With the Magic Man away, the kids can play, with returning apprentice Matthew Poon Ming-fai looking to take advantage of a Joao Moreira-less meeting at which apprentices could play a big part.

With Moreira sitting out the second day of a careless riding ban, Poon returns to action on Monday after missing two Sunday meetings due to a concussion suffered on his first day of riding.

Demand for the “Poon Train” clearly hasn’t dwindled after his busy and ultimately eventful debut, where he rode his first winner but finished the day in hospital after a nasty pre-race incident. Poon has eight rides, including three for boss David Hall.

With just one ride from the first three races and a couple of outsiders in the first part of the meeting, Poon might have to give his rivals a head start in the Jockey Challenge, but should finish with a flourish.

The Hall-trained Happy And Healthy is likely to start second favourite in a weak 1,400m Class Four, while Poon’s 10-pound claim looks well utilised on Chris So Wai-yin’s Mythical Emperor in the following event.

Races seven through nine provide Poon’s best hopes though, with Mr Picasso, Line Seeker and Penang Hall all appearing like horses desperately in need of weight relief.

Boom apprentice Matthew Poon experiences the highs and lows at his maiden Hong Kong meeting

The claim takes the edge off last start wins for Hall’s Mr Picasso and Penang Hall, while Paul O’Sullivan’s Line Seeker beat some high-class rivals over the course and distance earlier this term but has struggled with big weights since.

Poon isn’t the only claimer that could have an impact, with fellow 10-pound claimer Dylan Mo Hin-tung springing to life in recent weeks and attracting eight rides of his own.

Although the quality of Mo’s mounts doesn’t look anywhere near as strong, the youngster has his tail up after five winners from his past five meetings.

Meanwhile, a successful pick-up ride for John Size at the recent all-dirt meeting at Sha Tin seems to have opened-up opportunities with the leading stable for Kei Chiong Ka-kei.

KK replaced the indisposed Moreira on that occasion and has been booked on what could be a couple of decent each-way chances aboard Vital Spring and Raging Bull in races four and five.

However the 24-year-old’s best chance is in race three on Unique Happiest, a horse she won aboard over the same course and distance earlier this season.

Unique Happiest drops back into Class Four after a decent trial at Sha Tin on April 7.

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