Star grey returns

The forgotten horse of the 2008 Spring Carnival, Barbaricus returns to racing at Flemington tomorrow after 11 months off the scene.

The imposing grey was one of the highlights of that carnival with his daring third in the Caulfield Cup, after jumping from the widest gate, and his near miss in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes, when he was nosed out by interstate raider Theseo.

It’s been a long road back to the track for the son of Lion Hunter who injured himself last autumn during an international campaign in Dubai. The gelding was mixing with some of the world’s best racehorses in competition at Nad Al Sheba before succumbing with a tendon injury.

“It’s exciting to have him back,” Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien said.

“It’s been a long hard road for him, but his owners have been patient and he was given the time he needed to heal.”

O’Brien isn’t expecting a fairytale return from Barbaricus even though the horse has performed at the track, distance and first-up during his career.

“His work has been excellent in his return to training and we would be very happy if he ran into the race in the final furlong showing us he is on track for longer races later this preparation.”

Barbaricus, who is racing over 1200m tomorrow carrying 60kgs, is entered in the Australian Cup and O’Brien said this was a possible target if he returns in good form. That race is run over the same distance as the Mackinnon.

It’s an interesting day for O’Brien tomorrow on his home track as he has five other runners in feature races.

Unbeaten two-year-old and Blue Diamond hopeful Star Witness is back in the listed Talindert Stakes down the straight.

While in the three-year-old 1400m features, he has the emerging Eraset and Take The Rap taking on the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes, and the highly fancied Pins On Ice and the consistent Better Be The One in the Group 3 Vanity.

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno’s website click here

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