Horse racing: Bary's former shining star retires

By Richard Edmunds

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Trainer John Bary with The Hombre.
Trainer John Bary with The Hombre.

One of the most unpredictable, frustrating, maddening and occasionally brilliant careers in recent memory came to an end on Saturday with The Hombre's retirement following an unplaced effort in the Napier Park Sprint at his home track, Hastings.

For all his infuriating inconsistency, The Hombre achieved a lot in his 52-race career.

He won seven times, and his prize money earnings sit at a healthy $366,838.

Before Jimmy Choux came along, it was The Hombre who was Hastings trainer John Bary's shining star. The Hombre earned Bary his first trip to Australia, and he duly obliged with Group 3 glory in the Rough Habit Plate and a second in the Grand Prix.

On New Year's Day 2012 The Hombre ran one of the greatest races of his life to finish second in the Group 1 Railway at Ellerslie. He beat everyone but top-class Australian raider Atomic Force, and he showed amazing courage.

He pushed Atomic Force all the way, finishing right alongside him at the finish line.

Almost a year later he returned to Ellerslie and again hit top form, running away to win the Newmarket Handicap by a dazzling three-and-a-half lengths.

That would prove to be his last win, but there were a few glimpses of the good The Hombre among his last dozen starts - a third to Petty Cury and Durham Town in the Darley Plate, and a close fourth in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap.

As was the case throughout his career, though, those good performances were scattered amongst a series of bad ones. And, over the last few months, the good runs have become fewer and further between. In his last three races in particular - last, last and third last - he's been a mile off his best.

So, while it's a shame that such an entertaining career has come to an end, it looks like the timing might be right.

And, with his Queensland success and Ellerslie heroics, he leaves us with some great memories.

But Saturday had some bright spots for Bary as well. He won two races at Hastings, courtesy of Frankly and Hesalljazz. Both horses won convincingly and look set to have bigger and better things ahead.

Bary's stable stars were far from disgraced at Randwick in Sydney. Lowland Stakes winner and New Zealand Oaks runner-up Miss Selby finished seventh behind compatriot Rising Romance in the Australian Oaks.

Rider Glen Boss said Miss Selby felt like she was still 12 months away and is lacking some strength and maturity, but he thought she ran well.

It wasn't so good for Recite in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes, finishing second to last, but there was clearly a reason for that.

Boss put the performance down to the Darci Brahma filly over-racing throughout and leaving herself nothing in the tank.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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