The Hong Kong Jockey Club, in its annual renewals, has granted temporary riding licenses to four jockeys, including South African phenom Callan Murray, as it seeks to fill voids left by several top riders, including the popular Joao "Magic Man" Moreira.
In an announcement June 8, the HKJC said Murray, Sam Clipperton, Alberto Sanna, and Grant Van Niekerk were awarded licenses from July 16 through Feb. 17, 2019.
Murray, 21, jumped straight from the prestigious South African Jockey Academy at the Summerveldt training center to the center of international competition, riding briefly in the 2016-17 season in both Australia and Hong Kong. During that span, he returned home to ride three grade 1 winners on a single card on Champions Day at Turffontein.
The more experienced Van Niekerk also is a graduate of the South African Jockey Academy and rode his first winner in 2008. Since, he has won multiple grade 1 races in his homeland. Sanna, an Italian, has ridden in the Middle East and in Hong Kong, while Clipperton is a familiar face at Sha Tin.
Moreira shocked locals by announcing earlier in the week that, after five seasons in Hong Kong, he is headed for Japan. The Brazilian-born jockey will begin testing to join Mirco Demura and Christophe Lemaire as the only full-time foreigners on the Japan Racing Association roster.
Also exiting the Sha Tin-Happy Valley circuit in Hong Kong are Tommy Berry, Brett Prebble and Olivier Doleuze.