The winning roll for impressive four-year-old Comeback continued at Trentham on Saturday when he made it five wins in a row with a gritty performance to take out the Roaring Lion North Island Challenge Stakes (1400m).
Prepared at Tuhikaramea by Graeme, Debbie and Bailey Rogerson, the Makfi gelding won his first race back in May 2018 and has now saluted the judge on a further seven occasions in his 22-start career. Raced by Westbury Stud boss Gerry Harvey, under his NZ Thoroughbred Holdings Ltd banner, Comeback really hit his straps when successful at Trentham back in March and has remained unbeaten in his four runs since then.
Saturday’s open 1400m contest on a Heavy 10 surface was his biggest test to date under the steadier of 59.5kgs and he passed with flying colours after sitting outside the pace throughout before surging to the front early in the run home. Rider Johnathan Parkes asked Comeback for a serious effort at the 150m and he responded under hard riding to keep the challenges of top racemares Art Deco and Sensible Princess at bay by half a length at the winning post.
Parkes admitted he was feeling confident as he paraded with his mount behind the starting gates before the race. “He was pretty bouncy around behind the start so he’s done very well since I last rode him at New Plymouth,” Parkes said. “I thought he was on his game and he began a little bit better today, so the idea was always to ride him forward with the 59.5kgs and keep him rolling. “He always seemed to be travelling well and when I gave him a dig, he kept on grabbing the bridle underneath me, which was an indication he was going pretty well. “He probably got there a little bit soon but with the 59.5kgs he was pretty gutsy. “He’s got a real will to win and it is a good effort to rack up five wins in a row.”
Race favourite Art Deco put in her usual honest performance at just her second run in her current campaign while 2017 Group 2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) winner Sensible Princess caught the eye with a powerful closing run in her first start since November last year.