They may be the defending champion and the current favourite but Luckygray has a tough test ahead of them if they are to become just the second dual Railway Stakes winner in history this weekend as their local Ascot-based trainer Gary Poletti is well aware.
Bradbury’s Luck gelding Luckygray boasts an excellent record of 11 wins from 16 career starts to date and will look to add their second Group 1 triumph to that card when they jump favourite in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m).
Last Perth Summer Racing Carnival the exciting grey backed up from a blistering three and a half length victory in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) to cross second behind He’s Remarkable in the Railway.
However their jockey Shaun O’Donnell, in the saddle again this weekend, lodged a protest for interference suffered near the 600m mark against the winner and their hoop Kerrin McEvoy and was successful so that Luckygray was awarded the win.
They have won four of their seven starts since including their impressive two length victory first-up on November 10 in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) where they defeated a field full of Railway Stakes hopefuls.
While they carried 59kg for the Lee Steere and drop back to 58kg on Saturday Poletti is still wary of their top-weight in the Railway as Luckygray had just 53kg on their back in the classic last year, and also rates them as vulnerable from their wide barrier 12 draw.
“History shows topweights have an appalling record in this race,” Poletti told Sky Sports Radio.
History is also against Luckygray in another respect as just one horse in history since the Railway was inaugurated in 1894 has won back-to-back editions with Miss Muffet (1987-88), and Poletti knows it may be another up-and-comer in the field that could steal the show.
“Last year I came through the back door (with Luckygray) and won a race that qualified him,” Poletti said.
“If there is another Luckygray coming through on 53 kilograms you know you can’t beat them on the low weights.
“That may emerge but I hope it doesn’t.
“All he needs is a trouble-free run so that he can show his wares. If the 58 bogs him down … so be it.”
Still the bookies believe the defending champ is the one to beat and have Luckygray at the top of the Railway Stakes odds at a quote of $3.20.
Their main dangers are perceived to be the Grant Williams-trained Ranger ($7), Gai Waterhouse’s Epsom Handicap winner Fat Al ($8) and last Saturday’s Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes winner Maschino ($8).
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