Personal best within reach for Poon

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Matthew Poon

Unruffled by Circuit Seven’s wide draw in Wednesday’s (April 20) Class 4 Po Lam Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley, Matthew Poon is heading to the city circuit with one thing in mind – hitting a new personal best by season’s close on 16 July after he surged to a new high of 37 wins last term.

Currently with 26 victories this campaign, Poon is 11 shy of his career-best haul – a figure he is looking to better across the remaining 24 meetings of the season.

“It’s ok (this season), I would say, similar to last season, not much difference between the two but before this season started my target was to get more winners this time around and now, I still have three months left in the season, so there is a chance,” Poon said.

A four-time Group 3-winning rider in Hong Kong prior to this season, Poon added a fifth at that level in the 2022 Group 3 Centenary Vase Handicap (1800m) aboard Zebrowski for Caspar Fownes earlier this campaign.

Currently in fourth spot to win the Tony Cruz Award as the circuit’s leading local rider, the 28-year-old has six rides at the midweek card at Happy Valley tonight, spearheaded by Circuit Seven who he is aiming to steer to a third win this term.

“He loves to go straight to the front and travel nicely with a little rest in the middle (part of the race) – this time from barrier 12, I’ll try to jump well aboard him and it should be easy to come across and then at the turn try to give him a breather, I think he’ll run well,” Poon said.

A son of Deep Field, Circuit Seven is trained by Tony Cruz with a rating of 59; he has been assigned 133lb against 11 rivals, including Lucky Gor (127lb), Vamos (125lb), Pretty Queen Prawn (124lb) and Gorgeous Vitality (122lb).

“1000 metres is ok because you have enough time to come across (and find the front), if he jumps well, I think I’ll be able to find the front before the turn, so I just hope he can jump really good and save some energy,” Poon outlined.

Predicting a better future for the chestnut now having hit a purple patch of form, Poon’s concern is the hefty impost.

“He’s a real sprinter, if he jumps well he can travel really well, so in Class 4 he is really consistent, maybe he can get up to Class 3 and with a light weight he could still make his presence felt,” Poon said. “Now, he’s starting to carry a heavier weight each time, so this will be a little bit difficult.”

Later on the card, Poon gets the leg-up on Stormtrouper for trainer Dennis Yip in the second section of the Class 3 Cha Kwo Ling Handicap (1200m), bidding to snap consecutive runner-up efforts for the son of Toronado.

Joao Moreira
Joao Moreira is one of Hong Kong’s finest in the saddle.

Moreira holds firm with You’remyeverything

Joao Moreira is keeping the faith with You’remyeverything ahead of Wednesday night’s (April 20) first section of the Class 3 Cha Kwo Ling Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley, remaining hopeful of a bounce-back run from the Australian import as he prepares for a busy night in town with a full book of rides.

Defeated by over three lengths last start, You’remyeverything made small inroads from the tail of the field as Jolly Good Heart stretched the field out before fading late as The Runner charged home to score.

“I know his last start he didn’t perform very well and when he was tested over 1650 metres he probably didn’t take to the distance, but if you look further back at his form over 1200 metres, he beat some really decent horses and he showed a good turn of foot; a good acceleration and I’m hoping that he can do what he has done in the past, which is winning and hopefully we can get him to perform at his very best,” Moreira said.

Known as Biggus pre-import in Australia, You’remyeverything was unbeaten in two runs prior to arriving in Hong Kong where he hit the ground running for an almighty win on debut at Happy Valley.

“Hopefully they run a solid and strong tempo which suits those either midfield or worse, and if things go normal, he’s got a good chance because his finish is great,” Moreira said.

Since relocating to Hong Kong from Singapore in 2013, Moreira has evolved into one of the jurisdiction’s greatest ever with four riding titles and 1,205 wins in town aboard stars of the turf like Able Friend and Rapper Dragon.

This Sunday (April 24) at Sha Tin, Moreira takes aim at Golden Sixty in the Group 1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) when he gets the leg-up on Excellent Proposal for John Size.

“He ran well the other day and with a little bit of luck he might have pinched a placing, it’s a strong race (this weekend) but his form is great, his last run was really good I was happy with that and I just hope that he’s able to perform similar which is just enough to get him into the placings – it’s very hard to beat Golden Sixty and California Spangle,” Moreira said.

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