitement surrounding Moreira's potential return will have done little to comfort Size on Monday after his Hong Kong Derby Winner Ping Hai Star was ruled out for the rest of the season.
"He got an injury this morning. It looks suspensory," Size told the SCMP. "To me, it looks like he’ll have a prolonged spell out but we’ll find out more as time goes on."
Ping Hai Star, who finished runner-up on his return to the track after a 155-day break on October 1, was being primed for a tilt at the Hong Kong Cup in December.
Joao Moreira, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club