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.
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 tab.com.au 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|