Matthew Poon Ming-fai has showed surprising tactical versatility so far but his skills will be put to the test after wide draws cruelled his chances on a number of leading hopes at Happy Valley.

Poon took his tally to 15 victories from 10 meetings with another double on Sunday also keeping his streak of at least one winner at every card he has ridden at in Hong Kong.

Not surprisingly the 23-year-old has attracted another strong book of rides, but the barrier draws weren’t kind with some awkward gates made even worse by the fact the rail is out in the C position.

Poon has rides in seven of the eight races, and while two of his best look to be Powermax and Go Go Win, both in-form front-runners, both have drawn terribly.

Poon will have his work cut out to not get stuck three-wide on both horses, especially if the track shows any hint of leader bias early.

Powermax, one of Poon’s two rides for Richard Gibson, is gunning for a fourth win of the term in the Class Three Lantau Island Handicap (1,200m).

Wide draws are nothing new for the four-year-old, with Powermax having drawn 12 in three of his past six starts.

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Powermax still managed a win last start and a head defeat the last two times he was drawn 12 and also recorded a previous win when forced to cross from gate nine.

Each of those performances have been over this course and distance and it seems Poon’s claim kicks in at just the right time, with the gelding’s rating having crept to the top half of Class Three.

Trying to cross from gate 11 is the key though and it could be the two seven-pound claimers that make life difficult.

Dylan Mo Hin-tung on Hella Hedge and Jack Wong Ho-nam on All Great Friends are sure to be pushing up on the inside.

A solid tempo could set things up for horses like Mr Picasso (Chad Schofield), a horse not without his temperamental issues, but also talented enough to take advantage of a kind draw at his first trip to town.

Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Go Go Win is in a similar situation to Powermax, a seemingly one-dimensional conveyance drawn right out, but he’s in-form and is the right type of horse to utilise Poon’s claim.

Go Go Win hasn’t won for two years now but in that time has finished second eight times and by agonisingly short margins twice this season.

A short-head defeat to Super Clan in February was the first of three straight runner-up efforts over 1,650m and the seven-year-old returns to the same course and distance on Wednesday night.

Maybe Poon won’t find the same type of competition to lead in the Class Four Crooked Island Handicap, but he will still have some wily veterans looking to hold positions heading into the tricky first bend.

Poon does get some chances from some kinder draws however, especially on his two rides for his boss David Hall in Happy Gains and Colourful Achiever.

Happy Gains is one to keep a close watch on in the Class Five Po Toi Handicap (1,000m) after moving to Hall via stable transfer from Manfred Man Ka-leung.

Hall is renowned at turning stable transfers around and there was a glimmer of hope in Happy Gains’ last run at 1,400m at Sha Tin.

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