Ruan Maia is hopeful he can sign off a winner with the very last ride of his Hong Kong stint at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The Brazilian, who applied to withdraw his Jockey Club licence last month, will return home for a holiday after the midweek meeting before attempting to revitalise his career in Singapore.
“I haven’t had a lot of support this season, and I wasn’t happy here any more. I couldn’t get work in the mornings – just a few horses – so there was no point in me staying here until the end of the season,” said Maia, who has only seven victories this campaign and none since January.
“Before, I was planning to finish the season, but after three months without a winner and with no opportunity, there’s no point in me being here any more.
“I’ll go to Brazil for a holiday. I’m waiting for my licence in Singapore. I haven’t got it yet, but hopefully, at the end of July, I can move to Singapore.”
A two-time champion jockey in Macau, 35-year-old Maia experienced plenty of success in Singapore during his stint there in 2020 and is looking forward to a fresh start in the Lion City.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Singapore. There I can work hard to get my opportunities. In Hong Kong, I tried many times, but sadly, I couldn’t do better,” Maia said.
“I’m happy because I’ve got a lot of experience and last season, I did a great job – I believe that. I’m looking forward now.”
Maia has three more opportunities to add to the 40 wins he has managed since moving to Hong Kong in February 2021.
It is South African handler Tony Millard who has given Maia the chance to finish on a high, providing him with all three of his rides at the city circuit.
While Super Dobbin in the first section of the Class Four Siu Sai Wan Handicap (1,200m) and Ultra Express in the Class Four Tathong Channel Handicap (1,650m) look outside chances at best, it is aboard Above All that Maia thinks he can make an impact.
After winning three times aboard Above All last term, Maia has ridden the five-year-old four times this campaign, including for a last-start third on April 26.
“He ran well last time. He got his confidence back. The draw will help him a lot because he can jump nicely and just follow the pace and aim for them in the straight,” Maia said of Above All, who jumps from gate four in the second section of the Siu Sai Wan Handicap.
“Hopefully, I can get my last winner in Hong Kong just to say thank you to everyone for the support.”
After the departure of Joao Moreira early this season and the long-term suspensions of Silvestre de Sousa and Vagner Borges for betting offences last week, the Hong Kong riding roster will be devoid of Brazilians following Maia’s departure.
On that note, it was confirmed on Monday that De Sousa will “appeal against the penalty imposed by the stipendiary stewards” after he received a 10-month ban for facilitating a bet for Borges in a race at Happy Valley last month.
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