Jockey Matthew Chadwick says a forward Sha Tin barrier trial by Pakistan Star on Tuesday morning doesn’t necessarily mean a drastic change of tactics for Hong Kong’s latest racing superstar when he next steps out on October 16.
Pakistan Star has been slow to muster at the start of his first two races, and even trailed the field for much of each contest, before famously finishing with withering bursts that have captured the attention of fans all from over the world.
Yet in Tuesday morning’s 1,000m trial, the Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old stepped out of the starting gates better than he has previously and then surprisingly surged to the front – even matching strides with classy sprinter Blizzard throughout much of the heat.
“It wasn’t about change of tactics, it was about education,” Chadwick said after Pakistan Star finished just behind Blizzard and straight course specialist Bad Boy.
“He did what we wanted him to do, which was jump with the field. I just let him cruise at his own pace, I just didn’t want to jag him and I didn’t want to interrupt his rhythm. He is still a young horse and he is still learning.
“I also wanted to follow Blizzard most of the way but the tempo was so sedate and because I didn’t want to take hold of him, I just let him cruise up to the front.”
Not surprisingly, Pakistan Star raced greenly when put in clear space – as he has when hitting the front late at his first two starts.
“It was probably too early to be in front and he got his head up a bit, he was just a bit lost,” Chadwick said, with Cruz’s budding star set down for a 1,400m Class Two on Sunday week.
It appears as though Joao Moreira has the choice of four or five top chances including Blizzard, Peniaphobia, Amazing Kids and the horse he rode at its last start, Thewizardofoz.
Also out to trial for tony in a star-studded first heat of the morning was John Moore-trained Rapper Dragon, with the 2017 Hong Kong Derby hopeful headed for the open-age category and international day.
“His trial was just okay,” Moreira said of the 114-rated four-year-old that won three straight to finish last season but had yet to trial this term.
“It is what we would expect from a horse like him, he doesn’t do anything without you asking him.” Rapper Dragon showed some surprising early speed but was clicked along to finish third behind Premier Bowl-bound sprinter Lucky Bubbles (Brett Prebble) and Giant Treasure (Neil Callan), who will be first-up on October 23 in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy.
Callan was happy with the Richard Gibson-trained grey’s second lead-up trial ahead of a preparation aimed at the Group One Hong Kong Mile.
“He kind of quickened through the pack at the 200m and I latched on to Lucky Bubbles up to the line,” Callan said.
“He was very strong to the line, and as we know, Lucky Bubbles is probably a potential Group One performer this season at sprinting.”