Not for the first time in his glittering career, trainer John Size showed the “Way” with a treble at Sha Tin on Saturday.

Already leading the trainers’ championship, Size was on the mark with an early double for the Leung family when Champion’s Way landed the opening Class One Nam Wan Handicap (1,600m) and Brilliant Way picked up the Class Four Wu Kau Tang Handicap (1,400m), before Sight Success completed the three-timer in the other Class One on the card.

Size teamed up with jockeys’ title leader Zac Purton as Champion’s Way surprised some better-fancied rivals to win the opener.

Ridden by Purton for the first time since February 2019, Champion’s Way took advantage of a troubled run for favourite Excellent Proposal in the straight to pass long-time leader Healthy Happy in the final 200m before having more than enough in the tank to hold off Cheerful Days to win by a neck.

“He drew the right gate [barrier three] and, being a handicap, he was well weighted,” said Purton, who landed a treble of his own after also saluting aboard Packing Treadmill and Copartner Ambition.

“When he flew the gate like he did, he jumped straight on the bit and he travelled with a lot of confidence right from the get-go.

“He was pretty soft in the straight. When he was in front, he was sort of ambling along a bit until I gave him some encouragement and he took off but as soon as I stopped that, he started to stop – so he’s a bit of thinker. He did a good job.”

Champion’s Way had been below his best at Group Two and Group Three level this season and was winning for the first time since saluting in the Group Three Chinese Club Challenge Cup (1,400m) in January last year.

“He seemed to enjoy the tempo. He wasn’t interrupted, he wasn’t inconvenienced and everything went perfectly and that’s probably what he needs – I suppose most horses need that,” Size said. “He’s been running well actually but the class is just too strong for him normally.”

While Champion’s Way rewarded his supporters after being sent out at $6.3, punters who took the $3.1 about his stablemate Excellent Proposal could well consider themselves unfortunate not to pick up a return.

Under Joao Moreira, Size’s five-year-old was trapped on the rail with nowhere to go behind the weakening front-runner Healthy Happy for all of the straight and eventually beat just one home.

Cheerful Days gets share of Million Challenge; Purton, Teetan ride four-timers

Runner-up Cheerful Days again advertised his claim to be the most improved horse in training in Hong Kong when closing on the winner late and he put in a good effort considering the slow early pace.

Francis Lui Kin-wai’s runner has been at his best when swooping late off a fast pace, winning six races this season, and it would be no surprise were he to turn up on Champions Day to contest his first Group One race.

Later on the card, Brilliant Way overcame the outside draw of 14 to salute for Moreira as the $2.1 favourite.

The Brazilian got Brilliant Way into a good position in midfield one off the rail and the galloper showed a good turn of foot to beat General Winner by three-quarters of a length.

Brilliant Way will now make the leap into Class Three company and Size is hopeful he can continue to improve.

“That’s all he could do,” Size said. “He’s had a couple of runs, a step up in trip and he’s won a race.

“It looks normal for a horse that’s got some ability and I think he’ll be a bit better next season. I think he’s a bit young to be getting tough with now, but I’ll ask him to go to Class Three and see what happens.”