By Nicholas Godfrey
UAE: Pakistan Star consented to finish the race at Meydan in Dubai on Thursday – but there was to be no fairytale comeback for the idiosyncratic gelding as he faded inside the final furlong to finish only fourth.
A social-media sensation when trained in Hong Kong, where he was a dual G1 winner, the seven-year-old was switched to Dubai after his latest misdemeanour at Sha Tin in November last year, when he pulled himself up midrace.
Pakistan Star made his debut for six-time UAE champion trainer Doug Watson in the Entisar, a Listed race on dirt over 2,000 metres for which he was sent off favourite with overseas bookmakers.
However, while the horse who became known as ‘Pakistan Stop’ owing to his antics seemed to be on fairly good behaviour under Pat Dobbs, he was beaten 5½ lengths after a wide trip and a mild challenge in the stretch behind Firnas.
“He seemed to be hanging right throughout which was not ideal,” reported Watson. “We will get him home and scope him to see if anything comes to light, but we will probably put the blinkers back on him next time.”
As is so often the case on the Meydan dirt, the principals both raced prominently, with the winner Firnas stalking Saltarin Dubai before edging ahead before halfway. The pair went on to contest the finish, with Firnas coming off best by a half-length to complete a double for his trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer, who also won the Garhoud Sprint with Important Mission (Royston Ffrench).