Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
One-time favourite for the 2011 Railway Stakes on Saturday, Gino Poletti’s top local hopeful Luckygray may have suffered a blow drawing wide with barrier 14, but his trainer still heads to Ascot confident the class and progressiveness of his horse will see them through.
The marquee race at Ascot on Saturday, the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) features a full field of 16 starters plus two spares, Bradbury’s Luck gelding Luckygray one of the top fancies.
After last week losing their spot at the top of the Railway Stakes odds at Luxbet to new favourite Ranger ($3.60), Luckygray is now at a quote of $5.50.
This price could drift out slightly, however, after Luckygray drew gate 14, into 12 if the two emergencies drawn inside them come out.
“I would have liked to draw somewhere around eight or nine but you can’t change 14 so we’ll run with that,” Poletti told Perth Racing TV.
Luckygray, a winner of six of their eight career starts to date including three from three this preparation, worked consistently at the course proper at Ascot on Tuesday morning in a solo hitout that pleased Poletti.
“Couldn’t be more pleased with him,” Poletti said.
“The three week break he’s won off that before and that won’t be no excuse.
“He’s right at his top so really looking forward to this race,”
Poletti believes Luckygray has what it takes to be competitive in the Railway Stakes, Perth’s richest and most prestigious race, but said it was next year when they would see the best of the horse.
“Even though he’s going to be a lot better horse next year, obviously because he’s not fully filled out, but I’m pretty sure he can run a pretty solid mile,” Poletti said.
Saturday will be the lightly-raced four-year-old’s first look at the 1600 metres, but after their easy three and a half length romp in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) last start on October 29 Poletti holds few fears about the distance.
Top hoop Shaun O’Donnell, aboard Luckygray for their three consecutive wins this season, retains the ride in the Railway on Saturday and Poletti has full confidence he is the right hoop to have in the saddle.
“I’ll leave most riding things up to him, we’ll devise a plan and he knows what to do after that,” he said.
Also out for their fourth win on the trot this season is Railway Stakes top elect Ranger, who retained their favouritism after drawing well in barrier six.
Other horses drawn favourably include Kiwi raider He’s Remarkable ($6.50) on the rails, local Group 1 hero Playing God ($7.50) in nine, the David Harrison-trained Waratah’s Secret ($15) in gate three and last Saturday’s RJ Peters Stakes winner Westriver Kevydonn ($12) in barrier two.
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