It was a return to the winner’s circle for Smokin’ Joey at Caulfield on Saturday as the seven-year-old gelding gave everything he had to win the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m).
Smokin’ Joey last won the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) in May last year but failed to even place in any of his eight following starts, the last three of which he finished luckless in fourth place.
Trainer Wez Hunter was thrilled with the win but admitted he thought he’d lost out once again in the closing moments of the race.
“He really deserves this win. His last half dozen runs have been really good and I thought he was really well in at the weights,” he said.
“If he hadn’t have won I would have been disappointed.”
Apprentice jockey Chris Parnham partnered Smokin’ Joey in his first Group win in Melbourne. The pair were seventh on settling, eighth at 800 metres, and seventh again on the turn before coming up from the outside down the straight to just bob in front on the line ahead of David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Jacquinot Bay. The training duo also scored third place with Backstedt.
Hunter will consider dropping Smokin’ Joey back in distance for his upcoming starts during the autumn. The trainer has the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 28 in mind for the gelding but admits he will need to train the stable star to cope with the reduced distance.
“I thought he had run a good second,” Hunter said.
“I think he got a little tired the last 50 metres and got the wanders. But it was a good effort.
“He might come back to the Futurity but we’ll just see how he comes through this and go from there.”
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