Griffin wins are usually just a pointer, a guide to something better to come somewhere off in the distance but the here and now was frighteningly good when Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star produced one of the performances of the season to win his debut on Friday.
A HK million buy in March at the Jockey Club?s international sale, despite a few issues with his breeze-up, Pakistan Star (Matthew Chadwick) did a nice impression of another son of Shamardal, Able Friend, in a breathtaking performance that saw him post a finishing sprint of 21.2 seconds, seven-tenths of a second faster than the next best all day and one of only two horses to crack 22 seconds.
As he had done in his barrier trials, German-bred Pakistan Star began very slowly to be conspicuously last after 100 metres but it only got worse from there, as he struggled to stay in touch with the field and drifted to some five or six lengths behind the second-last horse at the 800m mark.
Tickets might have been torn up and some bad language used at that stage of the race but the turnaround was titanic ? Pakistan Star tacked on to the stragglers getting to the home straight,then unleashed a stunning final 400m to win going away by almost two lengths, with Chadwick sitting up on the line.
?I don?t think he beat anything special, the griffin races haven?t been that impressive so I did say to the owners that I thought he had a blowout chance today,? said Chadwick. ?Today was about his ability more than where he?s at mentally.?
The first blow to Pakistan Star?s chance came on declaration day when he came up with gate 14 of 14 but Chadwick said that he almost saw that as a plus.
?In these griffin races, with so many inexperienced horses, you never know if they?ll go fast or slow. So from the outside, if he was slow out as I expected, I thought at least he?ll have some room,? Chadwick explained. ?From an inside gate, if he missed the jump, he could get cooped up inside. He?s very quirky, he looks after himself a bit. Mentally, he?s not there, which we?ve known ever since his breeze-up before the sale, but he is making progress in trackwork and learning all the time.?
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