Trainer Wez Hunter will kick off Smokin’ Joey’s Spring campaign earlier than expected in the Group 3 $150,000 Race-Tech Australia Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hunter had pencilled in the Group 2 $200,000 Back To Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 as Smokin’ Joey’s return date but when the Melbourne Racing Club called for extra nominations for the Bletchingly Stakes, a late nom was entered.
“I was looking at trialling him next Wednesday morning at Mornington but I saw the noms were pretty light on so I threw him in,” Hunter told RSN.
“We will still go to the P B Lawrence second up.”
Hunter gave Smokin’ Joey three weeks off following his win in the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 13 and expects the seven year old to be powering home at the end of the 1200m on Saturday.
“He had three weeks off after the Eye Liner and has done particularly well since arriving back with me,” Hunter said.
“He wasn’t gross or anything like that when he got to me and he has got that residual fitness on fresh legs. He is right where I want him.
“He is really well. His work yesterday (Tuesday) was super.”
“Given the right run he should be somewhere in the money.”
Chris Parnham finds himself back on board and is hoping the pair can combine for another win after securing victory in the Group 3 $150,000 T S Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield during the 2015 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Smokin’ Joey is the highest rated horse in the Bletchingly Stakes and Hunter considers him well weighted under the weight for age conditions of the race.
“At weight for age there are horses there that are thirty points lower than him almost and they are carrying the same weight so he gets in pretty well. His record at Caulfield is pretty good,” Hunter said.
Smokin’ Joey is well in the betting for Bletchingly Stakes and is marked at $6.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Robbie Laing’s speedster Lord Of The Sky heads the market order at $3 ahead of the Peter Moody trained Angels Beach at $4.80 with David Hayes and Tom Dabernig’s Petrology also marked as a $6.50 chance.