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Hunter on weather watch with Barb Raider

Fri 20 May 2022

By Glenn Davis

Former acupuncturist Jerome Hunter will make a late call whether Australasian Oaks runner-up Barb Raider takes her place in the Group 2 The Roses at Doomben on Saturday.

Barb Raider is currently a $4.20 favourite in The Roses following the surprise omission of the Team Snowden-trained Dynasties, where she is set to be ridden by Queensland winter specialist Kerrin McEvoy. 

She is also a $11 chance for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks over 2200 metres at Doomben in two weeks.

Hunter, who trains on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, is concerned with the weather and a heavy track rating for Barb Raider, who struggled at her only start in the conditions when 11th in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf at Randwick last month.

Barb Raider then headed to Adelaide where she raced on the pace to finish a close second to Glint Of Hope in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville on April 30.

Doomben was rated a Heavy 8 late on Thursday afternoon and further rain is forecast.

“My biggest concern is the track and if it stays a Heavy 8, I’ll give it a try,” Hunter said.

“We know she’s good on slow tracks but she raced on a very heavy track in Sydney and didn’t handle it.”

Hunter has been training on and off for 20 years and spent five years from 2008 to 2013 working as an equine acupuncturist.

“I used to do acupuncture on my own horses when I was training but when EI kicked in a few years ago I quit training to take up acupuncture full time," he said.

Hunter will still proceed to the Queensland Oaks if Barb Raider misses The Roses and was delighted with her effort in the Australasian Oaks.

“She ran a sensational race in Adelaide and was taking ground off the winner and in another 50 metres it would have been close,” he said.

Barb Raider has only had 11 starts in her career for four wins and five placings and will be having her sixth start this campaign in The Roses.

“A few of her runs have been three weeks apart so I wouldn’t say she’s been overtly taxed this preparation,” Hunter said.

“She hasn’t left an oat since she got off the float in Brisbane and she’s working well.”

Hunter said Barb Raider would spell after the Queensland Oaks before aiming for the spring carnival in Melbourne.

“There’s quite a few good fillies and mares available for her in the spring including the Empire Rose,” he said.

Barb Raider provided Hunter with his biggest success when the filly claimed the Group 2 Kewney at Flemington in March.

She also was placed in last year’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and was runner-up to Shout The Bar in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley.