Joao Moreira had to settle for fourth place in Japan’s World All-Star Jockeys event at Sapporo this afternoon (Sunday, 27 August), as fellow Brazilian Eurico da Silva came from off the radar to capture the crown at his first attempt. But Hong Kong’s champion still made a mark, nailing a four-timer from the Hokkaido track’s 12-race card.
Moreira languished in relative anonymity through Saturday’s (26 August) two legs, the annual four-race contest being staged over two days. The 2015 World All-Star Jockeys winner had eight points on the sheet at the overnight stage to sit joint-10th of 14, after running seventh on Crown Iris in the series opener and ninth atop Makeup in the follow-up.
That was Saturday, though, and by the time Sunday’s first installment of the World All-Star Jockeys came around as race 10, Moreira had three wins in the bag (Eagle Barows, Beluga and Globe Theatre). He made it four when it mattered with a make-all triumph atop leg three’s 4.6 joint-second pick, Meisho Bach. That All-Star success propelled the “Magic Man” to third place overall, within six points of joint-leaders Keita Tosaki and Yuichi Fukunaga.
Moreira missed out on a second World All-Star Jockeys title when his mount in the concluding fourth leg, Admire Meteor, took seventh. That added six points to the rider’s tally for a final return of 44.
Da Silva, meanwhile, who rode in Hong Kong on a short-term contract through March, 2016, went into the finale 22 points off the top spot. But, with 30 points awarded for a win, the Woodbine, Canada-based rider leapt the field when his mount Le Grand Frisson skirted wide on the home turn, kicked for home and held on by a nose at odds of 7.7. Da Silva’s winning haul of 47 points placed him ahead of Fukunaga (45 points) and Tosaki (45 points) in equal second.
In the team contest, Moreira’s and Da Silva’s second day triumphs helped Team World All-Star close on Team JRA, which held an 48-point advantage at the half-way mark. Team JRA took the plaudits with an overall tally of 238 points to Team World All-Star’s 210 points.