IT took until the final race of the Hong Kong International Series but Australia’s Eagle Way finally gave the country something to cheer about after edging out a competitive field in the Eishin Preston Handicap.
Eagle Way ($12 to win at Sportsbet.com.au) found daylight after being bunched up at the 200m to emerge from the pack to stick its neck out at just the right moment to get the nod on the line ahead of a rocketing Santa Fe Sun, which returned 6.50 at WilliamHill.com.au.
Apollo Choice fought on well for third which handed jockey Zac Purton the jockey’s challenge win for the day and returned $2.10 for the place at Crownbet.com.au.
The big story was the third straight disappointing finish from promising four-year-old Pakistan Star, which once again missed the start and was left to make up too much ground as the line approached.
In what could be an omen for the upcoming test series in Australia, Queensland Derby winner Eagle Way was first across the line ahead of hot favourite Pakistan Star which failed to quicken in the latter stages to bridge the gap after settling at the back of the field after the start.
Pakistan Star – which stunned horse racing enthusiasts on debut coming from last to first in barnstorming fashion – has now failed from its last three starts despite starting as better than even-money favourite in all three.
Today was the first time the horse has failed to finish inside the placings from four starts.
Jockey Matthew Chadwick was confident heading into the race, saying in the build-up that his horse was the one to beat.
“He is well and he’s ready to run a good race,” Chadwick said.
“He has drawn the outside in 14, but it’s not really a positive or a negative, it just means that I have to hope the race pans out for us.
“We’ve faced two really strong horses in Mr Bogart and Simply Invincible at his last two, both of them are running in the Class 1, and so I think his form shows he will be hard to beat.”
Pakistan Star’s pernicious racing style is an issue that needs to be addressed if the horse is to deliver on the enormous promise it has shown from its opening two starts.