Tony Cruz has ruled out a Royal Ascot trip for Pakistan Star, citing expenses and a quick turnaround, but the trainer confirmed Beauty Only would head abroad for a second shot at the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo next month.
Cruz floated a trip to England’s biggest race meeting after Pakistan Star’s resounding win in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup on Sunday, but the trainer confirmed the wildly popular galloper would be staying put at Sha Tin.
“He will race in Hong Kong for now,” Cruz said, with the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup on May 27 his next start.
Entries for England’s most prestigious meeting closed last week and connections would have to pay a late entry fee if Pakistan Star was to run, plus expensive travel costs.
The career of Pakistan Star has been one twist after another, but he prevails on the biggest stage today as he takes the #QEIICup by a big margin for William Buick and Tony Cruz. Gold Mount second, Eagle Way third in a 1-2-3 for Hong Kong #HKChampionsDay #HKRacing pic.twitter.com/lbHkYeFjHG— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 29, 2018
“That’s the biggest problem, that we would have to supplement him,” Cruz said. “And it’s not far away either. We are probably better of staying at home and racing for more money here.
“We get to try him at 2,400m now in the Champions & Chater and I’ve always thought it would be a distance that suits him. As brilliant as he was the other day, everything tells me he is a staying type.”
Beauty Only was unplaced in last year’s Yasuda Kinen but after an early season slump Cruz believes his horse is back in form and deserves another shot at one of the world’s toughest Group Ones.
“He didn’t run too badly there last year and he won two starts back, but I think the key in Japan is the ground. It will be rock hard and that’s how he likes it,” said Cruz, who was scathing in his criticism of what he called a “watered down” Sha Tin course proper that was presented at Sunday’s Champions Day fixture.
“It wasn’t a fair game on Sunday,” Cruz said. “They had it hosed down, they put too much water on it, it was biased towards the front-runners and it made it difficult for a lot of horses.
“I’ve also got some horses carrying injuries and I’ve heard of some others as well. If it hasn’t rained then it should be good to firm every time we have a big race meeting.”
Beauty Only may have at least one travelling companion for his second trip to Tokyo with Champions Mile runner-up Western Express a likely runner.
Trainer Caspar Fownes said Southern Legend, who also held an invite for Japan, would now head to Singapore for the S$1.5 million (HK$8.8 million) Kranji Mile after a third in the Champions Mile.
Pingwu Spark was also entered for the Yasuda Kinen but trainer Benno Yung Tin-pang said the grey would be rested until next season.