Stradbroke Handicap late entry Smokin’ Joey will arrive in Brisbane on Monday night in better shape than when he won the Group 1 $500,000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 10, according to his trainer Wez Hunter.
Smokin’ Joey’s connections decided to pay the $23,100 last entry fee for the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday after the six year old came from last on the corner to win the Goodwood.
Hunter has given Smokin’ Joey a short freshen up when he returned to Melbourne and Hunter has him ready again to contest another tough Group 1 sprint.
“We freshened him after the Goodwood, backed off him for 10 days and trialled him at Cranbourne last week,” Hunter told Racing Network.
“He’s ready to go.”
Goodwood winning jockey Ben Melham will again be aboard Smokin’ Joey and he and Hunter were pleased with the gelding’s work out in the clockwise direction at Mornington this morning.
“He worked super,” Hunter said.
Smokin’ Joey had the blinkers back on when he won the Goodwood but Hunter was happy to trial him without the head gear when third to Shanghai Warrior and My Survivor in a 800m Cranbourne trial on May 26.
“I took the blinkers off him and he really hit the line. That was ideal and he’s pulled up really well,” Hunter said.
Hunter realises that Smokin’ Joey always needs plenty of luck in his races and is hoping the genuine speed of a Stradbroke Handicap will help him get to the outside in the straight and give him a chance to reproduce the blistering finish that saw him win the Goodwood.
Smokin’ Joey is currently marked as a $21 chance for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au with Melbourne filly Srikandi heading the market order at $4.60.
Gary Portelli’s Group 1 winner Rebel Dane is the second pick at $6.50 ahead of Adelaide three year old Hucklebuck at $7 and Chris Waller’s top class mare Red Tracer ($8.50) who is just shading Doomben 10000 winner Spirit Of Boom at $9.