No stopping Ruan Maia

Ruan Maia holds a commanding 22 win advantage over his nearest rival.
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Via Harry Troy, Macau Jockey Club

A winning treble on Saturday sees Brazilian rider Ruan Maia with a massive 22 win advantage over his nearest rival Luis Corrales (68 to 46) as he races away with his second Macau Jockeys’ Championship.

With six race days remaining for the season, Maia is already eight wins ahead of his tally of 60 for last season, with his strike rate figures stacking up at a 21% win rate and a 52% place rate slightly up on last year’s score.

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Of the local riders Peter Ho is currently in third spot on 42 wins, and has the next best strike rate of a 17% win and a 46% place percentage.

Maia’s day got off to a quick start with a win on the very promising Wittymaster in race two, the 0 to 55 rated contest over 1200 metres. Wittymaster, a four-year-old son of Australian Group 1 sprinter Duporth, made it two wins from four starts in Macau and is destined for better things given the manner of his two victories.

On a track that was rated heavy due to a typhoon hitting the enclave midweek, Wittymaster showed good speed from gate nine to cross and find himself box seated behind the speedy Chapman Way (Luis Corrales). Once in the straight, the gelding dug in stoutly and raced to the line with almost two lengths to spare over Chapman Way, with Lucky Pearl (J B Hamel) running on well for third.

Prior to coming to Macau, Wittymaster certainly had been a much traveled horse. An $AUD50,000 purchase at the 2017 Melbourne Premier sale, the youngster trialled at Warwick Farm for a moderate fifth out of six runners over 810 metres when prepared by Wendy Roche. The gelding was then picked up for A$70,000 at the Inglis October 2017 Ready 2 Race Sales and then shipped to New Zealand under the Magus Equine banner; however, he never made it to the trials no doubt due to some problems. After 12 months in New Zealand, the then three-year-old arrived in Macau and was placed in the care of trainer Danny Wong.

Maia was next seen to advantage on the Irish import Brilliant Debbie, who produced a dazzling late finish to win the Class 2 Over 1500 metres. In a great four horse finish, Brilliant Debbie, who had come from the tail of the field, weaved between runners to win by a head from River Control (Kevin Leung), with a half length back to the dead heaters, Farson (Shogo Nakano) and Pearl Win Win (Stephane Ladjadj).

One Belt One Road from the Sio Cheong stable completed Maia’s afternoon when he proved too strong for his opponents in the Class 3 & 4 over 1200 metres.

Maia has done a magnificent job since arriving in the enclave in December 2016. After taking 19 rides to land his first winner on God Get People for trainer Stanley Chin, Maia did a superb job to end his first season on 31 wins and in fourth spot in the Jockeys’ Premiership on 31 wins, with Peter Ho Champion of the year on 52 victories.

Since then it’s been onward and upwards for the hardworking lightweight, who with his partner Erica Calheiros have fallen in love with the former Portuguese colony.