Cult hero Pakistan Star overcomes demons to win Group 1 QEII Cup
Pakistan Star stepped back into the limelight at Sha Tin on Sunday
William Buick riding Pakistan Star after winning Race 8, Audemars Piguet QE11 Cup on Champions Day at Sha Tin racecourse. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
Pakistan Star defines what makes an enigmatic thoroughbred and on Sunday at Sha Tin, the cult hero was back to his brilliant best.
The Tony Cruz-trained runner had previously been banned for pulling himself up in races but everything went to plan on Sunday in the QEII Cup as the $4.80 chance kicked away from the hot field.
With William Buick in the saddle, replacing an ill Kerrin McEvoy, Pakistan Star started the race well and settled just off the pace as Time Warp headed the field into the home straight.
There were some nervous moments in the straight as he waited for a gap to open, but it came and Pakistan Star kicked away for a three-length victory over stablemate Gold Mount and former Australian runner Eagle Way in third.
Buick was made aware of Pakistan Star's quirky history by trainer Tony Cruz.
"Tony went through his previous races with me,” Buick said. "He's quite a famous horse for his antics so I was aware of him and I was aware of what he can do.
"When I found out that I was riding him, I took on board all of the information I knew about the horse and also thought it was quite important to ride him with a fresh mind and just be very positive about the horse.
"He felt beautiful today and when he quickened up the straight, he felt like a world class mile and a quarter horse."
Cruz was delighted with the result and was happy to see the son of Shamardal prove his worth on the big stage.
"Today (Sunday), he's shown the public his true ability," Cruz said.
"There have been so many complications along the way but this horse has proven he's a Group I horse."