William Buick reduced Oisin Murphy’s lead in the jockeys’ championship to four after riding a treble at Leicester on Tuesday.
Reigning champion Murphy began the day with a six-winner lead over his great rival, the pair having ridden 149 and 143 winners respectively in a battle that concludes on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Murphy did manage to get himself to the 150-mark by steering Rod Millman’s 4/1 favourite Able Kane to victory in a handicap – but it was Buick who left the track the happier after booting home three winners.
The Norwegian-born rider got off the mark for the afternoon in the second race for his boss, Charlie Appleby.
Riding the newcomer Parlando (4/5 favourite) in the second division of the novice race, he looked booked for second when Dream Show went three lengths clear. But when Dream Show began to drift into the middle of the course, Buick sensed his chance and drove Parlando up to make a winning debut by a head.
Buick would have fancied his chances of a quick double on Robyn Brisland’s second-favourite Porsche Cavalier in the fillies' condition stakes.
She, though, was a clear second best behind Clive Cox’s well-bred Benefit (15/2), who was undoubtedly the potential equine star on show.
Buick had to settle for second again in the nursery, with 7/2 joint-favourite Midgetonamission proving no match for market rival Hurry Up Hedley.
But while Murphy struck back aboard Able Kane, Buick ended the day in the best possible fashion – striking gold aboard Tim Easterby’s Kentucky Kitten (8/1) in a handicapp before completing his hat-trick in the concluding novice race on John Butler’s Rhythm N Rock.
Murphy looked like making it two winners apiece with 8/15 favourite Future King, but having travelled strongly at the head of affairs for much of the way, Rhythm N Rock (5/1) charged home down the centre of the track to prevail by a length and a half.
Both riders are set to be in action at Nottingham on Wednesday, where Murphy has six booked mounts and Buick has eight.