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Jockeys: Catching up with Hong Kong's "Magic Man" Joao Moreira

Brazilian Joao Moreira hoists the Hong Kong flag for a world audience after winning the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Racecourse, Dubai aboard Japanese-owned, Kentucky-bred Amber Sky

[Brazilian jockey Joao] Moreira is widely regarded as the best jockey on the planet, but any hopes of making an immediate impression during his The Championships cameo were dealt a blow after Slow Pace drew barrier 22.

To make matters worse, Moreira’s ATC Australian Derby pick-up ride, Mountain View, also came up with the miserable gate 18.

Moreira, the baby-faced Brazilian who has rocketed up the Hong Kong premiership ladder to challenge Aussie Zac Purton, didn’t need reminding about Slow Pace’s tough task.

“We will need a bit of luck and the barrier makes it difficult, but that’s what we’ve been given,’’ Moreira said last night.

“I’m going into the race with as much hope as I can.”

Slow Pace’s trainer Kris Lees added: “It gives you confidence with a bloke like him, and the one thing about Joao is he’s proven himself all over the world. There is no better ­opposition he meets on Saturday, our riders here are the best in the world, but it’s a pleasure to have him.

“He’s a thorough gentleman and a true professional.’’

Moreira is no stranger to Aussie punters after he teamed up with Nathan Tinkler’s Trusting to win the Chelmsford Stakes and Hill Stakes in 2011.

The 29-year-old Moreira would love to pinch a big race during his hit-and-run trip to Randwick, but said he was just as focused on a maiden Hong Kong title. Moreira dominated Singapore before he was lured over to the rich Asian racing mecca last spring.

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