By Tony Megahey
Veteran Scone trainer Peter Bloomfield hopes for “the wetter the better” with in form outsider Barricade, in a bid to upset the dominance of nine-time TAB Highway winner Matthew Dunn at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Dunn nominated five runners and accepted with Conniving, Leap of Legend and Runway Ready with a final decision yet to be made. The track at Randwick is presently rated a heavy nine.
Matthew Dale, the other nine-time series winner is a notable absentee from a TAB $60,000, 1200m episode at headquarters. However one of the strongest Highway races on record sees a capacity field, numerous last start winners, and successful Highway trainers.
The Dryden-Collings stable, Cameron Crockett, and the Joseph and Jones team have accepted with recent winners.
Bloomfield, a former pre-trainer for Randwick luminaries Les Bridge and Neville Begg, starts Barricade on the strength of a near six lengths win last month at Muswellbrook on a heavy eight track, followed by another dominant success at Dubbo over 1300m. “We appreciate what were up against; Dunn and Dale have these Highways down “pat” with the right horses, but this little fella is flying and a swimmer,” Bloomfield enthused.
“He deserves a crack for some really good prize-money in a lot tougher race, and if it stays heavy it’ll sure suit him. But he does handle all conditions. ”
Bloomfield had hoped Barricade’s regular rider, country champion Greg Ryan would be available again, but his heavy schedule didn’t permit, so Adam Hyeronimus will ride at 56kg.
“Greg has three days of full books at regional meetings up here, and we understand he wasn’t coming all the way to Randwick for one ride on an outside chance.
“Adam’s been riding really well for Waterhouse and Bott, but it saying that, this horse has his quirks, he’ll pick up real quick that Greg isn’t on. “Greg gets the best out of him.
“We’re obviously up against some top trainers with city form but it’s still a class 3, he’s been beating what’s up against him easily, and you can’t ask for any more. Except for more rain,” Peter chuckled.
Significantly, Barricade a winner of three races, has powered home from midfield or worse, so will be suited by the long and demanding Randwick straight.
Keen racing judges are adamant that on heavy going at headquarters, a 1200m slog equates to 1400m, and Barricade is one guaranteed “finisher”.
However in clearing weather a track upgrade is likely later in the week.