Hoop Ben Melham has ridden seven-year-old gelding Smokin’ Joey in his last seven starts but is keen to try a different approach in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in Perth this Saturday.
Of those seven starts, Smokin’ Joey won the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) back in May but has failed to finish in the placings in any of the other six. Melham told TVN of his intention to be more positive on the gelding in this Saturday’s $1 million feature race at Ascot Racecourse.
Smokin’ Joey is also looking for to atone in the 2014 Railway Stakes after starting last year’s race as the betting favourite before finishing last.
Melham is confident the gelding has what it takes to make his presence felt in the race, seeing as he managed to produce a last-to-first run to win The Goodwood during the autumn. He didn’t have any speed to be amongst the early leaders but checked off his heels at 600 metres and speared off the track turning. He rounded up on the leaders and was the fastest on the line to win with some ease.
“If he brings his ‘A’ game he’ll be right in the finish,” Melham said to TVN.
“He’s a horse that needs room. I might try something different, be more positive on him.
“With The Cleaner there is obviously going to be genuine speed. I’ll just roll with the tempo.
“He’s running well in these better races, but he’s not earning any prize-money so I might change things up.”
As Melham notes, Smokin’ Joey finished outside the placings in all four of his spring starts. He was less than two and a half lengths off the winner in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) before finishing just three and a half lengths off the winner in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), which he finished runner-up in last year.
But he will need to find something more if he wants to win the 2014 Railway Stakes on Saturday. Punters are quietly confident he can turn around his last place finish in the 2013 race, seeing as the gelding is the market mover in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au with his price shortening from $17 to $13.
The Cleaner remains the favourite but has seen his price slowly drift out from $4 to $4.80.
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