Hong Kong Jockey Club

Giving Joao Moreira the Pakistan Star ride to ‘change luck’ could be just a one-off, says Tony Cruz

Trainer says taking Matthew Chadwick off the boom youngster is a nod to public opinion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 December, 2016, 11:50am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 December, 2016, 10:29pm

The booking of Joao Moreira to “change the luck” for Pakistan Star in next Tuesday’s Griffin Trophy at Sha Tin could be a one-off engagement, according to the boom youngster’s trainer, Tony Cruz.

Regular rider Matthew Chadwick had his critics over his performances on Pakistan Star in the three-year-old’s past three defeats but former world-class jockey Cruz wasn’t one of them. Cruz had preferred to point out the disadvantage the handicapper had imposed on the inexperienced and green Pakistan Star by lifting him up the ratings too quickly to be meeting older, experienced and good-quality gallopers before he was ready.

“I don’t think Matthew did a lot wrong but you know how the system works in Hong Kong – when a horse isn’t winning, people look for a change of luck with a different jockey,” Cruz said.

But there is no commitment on either side for Moreira to stay on Pakistan Star beyond Tuesday’s three-year-old feature.

“After this race, our plan is that Pakistan Star will go on to the four-year-old races like the Classic Mile next month,” Cruz said. “So we are taking things step by step as far as the jockey is concerned. I know Joao has other possible commitments in those races, but maybe he will want to stay on Pakistan Star after he has ridden him. Nothing is confirmed beyond Tuesday, so we’ll see how things go there.”

Chadwick said he was disappointed to lose the Pakistan Star ride but was hopeful he could reunite with the potential Derby contender.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong so it’s a bit disappointing to be taken off – the horse has been green, which it’s hard to get away with when they get to Class Two so fast,” Chadwick said. “The pace of those races has been against him and he has been beaten by some pretty good horses who had all the favours. I’ve done a lot of work on the horse and I hope I can get back on him.”

Moreira is certainly getting on Pakistan Star at the right time as the gelding’s task against a small field of his own age at set weights with penalties conditions on Tuesday looks a slam dunk and much simpler than what he has faced lately for Chadwick.

He is level weights with Sea Jade, who is marked nine pounds inferior in the ratings, and concedes just five pounds to Look Eras, who is rated 25 points inferior by the handicapper’s figures.

The remaining four entries are maidens receiving 10 pounds from Pakistan Star when a handicap would see them in receipt of a minimum of 34 pounds and as much as 48.

So Moreira’s decision going forward, based on the Griffin Trophy, might not be that straight forward as he will be overwhelmingly expected to win with some comfort anyway.