Frankie Lor Fu-chuen moved three clear of John Size at the top of the trainers’ championship with a treble at Happy Valley on a night when Tony Millard racked up his 700th Hong Kong winner.

Lor, who is now in pole position to claim his first trainers’ title with under two months of the season to go, saddled two runners in the Class Two Castle Peak Bay Handicap (1,650m).

There was plenty of pre-race focus on Fa Fa, who was returning to Happy Valley for the first time since December after disappointing at Sha Tin in all three legs of the four-year-old series.

But the market suggested Fa Fa’s stablemate Everyone’s Delight carried more confidence as he was heavily supported from $13 into $5 in the final minutes before the race, with Fa Fa drifting in betting to $6.6.

The money for Everyone’s Delight proved well founded as he stayed on strongly in the home straight to collar Soulmate and win by a short-head under Alexis Badel, who was riding his fifth winner at the past four meetings.

“He did an excellent job and I must say he deserved it,” Badel said. “He is such a lovely horse and racing in Class Three carrying top weight is never easy. A small field with a light weight certainly helped him.

“He’d had a break and I could feel he was very happy to go back to the races and he responded very well. Tactically it was a good race, it was lucky that I could put the horse in the right spot, just come late and he did a good job. It was fantastic.”

Everyone’s Delight had been beaten 41 lengths on dirt last time but had been freshened up for his return and Lor was confident about his chances.

“I gave him over a month’s break in Conghua and he trialled once and he trialled well,” Lor said. “I thought he would go really close.”

Lor had also saluted in the opening race on the card when My Ecstatic benefited from a good ride by Derek Leung Ka-chun in the Class Three Kat O Hoi Handicap (1,650m).

“He’s one-paced and he just keeps going,” Lor said. “It was a small field and he did a good job and the others couldn’t get past him.”

The title-chaser’s treble was brought up by Excellent Peers in the first section of the Class Four Mirs Bay Handicap (1,200m). A strong finish gave the four-year-old his first career victory and was Joao Moreira’s only win on the card.

Millard’s 700th winner came when Above All swooped late to win the second section of the Class Four Mirs Bay Handicap (1,200m).

The South African trainer was delighted to have achieved the milestone in his 23rd year in the city.

“We’ve been here for a long time [and] 700 is a nice number,” Millard said. “We’re very happy to have had the success that we’ve had, we’ve trained for some very nice owners over the years and we’ve had some very nice horses. It’s been a long innings and I’m in the twilight of my career now.”

Harry Bentley is up to 23 winners for the season after notching a double, with the Englishman saluting aboard Toycoon in section one of the Class Four Port Shelter Handicap (1,650m) and Regency Poet in the Class Five Rambler Channel Handicap (1,200m).

Neither horse was winning out of turn, with the Benno Yung Tin-pang-trained Regency Poet saluting for the first time at his 23rd attempt and Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Toycoon winning for the second time in 29 starts.