The big day has finally arrived for Karis Teetan and the Mauritian says he simply cannot fault Pakistan Star as he prepares to ride him for the first time in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy on Sunday.
Pakistan Star is well-known for his quirks, most infamously when he stopped in the Premier Plate last year, but he looks to have put any issues well behind him with two Group One victories.
“I’m really excited to ride Pakistan Star on the weekend. The day I got told I was going to ride him was a great day and I’ve been patient [waiting] for the weekend to come,” Teetan said.
“To be honest, even the first time I rode him, if you didn’t know he did things like this before, you would not even say he’s got problems.
“It’s what happened in the past and I’m pretty sure the connections and Tony [Cruz] have put this behind them now.
“I’m not thinking about those negative things, I’m going to ride him as a normal horse and I’m pretty sure he’s going to let down in the straight.”
Pakistan Star returns to the track for the first time since his win in the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup but has had two lead-up trials, winning the first impressively before missing the jump in the second and running on for fourth.
“They put him in a little bit early and he just missed it because he was a little bit impatient, nothing else,” Teetan said.
“But he worked his way through them and I was pretty impressed the way he pulled me all the way to the line.”
The match-up of Pakistan Star and Beauty Generation has fans salivating but Teetan knows his mount’s chances against the reigning Horse of the Year depend heavily on how the race is run.
“He carries a few pounds more than me but he’s a very good horse, Beauty Generation,” Teetan said. “If he gets his own way in front again he’s a very difficult horse to run down, it’s a very tricky field because it doesn’t look like there will be much that can take him on.
“If he has his own way in front, there will be no possibility [for us to run him down].”
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
The likes of Singapore Sling, Time Warp and Werther also step out in a field that Teetan says is “full of quality”, but trainer Tony Cruz likes Pakistan Star’s chances of kicking off his preparation with a win.
“I expect him to be right there in the finish and I think he’s got a shot at winning too,” Cruz said. “I’m really happy with his condition, he’s been doing everything I’ve asked of him and he’s been doing it nicely. He has the quality and he has the speed at the finish, so I’m not worried about the mile.”
All going well, Cruz says Pakistan Star will stretch out to 2,400m by the Longines Hong Kong International Races: “I’m going for the Hong Kong Vase. I think he’s a good enough stayer to take on the Europeans.”