TRADEMARK cigar clamped between his teeth, trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee walked off Sha Tin racecourse last night with a winning double and second place in the early championship standings. Still affectionately called The Champ, although it's been a few seasons now since he actually won the title, Kan continued his excellent start to the new campaign by saddling up Optic Fashion (9-1) to take the third event in a nail-biting finish, and had to sweat again when Cornwall Hero (5-2 favourite) fought back gallantly to take the seventh race. Kan may be just a shade less flamboyant these days, but there was no disguising his pleasure at the double. 'I like Cornwall Hero because he is a fighter. He looked as if he was beaten but he fought back just like he did at Happy Valley. 'It wasn't an easy win. He had to earn it and that makes it a better win,' said Kan, who now has seven winners, two behind leader Lawrie Fownes. The Kan camp was confident about Cornwall Hero, and late in the betting there was a significant change in favouritism, with Shaxi Treasure blowing out to 7-2 while there was an avalanche of support for the eventual winner. He went off at a tight 5-2, and those taking the odds had to endure a tense final furlong when gutsy Lionheart (5-1), under champion jockey Basil Marcus, led Cornwall Hero. But the sterling Select Sales purchase showed his bulldog qualities by refusing to concede, and thrust his neck right out to gain victory under pilot Felix Coetzee, who was landing his fourth winner of the season. Lionheart stormed home under Marcus, and looked as if he would go right past Cornwall Hero in the final strides. At the line he was a length and three-quarters clear of third-placed California Gold (20-1), who had forged into the action about 150 metres out, threatening to make an even tighter race of it. But he weakened in the final stages of the Class Three longer sprint, in which second favourite Shaxi Treasure finished 11th. Shaxi Treasure never seemed to be travelling easily for Douglas Whyte and was done a long way from home. Stable stalwart Jimmy K.H. Ting, who served his apprenticeship with Kan and has been supported by him since, was aboard Optic Fashion for his narrrow success in the Classes One and Two 1,400-metre third event. Lucky Partners, who was making his seasonal debut after a hat-trick of wins last time, was backed into 9-2 favouritism but finished 11th. Optic Fashion, on his third start of the season, was fighting fit; that had a vital bearing as he gained a decisive break in the final half-furlong, holding off the withering finish of outsider Canadian Champ (50-1). Debutant Touchwood, well prepared by Tony Cruz, seemed unlucky. South African jockey Piere Strydom was initially blocked behind a wall of horses and then, when a gap appeared and he went for it, it was closed by the winner and Touchwood lost momentum. Belarus (5-1) will surely be improved by the run as he hit the front but was run down in the concluding stages.