Smoko Set for Goodwood Sprint 2014 Showdown

Ross & Clint Price’s stable star Smoko enjoyed a nice gallop at home at Bunbury on Wednesday ahead of the super consistent sprinter’s clash with Group 1 winner Barakey in the 2014 Goodwood Sprint this weekend.

Jim Taylor’s 2012 Winterbottom Stakes winner Barakey returns to racing this weekend off a nine month hiatus looking for a first-up win in the $100,000 Listed Goodwood Sprint (1300m).

The now seven-year-old hasn’t raced since last November when failing to defend his Winterbottom crown finishing ninth in the classic behind the Robert Heathcote-trained Queenslander Buffering.

Boasting 12 wins from his 14 starts for a tidy $768,000 in prizemoney, Barakey has been working well ahead of his comeback including a Belmont Park trial win over Pharomac on August 4.

Also doing some nice work ahead of Saturday’s Belmont showdown though is the sure-to-be favourite for the Goodwood Sprint Smoko.

The Snitzel gelding also has an impressive Win Rate with six wins from seven starts, and the five-year-old’s only loss being a second first-up to Pininci in the Listed Beaufine Stakes (1000m) on July 12.

It was back to the winner’s stall next start however with Smoko coming off an all too easy three length victory in the Listed Belmont Newmarket (1200m) from August 9.

His regular rider William Pike stays on for Saturday with Smoko jumping from barrier five, one inside of Barakey in the outside gate in the six-horse Goodwood Sprint field.

To help keep their galloper fit for this weekend, the Prices gave Smoko his last piece of work yesterday at Bunbry with jockey Kyra Yuill aboard for the sand work over 1200m.

“He has never seen the grass other than when he races or trials,” co-trainer Ross Price told The West Australian.

“He worked really well on his own and he is a clean-winded horse.”

A late scratching of the Jarrad Humphries-trained Ruling Force from the Goodwood Sprint left just six final acceptors for Saturday’s weight-for-age event that also sees the return of 2013 Perth Cup winner Talent Show.

Graeme Ballantyne’s now eight-year-old Jeune mare hasn’t raced since a failed Perth Cup title defense on New Year’s Day this year, Talent Show running seventh to Black Tycoon when beaten two and three quarter lengths.

After the Goodwood Sprint the plan with Smoko is to head to the paddock before a likely return for the 2014-15 Perth Summer Racing Carnival.

“After Saturday he will go for a break; how long he goes out will depend on where he goes,” Price said.

There’s also a chance Smoko will head to Victoria for a late assault on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival before a shot at the $750,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Railway Stakes Day, November 22.

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