Horses To Follow » Barker


Barker jumped really efficiently and accurately early on in the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Sunday, with the exception of the last fence up the side before they turned down at Ballyhack, where he just got in a little tight. Jockey David Casey actually had to take a tug as they turned out of the back straight, and another on the run to the fifth last, he was just getting there too quickly. However, he made a fairly bad mistake at the fifth last. It was a real novicey mistake where he seemed to lose concentration and just got in too tight, clipped the top of the fence and could easily have come down. He was soon back on an even keel, but that mistake was at a crucial point of the race, and Casey had to get after him then in order that he would hold his place on the inside as they rounded the home turn. From there, he was under pressure up the home straight over the last three fences, but he stayed on really well to just go down by a short head to Aran Concerto.

Barker stayed this two-and-a-half-mile trip well. Already a winner over an extended two and a quarter miles at Down Royal, he seems to be equally at home over all distances from two miles to two and a half. That said, it is probable that, given how easily he travels through his races, the faster pace of a two-mile contest would suit him better. Winner of the Pierse Hurdle for James Barrett, this was just his third run for Willie Mullins, and he is really progressive now over fences. The Swordlestown Cup looks like the race for him at Punchestown, and he should be a leading player in that.

12th April 2009