In-form Matthew Poon ready for Super Football and Joyful Fortune

The 27-year-old is enjoying a career-best season and heads to Sha Tin on Thursday with a full book of rides




Super Football caught the eye with a slashing fourth last time out and Matthew Poon hopes a better barrier draw can help him secure his first Class Two victory when he steps out in the Hong Kong Reunification Cup (1,800m) at Sha Tin on Thursday.


After landing double-digit gates at his past two starts and being forced to go back, the Jimmy Ting Koon-ho-trained four-year-old has come up with the inside alley for this assignment and his jockey thinks that can prove the difference.


Instead of having the whole field in front of him as he turns for home – exactly what has happened in his past couple of runs – he should settle midfield and be in striking range when the whips are cracking.


“He ran well in Class Two and this time he’s got a nice draw and that should be a benefit to him,” Poon said.


“This is only his first season and he hasn’t had many starts in Hong Kong – he’s still young and has improvement in him. Hopefully with the good draw I can give him every chance to win in this grade.


“I don’t think he’ll get as far back as last time, we’ll use that barrier to sit midfield.”


Poon has a strong hand on Thursday with a full book of 10 rides, with Joyful Fortune looking to be another strong contender.


After struggling with some niggling injuries, the one-time boom sprinter returned to form last start, rolling to the front and holding off a late challenge from Metro Warrior.


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The Tony Cruz-trained four-year-old has come up with barrier 13 – perfect down the Sha Tin straight – and Poon is hopeful he can repeat the dose in the Class Three Better Future Handicap (1,000m).


“He looked like a really good sprinter, he was able to muster speed last start so the outside draw helps and hopefully he can do the same thing, jump straight to fence and show an even better performance,” the jockey said.


“After last start he will be fitter, I just hope he can stay healthy. If he stays healthy he can still improve a bit.”


The 27-year-old is enjoying a career-best season with 36 winners – including two at Group Three level – eclipsing his previous mark of 35, which he achieved in 2017-18 and 2018-19.


He’s come on particularly strongly in the second half of the season with 23 of those victories coming since February.


Despite the success – Poon sits eighth in the jockeys’ championship – he refuses to rest on his laurels.


“Of course this is my best season but I’ve still got five meetings left so I’m hoping I can get even more winners,” he said.


“Coming to the end of the season I’m getting more rides than I used to because I’ve got a light weight and I think trainers are looking for that extra two-pound claim.


“Sometimes horses just need that little bit of help so I feel like in the second half of the season I’ve been getting more opportunities.”


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