Beckett bullish as Chemical Charge takes on local hero Pakistan Star
The increasingly well-travelled Chemical Charge returns to Sha Tin on Sunday with connections hoping he can repeat the form of his fine fourth behind Highland Reel in the Hong Kong Vase in December.
The Ralph Beckett-trained horse was beaten two and three-quarter lengths there despite not enjoying a clear run, and while he was never in contention at Doha in Qatar in February, there is optimism he can serve it up to Pakistan Star and three other locals in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup.
“We were pretty sure Sha Tin and the style of racing would suit him before he went in December and he ran very well,” said Beckett. “I'm hopeful that will happen again.
"I'm very happy with the horse and confident of a big show because the track and the way the races are run there clearly suit him. He's definitely better going right-handed on a flat track.
“It's a small field and whether or not that will suit us, time will tell, but it does mean we pick up a large cheque. We're all set for Sunday and looking forward to the race.”
Owner Qatar Racing’s retained rider Oisin Murphy, who spent the winter in Hong Kong last season, is on board. The son of Sea The Stars is one of four rides for Murphy on the Sha Tin card.
The home team is headed by the Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star, runaway winner of the Group 1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup under William Buick on his latest outing, along with stablemates Gold Mount, second in the QEII, and Exultant, winner last time of the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap over course and distance. The John Moore-trained Eagle Way completes the line-up.
Cruz said: “All three of my horses have very strong chances but, to me, Exultant is the one. He’s the one who has won big over 2,400 metres [a mile and a half], whereas Pakistan Star hasn’t raced over the trip yet. I’m hoping I can finish 1-2-3, though.”
Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup
bet365: 4-6 Pakistan Star, 2 Exultant, 11-2 Gold Mount, 10 Chemical Charge, 20 Eagle Way
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