Fresh off the back of a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 10th, trainer Wez Hunter is confident in the chances of Smokin’ Joey in this weekend’s featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) after a strong track gallop on Monday morning.
Having also contested an impressive barrier trial at Cranbourne last week, Hunter confirmed the Encosta De Lago gelding has pulled up in prime condition ahead of his third consecutive trip north of the border to contest events over the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
“He worked super,” a noticeably pleased hunter told TVN.
“We freshened him after the Goodwood, backed off him for 10 days and trialled him at Cranbourne last week.
“He’s ready to go.”
A noted performer on the left-handed way of going, Hunter has been pleased with Smokin’ Joey’s adaptability in comfortably switching to the right-handed way of going typical of racing events in Queensland.
Arguably hitting peak condition over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Smokin’ Joey strolled home to win the Group 3 TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) before nearly causing the season’s biggest upset when just beaten on the line by Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most notably on November 9th.
Appearing to have returned to racing in less-than convincing form this season, the six-year-old out of Dalzing finishing well off the pace in both the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m) first-up before steadily returning to form in claiming third in the Macauley Handicap (1400m) and sixth in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) prior to the Goodwood.
Hopeful of drawing a wide barrier this weekend, Smokin’ Joey is currently offered at generous $15 odds for success in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap.
Aiming for an impressive sixth consecutive victory when lining up at Eagle Farm this weekend, Srikandi is currently sole occupant of the top line of betting at a quote of $4.60, ahead of Rebel Dane ($6.50), Hucklebuck ($7) and Red Tracer ($8.50).
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early odds on the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap.
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