Pakistan Star could have yet another new jockey when he kicks off a preparation that trainer Paul O’Sullivan says shapes as “a little bit radical”.
Blake Shinn was in the saddle as Pakistan Star saluted nicely in a trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning, with O’Sullivan saying the Australian has been offered the ride when the horse returns to the races on October 20.
“There’s plenty of other guys to ride him but I think Blake will suit him well. Horses travel pretty kindly for him,” O’Sullivan said.
“I believe he’s had a number of offers, I said if after Pakistan Star’s next trial he could make some sort of commitment to it [that would be good].”
The six-year-old will resume in next month’s Group Two Premier Bowl (1,200m) and, as he suggested after acquiring the horse from Tony Cruz last season, O’Sullivan is keen to see if the horse has anything left to offer as a sprinter.
“It’s a little bit up in the air and a little bit radical, we’re going to kick him off in the Group Two 1,200m and just see how the trip suits him,” O’Sullivan said. “He trials like a 1,200m horse, but whether he can take that into race day, we’ll find out.”
Pakistan Star was impressive in his first trial since finishing fourth in the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) in May, looming up to win from last season’s Derby quinella Furore and Waikuku.
“He had his usual trial, he’s particularly effective here in the mornings,” O’Sullivan said. “Blake’s comments were very positive, he said he showed good speed, came out and accelerated well and went through his gears, so I’m very happy.
“He’s carrying a little bit of weight, he’ll have time for another trial before he steps out so he should be fine by race day.”
O’Sullivan said December’s Longines Hong Kong International Races is the number one target at the moment – whether in the Sprint, Mile or Cup – and that he will weigh up his options after that.
He suggested talk of a trip to the US$20 million Saudi Cup in February is “pie in the sky” stuff at this stage, but did show interest in running Pakistan Star on the dirt after a number of strong trial performances on the surface.
“If you could go to a track similar to [the Sha Tin all-weather], I’d be very happy to ship him out,” O’Sullivan said.
Shinn would be the seventh jockey to ride the enigmatic galloper and said that while he had not yet committed to partnering him on race day, he was thrilled to be given the chance to trial him.
“I’m not making any quick decisions at the moment but it’s great to be on a horse of his calibre at such an early stage in my stint,” he said.
“My first go on him I seemed to get along with him quite well. He felt great and he’s an exceptional talent, everyone knows that.”
Furore and Waikuku will resume in the Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m) on October 1, where they will meet reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation.
Grant van Niekerk will ride Derby winner Furore in the race, with Beauty Generation’s astronomical rating of 137 meaning most of his rivals will carry 113 pounds.
“He’ll [Furore] have a light weight so I needed to find a lightweight jockey,” trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen said.
Lor said Furore will then either head to the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m) on October 20 or the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m) on November 3, before potentially tackling Beauty Generation in the Group One Hong Kong Mile in December.
“I think Mile or Cup, we will see. Beauty Generation has turned seven, we don’t know if he can still keep his top form. We will need to have a look at him first,” Lor said.