Hong Kong’s wayward son came of age at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 29 April), and oh, how the crowd loved it. Pakistan Star smashed his rivals in the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) with a performance of uncomplicated superiority.
“He’s blown them all away,” trainer Tony Cruz said after the five-year-old had surged to a three-length victory in a fast time of 2m 00.21s, the second-fastest, in fact, in 22 renewals at the race’s current distance.
The Sha Tin faithful – never shy in displaying their ire, as Pakistan Star knows only too well – this time gave the Shamardal gelding a roaring reception. William Buick, a late call-up for the ride, lapped every cheer as he and the green-hooded hero returned to unsaddle.
Buick replaced Australian Kerrin McEvoy – laid low with an ear infection at Hawkesbury races on Saturday – who was booked after first choice Silvestre de Sousa was required to remain in England.
“I obviously feel sorry for Kerrin McEvoy, it was his intended ride and I’m just lucky to jump on him,” Buick said of the 4.8 chance. “I’m very fortunate that I got the ride and it was a very nice surprise for me when I landed in Hong Kong.
“He’s showed his class today, he was very straightforward through the race, got a beautiful run and the only thing going through my mind was if the split was going to come or not. As soon as it came he was fast to go in there and won very well, he felt like a very fast horse.”