Returning hoop Ben Melham made it back-to-back wins in The Goodwood 2014 this year riding the Wez Hunter-trained roughie Smokin’ Joey to victory in the Group 1 at Adelaide.
Melham was forced to stop riding last November due to hip pain that he subsequently had surgery for earlier this year, today’s Morphettville meeting his first back in the saddle.
It was success straight up at the highest level too as he flew home down the outside aboard Encosta De Lago six-year-old Smokin’ Joey ($41) who held off last year’s The Goodwood winner Platelet ($8) to win in the final few strides.
Adding even more value to The Goodwood trifecta was then last start Matrice Stakes winner Riziz ($26) in third for local horseman Ken Sweeney.
Melham was aboard the Darren Weir-trained Platelet for both her Goodwood win last year as well as her Robert Sangster success leading up to that making it an Adelaide Racing Carnival treble for the hoop who also rode last year’s SA Derby winner Escado.
Today he wouldn’t have been feeling as confident as 12 months ago, however to Slow track and fast pace worked to his horse’s advantage.
Smokin’ Joey was safely held last start back at Caulfield when a distant sixth to Sistine Demon, a $7 chance in this afternoon’s race, in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) on April 19 but today was his day.
While not boasting the most consistent record, when he wins he does so at big odds with Smokin’ Joey’s last victory being in the Group 3 TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival where he also started as a $40 outsider.
A galloper that doesn’t like to be surrounded closely by their rivals throughout the run, today Smokin’ Joey enjoyed Melham hooking them to the outside.
Karacatis was one of the best out of their wide barrier after The Goodwood field jumped as was Sistine Demon with Sessions and Classy Jack near the inside also showing early speed.
The retiring Miracles Of Life, who drifted out from favouritism to $12 before the start, meanwhile was right up there moving up to settle third.
On the turn for home Andrew Noblet’s Sistine Demon and the emergency runner Classy Jack were the joint leaders.
Down the straight there were a number of chances, including Daniel Clarken’s 2013 Blue Diamond winner Miracles Of Life and Riziz.
Platelet looked like going becoming the third mare in as many years to take out the Robert Sangster – The Goodwood double as she hit the lead, but the roughie got up on the outside and beat her to the line.
Smokin’ Joey has now won seven of their 39 career starts, today’s prize money taking their earnings to over $1.32 million in prize money.
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2014 The Goodwood Results & Finishing Order
Morphettville Race 7 – 10/05/2014
|1||8||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Ben Melham||–||11||56kg||$41|
|2||2||PLATELET||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||0.5L||15||57kg||$7.50|
|3||10||RIZIZ||Ken Sweeney||Chris Symons||1.3L||4||55.5kg||$26|
|4||20||GREGERS||David Hayes||Dwayne Dunn||2.6L||5||53.5kg||$10|
|5||13||READY TO RIP||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||3.6L||13||54.5kg||$20|
|6||12||KARACATIS||Richard Jolly||Mark Zahra||3.7L||17||55.5kg||$41|
|7||5||UNPRETENTIOUS||Nikki Burke||Damien Oliver||4L||6||57kg||$10|
|8||4||CONSERVATORIUM||Gary Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||4.2L||16||57kg||$41|
|9||11||NATUZZI (NZ)||Paul Richards||Chris Johnson||4.5L||19||55.5kg||$31|
|10||1||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Craig Newitt||4.8L||1||58.5kg||$41|
|11||16||OFFICE BEARER||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||5.9L||9||54.5kg||$21|
|12||9||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Jason Holder||6L||12||56kg||$8|
|13||3||SESSIONS||John O’Shea||Steven Arnold||7.4L||14||57kg||$13|
|14||14||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes||Ms Kayla Nisbet (a)||7.9L||8||54.5kg||$21|
|15||6||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Vlad Duric||8.2L||3||56.5kg||$7.50|
|16||19||MIRACLES OF LIFE||Daniel Clarken||Dean Yendall||8.2L||2||54kg||$10|
|17||21e||CLASSY JACK||John Hickmott||Darren Gauci||16.2L||7||53kg||$31|
|18||7||SISTINE DEMON||Andrew Noblet||Ms Jamie Kah (a)||19.9L||18||56kg||$6.50F|
|19||18||WHITLAM||Danielle Wilson||Matthew Neilson||26.1L||10||54.5kg||$101|
|–||22e||LUCKY SYMBOL||Phillip Stokes||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||15||ESPRIT DE BULLET (NZ)||John Hyam||Troy Baker||–||0||–||–|
|–||17||ECLAIR BIG BANG (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||–||0||–||–|