10/16/2016 9:06AM

Pakistan Star steps up in class, falls short in Woodpecker


Pakistan Star’s sparkle lost a touch of luster when the exciting 3-year-old fell 2 1/2 lengths short of Mr. Bogart in the co-featured Woodpecker Handicap at Sha Tin on Sunday. It was his first defeat since being imported to Hong Kong from Germany. 

In his first two Hong Kong races, Pakistan Star had gone last to first in 14-horse fields. On Sunday, according to jockey Matthew Chadwick, Pakistan Star got into the race quicker than in those runs, but still raced last of 14 into the turn of this seven-furlong sprint around one right-handed bend.

Pakistan Star’s official rating had skyrocketed after both his wins, moving him up to a Class 2 race Sunday from a Class 3 last out, and the higher-caliber horses did not come back to him as quickly. Pakistan Star still had nearly everyone to pass turning for home, and while he did his last 400 meters in a strong 21.65 seconds, it was not nearly fast enough to catch Mr. Bogart, a talented 5-year-old who had tracked the pace and got a huge jump on the odds-on favorite.

Pakistan Star finished well clear of third, and should win a race at this class next out when he is expected to be moved up in trip from seven furlongs to one mile.

One race prior, in the co-featured Taylorbird Handicap, it was another favored deep closer, Racing Supernova, who came up short as Adventurer won the Class 2, five-furlong, straight-course sprint. Front-running Adventurer could not hold off Racing Supernova in a similar race Sept. 18, but Sunday he held firm, staving off pace-pressing Bad Boy by a half-length with Racing Supernova coming late for third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Bad Boy.

Joao Moreira rode Adventurer, one of his four winners on the 11-race card.

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