11 November 2018

Chocante keeps Poon Train chugging along

Hong Kong jockey Matthew Poon hit the dozen mark at Kranji with favourite Chocante on Sunday, but his first winner as a senior jockey.

Poon is at his third visit to Singapore, having cut a swathe at his first two when still a claimer, notching six and five winners respectively during the first two, both coming at the Hong Kong break, and pointedly, including one Group 3 win at either – Faaltless in the 2017 Garden City Trophy and Preditor in the 2018 Jumbo Jet Trophy.

Poon came out of his time last month and is in town at the invitation of his No 1 Singapore supporter Shane Baertschiger to ride Preditor in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) later.

That 12th win aboard favourite $15 joint-favourite and Baertschiger-trained Chocante could not have been a better warm-up ahead of the main assignment four events later.

The Fastnet Rock four-year-old had no luck at his last start when trapped behind runners, but there was no such drama in Sunday’s $80,000 Lantau Island Stakes, a Class 3 Division 1 race over 1200m.

Well handled by ‘The Poon Train’ (nickname earned during his Adelaide apprenticeship days), Chocante stayed hidden behind runners in a beautiful spot behind the leading bunch before wrapping up the race in the twinkling of an eye once he was exposed for his run.

Unconquered (Karis Teetan) slipped up from behind runaway leader Justice First (Tengku Rehaizat) at the top of the straight to go for broke, but Chocante packed too many guns for him, shooting past him with ease. The beaten margin was 1 ½ lengths for a Hong Kong quinella for the riders (Poon-Teetan).

Third place went to the fast-finishing On Electric Avenue (Matthew Kellady) another half-a-length away. The winning time for the 1200m on the Short Course was 1min 10.23secs.

“I’d like to thank Shane for the good ride,” said Poon.

“The horse got the job done quite well. I had him in third or fourth at the back and once I peeled him out, he was too good.”

It’s become an oft-heard interview, but Baertschiger again heaped praise on Poon for his poised handling of Chocante towards his third Kranji win from 12 outings, a record that has seen his total earnings snowball to around $150,000 for the More Stable.

“Matty is a great jockey, a great kid. He listens and he rides bloody well,” said Baertschiger.

“This horse has had a good first prep and then went for a spell. He ran second to Mister Yeoh two starts back, and Mister Yeoh has gone on to win the EW Barker on Friday.

“He was a tragedy beaten at his last start, he could not get out, but this time when they spread out, he got out and won.”

 

Chocante_TPISTCB1111_R6-8828.jpg

Photo enquiries - contact sgracingphoto@gmail.com