Leading Perth sprinter Barakey has drawn ideally in barrier two for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Barakey and Buffering are expected to be locked in an early speed battle in the Winterbottom Stakes and Barakey clearly got the better of his Group 1 winning rival in the barrier draw; with Buffering drawn to jump from gate eight.
Barakey won the 2012 edition of the Winterbottom Stakes and has recorded 12 wins from 13 starts, with his only loss coming in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), but did not look his usual self when he scored a narrow victory over Power Princess and Checkpoint in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on October 26.
Trainer Jim Taylor believes that Barakey took plenty of benefit out of his first-up run and will be in much better condition when he takes on the strong field in the Winterbottom Stakes this weekend.
“He came through his first-up run good and pulled up sound,” Taylor told RSN yesterday.
“He improved his fitness a little bit so I am looking forward to Saturday.
“He is a real sprinter and normally you would go 1000 metres or maybe 1100 first-up but because of his high-rating he could only go weight-for-age over 1200 metres first-up.
“After the long break, he was always going to be needing the run a little bit and luckily he held on.
“If that had been 1100 he probably would have won by four or five lengths.
“He felt the pinch but he should be a lot fitter on Saturday.”
The other big winner in the barrier draw was Tony Gollan-trained Spirit Of Boom who will start on the inside of the thirteen horse field.
Spirit Of Boom has been one of the most consistent sprint performers in the past three years but is still searching for his first win at Group 1 level after finishing third in the 2012 Winterbottom Stakes and third in the 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
The Sequalo entire has had an ideal preparation to the Winterbottom Stakes, running well in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m), Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) and Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m), and trainer Tony Gollan believes that he could not have the six-year-old in better condition.
Moment Of Change has had a consistent 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign without breaking through for a victory and will jump from barrier nine in the Group 1 event on Saturday.
The Peter Moody-trained sprinter is chasing his first victory since he won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over a year ago but has finished in the placings in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m).
Buffering has had the measure of Moment Of Change during the 2013 Spring Carnival and the Group 1 winning pair will start next to each in the Winterbottom Stakes.
The Mossman gelding started his preparation with a second place finish behind Samaready in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) before recording his first win at Group 1 level when he held off a fast-finishing Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
Buffering made it two straight Group 1 victories when he led all the way down the Flemington straight in the VRC Sprint Classic just under a fortnight ago and is the clear favourite to complete a historic Group 1 treble by winning the Winterbottom Stakes this weekend.