BASIL Marcus, that effervescent ball of South African riding talent, yesterday obliterated Tony Cruz's title lead in one fell swoop at sunny Sha Tin. Marcus, the reigning champion, reeled off a 1,792-1 five-timer, including the featured Queen Mother's Cup to also complete a treble for his trainer David Hill. Marcus is now two clear in the standings and riding like every inch the champion he will surely be for the second season running when the curtain falls on June 13. He took the opener on Turf Champ for Ivan Allan. He notched a quick-fire double for Hill in the second and third events on Think Tank and Lionheart before pitching in with a great ride on out-and-out stayer Fortune Leader in the main event. He then completed his second five-timer of the season when bringing Chris Cheung Ting-pong's Optic Empire home a battling winner of the day's final event. Beaming even more than usual, Marcus said: ''It's just been a fantastic day all round though I have to say I was most pleased with Fortune Leader in the big race. ''He went to the line so well. I was really chuffed with that win. ''I was also pleased with Turf Champ in the first as I had to get him across from an outside barrier. ''Lionheart was overdue a win and Optic Empire won the last like a good horse. I have a high opinion of him.'' As is so often the case, Marcus had Fortune Leader in the perfect rails position as the free-running Wonderful World set a very fast pace in the Queen Mother's Cup. John Moore's Motivation took over in the straight but he failed to cope with the 18-pound concession to Fortune Leader who lengthened clear over the last 200 metres. Fortune Leader's time of two minute 31.6 was 2.1 seconds faster than the previous sandmesh best set by Rancher in this race 12 months ago, though there haven't been too many top class 2,450-metre events run since Sha Tin was converted to sandmesh for the start of the 1990-91 season. But it was also 0.2 seconds faster than Top Champ's all-time record for the distance set under a similar weight on firm ground in December 1985. Patrick Biancone's My Home Town appeared the handicap snip of the race but was never really travelling comfortably on the faster surface, plugging on in the straight for fourth once Darren Beadman switched him for a clear run. It was Beadman who made things tough for Marcus before he eventually took the third on Lionheart. The crack Australian pilot quite rightly allowed him no room in the straight when riding New Zealand import Esteemed who was backed down to 3-1 favourite to make a winning debut. Lionheart's momentum eventually took him past the flagging Esteemed and he needed no second bidding to put three-quarters of a length between himself and Derek Cruz's improving Ace Of Trumps. Cheguei showed the benefit of a move to Moore's yard running a much better race for the champion handler to stay on for third. Marcus' determined style of riding made the difference in the opening griffin event where he managed to get the rails run on Turf Champ, despite drawn out in the wilds in stall 13 of 14. And in the last he came flashing home on Cheung's Optic Empire to complete a perfect day.