Smokin’ Joey has been included in the 2015 Blamey Stakes field and trainer Wez Hunter is thrilled with the in-form galloper ahead of the Group 2 event at Flemington this Saturday.
Smokin’ Joey has been in excellent form since he started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign and he returned to winning form with a narrow win in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 before he finished second behind Suavito in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on February 28.
The Encosta De Lago gelding was the beneficiary of an excellent ride from talented young hoop Chris Parnham in the Futurity Stakes and Hunter told Racing Ahead that he was thrilled with the way that the seven-year-old was able to take on Dissident in the Group 1 event.
“He is really good and I am really happy with him,” Hunter said.
“Chris and I had the plan that if Dissident had the cheap run in front he would kick away and we comfortably and we would run about fifth and we went out there to try and beat him.
“It is a shame that we did get and still got rolled, but I was really happy with the ride and really happy with the run.”
Smokin’ Joey has not had a significant stint in the spelling paddock since the end of his winter campaign last year and Hunter said that the gelding has only done one serious piece of work in the lead-up to the Blamey Stakes.
Hunter said that he knows exactly what he needs to do to keep Smokin’ Joey happy and he revealed that the enigmatic galloper has the choice to spend the night in a paddock or in his regular stable.
“He had a good gallop yesterday morning at Mornington and that was his first real hit-out since the Futurity,” Hunter said.
“We are just keeping him up to the mark and keeping him happy.
“He is out in the paddock all day and if I got out to get him in the afternoon and he doesn’t come to the gate then he stays there for the night.
“It is just up to him what he does, some days he is knocking down the gate to get in and other days he doesn’t want to know me.
“He has a routine and we know how to keep him.
“He goes into this spot-on and I am looking forward to it.”
The 2015 Blamey Stakes was released this morning and Smokin’ Joey is set to take on the likes of Sertorius, Jacquinot Bay, Suavito, Escado, Shoreham, Guest Of Honour, Kourkam and Waxing in the Group 2 event.