where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2018-04-28 09:06:59  
Pakistan Star capable of anything

A multitude of racing fans at large, presumably bar those associated with rival runners, will no doubt be hoping the unpredictable and enigmatic Pakistan Star will consent to do his best and win, for Hong Kong, Sunday’s (29 April) HK$24 million Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup.


Not to mention those with a vested interest; owner Kerm Din, stand-in jockey William Buick and trainer Tony Cruz, who this week spoke glowingly of the innate talent of the quirky five-year-old who entered the racing arena with two stunning last-to-first wins in July and September, 2016. 


“In terms of raw ability – Silent Witness aside – Pakistan Star’s as good as anything I’ve trained and he should have won the QEII last year,” Cruz said.


However a combination of bad luck, racing style, barrier misdemeanours and mid-race recalcitrance has seen the son of Shamardal win just once in his past 12 starts.


Pakistan Star, last week (Friday, 20 April), yet again had to trial to the satisfaction of the stewards and ironically Cruz called on the services of Australian jockey, Tommy Berry. Ironic given that Berry has regularly partnered the outstanding Australian sprinter and 2016 Chairman’s Sprint Prize winner Chautauqua, who is currently banned because of his barrier antics.


Berry will be opposed to Pakistan Star, aboard Danburite, on Sunday but believes Cruz’s charge is indeed ready to produce his best: “He was mentally fine when I rode him in the trial. His mood was good. He walked straight into the barriers first go and flew the gates.


“He’s an incredible athlete. One of the nicest horses I’ve ever thrown a leg over. He felt really comfortable in the trial. It seemed like he was travelling easily and yet he was going quite quick. I suspect you’ve just got to let him do his own thing which is very much the same with Chautauqua,” Berry said.


Pakistan Star is often tardy from the starting stalls but, in fact, ‘flew the gates’ in last year’s APQEII Cup and possibly could well have led had that been the desire, but for an early bumping duel with another runner. As it turned out, he was eased to settle midfield before rattling home to be beaten a neck, splitting two high class performers – and two APQEII Cup winners – in Neorealism and Werther.


On that evidence alone, he is capable of winning on Sunday. Not to mention that his most recent run in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy was sound and his fans are likely to rally again given that he has still started at single-figure odds in each run through his losing streak.


Australian rider Kerrin McEvoy was due to fly in from Sydney overnight to take the ride. However, he was stood down by Racing New South Wales stewards after winning a race at Hawkesbury today (Saturday, 28 April) and will not fly to Hong Kong. Instead, William Buick will take the ride on Pakistan Star.


Cruz remains upbeat despite that run out of outs.


“Pakistan Star worked Thursday morning and he’s fine, he’s a healthy horse and he’s ready for the race. He keeps surprising us, in his trial last Friday he showed us that he’s got so much speed, he was faster than anything,” Cruz said.


“He’ll be dropped in behind on Sunday so he can relax and come from the back – it’s only a small field. He’s a very quiet horse, you can go up to him and pat him and he’s not a problem, he never shows any temperament in the stable. But he has a funny mind, he used to be so shy, and we’ve seen that on the track.”


We’ve also seen on the track that he has a sizzling turn of foot when his mind is right – and perhaps we’ll see that this Sunday afternoon.


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