Gino Poletti’s talented Perth raider Luckygray is on track for their new season debut this weekend when the dual Group 1 winner vies for their third elite level win in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap on Flemington’s Super Saturday where they will be out to make history.
Allocated the 58kg top-weight for this year’s edition of the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m), the Bradbury’s Luck five-year-old races for the first time since their nice win over Mr Moet in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in early December.
If successful on Saturday Luckygray will become the first horse since Polycrates way back in 1917 to win the famed sprint first-up, a feat Poletti believes is more than achievable.
“I’m over here to win. This has been his target race for some time,” he said.
“I thought about doing it last year, but he just wasn’t ready to cope with it.
“He flies fresh over 1200m or 1400m.
“He’s very lethal first-up and he can run a fast time.”
As for their hefty weight allocation, recent history suggests that they can still get the job done with the past two top-weights saluting in the race setting records with Black Caviar (58kg in 2011) and Hay List (58.5kg in 2012).
The Kingston Town meanwhile was the grey’s second official Group 1 success after their controversial protest win over Kiwi galloper He’s Remarkable in the 2011 Railway Stakes.
Luckygray had a two-start campaign in Melbourne last year but failed to make an impact when fourth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) in the wet before their distant 11th to Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Having regained their form during the summer carnival back home however connections are hopeful they will be more competitive this Melbourne Festival of Racing where they will also be given just the two runs.
“He’s a lot better than last spring. I think even since his last campaign he is bigger and stronger and he’s holding his weight well,” Poletti said.
Following their tough resuming run in the Newmarket things will get even harder for Luckygray who will take on the world’s best mare Black Caviar in the $400,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m0 at Moonee Valley on March 22.
While it will be a tough ask, Poletti and connections are excited at the prospect of taking on the ‘Black Flash’.
“We’d love to take her on,” Poletti said of Black Caviar.
“His owners are very excited.
“The owners have made it clear they want to take on Black Caviar so they will get their wish and I also want him to race at the Valley before the spring carnival.”
Poletti also confirmed that despite a nomination for the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20, Luckygray would return home to WA after the William Reid.
The 2013 Newmarket Handicap field is due out shortly with other topline entries including Peter Moody’s Lightning Stakes runner-up Moment Of Change, globetrotting mare Ortensia, Brisbane visitor Woorim and of course the undefeated Barakey also from Perth.
Luckygray and Jim Taylor’s Winterbottom Stakes winner Barakey both had their Newmarket tune-ups on Tuesday morning running 800m down the Flemington straight, and both were very impressive.