Smokin’ Joey posted a maiden win at the highest level with an impressive performance in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) and is reportedly in great form ahead of his title defence at Morphettville on Saturday.
Jumping from the gates well, Smokin’ Joey received an ideal run in transit towards the rear of the field in the 2014 Goodwood; mounting an incredible charge down the outside of the field in the final straight to pip talented mare Platelet on the line.
Confident his lead-up to the 2015 The Goodwood has been far more convincing than last, trainer Wez Hunter told The Advertiser he is confident the Encosta De Lago gelding is again more than capable of a competitive tilt.
“He had a gallop this morning and I’m pretty happy with him,” Hunter said.
“I’d say he’s in better form this year than what he was last year. He was in no man’s land going into the Goodwood (last year).
“His run in the Victoria Handicap was OK, he was only a length off second but he was beaten six or seven lengths.
“(This year) he’s won a Group 4 and placed in a Group 1 so he’s in much better order and he’s a little freshen-up.
“He had a trial a couple of weeks ago and his work since then has been very solid.
“Today he worked over a half-mile, it was more of a little sharpen-up to keep him up to the mark.”
Leaving from barrier 11 in last year’s success, Hunter is hoping Smokin’ Joey will again draw a middle-to-wide alley for Saturday’s feature race.
“Ideally middle to the outside so he can come with a barnstorming run like he did last year,” Hunter added.
“He’ll be dictated too a little bit from the gate but hopefully he doesn’t have to get too far back.”
Returning to slick condition this year, Smokin’ Joey ran fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) first-up; taking out the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) on February 14th before a close run for second in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 28th.
Having placed fourth in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) most recently on March 14th, Smokin’ Joey is currently available at a generous quote of $19 for success in The Goodwood with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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