Cheng breaks last season's tally to move into fifth in the jockeys' table
Murray Bell and Alan Aitken
Howard Cheng Yue-tin has had a storming season and yet another double took him into personal-best territory with 41 wins for the term, and three more meetings from which he may add to the tally.
Cheng racked up 40 wins last year and was delighted to do so, but didn't dare set the bar higher this term, despite the fact he felt he was kicking with the breeze.
'I thought if I could repeat my best year, I would consider that very successful so to hit 41 today, I am very happy,' Cheng said.
That 41 also gives him fifth spot on the premiership, with only the world-class short list of Douglas Whyte, Brett Prebble, Felix Coetzee and Darren Beadman to answer to.
Yesterday's winners for Cheng were Tycoon Taylor in the opener for Me Tsui Yu-sak, and Leader in the Class Five for staunch supporter Dennis Yip Chor-hong.
'With Tycoon Taylor, the most important thing we've learned about him lately is that he just won't go when he's inside horses,' Cheng said. 'Today, he's had a perfect run, got to the outside at the top of the straight and had a little bit in reserve at the finish.'
Perhaps the most talked about jockey in Hong Kong did not even ride at Sha Tin yesterday. Matthew Chadwick, a Jockey Club apprentice who is gaining experience in Australia, won four races from four rides at Lismore in north-eastern New South Wales.
Although Chadwick's name suggests European origins, he is in fact Chinese, the 17-year-old adopted son of a Hong Kong-based international school principal.
'The calls came through yesterday, one after the other,' said a delighted John Graham, the Club's racing development manager. 'He won the three rides he was booked for, and then won a fourth on a late pick-up ride as well. Everyone's raving about him.'
Chadwick only had his first ride five weeks ago, so his rate of progress is amazing. The teenager has now had 26 rides for five wins and nine placings. Watch this space.
Another 'bonus' win went into the bank for jockey Zac Purton as he combined with trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie and Diamond Brilliance to win his 27th race this season.
Purton's revised target for this season, once he understood how tough it is for newcomers, was to achieve 25 wins, so Diamond Brilliance's success at his third start for Yiu was one more bonus.
'I'm certainly very happy with how I'm finishing the season and linking with Ricky for a few wins has been a great help,' he said.
The Alex Wong Yu-on-trained Conqueror won't ever make the annals of the all-time greats, but the gelding will live in the memory of jockey Vincent Sit Shin-keung after providing him with a notable milestone yesterday.
Following on from Alex Lai Hoi-wing's success during the week to rack up three figures, Conqueror was Sit's 100th career winner in the sixth event.
The gelding has bobbed up to win a race in each of his three seasons and scrambled in to keep his record intact over Multo Expresso and give Sit his moment.