Champion jockey Joao Moreira is calling an end to his stint in Hong Kong in a bid to join the riding ranks in Japan.
Moreira has been riding in Hong Kong since October 2013 after launching his name on the world stage in Singapore.
Beginning his career in his native Brazil, Moreira arrived in Singapore a virtual unknown in 2009 leaving four-and-a-half years later with more than 720 winners to his credit and breaking all records.
He was the first to go past the 200 win barrier in 2012 before landing a haul of eight winners from eight rides in September 2013, just weeks before his departure to Hong Kong.
Not to be outdone, he has been setting records in Hong Kong winning the past three jockeys’ premierships while riding a record 170 winners last season.
Like he had done previously in Brazil and Singapore, Moreira rode eight winners, from 10 rides, at a Hong Kong meeting in March last year.
Moreira is currently in a fight with ex-pat Australian Zac Purton for 2017-18 riding honours, holding a one-win advantage.
At season’s end in July, Moreira is expected to take up a short-term contract in Japan in preparation to join Mirco Demuro and Christophe Lemaire as the only foreign jockeys riding in Japan.
Australian jockey Tommy Berry is another who has not renewed his licence in Hong Kong and will return to Sydney for the new season in August.
In licensing decisions announced on Friday, South African jockey Grant van Niekerk is a new addition while Purton and Chad Schofield have been granted full season licences and fellow Australian Sam Clipperton a six-month licence.
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