Smokin’ Joey Tops 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes Field

Wez Hunter’s veteran eight-year-old Smokin’ Joey is set to return in Saturday’s Kevin Heffernan Stakes 2015 looking to return to his top winter form earlier in the year.

Smokin' Joey

Group 1 winner Smokin’ Joey returns from injury in the 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Sandown Hillside on Saturday. Photo: Daniel Costello.

The opening Group race on the all-black type Zipping Classic Day program at Sandown Hillside on Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) field features 11 hopefuls and jumps as Race 3 at 2:10pm (AEST).

Top of the line-up is Encosta De Lago gelding Smokin’ Joey, best known for his Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) win at Morphettville in May last year.

This winter the galloper was also in exciting form with back-to-back wins including the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in late July.

He has been restricted to just one run since with injury and a spider bite ruling him out of a spring campaign after his disappointing ninth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) last time out in mid-August.

Back to full fitness and trialling well, Smokin’ Joey is a livewire chance on the weekend according to the Mornington-based Hunter.

Smokin’ Joey is drawn wide in gate 10 of 11 for jockey Chris Parnham to overcome, the outside alley belonging to Gerald Moloney’s last start Bendigo winner Taddei Tondo who is two-from-three over Saturday’s distance.

Also coming off nice lead-up runs are the two David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained stablemates for Lindsay Park Gracious Prospect and Galaxy Pegasus drawn well in barriers four and two respectively.

Both horses come off a last-start third with Gracious Prospect beaten under two lengths over 1400m on Emirates Stakes Day just last weekend and improving War Pass four-year-old Galaxy Pegasus a similar margin back over 1200m at Moonee Valley on Manikato Stakes Night back on October 23.

Higher-rated runners up there with Smokin’ Joey in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes field this year include the Noel Mayfield-Smith-trained 2014 BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus, Stradbroke Handicap third placegetter behind Srikandi in June Generalife for Godolphin and the Robert Smerdon-trained Under The Louvre.

Jumping from barrier seven with Mark Zahra back in the saddle, Excellent Art stallion Under The Louvre was third in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke (1400m) back in late September before his second on Caulfield Cup Day to Vashka in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m).

Things went amiss for him on Derby Day at Flemington however with Under The Louvre unable to finish better than a mid-field sixth to Éclair Choice in the Group 2 Stakes (1200m) that he’ll be out to improve on here.

There are also two mares in the line-up this year with Peter Moody’s Sebring four-year-old Bring Me The Maid jumping from eight with big race specialist Glen Boss in the saddle and the Michael Moroney-trained In Style.

Steven Parnham takes over for Opie Bosson in the saddle of Fast ‘N’ Famous six-year-old In Style who gets the inside run from barrier one and is capable of a much improved effort than she produced when ninth to subsequent Myer Classic winner Politeness in the Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 10.

See below for the full Kevin Heffernan Stakes 2015 field, barriers and jockeys.

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2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw

Sandown Race 3 (2:10pm) – 14/11/2015

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Br. Wgt. Hcp. Rating
1 124x08119x SMOKIN’ JOEY Wez Hunter Chris Parnham 10 59kg 106
2 x5979x5476 FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ) Noel Mayfield-Smith Kerrin McEvoy 3 59kg 107
3 24x1533x65 GENERALIFE John O’Shea James McDonald 6 59kg 106
4 2123×52326 UNDER THE LOUVRE Robert Smerdon Mark Zahra 7 59kg 105
5 1335528×53 GRACIOUS PROSPECT David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Damian Lane 4 59kg 92
6 44437×0586 MISTER MILTON Norman Waymouth Ms Sally Wynne 9 59kg 78
7 1704350×91 TADDEI TONDO Gerard Moloney Patrick Moloney (a) 11 59kg 87
8 x111143x38 JAVA Lee & Anthony Freedman Dwayne Dunn 5 59kg 92
9 0x20x09203 GALAXY PEGASUS David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Michael Walker 2 59kg 84
10 40x2497x38 BRING ME THE MAID Peter G Moody Glen Boss 8 57kg 100
11 5x371110x9 IN STYLE (NZ) Michael Moroney Steven Arnold 1 57kg 103


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