Star Western Australian galloper Luckygray is on track for his Spring debut for new trainer Robert Smerdon.
Smerdon has taken over the preparation of the dual Group 1 winner from top Perth trainer Gino Poletti and the five year old is set to step out in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
“He’s well into his preparation and is not far off being ready for a trial,” Smerdon said.
“I’m really happy with him, he’s doing everything right. I’m not quite sure when he’ll kick off, but certainly on track for a race like the Toorak.”
But Poletti has to take all of the credit for Luckygray’s superstar popularity in the west with twelve wins from twenty starts, including the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in November 2011 and the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch.Mobi – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot last December.
Luckygray has travelled to the eastern states on two occasions without success and owner Barry Mitchell thought that the best chance for Luckygray to compete with the topliners in the Spring is to be trained in Melbourne.
“The move will expose him to better company and open up more possibilities for us,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell even has high hopes of competing in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
“A Cox Plate would be really nice but we will see,” Mitchell said.
“We do not know how he will shape up against the really good horses.”
Luckygray’s best efforts in Melbourne have been two fourths, once behind Second Effort in the Group 2 $220,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 18 last year and in the Autumn this year at his most recent start behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 $400,000 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Top Perth jockey Shaun O’Donnell has been the regular rider for Luckygray in the west and the eastern states to date but there has been no jockey confirmed for the upcoming Spring campaign.