Simon Miller is a trainer who on most occasions will display an air of confidence and optimism about his horses.
However, leading into the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday there is a hint of resignation.
Miller launches Platinum Rocker’s campaign as the glamour mare strives for Group 1 glory in the Railway Stakes (1600m).
The Love A Dane seven-year-old is out to go one better after running a valiant half-length second to Luckygray last year.
The Prince Of Wales Stakes will be Platinum Rocker’s first run back after campaigning in Brisbane during the autumn.
Consecutive thirds to Skikandi in the Listed Silk Stockings (1200m) and the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) her best returns.
Power Princess, who has passed half-a-million dollars in stake earnings, holds a hot fresh record: three wins and two placings from her five first-up attempts.
But standing in her path is the powerful presence of champion sprinter Barakey who is chasing back-to-back victories in the Prince Of Wales Stakes.
The Jim Taylor-prepared seven-year-old is the raging $1.80 favourite on Tabtouch, with stable mate Magnifisio the second elect at $4.80.
Barakey gave a stark reminder of his talent when he came off a nine month spell to outpoint budding rival Smoko in Goodwood Sprint (1300m) at Belmont on September 23.
Power Princess tuned up for her return and had an early taste of what she is sure to be up against when she ran a long-head second to Barakey in a 950m trial hit out.
“She trialled brilliant but she will need to be going that well when it’s weight-for-age against Barakey,” said Miller.
I have never seen Barakey as good and I think it’s the best I have seen him trial.
“All the opposition are in a bit of trouble in trying to bring him undone.
“He looked exceptional coming off the track.
“My mare went super but I would say Barakey at 1200m and at weight-for-age would have her measure nine times out of ten.
“He is the class horse in the race and will be the hardest to beat.”
Barakey and is partner Jason Brown have drawn in gate four. Chris Parnham handles Magnifisio from barrier six.
In a field of eight, Platinum Rocker steps from barrier two for Peter Knuckey.
“Magnifisio will probably park outside of Barakey and you wouldn’t expect them to cut each other up,” said Miller.
“I’m happy to be camped behind them and as long as my mare is working to the line she is on track for the Railway.”
Julio Santarelli: RWWA