Corrales a Certainty for Six

A winning double at the weekend looks to have assured Luis Corrales of his sixth Macau Champion Jockeys’ Title.

Corrales who has been on fire in the past two months, has ridden 22 winners since April 3rd and after Saturday has an unassailable lead with 53 winners, as opposed to Eric Cheung's 39 victories, with Masa Tanaka in third spot on 30 wins.

GEORGIAN EASE winning the THE CHAIWAN Picture: Macau Jockey Club

With 18 race days remaining and a 14-win lead, Eric Cheung would need nothing short of a miracle to overhaul Corrales, and a sixth title now appears signed, sealed and delivered for the diminutive Panamanian Champ.

On Saturday Corrales got off the mark quickly with an easy all the way win on Georgian Ease , in the first of the day the 0 to 45 Special Conditions Race over 1500 metres, for trainer Peter Leyshan.

On a track rated yielding to soft, Georgian Ease a noted duffer on wet ground was not given much hope at all by Corrales.

DAWSON winning the THE CAUSEWAY BAY Picture: Macau Jockey Club

"I did not think he would be much hope at all with the track rating like it was; but we got first go at the track, and there was no speed on so we got an easy lead, I stayed hard against the rail and he won easily. It was a nice surprise, and I guess the track was not as wet as we thought it would be"

The Patrick Lee trained Dawson  gave Corrales a quick race to race double in the second of the day, the Class 4 & 5 over 1200 metres. Corrales gave the $2.5 favorite the run of the race in the box seat trail to the corner; before darting through on the inside of the leader Amazing Happy , to race away for an easy two- and three-quarter lengths win.

Jockey : Luis Corrales
Jockey : Luis Corrales Picture: Macau Jockey Club

"He is a really nice three-year-old and he will run a lot further I told Patrick (Lee). In fact, there is a nice 55 to 30 race over 1500 metres at the end of the month; that would be ideal for him."

"He is going to make a lovely four-year-old next season," he added.

Corrales first arrived in Macau in 1996 as a fresh faced seventeen-year-old, and commenced his apprenticeship at the MJC's Apprentice Jockeys' Training School.

TURQUOISE SUCCESS winning the THE BIG WAVE BAY Picture: Macau Jockey Club

"Yes, Macau has been a wonderful place to me, my Uncle Jose who was Champion jockey here bought me as a kid. I remember my first winner was for Alan Leung back in 1996."

A shocking race fall in 1997 almost ended Corrales riding career, and his life, with the tiny apprentice suffering a fractured skull, multiple facial fractures and a broken shoulder.

After spending a whole season on the sidelines, with months of physiotherapy to regain his mobility and fitness, he returned to the saddle in the 1998 – 1999 season to be crowned Champion Apprentice with 40 winners, and in tenth spot overall behind premier jockey Patrick Payne (106 wins).

LUCKY DOUBLE winning the THE AP LEI CHAU Picture: Macau Jockey Club

Corrales took out his second Apprentice Championship in the 1999 – 2000 season with 51 winners, and was fifth overall in the senior jockeys ranks behind Irishman Robbie Burke (112) and Australians John Didham (111).   Another superb year followed for the youngster in the 2000 - 2001 season with 50 winners and again in fifth spot, behind three times Macau Champion John Didham who was victorious on 98 winners.

Corrales now at 42 years of age has never lost his passion for race riding; his winning tally in Macau now stands at over 1200 winners, making him the most successful jockey in the history of the MJC.

His success cannot just be attributed to his race riding skills alone. Corrales rarely spends any time on the sidelines through suspensions; and a testament to his integrity, is that he is still riding for same owners and trainers today, that he was when he started out as a young apprentice twenty-five years ago.

Geoff Allendorf's Turquoise Success  continued on his winning way when he led throughout under Japanese rider Shogo Nakano, to win the Class 4 over 1500 metres on Saturday.

In a nicely rated ride, Turquoise Success made it four wins from his last six starts, all at the 1500 metre journey. The chestnut son of All Too Hard (Aus) has been something of a revelation since Allendorf took the initiative to step the gelding up in trip, after a frustrating run of disappointments over 1200 metres.

"He has always worked like a high-class horse, but was going too hard in his races over the shorter trips and compounding.  Up in trip he can lead by himself and he has learned to relax, so it's been a good result for my owners Mr. and Mrs. Tang," Allendorf said.

Allendorf has taken the gelding from a rating of 27 to what will be a mark of 60 or better after Saturday's win.

"He's done a good job, and we might even give him a shot at the Guineas on June 27. I also think he will come back better and stronger as a five-year-old next season," he added.

The blow out of the day for punters was the win by the Joe Lau prepared Lucky Double, who powered home down the centre of the track under Brazilian Dayversom Barros, to win the Class 3 over 1200 metres.

Staring at odds of $217.00 for the win, Lucky Double finished right over the top of Casino Mok (Eric Cheung), with Colonel Mordaunt (Shogo Nakano) in third, resulting in the quinella paying a whopping $1829.00.

Lucky Double  belied his very average New Zealand form to win like a handy horse in knocking off a good Class 3 lot, and still looks to have plenty of upside to him.  

The son of Spill The Beans (Aus) was bred by Aquis Farm and raced under their banner in New Zealand, when prepared by Hawkes Bay conditioner John Bary.   Two starts there at Matamata and Wellington racing as Garbanzo, yielded a distant second at Wellington before the three-year-old was sold onto Macau.

At his first run in the enclave the gelding raced very greenly and was beaten 13 lengths behind Luen On Prosperity  in Class 4. At his second start he caught the eye when he made up many lengths to finish seventh, beaten seven and a quarter lengths, indicating that he was looking for a lot further then Saturdays 1200 metres.  Saturday's victory suggest he will have no trouble paying his way from here on.

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