Joao Moreira's move to Japan is scuppered after he fails exam

Three-time Hong Kong champion jockey Joao Moreira has failed to secure a Japan Racing Association licence, leaving the possibility of a return to the Hong Kong racing scene on the cards.

The Brazilian was initially given a short-term licence to ride in Japan until October 28 by the Japanese Racing Association but failed a written exam on the history of Japanese racing.

The 35-year-old, known as The Magic Man, quit Hong Kong in June after choosing not to renew his licence with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and had hoped to make Japan his permanent home.

A disappointed Moreira, quoted by Michael Cox on, said: "I felt I had a chance of passing because I had worked so hard, but it was still a shock to find out I had failed and very disappointing. I need some time for the news to sink in."

Moreira added: "I want to make it clear that I am disappointed in myself, and not with the JRA, and I want to thank the JRA for the opportunity to take the test. The test was difficult but fair. What I want to say most of all, though, is thank you to all of the people who have been supporting me."

After losing out to Zac Purton for another title in July, Moreira revealed that he had employed a Japanese tutor since 2016 in preparation for the JRA's rigorous written and oral exams. 

Moreira, who came agonisingly close to winning the 2015 King's Stand Stakes on Medicean Man, has been told he can apply for another short-term licence next year after continued study and can also resit the test in a year's time.

Joao Moreira farewells fans at Happy Valley before the close of the Hong Kong season in June, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club