Hong Kong

Hall hoping Poon claim helps Lumieres shine bright under Valley lights

HKJC

Claimer out to continue intriguing "first-up" trend

Matthew Poon returns to Happy Valley this Wednesday looking to continue one of the more notable current trends in Hong Kong racing when he partners Mr Lumieres and Fairy Twins for the first time.

The boom apprentice had much to live up to when he returned from a successful spell in South Australia in the spring of 2017 but he got on track swiftly with the aid of a 10lb claim.

His momentum continued last season when 35 winners earned him seventh place in the jockeys’ table, just two behind Derek Leung in the race to be leading local rider, and Poon has found his stride again this term with six winners to lie joint third upsides Grant Van Niekerk and Victor Wong.

However, the bare statistics of the 23-year-old’s rise don’t tell the full story.

Drill a little deeper and it becomes clear that Poon, now claiming 5lb, is particularly adept at getting horses to produce a peak performance on their first run with him in the irons.

All bar a small handful of Poon’s 35 winners last season were enjoying the benefit of his claim and aggressive style for the first time.

MISTER MISTER: Mr Lumieres strolls to a straight track victory last season.

That trend has continued with this season’s sextet and trainer David Hall, who has mentored the youngster since his return to Hong Kong, is keen to see whether Poon’s valuable allowance provides a winning edge when the speedy and lightly-raced Mr Lumieres lines up from the inside barrier in the featured Verbena Handicap (1000m) at 10.15pm.

“Matthew has made a good start and now just has to keep improving,” Hall said. “He’s only got five more winners to go with a 5lb claim but he’s a confident young jockey who’s well liked among the other trainers. The bar gets raised as the apprentice claim reduces from 10lb to 7lb, 5lb and 3lb but Matthew has the right attitude to knuckle down and continue to be a good jockey in Hong Kong.”

Mr Lumieres won two of his four starts at Sha Tin in his first season in Hong Kong and Hall feels that much now depends on how well he adapts to his first experience of the city venue.

“He missed a run at Sha Tin on typhoon day, which threw things in a bit of confusion, and the query now is that he’s never seen Happy Valley or the lights at night,” the trainer added.

 

“But he is very fit after two trials and the light weight (118lb less Poon’s 5lb claim) and the good draw in stall one are always nice to have. You always want to take advantage of gate one, but he showed last year that he can sit just off the pace and he does tick a lot of boxes as an interesting runner.”

http://http://racing.hkjc.com/racing/video/play.asp?type=replay-full&date=20180616&no=07&lang=eng

The Poon claim could be equally valuable aboard the So-trained Fairy Twins, who lines up for race six, the Citi Sprint Challenge Cup (1200m), on the back of a fine second over course and distance.

 

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