Smokin’ Joey’s extensive campaign is due to come to an end this Saturday in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m), which is running at Flemington.
The seven-year-old gelding has run straight through the spring, summer, and now autumn with his campaign kicking off back on October 4 in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m).
Smokin’ Joey even stepped up to Group One racing in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on November 8 and ran on ok in seventh place considering the dominance of the on-pacers. The gelding then travelled to Perth for the Summer Racing Carnival in search of his first campaign win but finished fourth in both the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
His fourth place streak continued with the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) on January 24, working home nicely out wide as best of the closers.
The gelding finally broke his hoodoo when returning to his ideal distance of a mile in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) on February 14, beating home Jacquinot Bay by a short half-head in a smart last-stride win. He backed it up with a runner-up finish in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 28.
Smokin’ Joey is one of nine horses lining-up in the 2015 Blamey Stakes on Saturday. Trainer Wez Hunter is hopeful a return to Flemington over a mile should see the gelding run well in his grand finale.
“We looked at the race a long time ago and thought it was a winnable race, so I guess this could be viewed as his Grand Final,” the trainer told Racing Network on Thursday.
“He’s having a really good preparation and the horse is great going into the race – really couldn’t have him any better.
“In fact, I think he’s as good as he has ever been.”
Smokin’ Joey is the $4.60 second favourite in the Blamey Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. While he’ll have to carry the topweight of 59kg, the gelding will enjoy a great start from barrier three with Brad Parnham to ride.
Nigel Blackiston’s Suavito is the $2.30 favourite after comfortably winning the Futurity Stakes two weeks ago, earning her first win at the highest level.
Open your Ladbrokes.com.au online betting account to back Smokin’ Joey in his final campaign run. New customers will receive up to $250 in a bonus match on their first bet.