Luckygray may not have fired in Melbourne during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but returned to his best form with an impressive win in the 2013 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot this afternoon.
Luckygray won his first Railway Stakes in 2011 after a controversial protest against He’s Remarkable was upheld but no one could say that Luckygray didn’t deserve this win; with the six-year-old swooping down the outside late to beat a brave Platinum Rocker and Robert Heathcote-trained Fire Up Fifi.
The son of Bradbury’s Luck joined the stable of Trevor Andrews after he beat home just a single runner in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), while under the care of Robert Smerdon, but returned to a semblance of his best form with a fourth place finish in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m).
Andrews was happy with Luckygray’s performance in the Lee Steere Stakes but admitted during the week that he did not rate his latest acquisition a winning chance in the Railway Stakes because of his heavy weight and outside barrier draw.
The Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 7 was the major Perth Summer Racing Carnival goal for Luckygray but Andrews was clearly delighted that his decision to give the tough gelding another crack at the Railway Stakes had paid off.
“I’ve had him for six weeks since he came back from Melbourne and I have been really happy with the horse,” Andrews said after the race.
“There have been a lot of negatives about him and I have had to bring him back from Melbourne, recharge the batteries and press forward.
“I thought his first-up run here was full of credit and Shaun O’Donnell has been glowing in praise for his trackwork.
“He just had to be patient from the gate, which was the big concern for me, but I am just over the moon and really pleased.”
Jockey Shaun O’Donnell has developed a very close bond with Luckygray and gave his favourite horse a gem of a ride; patiently biding his time before letting the six-year-old loose down the outside at the 300 metre mark.
The leading Perth jockey could not have timed his run better and was clearly emotional to have picked up his third Group 1 win and his second Railway Stakes on the Ascot specialist.
“This feeling is unbelievable; he is a freak this horse I love him,” O’Donnell said after the race.
“I have never lost faith in this horse; unfortunately they didn’t see the best of him over there but what champions do is come home and win.
“I think that it is about 40 years since something like this has happened and trust him to be the horse to do it.
“It is just brilliant, two Railways, and hopefully nothing can take it away this time.”