Pakistan Star (green jacket) blasts to the front close home
PICTURE: RP GRAPHICS
By Peter Scargill 13:19PM 18 SEP 2016
Hong Kong: Combine the dramatic late-running style of Zenyatta and acceleration akin to Frankel and you create Pakistan Star, whose victory at Sha Tin on Sunday morning left racing fans across the world reaching for superlatives.
Trained by Tony Cruz, Pakistan Star became an internet sensation in July when, on debut, he walked out of the gates and trailed the field by several lengths before producing a stretch-run that brought him from last to first in the blink of an eye. Replays of the race were extensively shared online by those who had witnessed it.
“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,” Cruz told the South China Morning Post. “Before, he was shy about everything; now, he is brave. He has got guts, this guy, and he clearly has ability.”
Pakistan Star quickly established a cult following – helped by the fact he shares the same sire, Shamardal, as Hong Kong favourite Able Friend – and there was great anticipation before his run in a 7f handicap on Sunday to see whether he would again produce a Zenyatta-esque ‘loop-to-swoop’ challenge in the straight.
Casually striding from the gates, Pakistan Star motored home from the back of the field to win by a length and a quarter under jockey Michael Chadwick, 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.
“Matthew was so confident about this horse,” Cruz said. “He just left him alone and around the bend I could see he was really changing his gears; he was really coming with a bigger explosion than last time – he has that powerful turn of foot.
“Once he straightened to the outside I knew he was going to win and Matthew took it easy, too, he didn’t hammer him.”
Pakistan Star is set to step up in grade after his latest win and Cruz hopes he will become a Hong Kong Derby horse next year.