Resolutions are pretty much redundant when talking of John Bary because his life has never been about a passing state of mind.
It's not that Bary can't adhere to resolutions but, suffice it to say, his entire career spreadsheet has been about tutoring horses with a relentless fervour that has yielded eight group one victories in New Zealand.
What the 48-year-old champion Hastings trainer yearns for in January, regarded perennially as a month for behavioral economics, is to jump back into the saddle of attainment.
"With 2018 I'd just like to win a group one again," says the Hastings trainer. "I haven't had one for a couple of years."
Bary considers that more as pulling out a joker from the pack of his thoroughbred cards rather than agonising in February about why things didn't pan out the way he wanted.
"The joker in the pack will be getting out another group one from this stable," he says ahead of the annual New Year's Raceday meeting at the Hawke's Bay Racecourse in Hastings today.
Bary says the lure for Bay trainers is the Wellington Carnival meeting on January 20 offering three group one races — the open handicap $250,000 Wellington Cup over 3200m, the $200,000 Thorndon Mile over 1600m and the $250,000 JR & N Berkett Telegraph over 1200m.
"It's closer to home and we're ready to attack the Wellington Carnival, really," he says, with High Spirits bracketed for the cup.
He sees 5-year-old mare Miss Wilson as the trump card for the return to group one glory in the Telegraph.
Six-year-old Xcuses Xcuses is out of the modest field of the 1300m open handicap $20,000 Russell Roads City of Hastings Cup at 3.12pm today and will instead line up at Awapuni in Marton the following Saturday.
"She just banged her leg in a gallop during the week [so] there's nothing major."
Bary rates Swiss Precision as probably his best chance in Hastings today.
The 3-year-old filly, with apprentice Holly Andrew in the saddle, will be in the field of eight of the $10,000 Jimmy Rural 1400 rating 65 race at 4.32pm.
He says Swiss Precision, who had put the stable staff through the spin-dry cycle in the past year, has had a couple of issues but won in her last start at Waipukurau on December 10.
"If she does well again, she'll be heading off to the Wellington Carnival," he says, expecting her to be in the first three placings.
"She's a filly I hold in quite high regard so I expect her to be going very well [today]."
The Swiss Ace filly, a winner by four lengths in the 1200m maiden at Waipukurau with jockey Samantha Collett, is just making her fourth start.
After winning a 650m Foxton trial in August 2016, Swiss Precision finished third on debut over 800m at Wanganui the following month but had to have bone chips removed from her legs.
She returned early last year but was not partial to a heavy track that saw her become temperamental at the starting stalls.
Bary sees the all-Aussie combination of Wandering Eye, with jockey Katelyn Mollyon, under the tutelage of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, as the favourite in the Jimmy Rural 1400.
Apprentice Sarah McNab will race Bary-trained Champagne Bride of the $10,000 Roger Russell/Charlie Keenan Memorial among a field of 13.
"I'm just starting to get her up over the ground so, hopefully, she'll do the job in putting her best foot forward," he says of the 3-year-old filly in the maiden 1600m race at 5.07pm.
Bary opens his account with 4-year-old gelding Tautu (Andrew) in the rating 65 Jarks Cityside Memorial over 2100m at 1.01pm before the jockey returns on another filly, Quick Choice, in the second race for maiden 3-year-olds, the 1200m Ivan Gordon Memorial at 1.36pm.
But it's the name of the Bary-trained horse, Chouxperb (Andrew), in the rating 75 Best Travel 1200, in race three at 2.11pm, that catches the eye.
"Look, they were struggling for numbers and he's out of what you could call his grade because he should be in rating 65, so we've put him up but he'll come right with age," Bary says of the 4-year-old Jimmy Choux gelding.
Jimmy Choux won the 136th running of the New Zealand Derby, in March 2011. Consequently, he became the first horse since Surfers Paradise in 1990 to win both the New Zealand 2000 Guineas and the New Zealand Derby.
A group two winner and placing twice in group one as a 2-year-old, the Thorn Park-sired horse's 2010-11 season was among the most successful by a New Zealand 3-year-old in recent history.
Not only did he nail the country's two biggest 3-year-old races — the 2000 Guineas and the Derby — Jimmy Choux easily won the Hawke's Bay Guineas, Great Northern Guineas, Wellington Stakes and Waikato Guineas.
The 2010-11 New Zealand Horse of the Year also won the group one Rosehill Guineas in Australia.
The 10-year-old, having earned close to $3 million for Chouxmaani Investments Ltd (husband-and-wife breeder/owners Richard and Liz Wood of Hastings), is retired for breeding at the Rich Hill Stud in Matamata.
Bary expects horses Akoya, Straight Sets and Chicane to drop out of the field because they raced at Taupo on Saturday.
"To be fair, Savvy Dreams should be winning that one for fun," he says of the 4-year-old Savabeel mare.
He didn't envisage any Bay-trained horses having any issues with the balmy weather and a dead 5 track.
Bary will race six more horses at Tauherenikau in Wairarapa tomorrow.