A successful knee operation has given local champ Barakey the chance to defend his title in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Perth trainer Jim Taylor has put the effects of a horror trip to Melbourne in the Autumn behind him and says that Barakey is ready to put it to Australia’s newly crowned sprint king Buffering.
Taylor took Barakey to the Eastern states to take on the best sprinters in the country after winning his eleventh straight win in last year’s Winterbottom Stakes but returned to Perth with a battle scared horse after things went terribly wrong.
Barakey was sent to the barriers the favourite for the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 23 but played up in the barriers and had to be scratched.
Taylor then pushed on with a start in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 but the Western Australian speedster pulled up lame after finishing eleventh to Shamexpress and required knee surgery.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the surgery to repair his knee highlighted he had very little or no cartilage,” said Taylor.
“With that in mind I have been able to treat him accordingly and he is definitely moving better than what he did 12 months ago.
“His action is much better, he is doing well in the stable and he is exactly where I want him to be.”
Barakey is having his second run back from an enforced spell because of the knee surgery and Taylor is certain the Perth speedster will strip a much fitter conveyance after beating Power Princess when he won the Group 3 $125,000 Sea Corp Starlight Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on October 26.
“He will strip fitter on his Prince Of Wales win but he will have to be against the likes of Buffering,” Taylor said.
Buffering has been in outstanding form with back to back Group 1 wins in the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and Taylor knows that it take an almighty effort for Barakey to collect his second Winterbottom trophy.
“Buffering has been up against Black Caviar and Hay List and is the one to beat but Barakey will be giving him a run for his money,” he added.
Buffering is dominating the betting and is the $2.20 favourite for the Winterbottom Stakes ahead of Barakey at $4.40 while Moment Of Change and Spirit Of Boom share the next line of betting at $7.50.