Talking Horses: ‘Magic Man’ João Moreira turned away by Japan racing

first_imgHorse racing tips Read more Read more But the Japanese Racing Authority evidently has quite stringent requirements for foreign jockeys who would like to ride there, including a written test, in English, on the sport there and its history. This, according to a report in the South China Morning Post, is what Moreira has failed. Had he passed it, he would then have faced an oral test in Japanese.Apparently, he can’t resit the tests for a year, so he won’t be able to ride in Japan beyond the turn of the year, having obtained only a temporary licence. It’s a really tough outcome for Moreira, who shocked his Hong Kong fans in June when announcing that he wanted to try his luck in Japan, and it could be seen as a self-harming outcome for Japanese racing, to which he would have added plenty of interest. A return to Hong Kong must be on the cards, though I’d love to see some British-based owner making the Brazilian an offer.If he’s at all tempted to come here, Moreira may be reassured to know that British racing is less stringent, without being a pushover. Jockeys have to sit two tests as part of their initial licence application, including one on the sport’s rules, regulations and the basic professional knowledge that any jockey should have; you can’t get a licence without passing the test, I’m told by the British Horseracing Authority, although you don’t have to wait a year to resit if you fail it. The other test relates to broader knowledge of horse racing in Britain but failing that wouldn’t necessarily bar you from holding a licence.Happily, you can be a journalist in horse racing without passing any kind of test, though my BHA source expressed an interest in changing that situation when I mentioned it. Topics … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian I had one of the most frustrating half-hours of my racing life last month when Hot Hannah and Pammi both went close, but not close enough in big-field Ayr handicaps. Imagine my delight in seeing them both down to run at the same track this afternoon.I thought the forecast 10-1 about Pammi (5.15) was a bit big and she has duly been shortened to 7-1 this morning. An improving three-year-old filly, she’s only 1lb higher than when beaten a head three weeks ago. She had another go, at Hamilton, three days after that and ran on well to be second behind a winner from an in-form yard.In the end, I can resist Hot Hannah at 100-30 in a big field but there might be some value in 7-1 about Inexes (3.10). The grey took a long time to get his first win of the year but did so here last week after a promising run at Pontefract the time before and appeals under a penalty against mostly out-of-form rivals.The two jumps cards will feature small fields on dry ground and make me long for rain. But there’s something to be said for the 7-1 shot Braddan Head (4.35) at Worcester. This is a Trevor Hemmings-owned horse whose future is presumably over fences but he’s a half-brother to Grandads Horse, whose initial form figures over hurdles for the same yard were 21111.Braddan Head showed some promise in a couple of maiden hurdles in the spring and could do better with a tongue tie fitted for this return, with Charlie Longsdon among the winners. Hide Share on Messenger features Thank you for your feedback. Share via Email Share on Facebook Since you’re here… Show Reuse this content Thursday’s best bets, by Chris CookIn absolutely extraordinary news, the ruling body of Japanese racing has told João Moreira that he can’t have a full jockey’s licence to ride there this season. “Magic Man” Moreira has become an enormously popular rider in the region, due to his success in Hong Kong, and would be an instant draw wherever he rides, including here in Britain, where he impressed at the Shergar Cup a couple of months ago. Quick guide Racing tips for Thursday 11 October Was this helpful? Sheikh Fahad al-Thani’s new £3.6m horse could prove ‘cheap’ Worcester 1.25 Desirable Court 1.55 Nightfly 2.25 Freedom Run 3.00 Back On The Lash 3.30 Winter Spice 4.00 The Dawn Man 4.35 Braddan HeadAyr 1.35 Pendleton 2.05 Syndicate 2.35 Hot Hannah (nb) 3.10 Inexes 3.40 Redarna 4.10 Drover 4.45 Havana Go 5.15 Pammi (nap)Bangor 1.45 Markhan 2.15 Handy Hollow 2.50 Molly Childers 3.20 Eyesopenwideawake 3.50 Forget Me Knot 4.25 Jaunty Thor 5.00 Marju’s QuestChelmsford 5.10 So Hi Class 5.45 Airwaves 6.15 Fintas 6.45 Big Country 7.15 Oscar’s Ridge 7.45 Haroon 8.15 Majeste 8.45 Jumping CatsTips by Chris Cook. Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Talking Horses Share on WhatsApp The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Horse racinglast_img read more

