10/13/2016 2:49PM

Hong Kong: Pakistan Star in action Sunday


A pair of sprint handicaps, one at five furlongs and the other at seven, both for horses officially rated 100 down to 80, are co-featured Sunday at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, but the seven-furlong race, the last of 11 on the card, stands out due to the presence of the exciting prospect Pakistan Star.

The 3-year-old German import, a Shamardal gelding trained by Tony Cruz, flew home from 14th to win his first Hong Kong start in July, and back in action Sept. 18, he did the same thing against stronger opposition while demonstrating a breathtaking turn of foot. So sharp was Pakistan Star in victory that his official rating was bumped 14 points to 87, and now Pakistan Star faces tougher older rivals, such as Mr. Bogart, while breaking Sunday from post 10, a tough draw at this distance of 1,400 meters, or about seven furlongs.

Pakistan Star in a recent barrier trial was tapped for a bit more early speed than he’s shown in his two races, and it’s possible a tactical adjustment will be made Sunday in an attempt to keep Pakistan Star from falling out the backdoor again. How he responds will be worth seeing, and one can both watch and bet the Sha Tin card at DRF Bets. Post time for race 11 is 2:45 a.m. Pacific, with the card starting at 9:30 p.m. Pacific on Saturday.

Race 10, the Tailorbird, run down a straight-course 1,000 meters (about five furlongs), drew 14 entrants, the most prominent of whom are Racing Supernova, Adventurer, and Bad Boy, the first three home in a similar race Sept. 18.

There, it was Racing Supernova, a 5-year-old one-run closer, who surged solidly over the final furlong to beat pacesetting Adventurer by a nose, both horses upping their official rating through their performances, Racing Supernova from 85 to 92 and Adventurer from 81 to 85.

Adventurer was making his second start of the Hong Kong season, Racing Supernova his first, and it’s Racing Supernova, a 5-year-old who has come steadily forward since being imported from Australia early in 2016, who appears to have the greater upside Sunday.

But as a hold-up horse, Racing Supernova always will be vulnerable to pace and traffic, and Bad Boy might have a chance to beat him this time. A 4-year-old trained by John Moore, Bad Boy is a bulky specimen who appeared to badly need his first run of the last Hong Kong season before winning the second time out, and three months before his comeback run, off a rating of 82, he cruised to a course and distance win, suggesting he has room to come forward Sunday.

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