Smokin’ Joey ran a close second in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last time out, and has reportedly taken invaluable condition from the performance ahead of Saturday’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m).
Jumping from the gates well, up-and-coming jockey Chris Parnham settled Smokin’ Joey on the heels of the races early leaders; receiving an ideal run in transit and unlucky to finish second to Suavito after kicking well in the final straight.
Thrilled with the overall performance and result posted by jockey and mount, trainer Wez Hunter is thrilled with the condition of the Encosta De Lago gelding and is confident a step-back in class to the 2015 Blamey Stakes will see a return to the winner’s circle on Saturday.
“He is really good and I am really happy with him,” Hunter told Racing Ahead.
“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 still got rolled, but I was really happy with the ride and really happy with the run.
“He had a good gallop yesterday morning at Mornington and that was his first real hit-out since the Futurity.
“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.”
Breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level in last year’s edition of the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), Smokin’ Joey steadily built to the task through spring and found good form over a brief Perth tenure; running fourth in each of the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Returning this year for fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1600m), Smokin’ Joey charged home from the rear of the field to win the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) in what was his only other start prior to the Futurity Stakes.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Blamey Stakes odds, for which Smokin’ Joey can be taken at a generous quote of $5 for success!