Viva Pronto's win in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy may have been a serious boilover to most punters but will play a strong role in the ongoing existence of the interport races after questions had been raised about the competitiveness of the Taipa-based entries in the annual series. The reality has been that, with the 15-pound allowance, Macau's best horses have more than held their own in the 13 interport races. But for Crown's Master's positive after winning at Sha Tin three years ago, the score would now look very even indeed at 7-6 in favour of Macau - with the return at Taipa to come next month. In that event, many people would have been calling for the allowance to be reduced rather than questioning whether the fight should be stopped to spare embarrassment for the 'little brother' across the way. That Macau is producing good horses despite a serious decline in its horse numbers in recent seasons is remarkable in itself and if Gary Moore's claims about his unbeaten Happy Gladiator turn out to be on the mark, then there is more to come next year. Did Jeff Lloyd err in not persisting for the lead on hot favourite Aashiq, as many suggested on the weekend? To date, Aashiq has definitely travelled much better in the lead on his own - only Beauty Flash has been able to get by him in four races when Paul O'Sullivan's four-year-old has taken the front early, if we discount the day he suffered a heart irregularity. Well, it was a tough spot. Lloyd could have led Viva Pronto without too much trouble in the early stages and, with his big weight, Viva Pronto could hardly have won had they then locked horns in the lead, head-to-head. The real-time problem for Lloyd though was that a race is not a head-to-head event and, in wearing out Viva Pronto in the lead, he might just as easily have set the race up as a soft result for Yummy Spirits sitting behind and waiting for both to empty out. Hopefully, Aashiq will overcome that particular requirement to find the front now that he is in the higher grades, because it isn't easy to dominate at that level and he will inevitably have a target on him. Or perhaps he can become much tougher in the lead role with maturity, like Egyptian Ra did with time and racing.