Poy primed to become a future star in Paris
Racing Victoria (RV) apprentice jockey Michael Poy will get his first taste of riding overseas after being chosen to represent Australia in the Longines Prix Future Racing Stars race, held on Sunday, 17 June at Chantilly racecourse, near Paris.
Poy, whose father Michael Clarke was a champion jockey, will follow in the footsteps of his peers including Lachie King and Beau Mertens, who both travelled to the French capital to compete against apprentices from across the globe in the 1600-metre handicap race.
This year’s Longines Prix Future Racing Stars will be held on the same day as the €1 million (approximately AU$1.57 million) Group 1 Longines Prix de Diane (French Oaks), which traditionally attracts up to 40,000 racegoers and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious races for fillies.
Although Poy’s father enjoyed a glittering career in the saddle which included winning both the Melbourne Cup (1986) and Cox Plate (1990) for the Lindsay Park stable, Clarke never got the opportunity to fly the flag for Australia in France.
“It’s great that I’ve got one up on Dad so early in my career,” joked second year apprentice Poy, who is currently learning his craft under Caulfield trainer Henry Dwyer.
“I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity Racing Victoria has given me. I’ve heard it’s the second biggest race meeting of the year over there, after the Arc [Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe], so I’m looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere.
“I’ve never been to France so it’ll be a great learning curve for me, and not just from a racing perspective. They race clockwise over there whereas I’m used to riding ant-clockwise, so that will be a change for me and I’m sure there will be many differences in the style of riding compared to Australia.
“I spoke to Lachie [King], who went there last year, and he said he had an amazing time on and off the track. He’s been absolutely flying lately, and I’m sure the experience helped him improve his riding.
“You’re riding against apprentices from all over the world, so it’s a great chance to compare yourself with other jockeys. I can’t wait to get over there, and with a bit of luck I can come back with a win.”
RV’s Athlete and Careers Development Manager, Melissa Weatherley, believes the trip will serve as a hugely invaluable lesson for Poy as it did for his predecessors Patrick Moloney (2013), Jessica Payne (2014), Mertens (2015), Tahlia Hope (2016) and King (2017).
“Michael has really been growing in confidence lately, and the opportunity to test himself against some of the world’s best apprentice jockeys will only improve his riding further,” said Weatherley.
“Lachie King was a fine ambassador for Racing Victoria last year and really embraced the experience, and he is now reaping the rewards with six city winners in the past month.
“I have no doubt the trip will prove just as beneficial for Michael, and we wish him the best of luck in the Future Racing Stars race.”