Smokin’ Joey Ready for 2014 Kingston Town Classic

December 5th, 2014

Running on to finish a commendable fourth in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) last time out, trainer Wez Hunter has revealed he is thrilled with the condition of Smokin’ Joey following his final piece of work ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot.

Trainer Wez Hunter is thrilled with Smokin' Joey one day out from the 2014 Kingston Town Classic. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Trainer Wez Hunter is thrilled with Smokin’ Joey one day out from the 2014 Kingston Town Classic. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

A Group 1 winner, Smokin’ Joey is surprisingly yet to break through for a race win over five starts this time in, but appears to be peaking at the right time for success in his final straight; having followed up a credible seventh in the major Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) with his most recent fourth place finish.

Confident regular jockey Ben Melham will get the best from the Encosta De Lago gelding this time in, Hunter told Racing Victoria Smokin’ Joey will aim to settle at the tail of the capacity field before making a late charge on Ascot’s final straight.

“We nommed for the Railway at the same time as the Kingston Town; it’s two weeks later, it’s a Group 1 weight-for-age, it’s 1800-metres, I just wanted to see how he’d go,” Hunter said.

“I can see them running at a good tempo and the beauty is from the gate we should come into barrier four with the emergencies not getting a run and he should just have a cheap run in behind them.

“Because he is such a big strider he normally needs plenty of room but this time we’ll be cuddling him up a bit and tucking him away.

“His run in the Stradbroke this year was good, he was back last but he still beat half of them home.”

Having had the seven-year-old transferred to his care partway through the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Hunter believes success in the Kingston Town Classic will be a fitting end to the 2014 calendar for Smokin’ Joey.

“If he wins on Saturday he will tick over a $1 million in prize money since I have had him, which would be a good effort, not many horses are millionaires so he’s done a good job,” Hunter added.

Returning to racing in fair form in autumn, Smokin’ Joey was unable to make an impact over each of his first four starts, but responded in the best way possible when charging home at long odds to win the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 10th.

Steadily building to the task this time, Smokin’ Joey is currently available at generous odds of $15 for success in the Kingston Town Classic, or $4.40 to finish in the place with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.

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