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It’s Derby time Macau style with the COVID delayed 2nd Leg of the Triple Crown now being for 5YOs, and being run over 1800m on turf at the Taipa Racecourse this Sunday.

Originally scheduled for 17 July when the Macau Derby was traditionally for 4YO’s, and now twice postponed  is on 7 August in the new 2022-23 Southern Hemisphere racing season.

The Macau Jockey Club honours 1 August as the Horses Birthday, at the commencement of the new season with the vast majority of horses racing in Macau being from NZ and Australia.

In fact, the current season in Macau commenced on 18 September 2021 and runs through to 28 August, when a two-week break will see the new 2022-23 Season begin on 17 September.

With the former Portuguese colony being in lockdown since mid-July, it’s the in-form Bygone Era who’s firming as favourite for the Derby, in having claimed the 1st Leg of the Triple Crown.

In previously winning the Macau Guineas, the 1st Leg, of 1500m on turf when priced at $4, he’ll again be ridden by Macau’s Panamanian-born all-time champion jockey Luis Corrales.

To jump from Barrier 11 in the Treasure Island Resorts World sponsored ‘classic,’ Bygone Era has the Black and White colours of successful owner Tam Via Lam, and for trainer Victor Chan.

In defeating arch rival Yuanno by a length in the Guineas, Bygone Era was ‘ridden to win’ along the back stretch, and second into the straight he ‘cruised up’ to win in 1:31.4 for the 1500m.

However, it was sweet revenge for Bygone Era, who at his previous start was fourth by 3 lengths to Yuanno in the Macau Derby Trial, when racing three wide along the back straight.

With Yuanno aided by an excellent ride from Masa Tanaka, Bygone Era was first-up following a 13 week spell, and had previously won his last three starts over 1500m and twice at 1200m.

Now stepping up to the 1800m Derby distance, Bygone Era was a previous winning at 1400m in Australia for former champion Macau jockey Patrick Payne, and is the noted sire Bull Point.

Purchased by Patrick Payne at the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale in 2019, he’s from the good winning Red Ransom mare Kiss ‘N Chase, being from the family of NZ top-liner Coldplay.

The season’s ongoing rivalry of Bygone Era and the Ricky Choi trained Yuanno will intensify on Sunday, with Yuanno already being a 2000m winner in Australia for trainer Trevor Rogers.

In drawing Barrier 3, and racing in the Black and White silks of owner Yuan Wenzhong, he’ll again be ridden by the Japanese born Masa Tanaka, who commenced his career in Australia.

Already with a victory over Bygone Era in the Macau Derby Trial, he’s also defeated the Bonus Cup winner Cumberbatch in Gate 6 and Derby Trial second Out To Win in 7, of 14 runners.

Previously over 1800m, prior to a 9 week spell, Yuanno was somewhat disappointing when ridden ‘upside down’ in The Washington, to finish eight of 9 runners in having disputed the lead.

In also winning over 1500m in January, and placed on both turf and sand since coming from Australia, where he was a $100,000 graduate of the Magic Million 2018 National Weanling Sale.

In being by the champion racehorse and now influential sire Pierro from the placed Rory’s Jester mare Volted In, he’s half-brother to the dams of Champion NZ 2yo Yourdeel and Broadband.

With this year’s Macau Derby worth HK$2.3m in stakes, it’s over to the sprinters for the Chairman’s Challenge Cup of 1200m on turf with last year’s winner Star of Yui Cheung as favourite.

In surprisingly being beaten in his last start over 1200m on turf at Taipa, Star of Yui Cheng had won eight of his 9 previous starts, and will again be ridden by Eric Cheung for Wayne Smith.

Now the winner of HK$4m in prizemoney, he’s a Magic Millions Sale graduate in being by Vinery Stud’s ever-green sire Casino Prince, from the winning Charge Forward mare Call Collect.

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