Trainer Trevor Andrews heads into Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot with more confidence than he had before Luckygray won the Railway Stakes last start.
Andrews was expecting Luckygray to run a good race in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 23 and which would top him off for his main assignment on Saturday.
But Western Australia’s favourite galloper surprised his new trainer with a last to first performance that immediately made him the favourite to win successive Kingston Town Classics.
“I thought going into the Railway, I certainly wasn’t full of confidence going into the Railway,” Andrews told Racing Ahead.
“I thought well if he runs in the top five, the next race at weight for age, 1800m would probably be more suitable for him.”
“And now that he has won the Railway you probably gotta be a little bit more positive going to the Kingston Town this week.”
“So I am certainly looking forward to the race, the horse is in a good zone at the moment and just has to stay out of trouble between now and then.”
Andrews reported that Luckygray has continued to improve after winning the Railway Stakes at only his second start for the Perth trainer after he returned from an unsuccessful Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign under the care of Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon.
Luckygray was previously prepared by top Perth trainer Gino Poletti who won the 2011 Railway Stakes and last year’s Kingston Town Classic with the grey.
Railway Stakes winning jockey Shaun O’Donnell rode Luckygray in a solid workout this morning and delivered a glowing repost back to Andrews.
“He had a solid gallop this morning, Shaun O’Donnell rode him and he was quite glowing in his report. Everything is good,” Andrews said.
“He’s a year older and probably a little bit more experienced.”
O’Donnell has been the regular rider for Luckygray during his career in Perth and timed his run to perfection brining the six year old from near the tail of the field on the home turn to grab the front in the shadows of the post to snatch victory from the Simon Miller trained Platinum Rocker.
“This horse has gotta be ridden patience. Shaun was held up there for a while and probably forced his hand to wait otherwise he may have taken off early too,” Andrews said.
“The beautiful run come and he timed his run to perfection.”
“He did carry 58kg and it was a pretty good effort on the horse’s part even though he had a fair bit of luck in running.”
Old rivals Mr Moet, Playing God and God Has Spoken will be lining up again in the Kingston Town Classic with three year old Ihtsahymn the new kid on the block.
Trainer Fred Kersley has such a high opinion of Ihtsahymn that he had no hestitation in stepping him up to Group 1 company after winning the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot on November 23.
Luckygray remains the favourite for the Kingston Town Classic at $2.60 in front of Mr Moet at $4.40, Ihtsahymn at $5.50 and Playing God at $8.50 while Elite Belle is marked as a $15 chance in front of stablemates Ranger at $21 and Moonlight Bay at $41.