A few days at the beach has Smokin’ Joey refreshed to tackle the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on Saturday.
Smokin’ Joey is backing up this week after running a handy eighth behind Srikandi in the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben last Saturday and trainer Wez Hunter has reported that the seven year old has done well during the week.
Hunter sent Smokin’ Joey for some light beach work early in the week before letting him stretch his legs around the training tracks on Thursday and Friday mornings.
“He has been to the beach Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then Thursday morning he just went around for a little canter around at the track,” Hunter told Racing Ahead.
Smokin’ Joey is a back marker and needs a lot of things to go his way in his races if he is to figure in the finish and Hunter was pleased with his run in the Stradbroke Handicap even though he was beaten three and three quarter lengths.
“Coming to the corner I was getting a bit excited to be honest,” Hunter said.
“He sort of loomed up behind Lumosty and he had a little bit of trouble getting clear running probably until about the one hundred metre mark and when he did he hit the line well.”
“So he was only beaten two lengths from second so I think his run was pretty good.”
“It’s frustrating because he needs that bit of room to keep his momentum and at the crucial stage he didn’t get that little bit of luck that we needed, but that’s the game we play.”
“He still hit the line well and hopefully he can do the job done this week.”
Hunter is expecting Smokin’ Joey to take up his usual position near the tail of the field from barrier seven from where jockey Damian Browne will be able to begin his run approaching the home turn.
The Mornington trainer is hoping for a fast run race for his Group 1 winner and Adelaide sprinter Nite Rocker looks the likely pace marker from barrier four.
“He has been competitive at the highest level over a mile,” Hunter said.
“So a fast run race, where he is the widest runner and a long sustained run is exactly what he is after. If he can get that then he will get his chance.”
Smokin’ Joey has been a regular competitor at Group 1 level since his two year old season and was rewarded with a Group 1 victory when he stormed home to win the 2014 $500,000 000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.
Hunter said that he has no plans of retiring the rising eight year old and following a short break after the Eye Liner Stakes will prepare him for another Spring Carnival campaign with the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival high on the agenda again after finishing second in 2013 and seventh last Spring.
“He will have a little break. I won’t give him long off. I find that when I gave him a decent spell he took forever to come back and that was the worst prep he had for me,” Hunter said.
“He’ll have three to four weeks off then straight back into it.”
“He hasn’t got anything wrong with him at all which is amazing and he is not a horse that we overtax on the tracks.”
“He is just a mature old horse that copes with racing, so he loves travelling and hopefully we can get him back for the Spring and have another crack at the Emirates.”
Smokin’ Joey is currently at the head of the market order for the Eye Liner Stakes at $4.20 with Ladbrokes.com.au just in front of Nite Rocker at $4.60, the Peter Moody trained Ulmann at $5.50 and Robert Heathcote’s last start winner Riva De Lago at $6.50.
Eye Liner Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Smokin’ Joey, $4.60 Nite Rocker, $5.50 Ulmann, $6.50 Riva De Lago, $10 Pillar Of Creation, Daph ‘N’ Alf, Gundy Spirit, $11 Neo, $26 Black Cash, $34 Soros, $51 Tokamak.