AFTER only two career runs, three-year-old gelding Pakistan Star has become an equine celebrity in Hong Kong.
The reason: He won his July debut with a stunning last-to-first finish for trainer Tony Cruz and jockey Michael Chadwick, making up some 12 lengths in the final 200m on the sharp track at Sha-Tin to win going away.
On Sunday he produced what has been described as a “carbon copy performance” to maintain his perfect record and wow the Sha Tin crowd in the Tsuen Lok Handicap over 1400m. (Scroll down for the race replay).
“It was quite surreal,” reported Racing.com “Just like his first start, Pakistan Star was awkward from the barriers, appearing to almost lean back as the gates opened, dropping to a clear last behind the field.
“It was a 1400m contest and he was already at least three lengths behind the second-last horse after going only 200m. And it isn’t as if his jockey Matthew Chadwick looked comfortable. He was scrubbing and working much harder than his rival riders as he tries to get Pakistan Star to fire up.
“Eventually, Pakistan Star hit top gear, well there aren’t many horses on the planet that can match it with him. He motored home from the back of the field to win, completing the final 400m in a breath-taking 21.44s. Hong Kong sectional timing experts have suggested that only one horse has run the final 400m of a seven-furlong race at Sha Tin in a faster time.”
Hong Kong Racing Executive Pat Cummings posted a photo of a few Chinese Daily newspapers on Monday morning, all carrying Pakistan Star on their front pages. “The roar at Sha-Tin when Pakistan Star bungled the break was massive, in fact you can hear it on the replay,” reported Cummings.
Cruz commented in the South China Morning Post: “That first day I got him, oh man, he really didn’t want to work, but he has changed so quickly – he has really changed in his character. Before, he was shy about everything; now, he is brave. He has got guts, this guy, and he clearly has ability.”
Pakistan Star is set to step up in grade now and Cruz hopes he will become a Hong Kong Derby horse next year. He already has a cult following which could be massive if he continues his winning ways.
German-bred, Pakistan Star is by Shamardal from a mare by Peintre Celebre.