Joao Moreira will be crowned this season’s champion jockey in Hong Kong after a suspension to Zac Purton ruled the Australian rider out of the final two race meetings.
Leading 149-122, Moreira’s buffer was still possible to pursue but now, with Purton only available for the next two race meetings, the Brazilian will officially be named champion.
“It’s a very meaningful win for me, especially because I have been on the bench for three seasons in a row now and I had to find ways to ignite the flame within myself.
“I had a great determination when we started this season, I was more focused, I worked harder and I was more committed, I was hoping that I could really get there and with many other factors as well we did and we can say that now with Zac (Purton) being suspended,” Moreira said.
Sealing a fourth title in Hong Kong, the ‘Magic Man’ adds the 2020/21 crown to his previous three in succession (2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17) after a season of sustained brilliance in the saddle, which early on, was troubled with an injury to his hip.
“It’s been such a different season to any other that I have gone through, I started off with health issues – the hip injury slowed me for a little while,” Moreira said.
The Brazilian damaged ligaments in the off-season to his left hip which niggled at him early on through the course of the season before he received treatment in October, 2020.
“It’s very obvious that I wouldn’t have done it without the support of a lot of people, we all know who has contributed big time and to all of those guys, I just have to express my gratitude to them and how thankful I am for the opportunities to ride such good horses and to also be given the confidence to do so,” Moreira said.
This term, Moreira has amassed over HK$208.08 million in earnings for his mounts so far, including a pair of G1s aboard Hot King Prawn in the 2021 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) and the 2021 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) atop Waikuku.
He also joined an exclusive club as just the third rider in the history of Hong Kong racing to have ridden 1,000 winners in the jurisdiction alongside only Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton.