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Sio Cheong has signaled a warning to Stanley Chin that the Trainers Championship is by no means signed sealed and delivered, with a double on the weekend to take him within four winners of Chin, with the score now reading 41 to 37.
With just six race days remaining, Chin is still in a strong position and it will not be an easy task for Cheong given the strength of Chin's yard of 36 horses, as opposed to Cheong's stable of 20. Not an easy task; but not impossible.
Two months back at the end of May, Chin had sailed away to a 12-win lead on 36 winners over Tony Fung on 26 with Cheong lying in third spot on 24. In the past eight weeks Cheong has eaten into Chin's lead, and it would only take another good day at the track to give him a great chance of toppling Chin.
Cheong's first winner on Saturday was River Applause who got through the testing conditions in the Class 5 & 6 over 1200 metres to win easily on the line under Eric Cheung.
Manulmperial looked the best of goods things for Cheong and was sent out a $1.5 favorite in the Class 3 over 1510 metres on the sand, but had his chances foiled by the oldest horse in the race the eight-year-old Falcoshow, having to settle for second spot after having a tough run wide.
Kelvin's Choice gave Cheong his double for the day, when he made it back-to-back wins in taking out the Class 4 over 1050 metres under Fausto Henrique.
Both Cheong and Chin are vying for their second Macau Trainer's Title.
Cheong was crowned Champion in his first year as a trainer in the 2015 -2016 season with 43 winners. Chin picked up his first Premiership win in the 2018 – 2019 season with 52 winners with Cheong in second spot on 41 victories.
Chin however, is still optimistic that he can hold on and pick up his second crown.
"I'm still in a pretty enviable position with a four-win lead and only six race days left, and yes I'd love to nail my second championship," he said.
"Most of my horses are very highly rated now, so some are struggling a bit, and most of my new horses are not ready yet."
"But we will be out there trying our best."
Stanley Chin's sole winner for Saturday was the Australian import Fifer who scored first up for the yard under Masa Tanaka in the Class 3 over 1200 metres.
Fifer reveled in the soft conditions to beat Pursuing Eagle (Fausto Henrique), with Diamond Moonlight (Eric Cheung) close up in third.
A son of Spirit Of Boom (Aus), Fifer was originally an A $150,000 purchase from the 2018 Gold Coast Yearling Sales. The gelding was named Nuclear Summit and was prepared by Gary Moore.
From 13 runs in Australia, the gelding chalked up three wins including one at Randwick and two at Hawkesbury, along with three placed efforts and $122,880 in prize money.
Peter Leyshan was back in the winner's circle on Saturday with this rising nine-year-old the 24/1 outsider Falcoshow, in the Class 3 over 1350 metres who scored per medium of a lovely ride by Luis Corrales.
Corrales who rides the sand better than anyone in Macau, saved valuable ground via the rails in a ride that was the difference between victory and defeat, to give Falcoshow his eighth win in Macau.
"He is one of the most consistent horses I have in the stable and he was never entitled to be that price." Leyshan said.
"He never lies down in the straight he always fights on well, but I must say the ride won the race. Luis (Corrales) saved two lengths out of the straight to the 1000 metre mark, and then pinched another two lengths around the turn. The winning margin at the end was only one and a quarter lengths, so that tells the story."
With Saturday's win Falcoshow's record now reads eight wins and 13 placed efforts from his 47 runs, with the gelding's prize money close now nudging the $2 million HKD mark.