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Lucky 7: Poon and Chan combine to boost Academy’s reputation

The reputation of TRSA’s Apprentice Academy was further enhanced last weekend via sparkling performances by two former Adelaide-based jockeys in Hong Kong.

Matthew Poon and Alfred Chan won a combined tally of seven of the 10 races decided, momentarily taking the spotlight from the epic premiership battle between Zac Purton and Joao Moreira.

Poon – who was dux of the SA Apprentice Academy in 2015/16 and booted home 116 winners in 17 months in Adelaide – finished last Sunday’s Shah Tin meeting with four winners, including the final two on the card. It was the second time he had ridden four winners at a meeting in Hong Kong.

Chan spent approximately 14 months in Adelaide and rode 50 local winners before beginning his Hong Kong riding stint in early 2019. Sunday’s treble was the first of his career and included three of the first seven races.

Thoroughbred Racing South Australia Apprentice Academy supervisor Briony Moore said the results “speak volumes” for the quality of the Adelaide program and “the opportunities (apprentices) gain from our industry”.

“Apprentice jockeys get a great grounding here to go onto bigger things, whether it’s within the local riding ranks as seniors, interstate or – in the case of Matthew and Alfred – overseas,” Ms Moore said.

“Those two worked very hard when they were in Adelaide and while it is definitely a big commitment, the jockeys who really apply themselves can reap the rewards.”
Ms Moore said the pair’s weekend success was a source of pride to the local industry.

“We – and I mean everyone at TRSA, within the jockey community and local trainers who were involved with the pair – were delighted with the results on Sunday,” she said.

“We’re proud to call Matthew and Alfred honorary locals, and their success should be another reminder of the pathway to possible success that we offer here.”

Poon’s highlight came in race 10, the meeting’s richest event, which he won aboard the Danny Shum-trained Perfect Match, while a memorable moment for Chan was winning race seven on Baltic Whisper (also trained by Shum), holding off the Moreira-ridden favourite by a short head.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley tonight.

PHOTO: Noelle Bobrige

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