After ruling out a Toorak Handicap 2013 bid for spruik youngster Ossenhagen earlier this week, Robert Smerdon is turning his attention to new stable acquisition Luckygray who has come to his Melbourne operation from Perth.
Formerly prepared in Ascot by Gino Poletti, Bradbury’s Luck grey Luckygray is a dual Group 1 winner back in WA but are yet to break through in interstate company.
They could get the chance to change that this coming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with their new trainer, the Caulfield-based Smerdon, planning to target them for the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on Caulfield Guineas Day, Saturday October 12.
Five-year-old Luckygray has won 12 of their 20 starts to date including last year’s Kingstown Town Classic, the 2011 Railway Stakes and a whole host of other Group status races in Perth.
Their record there is outstanding but it is the Victorian riches Smerdon will be chasing.
Poletti took Luckygray to Melbourne early last spring where they ran a promising first-up fourth to Second Effort in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) in the mud.
Their next run was disappointing however when 11th to Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and their campaign was cut short.
After a 20 week stint on the sidelines they returned in the summer back home and killed it winning the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m), finishing second to Mr Moet in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and then becoming a dual Group 1 winner when turning the tables on the Railway champ in the Kingston Town.
That ace form saw their then trainer Poletti take another stab at Melbourne, but again it was a failed bid.
The horse had two runs during the autumn in Victoria when eighth to Shamexpress in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and then fourth to the mighty Black Caviar in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) back in March.
Smerdon hopes they will be more competitive under his care as they get more practice at the tracks before race day and step up to their pet distance of a mile.
He’s had them with him since the end of the autumn and believe they will be ready to resume in just a few weeks.
“He’s well into his preparation and is not far off being ready for a trial,” Smerdon said.
“I’m really happy with him, he’s doing everything right. I’m not quite sure when he’ll kick off, but certainly on track for a race like the Toorak.”