No horse has managed to win the classic Newmarket Handicap first-up since Polycrates back in 1917 but one well-credentialed galloper out to break the drought of resuming sprinters in the Flemington feature this Saturday is WA star Luckygray.
This year’s edition of the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) attracted 14 final acceptors, two of which are Group 1 winners from Perth with the undefeated Barakey and the Gino Poletti-trained Luckygray.
Five-year-old Bradbury’s Luck grey Luckygray currently occupies the fourth line of Newmarket Handicap betting trailing the Peter Moody-trained Moment Of Change ($2.70), Winterbottom Stakes winner Barakey ($6) and crack Brisbane colt Better Than Ready ($6.50).
Luckygray not only has the first-up hoodoo over their head but the last-start Kingstown Town Classic winner has also drawn the extreme outside barrier (14) and has the hefty 58kg topweight to carry home.
So can they overcome the history and stats and still get the job done with an upset Newmarket Handicap result?
Their trainer is certainly confident the barrier won’t be their undoing.
“It’s a nice straight run and with no turns you haven’t got a great deal to worry about,” Poletti said.
“Actually, Luckygray has had 15 race starts and has drawn 14 about eight times, so I’m not really concerned.
“And I try not to worry too much about it because it’s one aspect of the race that you can’t change.”
Below we take a look at the pros and cons of jumping on the Luckygray bandwagon on the weekend.
#1 Luckygray – Horse Form
- Barrier: 14
- Jockey: Shaun O’Donnell
- Trainer: Gino Poletti
- Owners: Mr R F Drage, Mr T Maver, Mr B R Mitchell
- Age: 5YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Bradbury’s Luck (AUS) from Damah Lady (AUS)
- Career: 18-12-2-0
- Win: 66.67%
- Place: 77.78%
- Last 6: 40121x
- Prize Money: $1,784,575
- Track: 0-0-0-0
- Distance: 5-5-0-0
- Current 2013 Newmarket Handicap Odds: $7.50
Yes – Luckygray Can be the Newmarket Handicap 2013 Winner
- Specialist at the distance with a perfect five from five record over the 1200m
- Outside of the undefeated #5 Barakey (100%) they boast the second best Win Rate of the field with 66.67%
- Also has a consistent Place rate of 77.78%
- One of the highest earners in this field having amassed close to $1.8 million in prize money to date
- Two of their wins have been at elite level including the Kingston Town Classic last start back home
- WA sprinters have a good record in the race with notable winners including Perth expat Hay List last year
- While they are officially yet to race at Flemington they enjoyed a strong trial at the track earlier in the week
- On paper the widest barrier in the field isn’t great but they have drawn double digits in seven of their 15 career starts winning the Group 1 Railway Stakes in 2011 from barrier 12 and last year’s Group 3 Belmont Sprint from 13
No – Luckygray Won’t Win the 2013 Newmarket Handicap
- Has the extreme outside barrier (14 of 14) to overcome while a number of other top fancies including the favourite #2 Moment Of Change (7) and #13 Better Than Ready (8) have drawn better
- No Newmarket Handicap winner has taken out the race first-up since 1917
- While they have proved more than once they can handle plenty of weight including 59kg in the Kingston Town Classic they still must give a lot of weight away to some quality rivals when carrying 58kg on Saturday including the favourite Moment Of Change on 56.5kg
- Have never seen Flemington under race conditions and their two runs in Melbourne during the spring weren’t their best
Think Luckygray is worth a punt on this weekend? Or have another favourite in the Newmarket field you’re wanting to get behind?