In the sport of horse racing, jockeys are required to maintain seriously high fitness and concentration levels to be in the right physical and mental shape. They exercise every morning and night, and their physical prowess is comparable to that of elite runners. Four-time Hong Kong Champion Jockey Moreira did not take much of a break this summer. Aside from a short staycation with the family, he has continued to train throughout the off-season, be it hiking, running, cycling or other exercises. He also plays sports with his children such as basketball, badminton and his ultimate favourite, football. Like all Hongkongers, ‘Magic Man’ spent time in front of the TV watching the Summer Olympics. “I enjoyed it very much, especially when Brazil took home the football gold medal against Spain,” he said.
In a standard 1600-metre race, jockeys ride at an average speed of 65km/h, take in 2.43 litres of oxygen every minute, and have a metabolic rate of 9 MET (metabolic equivalent of task) – no different from a boxing player. Although a race in Hong Kong only lasts one or two minutes, a jockey’s heart rate can soar to more than 190 beats per minute, which is around 90% of one’s maximum heart rate, similar to that of elite-level athletes’ performances. Thus jockeys must vary their training during the week to improve their cardio-respiratory systems and muscle groups. Moreira elaborated: “Running is one of the main training aids for jockeys. It works your heart rate, which is very important for jockeys. You need to have your heart tested quite often, so that during the races it is very strong for you when you need it. I don’t mind the long-distance runs – when I go for a run I spend at least an hour jogging – but I also love sprinting because that actually gets your heart pumping big time. Honestly, I enjoy doing it more than long-distance.”
This is why ‘Magic Man’, lover of all sports and sprinting, has launched the 100-metre sprint challenge #100mJockeySprint ahead of the new season and now leads the charge having completed it in an impressive 13.08 seconds. Moreira openly invites fellow jockeys, elite runners and the general public to take part in the challenge. Modest Moreira said he is certainly not the fastest among the jockeys involved, but he is definitely not the slowest. If you would like to challenge ‘Magic Man’ and join the sprint with your friends, please visit https://bit.ly/3kbiuNe for more details.