The 28-year-old jockey made the decision 12 months ago to head north to Waikato to further her career and dedication to the cause delivered her biggest result on Saturday.
Barnes regularly rides trackwork for Lickety Split's trainer Andrew Forsman and was rewarded with the mount on last season's Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner in the Group 3 Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m).
In a copybook display, she gave the filly a dream run in fourth spot to the turn before driving strongly to the line to claim top honours.
“It was awesome. I galloped her on the Thursday morning and she gave me a really good feel. I definitely thought she was very capable of winning the race,” she said.
“It panned out the way I hoped and she will take a lot of benefit from the race.”
Forsman has yet to decide on the next step for Lickety Split and Barnes remains understandably hopeful she may get another opportunity to partner the three-year-old.
“Fingers crossed, but we'll have to wait and see what happens,” she said.
Saturday's result was Barnes' seventh at stakes level and her second Group Three victory, having won the White Robe Lodge Stakes (1600m) aboard Coulee in 2017.
“I moved to Cambridge a year ago and it's taken a while to find my feet, but it's definitely starting to pay off now,” she said.
“I ride a lot of trackwork for Andrew and Stephen Marsh and the opportunities are coming. I just want to ride as often as I can and ride as many winners as I can.”
Barnes served her apprenticeship with Coulee's trainers Brian and Shane Anderton following a background in pony club, show jumping and eventing.
She began race riding in February, 2012 and posted her first winner seven weeks later at her fifth ride aboard Cheap Date at Wingatui.
Barnes will be hoping to continue her run of form at Taupo on Wednesday with rides aboard the Marsh-trained pair of Margaret Jean and Provence, having been aboard both in their lead-up trials.
Margaret Jean has won two of her eight starts and the daughter of Sacred Falls will make her first appearance in the Noverre @ Waikato Stud Handicap (1300m) since she ran third in the Dunstan Stayers' Championship Final (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.
“I'm expecting her to go okay fresh-up and she will be better when she gets over a bit more ground later on,” Barnes said.
Savabeel filly Provence will debut in the Ribchester & Belardo @ Haunui Farm Maiden (1200m).
“Provence is a nice horse, I really like her. She had a couple of trials on quite wet tracks and she didn't really handle them that well,” Barnes said.
“Hopefully, it's not that wet at Taupo and she definitely trialled better in her second one at Avondale.”