Smokin’ Joey will be freshened up and taken back to Morphettville in an attempt to win back to back victories in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) on May 16.
Smokin’ Joey produced a barnstorming finish to deny Platelet back to back wins in last year’s running of South Australia’s number one sprint race and trainer Wez Hunter is hoping the seven year old can enter the winner’s circle again.
The Mornington trainer has been happy with Smokin’ Joey’s Autumn form before he failed when well fancied to finish fourth to Suavito in the Group 2 $200,000 Incognitus Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 14.
But Hunter found that the Encosta De Lago gelding was suffering from a cold and is willing to forget the run as he plans his attack on a second Goodwood.
“He had a cold. I thought he was below average that day (in the Blamey) and then post that he was a bit crook so we backed off and we’ve got plenty of time,” Hunter told AAP.
“He’ll go to The Goodwood and will have a barrier trial before that.
“He’ll be coming back to 1200 metres and hopefully he can do it again.”
Hunter doesn’t consider the drop back to 1200m from the 1600m of the Blamey stakes will pose a problem after he came off a sixth over 1400m in the Group 3 $150,000 Race-Tech Victoria Handicap at Caulfield before winning the Goodwood last year.
Smokin’ Joey has covered a bit of territory since his Goodwood win almost twelve months again and after racing through the Spring Carnival in Melbourne, Hunter took the tough gelding to Perth where he ran fourth in both the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot.
He kicked off his Autumn Carnival campaign with a first up fourth to Mourinho in the Group 2 $200,000 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and then scored his first win since taking out the Goodwood by beating Jacquinot Bay in the Group 3 $150,000 T S Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14.
Then at his next start Smokin’ Joey ran a positive second to Suavito in the Group 1 $400,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 28.
The Goodwood has only ever been won back to back by the same horse on two occasions, in 1894 – 95 by Mostyn and that feat was repeated in 1911 – 12 by Musket Belle.
Smokin’ Joey has been a great money spinner for his connections with earnings of over $1.285 million in prizemoney from seven wins from forty-nine starts.