A crucial barrier trial at Sha Tin Racecourse this morning, Friday, 30 November, appeared to signal all is well with Pakistan Star and Time Warp ahead of the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races a week on Sunday.
The Tony Cruz-trained stars were required to pass a trial to the satisfaction of the racing stewards before being allowed to contest their upcoming G1 assignments – the biggest of the year in Hong Kong. That requirement was handed down after their fade-out tail-end finishes in the G2 Jockey Club Cup 12 days ago.
In simple terms, each horse had to finish within 10 lengths of the first past the post in today’s 1200m dirt trial, with no shenanigans. Both horses complied.
“They proved to me just now that they’re fit and well,” Cruz said after Pakistan Star crossed the line in front, Time Warp having led and then boxed on two and a half lengths behind in fifth.
“Pakistan Star has no early speed so I just wanted to see him keep in touch, have him running in midfield. He had to go the widest, go on the outside and when he asked him, he came through.
“That shows the public that he didn’t lose his form and he’s a very fit horse,” he added.
Vincent Ho was atop the mercurial LONGINES Hong Kong Vase candidate, keeping the saddle warm for big-race pilot William Buick; Zac Purton rode Time Warp, as usual.
“Time Warp needs 1800 metres and above and he has to have it his way. He doesn’t enjoy the dirt – he showed that the two times I raced him on it – so I’m pleased with that,” Cruz added.