WILLIAM Buick celebrated one of his biggest overseas career wins as Pakistan Star turned on his A-game to plunder the Group 1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin.
Buick, whose original mission was to ride Blue Point for Godolphin in the big sprint on the card, discovered when his plane landed at Chep Lap Kok airport that he had additionally been booked for Tony Cruz's mercurial performer, who could now have Royal Ascot on his agenda.
The ride became available because Pakistan Star's intended rider Kerrin McEvoy was signed off with an ear problem.
Buick had discussed at length the idiosyncrasies in Pakistan Star's make up that had caused him to pull himself up and show reluctance to race on occasions.
The career of Pakistan Star has been one twist after another, but he prevails on the biggest stage today as he takes the #QEIICup by a big margin for William Buick and Tony Cruz. Gold Mount second, Eagle Way third in a 1-2-3 for Hong Kong #HKChampionsDay #HKRacing pic.twitter.com/lbHkYeFjHG— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 29, 2018
He explained: "Tony went through his previous races with me. He's infamous for his antics and what he can decide to do, but to be honest he never gave me any indication of that.
"It's very unfortunate for Kerrin and lucky for me and I felt it was important to ride him with a fresh mind. He felt beautiful, just like a world-class mile-and-a-quarter horse, and in fairness he was competing against several multiple Group 1 winners. Tony said he's not a horse you can bully and to treat him with kid gloves."
Cruz was so pleased with the way Pakistan Star picked up to take a narrowing gap between rivals when making his run that he will consider a shot at the Prince of Wales's Stakes or Queen Anne Stakes in June.
He said: "He should have won it last year when there was no pace and today showed his true ability. There's only one race left for him here which is the Champions and Chater Cup, so I will speak to the owner and maybe take him to Royal Ascot."