A sizzling track gallop at Mornington on Saturday morning has convinced trainer Wez Hunter that Smokin’ Joey is primed to tackle a crack field in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
Local track clocker Les O’Briem was most impressed with Smokin’ Joey’s hit out, reporting to Hunter that is was the best gallop he had clocked for a long while.
“He worked sensationally. The Mornington track-clocker Les O’Briem said he hadn’t seen a horse work that well for a long time,” Hunter told the Herald Sun.
“It was effortless work. It was just the way he did it.”
Hunter has found the secret for Smokin’ Joey in the three weeks that he has been in his stable and regular beach session accredited to his return to the winner’s stall in the Group 3 $200,000 TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on November 2.
Smokin’ Joey then backed up seven days later to be beaten a head by Boban in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington which prompted connections to pay a $22,000 late entry fee for the Railway Stakes.
The former inconsistent galloper has since travelled to Perth and gets his chance to live up to his early potential and produce another first class performance in the Railway Stakes.
Hunter’s partner Meredith Tuckett travelled with Smokin’ Joey and has reported that the six year old has arrived in Perth in fine order.
“Meredith said he never turned a hair on the trip. He then went straight to the paddock and had a roll and then went and had a big brekky,” Hunter said.
Market framers have listed Smokin’ Joey the $5 favourite for the Railway Stakes just ahead of the Queensland trained pair of Fire Up Fifi and Longport at $6 with the Peter Moody trained Plucky Belle the next in the betting at $8.50.