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Farewell tour for one of Hong Kong`s greatest jockeys
He has shaped the jockey scene in Hong Kong like hardly anyone else in recent years. It is all the more regrettable that his career is now coming to an end: Joao Moreira, four-time champion jockey and winner of 1,234 races in Hong Kong, has handed back his licence for the ex-Crown Colony before retiring due to a hip injury.

The 39-year-old Moreira has not ridden in Hong Kong since an event at Happy Valley on 21 September and is recovering in his native Brazil, where he has undergone plasma therapy on his left hip. Moreira had a showdown with Zac Purton in the Jockeys Championship earlier this year as the two were tied with 132 wins each before the last meeting at Sha Tin in July. Purton edged Moreira by a four-timer to win his fifth title.

The gruelling title race, combined with the strict lockdowns imposed in Hong Kong in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, also played a role in Moreira`s decision to surrender his licence. The jockey, whose family moved back to Brazil a month before the end of the Jockeys` Championship, told the South China Morning Post, "I appreciate everything Hong Kong has done for me and I am not leaving with bad feelings in the back of my mind. Overall, Hong Kong has made a very positive contribution to my life, but I have been struggling with some physical and personal issues. Unfortunately, some changes had to be made and that includes me no longer living in Hong Kong."

Moreira will return to Hong Kong on 11 December to ride in the International Races at Sha Tin, but will also saddle up in Europe, Japan and Australia in 2023 before retiring on medical advice.

Moreira said, "It`s a very difficult decision to retire immediately, so I plan to ride for a very short time - maybe a few months, maybe six months. I want to travel around the world a bit, which I wasn`t able to do in Hong Kong. If I go back there and finish the season and then want to travel around the world and go to different places, I would have to ride for another year. I`m not sure I want to do that because the pain I went through is too much."

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