Jockey Joao Moreira has withdrawn his application to ride in Hong Kong for the 2018-2019 racing season to prepare for the demanding tests ahead of potentially becoming a full time rider in Japan.
The South China Morning Post reported that Moreira will leave at the end of this season in a bid to become Japan's third full time foreign jockey after Christophe Lemaire and Mirco Demuro. Lemaire won last year's Japan Jockey's championship with 199 wins and Demuro was striking at around 30% in Japanese Graded races.
The Brazilian born champion has been a revelation since moving to Hong Kong in 2013. A winner of the last three Hong Kong jockey championships, he will apply for a short term Japan Racing Association licence as he had done in last two off-seasons.
To be licensed a full time jockey in Japan, foreign applicants must pass a written exam and then an interview with a speaking test on the Japanese language.
Moreira is in a tight battle with Zac Purton for this season's Hong Kong jockey's championship and currently holds a one win advantage with around 5 weeks to go in their season.