Barbaric so impressive in Levin Stakes

The Gr. 1 $250,000 J. & N. Berkett Telegraph Handicap at Trentham became a realistic target for Cambridge galloper Barbaric after an impressive win in the Listed $50,000 Chainey’s Panasonic Levin Stakes at Otaki today.

“He’s definitely a Telegraph horse and now that we’ve got his feet right that’s where we’ll be heading,” said trainer Stephen Marsh.

Barbaric has been troubled with hoof problems over the past couple of seasons yet had still managed to record three wins from eight starts. And now with that problem under control he is living up to the expectations of Marsh.

But his win today didn’t come without some anxious moments for Marsh, owners Rex and William Fell (of Goodwood Stud) and punters, who installed him a warm favourite.

“We always wanted him to get out to the middle of the track and wind up, but I was thinking bloody hell Matt, when are you going to get him out?” said Marsh.

Rider Matt Cameron settled Barbaric back of midfield and by the home turn he had just a couple of runners behind him. And even though he was three or four off the fence, Barbaric was still held up for a run until inside the last 300 metres by which stage Eight Schillings, the pacemaker, was desperately shaking off determined challenges from Fritzy Boy and Captain Kirk.

Once Barbaric did see daylight he lengthened stride impressively and charged home down the outsider, gobbling up the leaders and grabbing Eight Schillings right on the line. Fritzy Boy was a gallant third ahead of Captain Kirk and Fairway Wish.

“I didn’t think he would pick those sort of horses up,” admitted Marsh. “Once he wound up he really made good ground.”

Cameron says he hadn’t planned to get so far back on Barbaric. “He never jumps that flash and they’ve come across and he’s got shuffled back,” he said. “The last two wins have proven he wants to be ridden off the pace and be able to really find the line.

“Last year I rode him a few times and he’s jumped and hit the front too soon and got nailed.”

Barbaric had unleashed a similar type effort fresh-up this season when ridden to victory at Rotorua by apprentice Mick Dee, then he finished fourth at Ellerslie. “He’s a far better horse left-handed than right-handed,” said Marsh, explaining the Ellerslie defeat.