By Tony Megahey
Rising young trainer Cameron Crockett reveals Barbass has had issues, but considers his quality can still carry the occasion, resuming in a TAB $60,000 Highway Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Sydney Cup day Saturday.
The Mudgee combination has already made an impact on the big stage with Barbass, as a two-year old, finishing second at headquarters to the James Cumming’s Group filly Skylight Glow last May, after he won the Inglis Challenge at Scone.
Crockett, who won a Rosehill Highway last season with stablemate Moss My Name, then ambitiously contested the Group One J J Atkins Classic at Eagle Farm where Barbass, ridden by Damien Oliver, finished down the track.
“He didn’t come up last prep, ten months off is a big ask, but he’s had two recent trials, worked terrific, and is a different horse since we tried blinkers,” explained Crockett riding dawn track-work at Mudgee.
“He arguably could have beaten Skylight Glow last prep and she progressed to be placed at Group One and Two level behind Global Glamour and Foxplay.
“He’ll be short of his best on Saturday and has 61kg, but his quality might still be enough against country class two. He’s had a couple of trials against Moss My Name, found half-a-dozen lengths since last prep when we weren’t happy with him at all. Nothing gets near him in track-work this time in.
“If he progresses like we think he can from Saturday, we’ll be going to the Scone Guineas.
“The owners won’t die wondering, they’re glass full, not half glass people at all. And they know they’ve got some genuine quality here.”
Crockett decided not to claim and has engaged in-form Blake Shinn who has to contend with barrier ten.
“He’s a big strong unit, bit temperamental so not a kid’s horse all. “Anyway I never claim with top raters, it’s too much dead weight for mine.”
“Ideally we’d have preferred to resume in the bush, but he was weighted with 64kgs when we last ‘nommed’ and would have been up against open company and multiple winners as a three-year –old with just one race win. You can’t place them at so much a disadvantage.
“Anyhow it’s a sixty grand race at Randwick, compared to 20 grand if we stayed in the bush.”
Another typically in depth Highway contains recent Doomben winner Spiral and three more last start winners.