HONG Kong champion Joao Moreira dominated the Sapporo meeting in Japan on Sunday with six winners, but still failed to defend the World All Star Jockeys’ title.
Brazilian Moreira, known as Magic Man in his adopted home of Hong Kong, created pandemonium as he rode six winners on the spin at Sapporo – to add to his win in the last at the track the previous day – to equal Yutake Take’s record for a Japan Racing Association meeting set back in 2005. He came agonisingly close to breaking the record with a second on his next ride and finished the day with a third.
The Sapporo haul came in races outside the designated events for the series, which was won by Japan-based Italian Mirco Demuro. Moreira finished fifth in the series, which was held over two days. It was his last meeting of an off-season stint in Japan ahead of the renewal of racing in Hong Kong on Saturday.
While autograph-hunters lined up to get Moreira’s signature, it was Mirco Demuro who claimed the riders’ crown with 80 points from the four races which formed the two-day challenge, and give the JRA Team overall success from the Rest of the World.
“Of course it is fantastic to ride so many winners. It’s been an amazing experience,” Moreira told the South China Morning Post. “But part of the reason I came here was to make sure I start the season at home as fit as I can be, and I think I have done that.”
Moreira rode a record 168 winners in Hong Kong last season.