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“I don’t regret anything”: Joao Moreira on Hong Kong departure

In Part 3 of Asian Racing Report Editor Michael Cox’s sit-down interview with Joao Moreira, the Brazilian explains why he should have left Hong Kong earlier, what makes Zac Purton the best he has ridden against in Asia and his motivation for riding in his homeland.

Champion jockey Joao Moreira has opened up on how he feels about Hong Kong racing nine months since his abrupt departure from the city in October last year, and admits he should have ‘pulled the pin’ on his tenure earlier than he did. 

In Part 3 of a wide-ranging interview with Asian Racing Report Editor Michael Cox, Moreira also explains what makes Zac Purton such a formidable rival and what has motivated the Brazilian to return to his homeland and ride in Group 1 races worth less than a Class 5 in Hong Kong. 

Of most interest to Hong Kong racing fans will be Moreira’s feelings towards the his time at Sha Tin, where he won four championships, won every major feature race at least once and still holds the record for most wins in a season (170), but left earlier this season citing a hip injury and mental stress. 

“First of all, Hong Kong racing is amazing,” he said, explaining how the competitive circuit and his rivalry with Purton had improved him as a jockey. 

“If you are not willing to get up to higher levels you are not going to make it there. It is a place that doesn’t allow you much time to get in and adapt, they are just going to get an impression of you and you just have to get in there and hit the ground running.” 

On the injuries that curtailed his Hong Kong career, but have since responded to treatment and management and allowed him to continue riding at big meetings and on short stints around the world, Moreira admitted he should have not pushed through the pain barrier for so long in a jurisdiction that is so physically and mentally demanding. 

“I had so much success, I was extremely happy to be riding there all of those years,” he said. “I don’t regret anything I have done, however, given that place was so demanding on myself I should have judged when to pull the pin and get myself out.” 

Just as Purton provided incredible insight into Moreira and his unique riding style in an Asian Racing Report interview late last year, Moreira put the spotlight on Purton and his strengths, particularly how hard he is to get past in a close finish. 

“He is very measured when he gets a horse going and I can’t think of a stronger rider,” he said, adding that both Purton and himself were well-suited to the Asian and Australian style of racing. “Zac in Australia, and Zac in Hong Kong, he is probably the best jockey I have ridden against, just because he is so hard to get past. In a finish he was very, very tough.”

Watch Part 1 of ‘Joao Moreira Unbridled’: 

Watch Part 2 of ‘Joao Moreira Unbridled’: 




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