From the Commentary Box – Tuesday, 3rd September 2013


The first Group One race of the new season got off to a sensational start last Saturday.

 The Makfi Challenge Stakes traditionally signals the start of the Hawkes Bay Spring Racing Carnival.

 And it was the local Hawkes Bay galloper, Survived who took the major honours. 

The trained by John Bary and with Opie Bosson in the saddle, Survived ploughed through the heavy track conditions for his first Group One success.

Chasing him home was the Roger James trained Full Of Spirit with Final Touch storming home from last on the turn, to finish third.

While all three placegetters produced stunning efforts, much of the post race analysis focussed on the start of the 1400m race.


Playing a pivotal role in the start was the promising Cambridge galloper, Thunderbird One.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Thunderbird One only made it into the field after gaining the three scratchings it needed from the ballott.

Even so, Thunderbird One was still touted a huge chance in pre race discussions.  

Unfortunately for his army of supporters, Thunderbird Ones’ chances were extinguished at the start.

Just as the field were released by starter Gary Phillips, Thunderbird One lunged at the front of his starting stall, triggering it to malfunction.

This also affected the stall of Miss Pelear who was drawn alongside of Thunderbird One.

Eventually, Miss Pelear was able to burst her way through her stall, but her chances were clearly affected by the incident.

Unfortunately for Thunderbird One, things got worse.

After clearing his gate, Thunderbird One veered sharply, dislodging rider Leith Innes in the process. 

An enquiry into the incident deemed both Thunderbird One and Miss Pelear were adversely affected by the start, and were declared non runners, with all bets on the horses refunded.


For the winner Survived, the win was another feather in the cap of trainer John Bary.

The ever confident Bary had labelled Survived a future Group One winner, during his previous campaign.

“This horse has always shown he’s a serious racehorse, and today aided by a great Opie Bosson ride, he showed that” said Bary.

Bosson again showed why he is considered one of our best jockeys ever, with another brilliant ride.

“He got a lovely run and once we turned for home he was always going to win” said Bosson.

Bosson also gave an ominous warning for his rivals.

“Don’t think this horse is just a wet tracker, he’ll go on top of the ground and he’ll definitely improve on this run” he said.


Of the beaten brigade both Full of Spirit and especially Final Touch were outstanding.

Full Of Spirit, ridden by Matt Cameron went a big race fresh up.

Final Touch however, was the run of the race for mine.

Last on the home turn, Final Touch produced her usual late burst to finish strongly for third.

She made up several lengths on Survived over the concluding stages, the only horse to do so.

Her effort will be rewarded very shortly.


Finally, congratulations to local jockey Mark Hills.

The popular rider was in great form at Ruakaka last Saturday when picking up three winners.

Hills has recently formed a formidable association with the Logan stable at Ruakaka, and two of his winners were aboard Logan trained runners, King Zeus and Mosquito.

His third winner was the Shaune Ritchie trained Human Torch.

Hills is the epitome of a professional jockey, overcoming serious injury throughout his career.

It’s great to see him getting the results he deserves.

I’ll catch you next week.