Barbed Hooks 2014 Canterbury Classic Assignment

Sydney’s John O’Shea has named the Canterbury Classic 2014 as the likely first-up aim for his progressive four-year-old sprinter Barbed following a smashing barrier trial win at Randwick on Monday.

Barbed (inside)

Barbed (inside) will resume in the Canterbury Classic on December 27 in Sydney. Photo: Steve Hart.

The Canny Lad gelding blew his rivals away in the 1050m hit out run on a Soft (6) at the Royal defeating Happy Galaxy by four and a quarter lengths in a smart 1.02.70 with James McDonald in the saddle.

A winner of just two of his 14 official starts to date, Barbed was last seen running fourth behind Deep Field in the Listed City Tatts Club Lightning Stakes (1100m) on October 18.

He was sent out for a freshen-up after that decent effort, Godolphin’s head trainer O’Shea hoping for improvement when he comes back for a late summer – autumn campaign starting with the $100,000 Listed Canterbury Classic (1100m) on December 27.

The Canterbury Classic aim was named by O’Shea after his Monday trail win that showed a nice improvement on a fourth in an earlier jumpout over the same track and distance a fortnight earlier.

“We freshened him up after his last run behind Deep Field and then his trial last start was a touch disappointing, so we needed to give him another one,” O’Shea told TVN on Tuesday.

“He just doesn’t like wet tracks and back on top of the ground on Monday he was very good.

“I’m quite pleased with his progress and think the Canterbury Classic is a perfect race for him.”

Formerly prepared by Peter Snowden, Barbed has a number of strong Group race performances under his belt.

After winning on debut at Canterbury in May last year, he resumed off a four and a half month spell that September to win the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at his preferred track in Sydney.

He returned to Randwick a fortnight later and was far from disgraced when second to runaway winner and subsequent Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Zoustar in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).

This year his big run was a third to Chautauqua in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on May 3.

Barbed’s former trainer Snowden won last year’s Canterbury Classic with Knoydart.

Knoydart progressed onto Melbourne for the autumn where the son of More Than Ready finished third to world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield and Flemingto’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) two weeks later.

After resuming in the Canterbury Classic, O’Shea hopes to set Barbed on the traditional path leading to Gosford for the $100,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) on January 9, 2015, ruling out a trip to Melbourne.

“There is a nice progression to Gosford for the Takeover Target Stakes and that is the direction we would be heading with Barbed,” O’Shea said.

That will be his first look at 1200m since a disappointing ninth when failing on a Dead (5) track in the Winter Dash, beaten five and a half lengths by Oakfield Commands in just his third run for O’Shea.

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