Back in work at trainer Wez Hunter’s Mornington base veteran galloper Smokin’ Joey is as fresh as ever and looking a treat ahead of a likely first-up run in the Memsie Stakes 2015 this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A rising eight-year-old son of Encosta De Lago, $1.4 million earner Smokin’ Joey was last seen posting his eighth win at start number 52 in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich in mid-June.
Hunter welcomed his 2014 The Goodwood winner back to the stable recently and is thrilled with how he came through a short break in Queensland.
Smokin’ Joey is on track for another solid campaign in Melbourne following a good effort during the autumn in Victoria highlighted by a Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) win at Caulfield and his second at the same track behind Suavito in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) in late February.
Caulfield Racecourse is where Hunter is looking at taking his stable star for his resuming run next month in the opening elite level of the season, the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 29.
“He’s been back in work a week and I’m leaning towards running him in the Memsie Stakes first-up,” Hunter told Racing Victoria.
“He’s got that residual fitness and fresh legs so we’ll start him off there and then reassess things.
“The owner is really keen to try him over a bit further this time around.
“He’s a brother to Our Smoking Joe who won a Queen Elizabeth (2500m).”
Other notable Memsie Stakes-bound gallopers this season include Tony McEvoy’s High Chaparral colt Alpine Eagle who ran second to Wandjina in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in March and the Robbie Laing-trained dual Group 1 runner-up Lord Of The Sky.
Another soon-to-return galloper for Hunter is his two-year-old Beneteau filly Parcel.
Lightly raced with just the three starts to date, Parcel won on debut at Bendigo over 900m last December before coming back in February at Sandown-Hillside to run fourth to Thurlow in the Gorup 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).
She failed a fortnight later at Moonee Valley over the same distance however when dead last (12th) behind Our Vidia in a non-Black Type, something Hunter is confident she can atone for next time in after she was found to have mucous post-defeat.
Parcel will have a jumpout at her home track this week before a possible resuming run in Adelaide’s Lightning Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville.
“She’s come back in really good order and will have a jumpout at Mornington on Wednesday,” Hunter said.
“The form is looking really good out of her debut victory at Bendigo.
“Jameka finished second and she won the Sires’ Produce, Green Card was fourth and he won at Caulfield last week and even the sixth placegetter Oxbow has won well again since.
“I’m thinking about running her in the Lightning Stakes at Morphettville later this month where she will get in really well at the weights as a two-year-old filly.”
Hunter could also vie for back-to-back $150,000 Darley Seymour Cup wins in October with recent acquisition Baron Archer, the Written Tycoon four-year-old last seen crossing second over the Flemington mile behind Majestic Duke in late June.
“I’d love to win that race again after winning it last year with Bel Thor,” he said.
“I think the track is more likely to have the sting out compared with Caulfield or Flemington and the sweeping bend should suit him.”
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