A bold mid-race move from champion jockey Joao Moreira proves the difference, delivering a Japanese victory for Neorealism in the Group One Audemars Piguet QE II Cup victory at Sha Tin.

On paper, there was a lack of pace in the HK$20 million feature and that’s how it panned out with Australian visitor The United States going to the front early, jockey Brett Prebble only setting a crawling speed.

While the rest waited, the Magic Man decided he’d had enough down the back straight, whipping Neorealism ($4.50) around the field to take the lead going into the final turn.

That was the winning move and he was never headed, landing the prize despite challenges from Pakistan Star ($2.80) and the even-money favourite Werther.

“He jumped a little bit slow then as the race slowed I just allowed him to pop out and get going,” Moreira said.

“I was always confident once he turned for home he would finish off strong, which he did.”

Cult hero Pakistan Star (Silvestre de Sousa) proved he’s a genuine Group One quality horse, flashing home for second while last year’s winner Werther (Hugh Bowman) was honest as always in third.

Neorealism’s victory is the first for Japan since Rulership prevailed in 2012 and also the first for trainer Noriyuki Hori.

It completed a feature race double for Moreira, who guided the John Moore-trained Eagle Way to victory in the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial earlier in the day.