The much awaited return of Group 1 winner Barakey happens this weekend in WA with the Perth speedster set to race first-up in the Goodwood Sprint 2014 at Belmont Park.
Lightly raced for a seven-year-old Jim Taylor’s Key Business gelding has had just 14 starts to date and is sure to start near the top of the Ladbrokes.com.au odds for his resuming run this Saturday.
He has won 12 of those earning his boom status including the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in November of 2012.
Injuries and setbacks however have plagued his past two years on the track with Barakey managing just three runs since his Group 1 success.
His first loss came in his interstate debut with connections taking the spruik sprinter to Melbourne last year for a shot at the autumn riches.
He ran first-up off a three and a half month break in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
It was a disastrous result however with Barakey only managing to beat home two rivals when a distant 11th to Shamexpress in the Melbourne Festival of Racing feature.
Injured during the run he pulled up lame post-race and spent close to eight months sidelined.
Things looked promising when Barakey returned last October back home in Perth with a narrow first-up win over Power Princess in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m).
It was back to the drawing board however on November 23 when Brisbane’s star sprinter Buffering travelled west and stole the show in last year’s Winterbottom Stakes, Barakey beaten five lengths when ninth in his unsuccessful title defense.
Since then he has had two Belmont Park trials with a second over 1000m in July and then a nice win over the same distance with race jockey Jason Brown aboard on August 4.
That was enough to secure their return on Saturday in the $100,000 Listed Goodwood Sprint (1300m) under race-for-age conditions.
Taylor is hoping the stable can enjoy another win in the race following the success of four-time Goodwood Sprinter winner Idyllic Prince (2008 – 2011).
“We had a great run of success when Idyllic Prince won us four consecutive Goodwoods,” Taylor told The West Australian this week.
“He was retired after his 2011 Goodwood win and remains in good health, as a paddock guardian for youngsters.”
In a final piece of work before Barakey’s Goodwood Sprint run this year he will line-up at the $3.5 million Ascot training track when it opens on Thursday as the first horse to grace the synthetic pro-ride course.
Barakey was scheduled to work-out on Monday however heavy rainfall the night before saw plans thwarted.
“Courses were too wet for normal trackwork this morning and he had only light exercise at home,” Taylor said.
“We can compensate with a good work-out on Thursday now arrangements have been made for him to use the pro-ride.”
Perth Racing’s track manager Cameron Sutherland was thrilled to have a topline galloper like Barakey first-up on the new track.
“Barakey perfectly fits the bill,” he said.
“The pro-ride surface replaces Ascot’s long-time viscoride track.
“It’s taken three months to install the pro-ride, which is a world-class surface.”
It will be an import hit-out too as he prepares for a tough assignment in the Goodwood Sprint coming face-to-face with the flying Ross & Clint Price-trained Smoko.
Snitzel five-year-old Smoko has won six of his seven starts to date, the gelding’s most recent run being an all-too-easy three length victory over Dominating in the Listed Bemont Newmarket (1200m) on August 9.
Other key Goodwood Sprint nominees include last year’s winner Settle Strada and recent Bolton Sprint winner Celebrity Miss.
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