Faaltless display leads to second Garden City Trophy and Poon's first Group win

Matthew Poon’s rapid rise at Kranji soared to another level on Sunday after he took out the $200,000 Group 3 Garden City Trophy (1200m) aboard Faaltless.

The Hong Kong apprentice jockey is at his first Singapore weekend on a two-week visit as the Dux of South Australia where he honed his craft in the 2015/2016 season and became its pin-up jockey affectionately known as the “Poon Train”.

Seven other South Australian apprentices have benefitted from that annual collaboration between the Thoroughbred Racing South Australia and the Singapore Turf Club before, but without taking anything away from his predecessors, Poon is by far the biggest hit. None of them went home with silverware in their suitcases to begin with.

Faaltless (Matthew Poon) makes a successful racing comeback to land a second Garden City Trophy after three years, picture Singapore Turf Club

Having already given a glimpse of his vast potential to Singapore racegoers with two winners (Certainly on Friday and Honor, both come-from-behind winners on Sunday) at eight previous rides, Poon was this time seen at his best in a frontrunning role, making all on Faaltless ($58), who was first-up from a seven-month spell, to incidentally add a first ‘black type’ win to his budding two-year-old resume.

“This is my first Group win ever. It’s my biggest success and I’m happy things are going very well in Singapore,” said Poon.

“Even if I didn’t know the horse, it’s a small field and you have to give yourself a bit of a chance.

“The horse travelled really well. There was no high pressure, he had an easy lead, kicked off and finished very well.”

Poon was incidentally recording his first win for his master of two weeks, Shane Baertschiger, who unhesitatingly described the David Hall-indentured lad as a “great rider”.

“I saw Matty’s first win on Friday and he rode the winner (Certainly for Cliff Brown) enormous,” said the Australian trainer who has taken more than half of the TRSA apprentice jockeys under his wings during their short Singapore stay.

“I told him to lead or sit second on Faaltless, but he took his own initiative and rolled forward. That’s what great riders do.”

Winning connections smile for the camera: (from left) trainer Shane Baertschiger, apprentice jockey Matthew Poon and Michael Oh from MA Racing Stable, picture Singapore Turf Club

Baertschiger, who is arguably enjoying his most successful season in his six years of training since taking over his father Don, currently sitting third on the trainer’s premiership on 38 winners, certainly deserved accolades for the training feat of landing a Group race with a horse plagued by chip setbacks. More remarkably, Faaltless was at his second Garden City Trophy success as he first won that race back in 2014 when partnered by jockey Danny Beasley.

“I’m very proud of the horse given the problems he had. He had chips to his fetlock and we gave him four runs and he had chips to the other fetlock,” said Baertschiger.

“We were wondering if we should go on and then we gave him time off. We changed his diet as he was a bit heavy, and today he was down to 498kgs which is only two kilos below his winning racing weight.

“He’s been a great horse to us. He has beaten horses like Zac Spirit and Emperor Max, and if not for his problems, he could have been anything.”

Raced by the MA Racing Stable, Faaltless has now taken his handy record to seven wins and five placings from 23 starts for prizemoney close to the $550,000 mark.