Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira faces an uphill battle if he is to reclaim the World All-Star Jockeys title he won in 2015 after a winless start to Japan’s premier jockeys’ challenge at Sapporo Racecourse on Saturday (26 August).
Moreira sits in joint 10th in the 14-rider contest with eight points, well adrift of competition leader Keita Tosaki, who heads the leaderboard with 38 points. However, with a maximum of 60 points still up for grabs on Sunday (27 August), the Brazilian ace will be hoping to capitalise aboard his second day mounts, Meisho Bach and Admire Meteor.
Day one’s opening leg went to Japan Racing Association (JRA) jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, with his mount Paradise Garden saluting by a nose over second elect Meiner Paradis, ridden by Shogo Nakano, representing Japan’s regional NAR circuit. Moreira finished seventh aboard third favourite Crown Iris, picking up six points.
The Brazilian rider then partnered Kiyoshi Tani-trained Makeup, a winner of a World All-Star Jockeys race last year, in leg two. However, the horse could only finish ninth, giving Moreira two points, as Tosaki-ridden Crocosmia streaked clear for a three-length success to give the Japanese rider 30 points and the overall lead. Also picking up a significant score in the second race was Australian rider Katelyn Mallyon, her runner-up finish on Gekkako taking her to 21 points and ensuring she is the leading foreign rider at the close of proceedings on day one.
The World All-Star Jockeys series also features a team component, with Team JRA comfortably leading with 136 points to the 88 points of Team World All-Star, featuring Moreira.
Moreira did score one victory in a non-series race, winning early on the 12-race Sapporo card aboard Lord Kanaloa two-year-old Red Regnant.