Hombre turns on the style

By Richard Edmunds

With occasional glimpses of spectacular brilliance, interspersed with countless head-scratching disappointments, Hastings gelding The Hombre is one of New Zealand's most frustrating and hardest-to-follow horses.

But on one of New Zealand racing's biggest stages, The Hombre came to the party in the listed Newmarket Handicap at Ellerslie on Wednesday and delivered one of the most spectacular performances of the day.

Returning to the scene of his career highlight to date - when he was the best of the Kiwis and beat all but Australian sprinting star Atomic Force in the Group 1 Railway on New Year's Day - once again brought out the best in the enigmatic but super-talented The Hombre.

He was the only runner Hastings trainer John Bary took to Ellerslie, and the trip proved to be well worthwhile. Revelling in similar rain-affected footing to that he had underneath him in that Railway placing, he travelled beautifully every step of the way,

As others started to struggle in the slightly testing going, The Hombre started to lengthen stride.

And then he lengthened stride some more, racing away to a dominant and utterly emphatic win.

He pricked his ears well short of the line, crossing the finish three and a half lengths ahead of runner-up Kitt Ann Miss.

The race time, 1m 11.34s, was more than a second faster than a classy 1200m field ran in the previous event on the programme. Another crack at the Railway is next on the agenda for The Hombre - he'll try to go one better than last time when he lines up in the 2013 renewal on Tuesday.

He'll have a tough field to contend with, featuring undefeated boom horse Mosse, the exceptional Burgundy and course specialist Durham Town.

But if The Hombre shows up in the same form as he was on Wednesday, anything is possible.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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