Michael Chang Chun-wai did things in reverse at Sha Tin yesterday, capping a Group One and a Group Two and the best two weeks of his training career with two Class Threes and a Class Four to take him to the best season of his life.
More often, a trainer might put the icing on the cake winning the big ones but Chang's Macau Hong Kong Trophy win with Noble Alpha and his Sprint Cup success with Rich Tapestry proved to be stepping stones to a victorious treble that took him to 28 wins and the highest win tally he has yet achieved.
"And don't forget Macau - so it's 29 now," Chang said after Olivier Doleuze brought home Sunshine Kid and Buddy Buddies and Howard Cheng Yue-tin chimed in with Danewin Tiger as part of a treble of his own. "Today is my day and it's nice to reach a new high number but they are bread-and-butter horses these ones - I would love to have more quality horses in my stable to win more of the big races."
They may be bread-and-butter horses but the trio made it a day out for Chang and for Doleuze, who has been part of the Group wins with Chang as well.
"It has been a very good couple of weeks for both of us. The stable is doing very well and in part it's because Michael doesn't press his horses too hard," Doleuze said.
"At this end of the season, that means you still have some horse left and they are not on the downslide."
Typical of the trainer's handling was the win of Buddy Buddies, now a six-year-old but having just his 15th start yesterday.
"He deserved that, he's had three seconds and a third his last four starts but the problem has always been that he is physically a weak horse, so you can't run him very often," Chang said. "Now that he is six, he is better mentally but he has never strengthened physically."
Doleuze said the key to Sunshine Kid's third all-weather victory from 25 starts was the rain over the last few days.
"That made the wide gate not matter too much," he said. "I was able to ride him like I did the last time I won on him, sit outside the lead and then steal the race."
Cheng also raced wider out on Danewin Tiger as the horse collected his third win this season but the jockey wasn't optimistic about the task from now on.
"The dirt helps him but even on this track I think the rating will be too high now," Cheng saisd.