Breaking through for a maiden Group 1 victory in the late stages of autumn, trainer Wez Hunter has confirmed classy miler Smokin’ Joey remains on track to contest Saturday’s Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Perth’s Ascot Racecourse despite a less-than ideal flight over.
Reportedly taking well to his time in flight, Hunter revealed Smokin’ Joey was spooked only ten minutes from landing at Perth airport and suffered a few lesions to his skin.
Confirming the wounds as completely superficial in nature, Hunter said the Encosta De Lago gelding has since taken well to his time in Western Australia; galloping well and enjoying a trip to the beach in preparation for the 2014 Railway Stakes.
“He took a bit of skin off. It’s not what you want, but he’s okay. He went to the beach yesterday and all’s good,” Hunter told TVN.
“He warrants another shot at the race.”
Securing a commendable race record of six wins and a further seven minor places from his 43 competitive appearances on course so far, Smokin’ Joey began his racing career under the guidance of Lee Freedman in 2010; passing through the stables of Anthony Freedman and Mick Price before arriving in Hunter’s care partway through the 2013 spring.
A standout performer over the 2013 Spring Carnival, Smokin’ Joey overcame a disappointing first-up performance in winning the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1400m) before almost securing a huge upset when running a close second to Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most notably; progressing to the Railway Stakes but unlucky to be blocked for a run.
Steadily building to the task over autumn this year, the gelding out of Dalzing failed to beat a single runner home in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m) on March 8th, but placed third in the Macaulay Handicap (1400m) and sixth in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) before breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 10th.
Allocated the ideal barrier 6 for the 2014 Railway Stakes, Smokin’ Joey is currently offered as a $15 chance for success this weekend, or $4.60 to finish in the places with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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