Smokin’ Joey’s Emirates Stakes odds have continued to firm overnight with the prospect of a slick pace being set by the bold front running The Cleaner at Flemington today.
While The Cleaner’s tactics will make sure the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) is run at a solid tempo, giving every runner its chance to run on, the slick pace will especially suit Smokin’ Joey who runs his best races under those conditions.
Smokin’ Joey was installed as a $41 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au when final acceptances for the Emirates Stakes were released on Wednesday and his price has been halved to $21 on race day morning.
Trainer Wez Hunter says that with The Cleaner guaranteed to string the field out, it will be the best chance for Smokin’ Joey to win a Spring Carnival feature.
“He’s going to ensure a genuine speed which is going to give every horse a chance,” Hunter told the Herald Sun.
“I think he’s the best placed to win a race this spring.”
Smokin’ Joey is sometimes labelled very inconsistent but the back maker needs everything to fall into place to produce his best as he showed when he came from last to win the Group 1 $500,000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville during the Autumn Carnival.
And the Encosta De Lago gelding nearly collected the main prize with a last finishing burst when a narrow second to Boban in last year’s Emirates Stakes but is up 4kgs on that effort this time around.
Smokin’ Joey has had three runs in this campaign and was only beaten two and a half lengths last start when seventh to Hucklebuck in the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last Saturday.
“He had to face the breeze last week and he ran the same last 600m sectional as Hucklebuck,” Hunter said.
“He’s up four kilograms on last year but he’s going just as well.”
The John O’Shea trained Contributer remains at the top of the market order for the Emirates Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $5 ahead of Hooked at $7, Lucky Hussler and Bull Point both at $7.50, Leebaz at $8, The Cleaner at $9 and Hucklebuck at $10.