Star galloper Barakey reigned supreme in his much anticipated clash with the emerging Smoko in today's $100,000 weight-for-age Goodwood Sprint (1300m) at Belmont Park.
The Jim Taylor-trained Barakey ($3.80) raced outside pacemaker Smoko ($1.55 favourite) and drew away in the last 50m to score by 1 1/2 lengths.
Zester ($61) ran a creditable third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Smoko, but never threatened an upset in the race hyped as a duel between the main fancies.
Seven-year-old Barakey has won at 13 of 15 starts and earned stakes totalling $799,700.
"Barakey is a great galloper," Taylor said. "There were reasons for his only two defeats. He was found to have a knee fracture after running unplaced in a VRC Newmarket at Flemington.
"A viral infection was detected following his failure in last year's Winterbottom at Ascot..
"He's also had a number of other problems which have not been discussed publicly.
"Barakey went in to today's race without having started for nine months. He had only two trials and two fast gallops.
"But I'd given lots of slow work, which built-up fitness without putting pressure on his legs."
Barakey's jockey Jason Brown paid tribute to the horse and Taylor's training triumph.
"Jim's had him work over four months," Brown said. "He felt good from the start today. On the home turn, he was slightly awkward. But his strength was shown when he straightened up."
The Goodwood has been a top race for Taylor, who trained Idyllic Prince to win it in four consecutive years.
Barakey's immediate principal mission is the $750,000 weight-for-age Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 22.
He is set for a return clash with Smoko in the Winterbottom.
Five-year-old Smoko, co-trained by Ross and Clint Price, has won at six of eight starts and earned stakes totalling $241,450.
"There's no excuses for his defeat today," said Ross Price. "He was beaten by a horse who would win top interstate races if he did not have soundness issues.
"We're delighted with the way Smoko fought on today. He's had only eight starts and his future is bright."
Kirov Boy ($11) showed big potential when he won the Westspeed Stayers' Bonus Handicap (2100m) by 1 3/4 lengths for trainer Arthur Mortimer and jockey Danny Miller.
"I thnik he's a Perth Cup hope," Miller said.
Trainer Simon Foster is considering a Melbourne spring campaign for Big Caroline, who won today's Westspeed 3YO Handicap (1200m) at $5.
Vital Importance won the Perth Racing Now On Facebook and Twitter Handicap (1300m) at $31 and trainer Neville Parnham said he was amazed by the long price.
"She has raced against class opposition in past campaigns," he said. "Connections had small amounts on her at today's lengthy quotes."
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