Luckygray set for first-up Newmarket bid
The Newmarket Handicap is a race Gino Poletti thinks Perth star Luckygray can win.by AAP
By Mathew Toogood
MELBOURNE, March 5 AAP - The Newmarket Handicap is a race Gino Poletti thinks Perth star Luckygray can win.
The William Reid Stakes later this month is a different story, but connections are looking forward to the Moonee Valley race just as keenly.
"This is the main target. It's always been his target," Poletti said of Saturday's Newmarket (1200m).
"The William Reid, we know Black Caviar is running in it and we want to race against her.
"The owners reckon that will be an honour."
Victorian race fans are yet to see the best of the dual Group One winner from the west but Poletti is confident that can change on Saturday when the grey takes his place as topweight in the Newmarket.
No horse has won the Newmarket first-up since 1917 but after a pleasing jumpout win on Tuesday at Flemington Poletti couldn't be happier with his charge.
"In my own mind he can win this sort of race," Poletti said.
"There's no standout in the race, I think it's pretty even. The way I see it about six or seven horses can win."
He said one concern is the horses right down in the weights as Luckygray needs to lump 58kg.
"But all I can do is produce the horse at his best on the day and I'm pretty sure he'll front up very well," he said.
Luckygray, who hasn't started since winning the Group One Kingston Town Stakes (1800m) in December, rounded out his Newmarket preparations defeating Fontelina and Lone Rock in an 800m jumpout on Tuesday.
His time of 47.25sec was slower than that of three-year-old Better Than Ready who clocked 46.48sec in his heat against Shamexpress and Shamal Wind.
But it was good enough for Poletti.
Among Luckygray's Newmarket rivals will be another West Australian in Barakey.
The unbeaten sprinter, who was scratched at the gates in the Oakleigh Plate, worked over 800m with Woorim down the straight on Tuesday but not out of the barriers.
Poletti respects the tenacious Barakey but is happy to take him on over the Flemington "straight six" first-up.
"He's looked beaten a few times in races and has got good fighting qualities," Poletti said of the Jim Taylor-trained sprinter.
"He probably hasn't been exposed to a lot of Group One racing yet. He might have to do that before he can win these sorts of races, I'm not quite sure.
"My bloke has tackled Group Ones and he's pretty hardened now. But Barakey is a very good horse."