Smokin’ Joey was unable to make anything of an impact in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, but trainer Wez Hunter remains pleased with the condition of the popular veteran and is confident he can bounce back to form in Saturday’s featured Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2014 edition of The Goodwood (1200m), Smokin’ Joey returned to racing in particularly good form through the recent Autumn Carnival and stamped his claims as one to follow through spring when returning from a brief freshen-up for a resounding win in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) on July 25th.
Having finished a distance last in the PB Lawrence Stakes, Smokin’ Joey was found to have suffered a minor exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage, but has taken no persistent injury from the episode and will line up for the Memsie Stakes a picture of health.
“He has come through it really well,” Hunter told Racing Ahead.
“He worked on Tuesday morning and he had a scope after that and it was all clear.
“Because he performed poorly the vet wanted to have a little look at him and there was a little bleed there.
“Obviously that is why he went so poorly, but we treated him after the run, gave him a light week down at the beach and he has bounced back well.
“He is bright as a button and I am sure that he will turn up this week.”
Smokin’ Joey has undoubtedly produced his best performances to date when settled off the pace; allowing for the best possible chance of a late charge around the outside of the towards the line.
Hunter has confirmed up-and-coming jockey Chris Parnham has been retained to ride Smokin’ Joey in the Memsie Stakes and revealed he will instruct the young hoop to try and find a position towards the tail of the field from barrier 11.
“It is a big field, but what is going to lead,” Hunter added.
“It is a bit tricky, but we will just ride him the way that we normally do and give him plenty of room.
“From that gate it allows Chris to ride him how he finds him and make sure he gets out with plenty of time.”
Smokin’ Joey returned to racing this year for a credible fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) in late January; progressing to success in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) before finishing an agonizingly-close second to Suavito in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) most notably.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Memsie Stakes odds, for which Smokin’ Joey represents great value at a quote of $16 for success.