Will we see Pakistan Star race in Dubai in 2020? Photo by HKJC.

Michael Cox’s HK Six-Up: Red tape delays mean Pakistan Star could miss Dubai World Cup carnival

Michael Cox

Michael Cox

For hutchishonkers.com

20/12/19

 

Racing fans were thrilled to hear that Pakistan Star would be granted a second chance at racing but it seems Hong Kong Jockey Club red tape may get in the way of the horse competing at the 2020 Dubai World Cup carnival.

After Pakistan Star stopped again and refused to race in last month’s Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint and was likely to face compulsory retirement, owner Kerm Din decided to send the six-year-old to Dubai with American-trainer Doug Watson.

Din has received an invite to the carnival and is keen for his horse to race in Dubai – where many feel the German-bred gelding will thrive on the sand – but the clock is ticking for Pakistan Star if he is to be ready for the big races in February and March.

Pakistan Star hasn’t been in work in the month since the Jockey Club Sprint and Club officials have told Din his horse can’t be worked while spending two weeks in quarantine.

If Pakistan Star can leave on a flight late this month, as planned, it would mean he has missed six straight weeks and will be way behind the eight ball upon arrival with Watson.

“I hope I can get it sorted out because I don’t think he is an old horse and he still might have something to offer,” Din said.

“He might just need a change of environment. If he gets there and doesn’t want to race, that is fine, we will find a nice place for him to retire to in Australia, but we will give him a chance.”

Moore not panicking with Beauty

John Moore isn’t panicking when it comes to Beauty Generation’s “slump” and although he admits time may have caught up with his champion, there is still hope the two-time Horse of the Year can muster a few more big performances yet.

“Of course it is disappointing but if you look at the record it’s not as if he is being beaten very far,” Moore said.

After winning ten-straight races, Beauty Generation has finished third on three-straight occasions and Moore said the horse’s front-running style makes it hard to maintain top form.

“Well, he is always being taken on in front,” Moore said. “It makes it a lot harder, having to turn up every time and be at your best when you have horses breathing down your neck all the time. Maybe father time has caught up with him but I still hope that with a little bit of a break that he had after the Hong Kong Mile, that he can come back strong.”

John Moore is candid with his assessment of star horses Beauty Generation and Aethero. Photo by HKJC.

Where next for Aethero?

Beauty Generation was back in work on Wednesday but yet to reappear is beaten Hong Kong Sprint favourite Aethero, who presented with an elevated temperature post-race.

That means no Griffin Trophy on December 29 for Aethero but Moore said there are no serious issues with the three-year-old and he will reappear in the Group 1 Centenary Sprint Cup on January 19.

“It has just all happened a bit too quick for him, and if he was back in Australia he would only have been racing against his own age group,” Moore said.

“Here he has been thrown in the deepest of deep ends. His rating means that is the only path for him and when he comes back it will be at top level. He will be in the Centenary Sprint Cup, the same day Beauty Generation returns in the Stewards’ Cup.”

 

Leftfield solutions for HKJC jockey recruitment

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Licensing Committee may need to cast the net wider and take some risks in the search for new talent if it is to invigorate a stale riding roster.

Two of the full-time riders – Aldo Domeyer and Umberto Rispoli – have bailed already, Alberto Sanna is out and another, Regan Bayliss, has announced that he too will leave mid-season.

If any of the freelance riders on the roster like Neil Callan or Lyle Hewitson – who is zero from 120 so far and must be seriously considering his future at Sha Tin – decided to opt out or aren’t asked back when their current licenses expire in February, where does that leave the club?

It used to be a case of simply looking to Sydney to find the next young star-on-the-rise, and that has served the club well with Zac Purton, Tye Angland, Tim Clark and Sam Clipperton all finding success to varying degrees.

South Africa too was a happy hunting ground for new, young talent with lightweights Richard Fourie and Mark du Plessis (via New Zealand), and now Karis Teetan and Grant van Niekerk, making an impact.

Now though there is a sense those wells may have run dry – things could work out for former Sydney-based rider Blake Shinn, but so far he is seven from 131 – and other left-field options may need to be scouted for talent.

Frenchman Tony Piccone is a start, but could an American jockey provide a late-season spark plug? What about taking a chance on some jurisdictions even further afield like Argentina, Canada, Mauritius or India?

Frenchman Tony Piccone is the latest addition to the Jockey Club riding roster. Photo by HKJC.

 

It is clear that Hong Kong is no longer the destination it once was to top Europeans and Australians, with many choosing prestige over prizemoney and the comforts of home.

If Hong Kong can’t have the best jockey roster in the world – which is a lofty ambition now that the season is stretching closer to 11 months – it should at least aim to have the most diverse and dynamic.

 

Jimmy gets the best from Star

The term ‘great training performance’ is usually reserved for top level wins but credit has to go to Jimmy Ting for bringing sprinter Amazing Star back this season for back-to-back wins.

Amazing Star moved to Ting last season but was repeatedly struck down with leg problems and lameness.

The sprinter raced just twice last season and was off the track for a full two months from midway through March.

A four-month stint at Conghua Training Centre and some patient planning has resulted in Amazing Star returning a sounder and stronger sprinter.

Amazing Star has been sensational for trainer Jimmy Ting. Photo by HKJC.

 

Wednesday’s cruisy Class 3 win was soft, and the sprinter still has to bring his best to the more testing terrain of Sha Tin, but Amazing Star will still get a few more chances at the Valley yet as he climbs towards a rating in the triple figures.

 

Computer Patch back-up is crystal clear

Every time you crack the screen on your iPhone, Computer Patch’s owner Yeung Kin-man gets a little richer.

Yeung owns Biel Crystal, suppliers of glass screens to Apple and although the 55-year-old dropped out of Hong Kong’s top-ten richest people list this year, Forbes estimates his net worth at US$2.4billion.

Computer Patch cost Yeung AUD $800,000 as a yearling and judging on his first up performance, is a reasonable chance of delivering a return.

From barrier 12 at his local debut, jockey Silvestre de Sousa restrained Computer Patch to the rear of the field before the three-year-old let down with a slick final-400m of 21.62 seconds, the only horse to break 22 seconds for that sectional on the day.

Computer Patch returns on a six-day turnaround with barrier five and Zac Purton will be aboard over the same course and distance.

With the natural speed to take up a better position and Hong Kong’s best tactician aboard, Computer Patch will be well found – which is scant consolation for those who were on at double-figure odds and left dismayed by the negative tactics last weekend.

 

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