Pakistan Star clinched the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for jockey William Buick in Hong Kong Sunday, the highlight of three Group One spring races with a total purse of HK$58 million ($7.4 million).
Known for being unpredictable, the five-year-old stormed to victory by a large margin in the final strides and finished the 2,000-metre course in just over two minutes.
“He’s quite a famous horse for his antics so I was aware of him and I was aware of what he can do,” Buick said after the race, adding Pakistan Star “felt beautiful today”.
“When I found out that I was riding him, I took on board all of the information I knew about the horse and also thought it was quite important to ride him with a fresh mind and just be very positive about the horse,” the winning jockey said.
The prize money for the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup had been boosted up from last year’s HK$20 million to HK$24 million.
Italian jockey Alberto Sanna finished second on Gold Mount, while Australian Hong Kong-based jockey Brett Prebble rode Eagle Way to finish third.
Australian jockey Zac Purton was another star of the day, riding four-year-old gelding Ivictory to triumph in the 1,200-metre Chairman’s Sprint race.
“I was fortunate enough to get on him and at the right time,” he said of Victory.
Purton claimed his first Hong Kong Cup last year in the city’s Longines International Races, one of the world’s richest race meetings.
Already on a winning streak, Purton snapped up the 1,600-metre Champions Mile with Beauty Generation, surging from a relatively slow start to seal its victory.
“He’s just so honest, he goes out and runs the same race every time. When he gets the circumstances to suit him, you get to see how good he is,” Purton said of the horse.