The speed is most certainly going to be on in Saturday’s 2013 Winterbottom Stakes with Queensland-trained favourite Buffering and reigning local champ Barakey both out to secure the winning position in the Ascot classic.
Pre-field betting on this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) is firmly led by the Rob Heathcote-trained Mossman six-year-old Buffering at $2.60.
The Brisbane-based sprinter is after their third straight Group 1 title having taken out the Manikato Stakes – VRC Sprint Classic double in Melbourne this spring.
A sit-and-sprint frontrunner, Buffering will likely be going up on the speed right from jump in the Winterbottom when they make their WA racing debut.
Another gun runner with a similar style to the favourite is last year’s Winterbottom Stakes winner Barakey, Jim Taylor’s Key Business gelding back to defend their title in 2013.
Six-year-old Barakey occupies the second line of Winterbottom Stakes betting at $4.80 having had just the one run this time in when narrowly holding off Power Princess in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m).
That was the super consistent galloper’s 12 win from 13 starts.
Their only loss was a disappointing 11th behind Shamexpress in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) when taken to Melbourne back in March for a shot at the autumn riches.
Barakey pulled up lame after that race with a knee injury, the Prince Of Wales Stakes their first official start since.
Bullsbrook-based Taylor gave his stable ace a November 11 trial at Belmont Park, which Barakey won over 1000m, giving the trainer every indication they’re ready to strike again.
Taylor is confident their recent work, ultra-consistent record and home track advantage will be enough to hold off the raid by Buffering on the weekend.
Heathcote however believes the favourite backers will be celebrating end of day saying Buffering would be putting plenty of pressure on the star local to get the job done.
“We know he (Barakey) has such good gate speed,” Heathcote told the West Australian.
“It’s not something I’ve discussed in detail yet with (jockey) Damian Browne, but he’s a jump-and-run horse as Buffering is.
“What will be interesting is to what level of comfort he gets in his run. I can assure you he won’t be as comfortable as he’s been in the past.”
Heathcote also isn’t concerned about how Buffering, who was due to land in Perth on Sunday night, will handle the interstate trip.
“Buffering’s been a fantastic traveler,” he said.
“He’s been up and back to Melbourne now for the last four years.
“Generally he takes it all in his stride. He’s coming off two dominant Group 1 wins, so he’ll certainly be the testing material.”
The 2013 Winterbottom Stakes final field of acceptors is due for release shortly, barriers out Tuesday afternoon, so stay tuned.
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