Ricky Yiu Poon-fai continued his impressive form at Sha Tin on Sunday, snaring a double to taste success for the seventh consecutive meeting.

After a slow start to the season with only a single win in each of September and October, Yiu has surged to 46 winners for the campaign to sit fifth in the trainers’ premiership.

The 64-year-old opened his account thanks to Sweet Diamond’s effort in the Class Four Shek Nga Shan Handicap (1,200m), with Frenchman Alexis Badel producing the goods in the saddle to notch his first win for Yiu.

It was a much more familiar ally who delivered Yiu his second victory, with Derek Leung Ka-chun piloting All Riches to victory in the first section of the Class Four Sheung Yeung Shan Handicap (1,400m).

It was the 13th time Leung and Yiu have combined to salute this season, the pair operating at a strike rate of 21 per cent.

Sent off a $7.1 chance in his sixth career start, All Riches worked his way to the lead down the back straight and put the contest to bed swiftly after straightening for home, saluting by two and a half lengths from Super Red Dragon.

“I was a little bit worried before the race because he’s the type of horse who likes [to be on] top of the ground and if it’s raining or yielding, it’s not in his favour,” Yiu said after the four-year-old’s victory on what was rated a good surface despite persistent rain in recent days.

“But the horse is learning and the jockey knows him well and he was able to dictate the tempo and win quite comfortably, which was a little surprising.”

A brace for Benno

Benno Yung Tin-pang landed a brace of his own, getting the chocolates with Leather Vanguard and Excellent Daddy.

Leather Vanguard was another galloper to break his maiden, with the Hong Kong International Sale graduate saluting at his second start in the second section of the Sheung Yeung Shan Handicap.

After finishing runner-up under Keith Yung Ming-lun in December, Leather Vanguard hadn’t been seen in almost six months after pulling up from that debut effort with lameness.

The lengthy absence didn’t stop punters backing Leather Vanguard into $3.75 favourite and after travelling just forward of midfield on the rail from gate two under Zac Purton, the three-year-old let down nicely when given clear air at the 400m to see off Stunning Impact by a neck.

“He did a good job because he’s still immature and he needs time to build himself up,” Yung said.

“He’s still a bit slim, so it’s time for him to strengthen up but today he had a decent draw and a decent jockey and he did a good job and I think he will be better when he matures.”

Excellent Daddy hit the line strongly to snare the Class Three Mount Nicholson Handicap (1,200m) in the closing stages to bring up a brace for Leung on a day of doubles at Sha Tin, with trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and jockeys Dylan Mo Hin-tung and Jerry Chau Chun-lok also dealing in multiples.

Leung’s haul saw him move to 40 victories for the campaign and set a new personal-best win tally by surpassing last year’s efforts of 39 victories with nine meetings remaining in the 2021-22 season.

Leung sits five winners adrift of Matthew Chadwick, who was successful aboard All For St Paul’s on Sunday, in the race for the Tony Cruz Award as the leading local jockey, while Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is in between the pair on 43 successes.

Campione continues march

Tony Cruz will likely give his versatile galloper Campione a chance to chase a fourth win of the season after the three-year-old struck for the third time from five Hong Kong runs.

Campione, who won all three of his races in Italy pre-import, was rated a $3.9 chance for the Class Two Lai Pek Shan Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather track and he didn’t disappoint his followers, leading throughout to salute by a length and a quarter from Ka Ying Master.

The gelding has now won twice on the all-weather track to go with one success on the turf in Hong Kong and Cruz is considering a switch back to the turf for the Class One 25th Anniversary Hong Kong Reunification Cup (1,200m) on July 1.

“He’s a nice horse with good potential. I might give him one more start for the season in consultation with the owner. He was the youngest horse in the field today and he won well,” the trainer said of Campione, who will see his rating soar into the high 90s following the victory.

Matthew Poon Ming-fai was in the saddle for the success, notching his 30th winner of the campaign.