Hong Kong

Back

Poon looks to keep on rolling at the Valley

After snaring consecutive doubles at the past two race meetings, jockey Matthew Poon is looking to stay in the groove when he heads to Happy Valley’s midweek fixture with a full book of rides and his sights on a new personal best.

“Lately, the horses have had good draws and a bit of luck, so I’m pretty lucky but I’m happy that I can get on some nice horses too,” Poon said. “I always feel good if I can keep improving or increase my number of winners. That’s what I hope to achieve each season.”

In form jockey Matthew Poon, picture HKJC

Having already surged past last year’s score of 29 victories, Poon is now charging towards a new high as he sits just one shy of his best ever season’s tally of 35 wins, which he recorded in consecutive campaigns (2017/18 and 2018/19). 

“I think the most important thing is my discipline in races. I ride competitively, but I’m riding more carefully by trying to make less mistakes and not causing trouble or getting suspended. I am more controlled and more disciplined in races.

“In other words, I would say this season I am more focused. You need more focus to do it,” Poon said.

Among his 34 triumphs this campaign, Poon has a pair of G3 successes having claimed the Centenary Vase Handicap (1800m) aboard Glorious Dragon before prevailing aboard Butterfield in last month’s Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m).

“It’s really hard to get rides in the big races, so I’m very lucky I can get the support and get on a pair of nice horses in Butterfield and Glorious Dragon. Butterfield is young and I think he can continue to improve; Glorious Dragon has the class, I hope he continues to go on with it too,” Poon said.

A formidable ally, trainer Frankie Lor has provided the 27-year-old with eight wins this season and on Wednesday evening (9 June) the duo link with two chances. Firstly, Mission Smart in the third section of the Class 4 Port Shelter Handicap (1200m).

The son of Smart Missile tallied a pair of narrow defeats at the city circuit earlier this term before twice finishing midfield at Sha Tin, from four runs in total this campaign.

“I galloped him on the grass. He was quite laidback. He doesn’t have a good draw this time, but hopefully he can jump and get a position in the second half of the field or midfield, and from there relax and finish off,” Poon said as he prepares to partner the gelding from gate 10 against 11 rivals.

Poon partnered the Australian-bred four-year-old in a turf gallop at Sha Tin five days ago, clocking 55.6s (28.9, 26.7) for 800m.

“I’ve only ridden him once but he came from behind that day, so hopefully he can show a similar pattern tomorrow night with a strong finish,” Poon said.

Teaming with Lor again later in the evening, Poon gets the leg-up on five-time course and distance winner We The South in the feature, the Class 2 Castle Peak Bay Handicap (1000m).

“He can be quite good and finish so close or even win sometimes, but then other times he can be very disappointing. I just hope he can jump fast, get a close position and get every chance to finish off the race,” Poon said.

Stepping away from gate eight, the Your Song gelding faces a hot bunch of 11 other speedsters as he looks to enhance his rather impressive record.

Another of Poon’s biggest supporters has been Francis Lui; this season the duo have also combined for eight wins and tomorrow night the rider takes a pair of mounts for the handler, firstly aboard last-start winner Management Supreme in the first section of the Class 4 Port Shelter Handicap (1200m), before linking with Igniting in the Class 3 Kat O Hoi Handicap (1200m).

“He’s [Igniting] a big horse, he’s got some speed and I think he’s quite tough, so hopefully he can jump well, show his speed early and tough it out to win again,” Poon said.

The son of Starspangledbanner is a two-time course and distance winner this term, once under Poon exactly three starts ago.

Earlier on the card, Poon pairs with the Tony Millard-trained Fortune Patrol in the Class 5 Yan Chau Tong Handicap (2200m). Poon and Millard have combined twice this season including with Gallant Crown at last week’s fixture at the city circuit. 

Share/Bookmark