The difficult task of winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington first-up on Saturday week has become even harder for Perth gelding Luckygray.
The five-year-old has been allocated the topweight of 58kg for the $1 million sprint which hasn’t been won first-up since 1917.
Luckygray was last seen at the Perth Summer Racing Carnival where he excelled to win the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic and the Group 2 Lee-Steere Stakes as well as finish runner-up in the Group 1 Railway Stakes.
Joining the popular grey galloper in chasing first-up Newmarket success is fellow Perth star Barakey who will carry 56kg.
The unbeaten speedster was favourite to win Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate before he was a forced late scratching after striking his head in the barriers.
Barakey suffered no ill effects as a result of the incident and trainer Jim Taylor has confirmed he will contest the Newmarket.
Six of the 24 horses remaining in Newmarket contention have been allocated 56kg or more, with the others fellow Group 1 winners Moment Of Change (56.5kg), Ortensia (56.5kg), Woorim (56.5kg) and Atomic Force (56kg).
There is set to be a strong Queensland presence in the prestigious sprint as Oakleigh Plate minor placegetters Spirit Of Boom (55kg) and Facile Tigre (54.5kg) are likely to join 2012 Oakleigh Plate champion Woorim and three-year-old colt Better Than Ready (50.5kg) in the field.
It was the second straight Oakleigh Plate minor placing for runner-up Facile Tigre while Spirit Of Boom received the highest performance rating of any horse in the race for his fast-finishing third.
Lightly-raced colt Better Than Ready took his impressive early career record to five wins from eight starts at Eagle Farm on Saturday when blowing his rivals away to win the Listed Falvelon Quality (1200m) by three lengths.