Pakistan Star recovering from colic surgery

Dual Group 1-winner Pakistan Star remains in vet hospital but is expected to return to Living Legends in the coming days.

Pakistan Star and William Buick take out the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2018. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Michael Cox



Former Hong Kong racing fan favourite Pakistan Star – now known as ‘Stan’ in retirement – continues to make a steady recovery after undergoing colic surgery in Melbourne on the eve of his tenth birthday last week. 

After an eventful, ‘stop-start’ career that included two Group 1 wins and a famous propensity to refuse to run, sometimes mid-race, Pakistan Star was retired to Living Legends, a farm near Melbourne Airport that is home to numerous former Hong Kong stars including Silent Witness, Beauty Generation, Bullish Luck, California Memory and Lucky Nine. 

Pakistan Star first showed signs of colic last Wednesday and was treated at Living Legends before being shipped to South Eastern Equine Hospital that night. 

“It became quite serious and he had the operation on Thursday,” Living Legends CEO and veterinary director Andrew Clarke told Asian Racing Report. “It was a real worry there for a while but Dr Gareth Trope and his team at the hospital did a wonderful job with the surgery and aftercare. 

“Stan required intensive care over the next few days, so his tenth birthday, on Friday, was not a happy one. He has been gradually picking up though, starting with small feeds over the weekend. The next few days were critical as his medication was decreased and food intake increased.” 


Pakistan Star arriving at Living Legends in May of 2022. (Photo by Grant Courtney)

Pakistan Star enjoying his paddock at Living Legends. (Photo by Grant Courtney)

Pakistan Star gets reacquainted with Beauty Generation. (Photo by Grant Courtney)

It is possible that Pakistan Star could be discharged and return to Living Legends on Friday but it is likely he will remain in the hospital for the weekend. 

“Every time they walk past him he is eating and he has certainly progressed,” Clarke said. 

The replay of Pakistan Star’s ridiculous tailed-off last-to-first debut in July 2016 went viral – the most-watched version of the replay has more than 935,000 views – and his fame grew further through another two spectacular performances. 

Pakistan Star seemed bound for top level success and finished second to Rapper Dragon, and ahead of Beauty Generation, in the 2017 Hong Kong Derby, but in June 2017 the horse stopped midrace as 1.2 favourite in the G3 Premier Plate under star rider Joao Moreira. 

The mercurial galloper returned to win a memorable 2018 G1 QEII Cup and Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin, but his reluctance to run continued to surface and even though he showed signs of his undoubted talent for the next ten starts, he was eventually sent to Dubai, where he again stopped during a race and was retired in late 2021. 

Pakistan Star achieved a cult following for his unpredictable race day performances. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

Pakistan Star arrived at Living Legends in May and has been popular with staff and visitors. The German-bred gelding was making good progress towards being part of the farm’s “Legends Under Saddle” riding program alongside his former racetrack rival Beauty Generation. 

“When the horses come we give them six months off,” Clarke said. “He has been in the riding program and ridden around the park here, and people have been able to see him out there under saddle. Our plan is to get him out to competitions and events eventually but now that has been set back a little bit.” 

Despite Pakistan Star’s ‘wilful’ or difficult reputation, Clarke said Pakistan Star was ‘a very personable horse.’ 

“He has been really relaxed and kind since day one, quite amazing really,” he said. “He has settled into retired life as a really happy horse.” 

“He certainly has a mind of his own, but you just have to take your time with him.” 




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