Racing: Borrack finding new fame over big fences

By Richard Edmunds

Five years after running the race of his life on this same track in the Hawke's Bay Guineas, the now 8-year-old Borrack returned to Hastings yesterday and scored an impressive jumping win in the Balance Agri-Nutrients Ltd Steeplechase.

He's been a revelation over jumps - yesterday's powerful 4length win in the hands of leading jumps rider Isaac Lupton was Borrack's eighth from only 11 jumping starts.

The jumps victory, in vastly different conditions and circumstances, makes Borrack's gallant Guineas performance feel even longer than five years ago.

In October 2008 the Black Minnaloushe gelding produced a mighty performance against New Zealand's best 3-year-olds in the brilliant Hawke's Bay spring sunshine, finishing fourth in the Group two $100,000 feature.

He was only 1 lengths from outstanding winner Alamosa - who a year later retired as a four-time group one winner and is now a highly promising sire - and right behind the placegetters El Cuento and Fritzy Boy.

Even more impressive is the fact that the race time, 1:20.86, was the third-fastest in Hawke's Bay Guineas history and less than a second outside Darci Brahma's record-breaking 1:19.97 win in 2005.

Borrack raced in the very best 3-year-old company for the rest of the season, including C'est La Guerre's New Zealand Derby.

But while he performed solidly throughout that campaign, his Hastings heroics were by far the highlight of not only his season but his entire flat career.

Borrack's racing career on the flat resulted in seven wins from 53 starts; a solid number, he's already won more than that from just 11 races over jumps.

He's been one of the best hurdlers in the country in recent seasons, with his six wins from eight starts including the 2012 Waikato Hurdles and 2013 Sydenham Hurdles. And he hasn't looked back since switching to the bigger fences, recording his second win from three steeplechase starts with yesterday's dominant display.

It was never in doubt for the $1.80 favourite.

Though accomplished jumper Zagata chased as hard as he could, he never looked like getting close. And the pair of them thrashed the rest of the field by seven lengths, with Belinus a distant third.

Although local trainer Paul Nelson had no luck in the main hurdle event, with Bally Heights and Solid Steal both finishing out of the placings, he did have success earlier in the day with a convincing 2lengths win by No Governance in the PGG Wrightson Maiden Hurdle.

The 8-year-old son of Corrupt was having just his sixth start over hurdles, having previously won twice in a brief career on the flat, and he looks like a hurdler to follow as he moves up through the grades throughout the winter.

And it completed an early double for 3kg-claiming jockey Aaron Kuru, just over half an hour after he rode Comte de Jeu to victory in the opener, the Fruitfed Supplies Irrigation Systems Hurdle.

Kuru is also well known in Hawke's Bay for his softball exploits and has represented the world champion Black Sox.

There was another success for Hawke's Bay in the Fruitfed Supplies Amateur Riders, comfortably won by King Of Rock for Waipukurau owner-trainer Steve Ellis.

The win was the Istidaad gelding's second from 15 starts, and pushed his career earnings to the cusp of $10,000.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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