HKJC Stewards Tighten Screws on Pakistan Star


Pakistan Star | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

‘TDN Rising Star’ Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal), who gained a worldwide following after a pair of improbable victories to begin his career, will not race for the forseeable future after pulling himself up shortly after the start of a 1600-metre barrier trial Tuesday morning at Sha Tin. It was the second such occurrence of that particular behaviour, as the gelding acted in a similar matter when the 1.2 (1-5) favourite in the G3 Premier Plate H. last June. Pakistan Star had trialled without issue last week going 1200m over the all-weather track.

Trainer Tony Cruz and jockey Joao Moreira were summoned to appear before the stewards Wednesday, and Cruz confirmed to the South China Morning Post that not only would Pakistan Star miss the international races meeting now just a little more than two months away, but that he “might not race this season. Nevertheless, Cruz vows to give it his best shot.

“I’m going to try and erase this stupid habit he has, and the great thing is that the owner and club are giving us plenty of time to do what we want,” Cruz told SCMP. “It’s not a simple thing you can erase. Horses, like humans, have habits. It just goes to show a horse like him recognises places and faces, and that he is a thinker and he has a good memory. You can’t get rid of it right away. It’s not easy to rectify this type of problem and I suppose if I can’t fix it he will go elsewhere, but I’m confident I can do it.”

In a statement released following the meeting Wednesday, HKJC stewards said that prior to being allowed to race again, Pakistan Star would have to be put through two track gallops from the 1800-metre start and, if successful, two trials over 1600 metres. Any reoccurrence of the rogue behaviour would require stewards to revisit the embargo placed on Pakistan Star, the release stated.

An €180,000 purchase by the Hong Kong Jockey Club at the 2014 Arqana Deauville Yearling Sale, Pakistan Star was acquired by owner Kern Dim for HK$6 million at the 2016 Hong Kong International Sale. He quickly repaid that investment and proved his class with a runner-up effort to the late Rapper Dragon (Aus) (Street Boss) in the BMW Hong Kong Derby last March ahead of a fast-finishing second to Japan’s Neorealism (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}) in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in late April.


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