Poon off the mark early at Kranji
Up-and-coming Hong Kong apprentice jockey Matthew Poon described the experience of riding a winner at his first meeting in Singapore as “awesome”.
Riding on a short two-week visit as a reward for being the Dux from South Australia under the joint agreement between the Thoroughbred Racing South Australia and the Singapore Turf Club, Poon, 23, did not take too long to show to the Kranji faithful that the hype around the “Poon Train” was not overstated.
After two unplaced results aboard his first two rides, Energizer and Showar, the Adelaide-trained rider was right on target aboard Certainly ($23) in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1800m.
Certainly (Matthew Poon, No 6) noses Duke Of Normandy (Glen Boss, inside) out right on the line, picture Singapore Turf Club
Biding his time aboard the Cliff Brown-trained Nadeem five-year-old, Poon was happy to let his mount amble along in a one-out one-back spot behind the moderate speed set by favourite Makanani (Derreck David) in the small seven-horse field.
The Japanese-bred filly was, however, unable to break clear as she carted the field into the home straight. Three horses were quick to pounce on her in that order – Aotearoa (Barend Vorster), Duke Of Normandy (Glen Boss) and Certainly, but with Poon showing a polish beyond his years, it was the latter’s launch which was timed the best.
In a driving finish, Certainly only went full bore inside the last furlong to lunge at the line and earn the judge’s verdict by a nose from an equally gallant Duke Of Normandy with Aotearoa third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 48.31secs for the 1800m on the Long Course.
“It was really close, but I did think I won on the line,” said a confident Poon, who no doubt has had his fair share of tight finishes at Sha Tin and Happy Valley where he has returned to continue his apprenticeship since March.
“I’m really happy I was able to ride a winner at my first meeting in Singapore.
“The instructions were to wait until the last 200m to let the horse go as he only has a short sharp burst. I was able to save a little petrol and he finished off very well in the end.
“I’ve ridden winners in Australia and Hong Kong, and this is my first win in Singapore. The feeling is just awesome.”
Brown was deputised by his racing manager Chris Bock at the lead-in.
“He’s a super fit horse who’s hardly ever run a bad race. He’s got a short sprint and we told the rider to be patient with him,” said Bock.
“He held him up for as long as he could and pushed the button at the right time.
“It’s also fantastic to train another winner for the Auric Stable.”
Certainly was ringing up his fourth win from 25 starts for prizemoney that has now tipped over the $280,000 mark for the Auric Stable of Mr Jerry Sung.