Yiu's Fabulous Eight hundred
Leading Hong Kong trainer achieves new career milestone by saddling his 800th winner
Leading Hong Kong trainer Ricky Yiu, remembered by Singapore racegoers for his $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint conquest with Sacred Kingdom in 2009, has achieved another career milestone.
At Sha Tin on Sunday, he became only the sixth trainer in Hong Kong to reach 800 wins, when the aptly named Fabulous Eight collected a straightforward breakthrough success in the Class 4 Isle Of Man Handicap over 1,000m under jockey Joao Moreira.
"I'm happy to hit that number. Very happy, it helps give me a bigger margin over the others in the premiership," said Yiu, who has extended his lead to seven winners over his nearest pursuer Francis Lui.
Fabulous Eight returned in March from a year on the sidelines and spent some time in mainland China's Conghua training facilities. He showed promise in his two previous starts, before opening his career account at the seventh attempt.
"His form gradually faded away last season, because he had a small problem and it's taken a long time. I took him to Conghua for a while and managed to get him over it. It was Class 4 today and that shouldn't have been a problem. He can go 1,200 metres," said Yiu.
The ding-dong battle for riding supremacy between the two titans - Moreira and Zac Purton - is certainly providing plenty of excitement for local racegoers and overseas racing fans such as Singapore's.
Once again, Australian Purton has closed in on his arch rival with a treble to the Brazilian's sole winner from his full book of 11 rides.
The score is now 110-109, with 20 race days remaining.
Purton charged off the blocks with victory in the first two races on the card - aboard the John Moore-trained Like That and the David Hall-trained Demons Rock.
He added one more in Race 7 on Decisive Action, trained by Dennis Yip. Purton had a ride in all races bar one.
Trainer Tony Millard sealed a brace to end a one-month drought in style.
After Little Thunder broke the cold streak in Race 6, Silver Fig rocketed from the tail end to overhaul Utopia Life in the penultimate event under French jockey Antoine Hamelin.
Little Thunder's win saw Victor Wong return to the winner's arch for the first time on a Millard runner since October 2018. The stable apprentice has bounced back from a long spell on the sidelines.