Four Timer for Cheung - Lau Waits on Derby Call

Eric Cheung has enjoyed his best day riding with a sparkling four timer at the Taipa racetrack on Saturday, to bring him up to 48 winners for the season.

Cheung who is just in his first year as senior rider, was in brilliant form for the afternoon, opening his account in the first of the day the Class 4 & 5 over 1500 metres, on the suitably named Fortune Winner for his former master Stanley Chin.

FORTUNE WINNER winning the THE LANTAU Picture: Macau Jockey Club

Fortune Winner an Irish import, scored his maiden win in Macau per medium of a perfect ride by Cheung, after he was put into the box seat trail third the rails on back of the leader Master Of Mars. Once in the straight Cheung peeled of the back of the leader, to sprint away for a nice win over Master Of Mars  (Dayversom Barros), with Luen On Prodigy (Shogo Nakano) running on well from the back for third.

CHI CHAI SIN SANG winning the THE CHEUNG CHAU Picture: Macau Jockey Club

Chi Chai Sin Sang  was the second of Cheung's winners, when he came from well back in the run to finish right over the top of Electroplate Alloy (Roger Yu), in the Class 2 over 1200 metres.

It was win number six for the Wayne Smith prepared galloper, who is now just over the $1 million HKD mark in earnings for his connections.

Snow Storm  from the Joe Lau yard was the third of Cheung's winners, when he easily accounted for his Class 3 opposition, in win that will go a long way to securing him a Derby start.

SNOW STORM winning the THE GRASS ISLAND Picture: Macau Jockey Club

The four-year-old has now won four on the trot with two wins at 1200 metres, and his last two at 1500.

River Pentium  rounded out Cheung's day with an easy all the way win in the last, the Class 4 & 5 over 1200 metres.

The three-year-old son of Better Than Ready (Aus) made it two in a row for trainer Sio Cheong, and takes him to 30 wins, nine behind Trainer's Premiership leader Stanley Chin.

Cheung has done a fine job in his first year in the senior ranks, and is now 10 winners in arrears of Championship leader Luis Corrales, who is on 58 winners for the season. With 12 racedays remaining it is not impossible, but highly unlikely, that Cheung could foil Corrales quest for his sixth Macau Jockeys Title, given the ten-win buffer that Corrales has.

DIAMOND MOONLIGHT winning the THE KAT O Picture: Macau Jockey Club

That said it's been a superb effort by Cheung, who has only had just over three years race riding experience.

A late starter in the business at the age of 24 years, Cheung initially started his race riding career with Gordon Yorke at Gosford in Australia, winning at his first race ride on Radiologist at Coffs Harbour in 2016. After 100 race rides and 17 winners, visa problems forced him to return home to Hong Kong, where he had two years away from the racetrack.

Trainer :Joe Lau
Trainer :Joe Lau Picture: Macau Jockey Club

An offer to come to Macau came by way of Champion trainer Stanley Chin, and Cheung was quick to snap it up. He won at his first race ride in the enclave on My Fortune Star for Chin in March 2018.

After last Saturday, Cheung's overall winning tally now stands at 114 victories.

Saturday was a two-act affair jockey-wise, with Japanese rider Shogo Nakano taking out the only other two races on the card.

Nakano who has been in wonderful form of late, scored firstly on the Patrick lee trained Diamond Moonlight in the Class 3 & 4 over 1200 metres.

Diamond Moonlight  a lovely looking son of The Wow Signal (Ire), ran his rivals off their legs to win by five and a half lengths, over the more fancied stablemate Dawson (Luis Corrales), with Imperial Eagle (Peter Lao) in third.

Fortune Wai Wai from the Ricky Choi yard was the second of Nakano's winners, when he saluted per medium of a lovely rails hugging ride to defeat The Prime Fortune (Fausto Henrique), with Luen On Success (Luis Corrales) in third.

Macau's undisputed Derby King Joe Lau, now faces an anxious wait to see if his Derby hopeful Snow Storm, can secure a start in the blue riband event set down for July 25.

Snow Storm  made it four straight wins in the Class 3 over 1500 metres under Eric Cheung, to take another step closer to a Derby berth.

With four Macau Derbies under his belt, the last two in succession, Lau feels that Snow Storm has necessary qualities to win Macau's premier race.

"That was a good win, he only does as much as he has too, when he raced clear he just went into idle; it was like he was waiting for something to come, that's what he does." Lau said.

"He is a bit of latecomer for the Derby, His been a bit of a quirky horse to train, and he is still a bit immature. He only had his first run in March, but has done a fine job; five starts and now four wins in succession."

Snow Storm unfortunately missed the cut for last week's Macau Guineas, with not enough rating points up his sleeve; however, after Saturday Lau is fairly confident that he can secure a Derby run.

"He will get seven or eight points for that win, so that will take him to say 66 or so. I am not going to run him again to get more rating points, that just defeats the purpose; you will have no horse left for Derby Day."

"We will just wait and see, but I would be 90% confident of getting in, and he will love the 1800 metres of the Derby. He is the perfect horse for it; good gate speed to take up a position, and he switches off in the run."

Snow Storm's owner Mr. Eric Chen Ching Lung has the rare distinction of having raced four Derby winners, and is keen to make it five with the son of Mossman (Aus).

Chen raced The Alfonso  (2015), Sacred Man  (2017) and Sacred Capital (2019) in partnership with Mr. Dato KS Yap. Sacred Magnate (2020) and Snow Storm are both owned outright by Chen.

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