The whistle stop in Singapore has come to an end, but the Poon Train has certainly made winning stops at all his stations since he has come chugging along at Kranji.
Rising Hong Kong apprentice jockey Matthew Poon, who earned himself the endearing moniker during his formative years in Adelaide, has certainly taken Singapore by storm since he began a two-week stint on August 4, not returning empty-handed at any of his four meetings.
Sunday’s was his farewell meeting as he makes his way back to Hong Kong on Monday to gear up for the new season kicking off on September 3, capping off his Singapore sling with a second riding double with On Electric Avenue and Lim’s Racer (read other report).
Poon started his visit with a bang aboard Certainly at his Kranji debut before stretching the score to three with a riding brace two days later – Honor and Faaltless for his first career Group win in the Group 3 Garden City Trophy (1200m).
On Electric Avenue (Matthew Poon) battles away to come out tops in Race 6, picture Singapore Turf Club
One week later on Friday night, the 23-year-old brought up his daily win with Preditor, another winner for Faaltless’s trainer Shane Baertschiger, his Singapore master during the short-term stay organised jointly by the Thoroughbred Racing South Australia and the Singapore Turf Club, Shane Baertschiger.
And now, On Electric Avenue and Lim’s Racer have rounded up a two-week blitz that has clearly turned Poon into the new pin-up boy at Kranji. The final record makes for staggering stats - six wins, three seconds and three thirds from 26 rides for a high strike rate of 23%.
Like a comet, Poon’s short but brilliant passage at Kranji will leave many punters and trainers alike (he claimed two kilos during his stay) rueing his return to his homeland, even if the lucky blighter who caught his goggles after On Electric Avenue’s victory, will for one keep a piece of him to remember as a memento until his next visit, hopefully.
“It’s been great. I don’t know what to say, I didn’t think I’d do so well and get fans here,” said an overwhelmed Poon, who has been the epitome of humbleness despite his boundless talent and success.
“My thanks go to all the trainers and owners who have supported me from Day 1. Without the good rides, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.
“A big thank you also to the Thoroughbred Racing South Australia and the Singapore Turf Club for the opportunity to ride here, and of course the Hong Kong Jockey Club as well.
“The first winner (On Electric Avenue) hit a bit of trouble in the straight but he was strong enough to the line. Everything went well in the end, and the second winner (Lim’s Racer) won more easily.”
Everything has indeed gone swimmingly well for the Hong Kong rookie who has already racked up more than 100 winners to his name in less than two years of riding, first in South Australia and then Hong Kong since March. Baertschiger for one will be sorry to see him leave.
“Matty rode On Electric Avenue very well. They were awkward in the straight, but Matty stuck to his guns,” said the Australian trainer who has supplied half of Poon’s six Kranji winners.
“We found the right race for this horse and from barrier No 1, it was always going to be a huge advantage.
“He was unlucky at his last start when he got checked early. He should have won the race.
“He’s shown good form running against Class 4 horses before and the next step-up to that level should not be a problem.”
Sent out as the $11 favourite, the Street Cry five-year-old, who was at his sixth start at Kranji, found a nice spot after being away fairly from his inside alley.
Enhancement (Craig Grylls) led out at a decent clip but was a goner shortly after straightening when the challengers came making their presence felt.
First Light (Vlad Duric) and Parador (Oscar Chavez) looked to be the main protagonists to benefit from the leader’s sudden collapse at the 250m, but On Electric Avenue, who had in the meantime popped off his ground-saving run around Typhon (Amirul Ismadi) to launch his attack was lurking around, but behind a wall of horses.
He looked tightened for room between First Light and Parador for a while, but as the gap widened up with a bit of jostling, he finally burst clear to go and score by a neck from First Light with Parador third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 11.57secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.