Smokin Joey heads West

Nov 08, 2013

By Perth Racing News

Rookie trainer Wez Hunter is hoping his amazing success during Melbourne Cup week continues in Perth after paying a $22,000 late entry fee to have Smokin' Joey run in next Saturday week's Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m).

Hunter trained two winners in cup week, putting his name up in lights with the likes of Chris Waller (six winners) and Peter Snowden (three).

Hunter prepares just five gallopers on the beach from his Balnarring stable but has had an outstanding strike rate.

Bel Thor gave the former stable foreman for Tony Noonan a win over 2000m at Flemington on Saturday, giving him four victories in a row.

Smokin' Joey won on derby day and Our Smokin' Rock, owned by Smokin' Joey's owner Joe Lanteri, won at country meetings at Tatura and Sale.

The hot streak came to an end when Smokin' Joey ran an impressive second to Sydney sensation Boban in Saturday's Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).

Smokin' Joey and Our Smokin' Rock had passed through the stables of Lee Freedman, Anthony Freedman and Mick Price before they lobbed in Hunter's yard last month.

Hunter has only been training for three years after five years working for Noonan. He also spent time as a driver taking star jockey Nash Rawiller to country races. Hunter's girlfriend Meredith Tuckett does all of his trackwork riding. Jason Benbow will ride Smokin' Joey in Perth.

"Smokin' Joey didn't gallop between his two wins," Hunter said. "He appreciates going into his races feeling good and that bit more fresh.

"A friend of Joe's suggested me to train his horses, I don't know why, and we have had a great run.

"Smokin' Joey and Our Smokin' Rock appreciate the lifestyle here.

"Smokin' Joey has had a few tissue issues, but we have been able to settle them down.

"The key ingredient has been the each and we will be looking for that in Perth."

Peter Moody chose to pay the late entry fee to have Plucky Belle included in the Railway.

Plucky Belle will join Moment Of Change, who is being set for the $500,000 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), on Perth Racing's charter flight next Monday.

Plucky Belle won last Tuesday's Group 3 Lavazza Stakes (1400m) second-up at Flemington, after running second to Diamond Earth in the Group 3 Nivison Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 19.

"She won well and this is her chance to win a Group 1," Moody said. "If she comes through the next week well she'll be there."

Longport earned her ticket for the Railway with her all-the-way win in Saturday's Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m). Anthony Cummings will bring Strike The Stars over for the Railway.

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