Yip will enjoy life at the top, however long it lasts

In-form trainer surges past John Size with a double, but he knows the seven-time champion won't accept second place without a serious fight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 3:29am

Dennis Yip Chor-hong continued his recent surge with a double and took a surprise lead at the top of the trainers' championship, but he wasn't playing up his title chances - instead he planned to head home and take a screenshot of his name appearing above that of seven-time champion John Size on the top of the table.

"I'll be trying my best to win it, but at least I can say that I was in front once," Yip said.

Wins with first-starter Mr Gourmet and the in-form dirt-tracker Dars Auto gave Yip eight winners in the last three meetings, and took him to 53 for the season.

He sits one win ahead of Size with 20 meetings remaining in the term.

While Size's untapped young horses hold the key to his championship chances, and make him a firm favourite to defend his crown, Yip revealed a progressive one of his own in the still-growing Mr Gourmet.

Yip and winning jockey Zac Purton both believe the three-year-old by Thorn Park will get further, and will take great benefit from the application of blinkers.

"He is still learning and is going to be better with blinkers on," said Purton.

"We thought he trialed well enough to run a nice race without the blinkers - and we were hoping to get the win out of him. He has ability and we will wait to put [blinkers] on, and like a lot of Dennis' horses this season, we will wait until the time is right. Dennis is doing very well, and is obviously training with a lot of confidence."

The choice to run Mr Gourmet up the straight was partly educational, but brought about the bonus of a confidence-building victory.

Purton took advantage of his draw close to the grandstand, as the Douglas Whyte-ridden favourite Brave Brother floundered on the middle part of the track to run unplaced. Yip said Mr Gourmet was "still a baby" and it showed in his racing manners, as he seemed off the bit and chasing through the middle stages before hitting top speed late.

"We wouldn't have been disappointed if he just managed to finish in behind them and then squeeze him once he was a bit fitter, but he did a good job to come out and win on pure ability," Purton said.

"He is a very timid horse and in the mornings he worries about the other horses and wants to run away from them - he is quite shy. We thought it might be a bit much for him, but the race panned out well for him."

Purton injected some interest back into the jockeys' championship chase, closing the gap to five behind Whyte, who was winless on the day.

Yip's apprentice, Alvin Ng Ka-chun, overcame a tumble earlier in the day - he was dislodged from Seize The Day at the start of race two - to ride Dars Auto for the first time and his seven-pound claim proved well-used.

Dars Auto started the season in Class Five, and after an unplaced run on the turf, the rangy gelding hasn't missed a place since in seven runs on the all-weather track, and has won three races.

Next start he will find himself in the bottom of Class Three and Yip may utilise Ng's claim again.

"He goes very well on the dirt, but that was all about the seven pounds, he has been carrying the big weights lately and today was the right day," Yip said.

"He looked tired at the finish, so we might have to give him a bit longer going into the next race."