Just when it looked like Pakistan Star’s season was over, the popular horse will run once more this term and will be reunited with jockey Joao Moreira in next month’s Group Three Premier Plate.
When Pakistan Star’s name was missing from the list of entries for the Standard Chartered Group One Champions & Chater Cup earlier this week, it was widely assumed the four-year-old had been spelled for the remainder of 2016-17.
Yet despite a gruelling nine-run campaign that started on the third Sunday of the season in the heat of September and has stretched through at least one run in every month since, Cruz will go to the well once more.
“It looks as though we are headed that way,” Cruz said. “Of course we will be keeping a close watch on him but he has stayed in work and is handling things well. He is fit and well and it will be nearly two months between runs when the Premier Plate comes around.”
Cruz indicated the quirky but explosive galloper would trial before in the lead-up to the race on June 25 and confirmed the booking of Moreira, who replaces fellow Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa.
Moreira replaced Matthew Chadwick on Pakistan Star for December’s Griffin Trophy before electing to stick with Rapper Dragon throughout the four-year-old series.
Pakistan Star was fifth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile before three consecutive barnstorming seconds in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, BMW Hong Kong Derby and then the neck defeat to Neorealism.
“I really hoped I would be able to get back on him after I rode him in the Griffin Trophy,” Moreira said. “I’ve been watching him get better and better with each run. First he was facing my best horse at that time, Rapper Dragon, and he was really getting close to a couple of occasions. He is a horse that just keeps improving, the main difference between when I last road him and now he that he is jumping and he is sharper in his races. Still, he is still a little green and shy when he gets behind horses, but that will come in time. It’s exciting because he has already proven he can mix it with the top horses and there is still upside to come.”
“Beauty Only will definitely go and will fly over with Contentment,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Cruz said his emerging talent Winner’s Way would be aimed at the Group Three Premier Cup over 1,400m on the same day Pakistan Star makes his return.