Thursday, 16 August 2012
Perth raider Luckygray remains favourite for Saturday's P B Lawrence Stakes despite a question mark over his ability in the wet.
Caulfield was rated in the heavy range on Thursday with further rain forecast leading into the weekend.
Luckygray has never raced on ground worse than dead and trainer Gino Poletti admits he has no real guide on how the $3.20 TAB Sportsbet favourite will handle the mud.
He is instead relying on the influence of Luckygray's dam, who is by noted wet track sire Mukaddamah, and the racing adage that grey horses run well in the wet.
"I'm banking on the Mukaddamah mare and him being grey," Poletti said with a laugh.
"I can't change the fact he hasn't been on it before so we'll just go into the race knowing he's fit and well and see what happens.
"But he will be very competitive if he gets through the wet."
Luckygray has built an imposing record in Perth where he has won 10 of his 13 start.
But he is perhaps best known in the eastern states as the galloper who was controversially awarded last year's Group One Railway Stakes on protest after New Zealander He's Remarkable was first past the post.
That race is again high on Luckygray's program this year which is likely to restrict his Victorian campaign to just two or three starts.
"He's still a bit immature so we'll stay for the Memsie and let the horse tell us after that," Poletti said.
"We will see how he's handling the tracks and the conditions.
"He might have one more race after the Memsie but the owners want to run over the Perth summer carnival so we need to get him ready for that."
Saturday's race will be Luckygray's first outside Western Australia.
For Poletti, who has never had a runner in Melbourne, the trip is already proving a valuable experience.
"I'm staying with (trainer Robert) Smerdon at Aquanita
at Caulfield. It's a very good eye-opener with so many horses around," he said.
Shaun O'Donnell has partnered Luckygray at his past eight starts and will travel to Caulfield to maintain the association.
Poletti didn't seriously consider engaging a local rider and is happy to have O'Donnell aboard.
"Shaun is riding that well. He deserves a chance," he said.
Bletchingly Stakes winner Ready To Rip is second favourite for the Group Two feature at $5 ahead of Cox Plate placegetter Rekindled Interest ($5.50) and chance Heart Of Dreams ($6).
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