Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
On Saturday controversial Railway Stakes winner-on-protest Luckygray will jump favourite in the 2011 Kingston Town Classic at Ascot, Gino Poletti’s champion four-year-old out to become the fourth horse in the past decade to complete the Railway Stakes – Kingston Town Classic double.
A winner of seven of their nine career starts to date for a remarkable $876,125 in prize money, the progressive Luckygray earned a Railway start after three straight spring triumphs including their emphatic three and a half length win in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m).
Back on the track for the 10th time this weekend, Luckygray has been well-supported to take out the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) as they sit at the top of the Luxbet markets at a quote of $2.60.
A victory will see them join Sniper’s Bullet (2009), Modem (2004) and Old Comrade (2001) as horses to complete Perth’s famed Group 1 double in the same season.
Former champion galloper and Hall of Famer Better Loosen Up also enjoyed success in both of WA’s elite levels, but they won the features in separate years winning the 1989 Kingston Town Classic, then known as the Winfield Stakes, and the 1990 Railway Stakes
It was a grinding and at times brutal edition of the Railway Stakes this year, many horses including Luckygray coming out of the race with soreness and injury.
“I’m very happy with him, he got quite a few cuts and bruises around his back fetlocks but no infection set in but it took about three or four days for the swelling to come down,” Poletti said of Luckygray who has been receiving continued muscle work since the Railway.
“The horse himself’s thrived, he’s put back on the weight he lost, he lost about six kilos in the race.”
Luckygray was given a solid piece of work at Ascot on Tuesday morning, pleasing Poletti and race jockey Shaun O’Donnell with his gallop.
“I’m very happy with him and his work this morning he looked very free in his action and Shaun’s very happy with him,” Poletti said.
Luckygray has stepped up and answered all of the challenges put to him so far in his short but very promising career, Poletti with high hopes the horse can again rise to the occasion on Saturday despite their sharp weight increase from 53kg for the Railway to 58.5kg under the weight-for-age conditions of the Kingston Town.
“I certainly do (see the weight as a concern),” Poletti said.
“It’s a totally different race.
“I set him for the Railway about eight months ago and we got through on the minimum weight and he’s done the job in terrific order.
“This wasn’t an afterthought this race, if he won the Railway I was always going to go for this.”
Saturday will also be Luckygray’s first time over the 1800 metres, the Railway having been their first attempt at a mile, and how they handle a more genuine staying test is also a question Poletti is looking forward to having answered.
“1800 metres he’s starting to get into stayers’ territory and there’s some good tough stayers like Kincaple ($12 Luxbet) and that going for the Perth Cup (on New Year’s Eve) and they’re still a bit fresh so they’re not going to go away in the straight and it’s going to be a really, really tough race for him to win,” Poletti admitted.
“But as I said I’ll run him because he’ll go for a pretty long spell after this and it’ll just sort of clear avenues where I’ll go with him after a spell.”
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