Pakistan Star: ridden by Joao Moreira for the first time
By Mark Scully 12:00pM 27 DEC 2016
PAKISTAN STAR, arguably Hong Kong’s best-known horse, ended 2016 on a high with a win at Sha Tin on Tuesday.
The three-year-old made headlines around the world after he posted a pair of staggering, fast-finishing wins in his first two starts but had failed to score in three starts since, most recently on the undercard of the International meeting earlier this month.
Dropped back in trip from a mile to seven furlongs in Tuesday’s Griffin Trophy against his own age group, and with the services of top jockey Joao Moreira enlisted, Pakistan Star raced much closer to the speed this time and got his head back in front.
Trainer Tony Cruz is now eyeing 2017’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series with the German-bred, which comprises the Hong Kong Classic Mile on January 22, the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1m1f) on February 19 and the BMW Hong Kong Derby (1m2f) on March 19.
“The next step now will be the Classic Mile,” Cruz said. “After that, it is probably the best race for him. I just hope Joao can ride him there. This is our goal.”
Moreira, however, sounded a note of caution about those ambitions, suggesting the son of Shamardal may need more time yet to develop into a top level performer.
“He’s still a very young horse, he’s still picking up,” Moreira said. “I can say that now he is definitely not mature enough to be facing the top horses at this stage, but he indicates to me that he will be one of those top horses in time. It’s just a matter of time.”