Moreira receives short-term licence for Japanese stint after quitting Hong Kong
Joao Moreira, the Brazilian riding sensation who hopes to make Japan his new permanent home, has been granted a short-term licence to ride in the country.
Moreira caused a shock in June when announcing he would quit Hong Kong, where he had become a local darling and earned the nickname Magic Man, to relocate to Japan.
Among the sport's leading Flat riders, he did not renew his licence with the Hong Kong Jockey Club for the 2018-19 campaign and has received permission from the Japan Racing Association to ride from Saturday until October 28.
The 35-year-old, who came close to winning the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Medicean Man in 2015 and had a double on Shergar Cup day in August, became a record-breaking champion in Hong Kong, romping to three titles following his move from Singapore, where he had also dominated.
However, his winning run was snapped last term by Zac Purton and he revealed in the summer he had employed a Japanese tutor since 2016 as he prepared for the JRA's demanding written and oral examinations.
He said at the time: "This was such a difficult decision and I want to thank all of the people in Hong Kong racing for what has been an amazing five seasons, but it is time to move on."
Moreira, whose sponsored trainer is the prolific Grade 1 winner Noriyuki Hori, is well regarded in Japan and has ridden 69 winners there from 205 rides, earning a Grade 3 success at Sapporo in August.
He has also enjoyed top-level triumphs on the Japanese-trained Vivlos, Neorealism and Satono Crown when they have ventured overseas.
Christophe Lemaire and Mirco Demuro are the only full-time foreign riders in Japan and sit first and second in the jockeys' table.
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