Trainer Wez Hunter has been understandably thrilled with the result posted by Smokin’ Joey in 2015 so far, and has revealed he has plans to saddle the rising eight-year-old in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29th.
A Group 1 winner, Smokin’ Joey has posted an impressive career total of eight wins and as many minors through 53 career starts and has not been seen at the races since charging home to win the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) as topweight at Ipswich on June 13th.
Smokin’ Joey has reportedly relished his time away from racing and Hunter is confident he is still more than up to the task of Group 1 success during the 2015 Spring Carnival and told Racing Victoria he is eyeing early targets.
“He’s been back in work a week and I’m leaning towards running him in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) first-up,” Hunter said.
“He’s got that residual fitness and fresh legs so we’ll start him off there and then reassess things.”
Yet to confirm a specific point of call past the 2015 Memsie Stakes, Hunter said he may trial the son of Encosta De Lago over longer distances.
“The owner is really keen to try him over a bit further this time around,” he said.
“He’s a brother to Our Smoking Joe who won a Queen Elizabeth (2500m).”
Arguably finding career-best form through the 2013 edition of the Spring Carnival, highlighted by success in the Group 3 TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) and a close second to champion miler Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), Smokin’ Joey was unable to produce much of a consistent run of form through the early stages of his 2014 campaign but responded well when posting a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in May.
Running fourth in each of the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) through a brief 2014 Perth Summer Carnival campaign, Smokin’ Joey again placed fourth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) first-up this year; returning to the winner’s circle in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) before finishing a close second in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) most notably.
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