Trainer Tony Cruz lamented the “crazy” speed used to attack Time Warp on Sunday, saying his horse never stood a chance against the onslaught from younger brother Glorious Forever.
Cruz was livid post-race after Pakistan Star and Time Warp tailed off to finish a combined 40 lengths behind the winner, while his other runner, Exultant, benefited from the showdown to run second by a length in the Group Two BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2,000m).
John Moore’s Eagle Way took full advantage of the speed battle to come from last and win, putting him in a great position to go on to next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Vase (2,400m).
Time Warp surprised punters last start by winning over 1,800m after finishing at the tail of the field in his three previous runs, but the dual Group One winner showed he is still “rocks or diamonds” depending on how the speed of the race pans out.
While Pakistan Star’s jockey, Karis Teetan, sat behind the leaders, the usual crowd favourite was uncompetitive in the straight, with stewards slapping both him and Time Warp with “failed” runs. This means they need to trial successfully before they can race again, putting their HKIR preparations in jeopardy.
A classic example of how pace makes the race: Time Warp and Glorious Forever engage in a destructive brotherly Jockey Club Cup duel, paving the way for another track record and a thrilling win for Eagle Way and Silvestre de Sousa. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/dujmZ1z7nM— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 18, 2018
Cruz said he let his feelings about the tactics used by Joao Moreira on Glorious Forever be known to stewards.
“They all went bonkers in front, it’s just crazy,” he said.
“It was a stupid race, how can you ride a race like that? Zac [Purton, riding Time Warp] said it’s just ridiculous like that, the pressure was on and the horse never had a chance to recuperate and run his race.”
With Pakistan Star now flopping in three straight times this season – all at single-figure odds – Cruz said he would inspect his star galloper this week to see if there was anything wrong.
“I can’t say too much because I will check him out tomorrow, there could be something going on so I’ll have the vet check him as well,” he said.
“I think they went too hard on him, chasing those two other leaders and they went bloody bonkers.”
The post-race drama threatened to take away from Eagle Way’s stunning 2,000m track record which was ironically held by Glorious Forever after he beat Time Warp’s time last year.
Moore said the race was set up perfectly for his galloper, who is now set to be one of the main fancies next month.
“The way they went early, it set it up for closers didn’t it, and it fell right in the hands of Exultant and Eagle Way,” he said.
“Eagle Way has just been progressing. His first run we see him finish third, the next run the pace didn’t suit but he closed to third, but today, the way it was run, it was a different situation and he hit the line strong – 2,000m or more is where he excels.
“He’s another horse, like Beauty Generation, who has really hit his straps this season. We’ve tweaked a few little things and what we’ve tweaked has been the right thing.”
Silvestre de Sousa is set to retain the ride on Eagle Way going forward with the Brazilian saying he was delighted with Sunday’s efforts.
Despite finishing second last on Pakistan Star, Teetan had a rare win in the stewards’ room, with the Mauritian successfully arguing against a charge of careless riding which could have potentially rubbed him out from riding for a couple of meetings.