Hasta was one of the grittiest and most popular staying handicappers to run in the north of England in recent years. A 8,200gns yearling and a half-brother to two winners including Top Berry, (a dual 1m winner at three years), his dam was of little account. However, the Bustino mare Falcon Berry foaled Hasta on 21st April 1990, and he has done us all proud! Hasta was trained for the whole of his career here at Sheriff Hutton, owned by Ken and Judith Hodgson and looked after by Amanda Metcalfe.
Hasta ran his first race in May 1992 at Catterick, finishing second over five furlongs. He remained a maiden until June 1993, when he picked up a Class E handicap over a mile and a half under Lindsey Charnock.
Charnock was in the plate again at Southwell two races later, when Hasta gained his first win on the all weather.
In October and January 1993/4, Hasta ran three times over hurdles, finishing third twice and fourth once.
The spins over timber must have done the trick, as Hasta won his next two flat races at Southwell, under Kevin Darley and Frankie Dettori. August 1995 was Hasta's next win. This time it was Ripon and a gritty head defeat of Quivira.
In April 1996, at Catterick, Hasta was on the mark again, making all and staying on the far rails in the straight as the rest came over. He was well ridden by apprentice Richard Mullen and it was a bold move by Mick Easterby, who explained: "I walked the course and there was very little difference between right up the stands rail and right against the far rail. So I told the lad to stay over the far side and save ground and it worked, though I was a bit worried about him being on his own for so long."
Plenty of places followed, but it was May 1997 at Musselburgh before Hasta won yet again. A very moderate contest - the top horse was rated only 52 - but a thrlling a finish with Hasta, brilliantly ridden by Gyles Parkin, fighting back on the line to pip Charity Crusader and Northern Motto. The trio came very close inside the final 1/2f, with the winner the meat in the sandwich, but the stewards rightly decided that no interference took place and allowed the placings to stand. Hasta La Vista was making his second appearance of the week and Robin O'Ryan, assistant to winning trainer Mick Easterby, said: "He has won over this trip on sand, but this is his first win over 2m on turf. I told Gyles to sit on him and give him a bit of a chance, and he rode him to a tee."
Within a few weeks Hasta had won another, this time at Hamilton. He stuck to his task in the gamest fashion to get on top after a long drawn out struggle. Mick Easterby's representative Gerry Kelly said: "The race at Musselburgh on Monday just put him right. The easier ground helped too, he stays."
In July '97, back at Catterick, Hasta was reunited with Frankie Dettori for the Turmeric Handicap, and duly obliged. Frankie treated the Catterick crowd to a flying dismount and Mick Easterby sung his praises. The other riders allowed Frankie to dictate it. Crossing to the stands side rails, he was always in command, and the result could flatter him."That's why he's a top jockey, he pinched it," enthused winning trainer Mick Easterby. "He did everything right, setting a steady pace, gradually quickening up, and then coming across to the stands rail in the straight."
Hasta still hadn't finished for the year and added a mile and a half handicap to his tally at Ripon in August!
Hasta started '98 just as he had finished '97 and his first win of the season came at Musselburgh. The visibility, which had not been too good in the previous race, was bad for this. But there was no disguising Hasta's courage as he found that vital bit more under a fine ride from Terry Lucas. David Easterby said "He has won off 56 and was running off 44 tonight so he had a bit in hand if he run to something like his form. Terry said he battled like a pit bull terrier!"
Next time out, he was at it again....although put up 3lb for winning at Musselburgh last time, he was still well handicapped on his best form and making all, and getting the stands rails in the straight, he kept pulling out more to gain his fifth success on the course.
Beverley, July 1998. Another game performance by Hasta, again making all. He kept finding a bit more when challenged to win all out. This was his 14th win, but his first at Beverley.
Although running creditably, Hasta did not win again until August 2000, again at Musselburgh. It was just a run-of-the-mill handicap, but won in pleasing style by the sprightly Hasta. Allowed an uncontested lead, which suits him so well, the winner answered his rider's every call in the home straight and was always going to win. This was his third course victory. Hasta returned in 2001, and at Hamilton in July won his sixteenth race. Given a superb ride by Terry Lucas, Hasta won decisively in the end, having kept pulling out more and more to see off his rivals in the last quarter-mile.
Sadly, Hasta La Vista only enjoyed a year of his retirement, as his years in the paddock were cut short when he died suddenly of a heart attack whilst out in the field.
Hasta's story goes to show that you don't need a lofty handicap mark to enjoy your racing. In his 126 race career he was a 17 times winner and also was placed 2nd or 3rd no less than 30 times. Sometimes the greatest fun and best days out can be had with lowly rated horses!