Ascot trainer Gino Poletti has confirmed his stable star Luckygray will be thrown in the deep end early on this campaign when the dual Group 1 winner resumes racing in the Newmarket Handicap 2013 during Melbourne’s Autumn Racing Carnival.
The striking grey Bradbury’s Luck gelding has been the picture of consistency over their 18 start career so far which has produced 12 wins and two minor placings for over $1.78 million in prize money.
Their first major stakes win came in October 2011 when they took out the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) one run before Luckygray became a Group 1 champ in the Railway Stakes after a successful protest saw them elevated from second behind He’s Remarkable to first.
After a fifth in that year’s Railway Stakes to Playing God Luckygray went out for a spell before returning with three Group 3 wins at Belmont Park which earned them their first interstate campaign.
They failed to fire in Melbourne however when a credible fourth in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) in the wet at Caulfield was followed by a disappointing 11th behind Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
It has been onwards from their for Luckygray however who won the Group 2 Lee Steer Stakes (1400m) first-up back home before a second to Mr Moet in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
He may have failed to successfully defend his Railway title but they turned the tables on Mr Moet next start when scoring their second Group 1 trophy in the Kingston Town Classic.
Now Poletti is eyeing even more prestigious honours for the galloper, who resumed pre-training on Monday, naming the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 9 as their new season assignment.
“The Newmarket is his main aim,” Poletti confirmed.
“I plan to get stabling at Flemington so he can have a trial up the straight before the Newmarket.”
Sure to attract, as always, a field of the nation’s best sprinters the 2013 Newmarket Handicap could also draw another WA sprint star in Barakey – Jim Taylor’s undefeated Winterbottom Stakes winner having taken out all 11 of their career starts to date.
There’s a chance that if Luckygray can mix it with the best in Melbourne this autumn that they will continue on to one of the country’s ‘majors’, the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse on April 20.
“He will be entered for the Doncaster, but whether he has another start will depend on how things go,” Poletti said.
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