Trainer Wez Hunter has revealed that he will be instructing jockey Chris Parnham to settle Smokin’ Joey closer to the speed in the 2015 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Smokin’ Joey stormed home late to record an impressive win in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 and has generally been ridden as a backmarker during his racing career, but Hunter told Racing Ahead that he believes that a change in racing pattern is needed for Smokin’ Joey to have the best possible chance to finish in the placings this weekend.
“It is a high pressure Group 1, so you need to be fit and we haven’t done a lot with him,” Hunter said.
“We will probably aim to have him a bit closer and if they want to trot and canter and basically just hand it to Dissident, there is no point just following them around.
“I am of the opinion that we could have him midfield in the race and give him a chance to finish in the money.”
Smokin’ Joey was only given a short stint in the spelling paddock after he returned to Melbourne following fourth place finishes in both the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth before he returned to racing in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24.
Hunter said that Smokin’ Joey was happy to have returned to winning form in the Carlyon Cup and he feels that the seven-year-old has come out of the race in excellent condition heading into the 2015 Futurity Stakes.
“He is very good,” Hunter said.
“He knows that he won the other day and he is pretty happy with himself.
“We have just really kept him ticking over, we took him to Caulfield yesterday morning and he had a little dash up.
“I am really happy with him.”
Smokin’ Joey will be contesting the Futurity Stakes for the second year in a row after he finished a disappointing eighth behind Moment Of Change in the 2014 edition of the race.
Smokin Joey is currently available at 2015 Futurity Stakes odds of $13 with Ladbrokes Australia and is on the fifth line of betting behind dominant favourite Dissident ($1.70), Orr Stakes runner-up Entirely Platinum ($6), Gai Waterhouse-trained mare Driefontein ($6.50) and talented four-year-old Bull Point ($8.50).