Hastings trainer John Bary believes his four year old Survived is in the right frame of mind to win back to back Group 1s when he lines up in the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings on Saturday.
Bary has Survived at his top physically but said that he has noticed a great improvement in the geldings mental behaviour.
“It’s not physical, it’s in his mind – he’s suddenly become a lot more confident,” Bary told The New Zealand Herald.
“He’s a lot more mature mentally and so much more sure of himself.
“There’s a lot more swagger about him walking around his paddock.
“I haven’t had to concentrate on his physical fitness because he’s always a fit, athletic type.”
Survived scored his initial Group 1 win in the NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings three weeks ago on a heavy track at his first run back from a break which followed a short Brisbane campaign during the Winter.
Bary doesn’t believe the second up theory will affect Survived who went into the Makfi Challenge in top condition and has done well since.
“He was a fit horse going into the Makfi and a fit horse coming out of it,” Bary said.
“There won’t be any issues there.”
Opie Bosson will again be on the four year old and is looking forward to Survived stepping up to the 1600m on a better surface.
“Improved conditions will be perfect for him and so will the step up in distance,” Bosson said.
The local forecast is for a few showers and Bosson expects the track be close to dead, much better than heavy conditions they had to contend with last start.
The Roger James trained Full Of Spirit and Final Touch from the John and Karen Parsons stables look the hardest to best again after finishing second and third in the Makfi Challenge Stakes.
Kiwi warhorse Mufhasa is having his first run since returning from an unsuccessful Hong Kong trip but can never be underestimated.
Trainer Bruce Wallace was forced to give Mufhasa a decent break after he bled when he finished last of nine in the Group 1 HK$12m Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on May 5.
Wallace had the nine year old ready to race three weeks ago but scratched him from the Makfi Challenge because of the heavy track.