Smokin’ Joey has been included in the 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes nominations and he is set to return to the races in the Group 3 event at Sandown on Saturday.
Smokin’ Joey returned to winning form when he took out the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 13 and he proved that win was no fluke when he scored a very soft win in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 25, but he failed to beat home a single runner when he contested the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 and he was found to have suffered from a degree of exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage during the race.
The Encosta De Lago gelding was scratched at the barriers in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29 and he missed the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12 before a spider-bite ruled him out of Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) contention.
Smokin’ Joey showed that he had overcome the spider-bite when he performed well in a barrier trial at Cranbourne this morning and trainer Wez Hunter is confident that he is ready to perform well in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes.
Another horse that could make a runner from injury in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes is Darren Weir-trained Signoff, who has only had one race start since he finished a gallant fourth in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Signoff failed to fire in the Ross Stevenson Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on April 11 and he was ruled out of the majority of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival due to a niggling leg injury.
The talented stayer has been included in the entries for both the Kevin Heffernan Stakes and the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m), but Weir is yet to decide which race the Lexus Stakes winner will contest.
The OTI-owned duo of Lidari and Lord Van Percy are both also a chance to return to the races in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes along with Peter Moody-trained Metaphorical.
Other interesting horses that have been included in the 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes nominations are talented mare Bring Me The Maid, the consistent Charmed Harmony, speedy mare Eloping, Godolphin-owned Generalife, Team Freedman-trained Java, veteran sprinter Rain Affair, Hong Kong import Sterling City, last start winner Tycoon Tara and Group 1 placegetter Under The Louvre.