No Winterbottom Stakes 2014 for Injured Smoko

Ross & Clint Price’s consistent sprinter Smoko has been ruled out of the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes with injury and will spend at least three months on the sidelines.

The Snitzel five-year-old has a suspensory ligament injury that Perth Racing stewards were informed of from the horse’s Bunbury-based trainers on Saturday.

Last seen running a disappointing first-up sixth behind Shining Knight in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) at Ascot on November 4, Smoko was to attempt his seventh win at career start number 10 in the $750,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) back at the track on Railway Stakes Day, November 22.

Now the up-and-comer will miss the remainder of the Perth Summer Racing Carnival spending the next 12 weeks off the track before a hopeful autumn return.

The Winterbottom Stakes nominations originally attracted 53 entries but a number of headliners are already ruled out.

Smoko joins Lankan Rupee as a confirmed non-starter in the sprint clash, connections of Australia’s Horse of the Year opting to rest him after a third in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) behind Terravista.

Also in doubt of lining up in the capacity 30 starter Winterbottom Stakes field on Saturday week is another top local hope, Barakey.

Jim Taylor’s Key Business seven-year-old is under an illness cloud, a blow for the Bullsbrook-based Taylor after the veteran galloper had been tracking so well this season.

Winner of the 2012 Winterbottom Stakes but ninth to Queensland raider Buffering 12 months ago, Barakey was a first-up champ this time in at Belmont Park.

On August 23 he defeated Smoko by 1.5 lengths in the Listed Goodwood Sprint (1300m) and was then only three-quarters of a length away second behind Elite Belle in a speedy edition of the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) on October 25.

However a virus has thrown carnival plans into disarray for Barakey who was still racing flat on Saturday morning according to Taylor.

“He worked this morning but he still felt flat,” he told The West.

“If he does not improve within the next few days then we will scratch him.”

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