Football clubs are linking up with prisons to offer coaching – and hope

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Football Facebook David Dein and former England player Alex Scott are both involved in the project. Pinterest The Twinning Project link prisons with their local football clubs, who provide regular sessions, leadership courses and basic refereeing courses for inmates. The main objective is to improve the self-esteem of prisoners and help them gain employment, as only 17% enter the workplace upon their release. Some clubs have also committed to offering prisoners job opportunities, in catering or stewarding, for example.The project is building on work a few clubs have been doing for some time. “A handful of clubs were engaging with prisons independently without any coordination with each other,” says Dein. “Also, for the six clubs that were delivering some form of programme, there are another 86 who are not doing any. So I felt that the consistent, replicable and sustainable delivery of meaningful programmes was what was sorely needed.”Thirty-six clubs have signed up so far. They range from the mightiest – such as European champions Liverpool, league champions Manchester City and Europa League champions Chelsea – to some of the more modest, with Bury the latest to start a coaching programme at HMP Forrest Banks and Notts County coming on board despite their relegation from League Two to the National League. The funding for the programme comes almost exclusively from the clubs’ community foundations. With the endorsement of all the country’s leading football authorities – the Premier League, the EFL, the FA, PFA, LMA and PGMOL – the project has considerable heft. Dein’s former club Arsenal have linked up with HMP Downview, a women’s prison in Surrey. Female prisoners make up around 5% of the total prison population, with about 4,500 currently in custody, and they are four times more likely to self-harm than male prisoners, something Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform calls “an epidemic of self-mutilation” in women’s prisons.Arsenal are delivering a six-week programme to 12 prisoners, which includes weekly workshops in the classroom and on the football pitch. The course focuses on helping prisoners develop leadership skills, form positive relationships, understand the laws of the game and build their technical football skills.Jamie, one of the women on the programme, says it has been “a great highlight in my life – I have really enjoyed it to the full, reaping more benefits than I expected to gain. Not only the physical side, but the coaching side. Helping me gain positive life skills, more confidence, self-esteem and focus. All of this with my favourite football team. This project is brilliant and it really has brought some positivity in my life. I just wish it was on for longer as I would love to do more of it.” Football helping prisoners: ‘I watch Match of the Day in my cell religiously’ David Dein visited HMP Holme House in Stockton-on-Tees last month. It was a significant landmark for Dein, the former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the FA, and one of the people responsible for the creation of the richest league in world football. In the last six years he has visited all 118 prisons in England and Wales. If there was a groundhopper badge for prisons, Dein would be a fully paid-up member of the 118 club.Dein has been interested in the role football can play in prisoners’ rehabilitation for some time and now he is heading up a project that aims to reduce the chances of prisoners re-offending after their release. The rate of recidivism in the UK is alarmingly high, with 64% of prisoners re-offending within a year of being released. Allied to this, England and Wales have the highest incarceration rates in western Europe, with a total prison population of more than 85,000. That cycle of re-offending costs the country £15bn a year – more than £35,000 per prisoner.When launching the Twinning Project, Dein said: “Football can be a powerful force for good and the Twinning Project will use this to help people change their lives when they are released from prison.” One of Dein’s former players at Arsenal, Ian Wright, was the master of ceremonies at the launch. When he was 19 and had not yet signed his first professional contract at Crystal Palace, Wright was sent to Chelmsford Prison for two weeks after he failed to pay driving offences, an experience he calls his own “wake-up call”. The clubs involved. Share on Twitter Share via Email features Dein is clearly excited about the progress he is seeing at Downview. “One said ‘it’s the first time I have smiled in months’. Another who had a lengthy history of self-harm, which is an acute problem in women’s prisons, said the course had kept her from self-harming and the third referred to the Arsenal lead coach Tom Hartley as ‘actually the first male I feel I can trust’ because he built such a positive relationship with those on the course.” Hartley says the seven weeks he spent at Downview were the most rewarding he had experienced in 18 years of coaching.Jason Swettenham, who joined the prison service in 1992 and now is in charge of physical education within prisons, wants more clubs to sign up to the scheme. “When David goes in to give his talk, he deals in hope,” Swettenham says. “And that is what is in short supply across the prison system. That’s what this project delivers. Hope.”Richard Foster’s book From An Acute Angle is out now and you can follow him on Twitter.center_img Twitter Share on Facebook Guardian Sport Network Share on WhatsApp Facebook Read more Reuse this content Topics Share on Pinterest Pinterest Twitter Share on Messengerlast_img read more