He doesn’t put him in the same category as Nervous Witness but Tony Cruz looks to have a talented youngster on his hands after Super Fortune obliterated his rivals on debut, much to the delight of punters who backed him like the good thing he proved to be.
Crunched into $1.50 at the jump, there were never any nervous moments for those who took the short quote as Matthew Poon Ming-fai went straight to the front, controlling the Class Four Egret Handicap (1,000m) at his leisure.
Super Fortune had the others off the bit a long way out and was able to ease down for the last 50m and receive a pat from Poon with Cheval Valiant ($31) two and three-quarter lengths away in second and Solar Partner ($57) another length and a quarter back in third.
It was an utterly dominant performance, the four-year-old justifying the hype after three strong barrier trials.
Despite that, Cruz was keen to put the race in perspective and doesn’t think Super Fortune is in the same stratosphere as the David Hayes-trained Nervous Witness, who looks the next big thing in Hong Kong racing after two stunning wins earlier this season.
“He’s a nice horse and he’s got some ability,” Cruz said. “He has to have ability to win like that.
“Super Fortune didn’t win in any spectacular time, I don’t think he’s like Nervous Witness but I believe he will run a bit further. I’m not so interested in running over 1,000m, Super Fortune will probably go to 1,200m.”
It’s a big result for Poon, who has proven himself to be a very reliable rider in the jurisdiction but rarely gets opportunities on progressive horses who look set to rocket through the grades.
But he has shown he can handle market expectations – the only other time he’s partnered a horse at an odds-on quote was with Quadruple Double on December 1, 2019 and he saluted in style as well.
Poon was aware of the pressure to perform, telling the Post pre-race: “I think he’s got some ability so I need to win on him otherwise I don’t think I can stay on him.”
The emphatic display means Poon should be able to keep the bigger-name jockeys at bay for the time being, despite the fact they will still try to pry their way into the irons.
“He had three good trials leading into the race and he improved each time against some pretty good horses. Before the race, I was quite confident he could win or show very good ability,” Poon said.
“I’m very grateful for Tony to give me a nice horse to ride and hopefully he can keep on improving. At this stage, it’s hard to say what class he will reach because he’s quite young and still improving.”
It was the first of a double for Cruz, who also tasted success with Beauty Spirit in the Class Four Peacock Handicap (1,600m).
It was the seven-year-old’s first win in almost 18 months, relishing a good run in transit under the guidance of Alexis Badel before running over the top of his rivals.
“I believe the 1,600m is his pet distance and he will step up in class and we will go again. Hopefully Badel can ride and we will run at the same course and distance,” Cruz said.
“The time was good today and he will go up in class with a very light weight and Badel is the one who will be able to do the light weight.”