Champion jockey Ryan Moore has beaten out some hot competition for the ride on Maurice when the Japanese horse of the year contests his much-anticipated swansong in December’s HK$25 million Longines Hong Kong Cup on December 11.
It was announced on Wednesday that Moore will represent England in the International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) at Happy Valley on December 7, but it was the news that he would be aboard Maurice four days later at Sha Tin that dominated headlines in Japan.
Joao Moreira rode Maurice to victory in the Group One Champions Mile earlier this year, but since then both he and Tommy Berry were beaten on the five-year-old, with Moore’s masterful effort to win the Group One Tenno Sho in Tokyo late last month securing the ride.
Moore won last year’s Hong Kong Mile on Maurice, but trainer Noriyuki Hori is setting the stallion for the richer and more prestigious Hong Kong Cup this time around in an effort to boost his value at stud.
Moore will join Australian champion Hugh Bowman, Ireland’s nine-time champion rider Pat Smullen, Japan-based Italian Mirco Demuro, last year’s IJC winner Gavin Lerena plus talented Frenchmen Mikael Barzalona and Florent Geroux in the HK$800,000 International Jockeys’ Championship.
Moreira has one spot secured for the Hong Kong-based contingent, with Zac Purton leading the way for the second spot, while a spate of injuries has the place for leading Chinese rider up in the air.
“We are delighted to have such a strong line-up of jockeys once again,” said the Jockey Club’s executive director of racing authority Andrew Harding .
“This year’s cast is about as good as it gets. Seven of the confirmed riders for the 2016 IJC are or have been champion jockey in a major jurisdiction and three are past IJC winners.”
The line-ups for the four Group Ones on international day at Sha Tin will be released next week.
Watch: Ryan Moore and Maurice win the Tenno Sho