Trainer Gino Poletti was happy enough with Luckgray's barrier draw in 12, but took further confidence from his grey's continual improvement ahead of his Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) defence at Ascot on Saturday.
Luckygray jumped from the same gate when he clinched the $1 million feature on protest 12 months ago, establishing himself as a genuine star of the WA turf.
Player yesterday eased the son of Bradbury's Luck from $3.50 to $3.60 following the all-important barrier draw at Perth Racing's annual Breakfast with the Stars, where Railway, Winterbottom Stakes and WA Guineas runners galloped on the grass.
Punters jumped aboard Epsom Handicap winner Fat Al ($8 into $7), last week's Peters Stakes winner Maschino ($8.50), Playing God ($17 into $14), Westriver Kevydonn ($21 into $17) and Niblick ($28 into $21) after their favourable draws in WA's premier race.
The free-wheeling Fat Al drew perfectly in four, with Playing God (2), Westriver Kevydonn (6), Niblick (8) and Maschino (9) all drawing ideally.
"His work this morning was at least on par with last year," Poletti said. "This is a different preparation for him this year.
"He had a strong preparation into the Railway last year.
"This time he has come in off a light prep, which I am very happy with. He definitely is a bit bigger and stronger than he was last year and I am banking on that."
Poletti was still somewhat disgruntled about Luckygray being the sole 58kg topweight.
"I'm pretty happy with the barrier," Poletti said. "I realise we had to be topweight but I just reckon a few others should have been there with him to make it a more even race.
"It is hard for this horse, but I am very happy with him."
One of the star workers of the morning was three-times Group 1 winner Yosei.
Yosei was sparkling in her coat and worked right up to her looks for jockey Troy Turner.
Trainer Stuart Webb believed last month's Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), where Yosei ran third to Solzhenitsyn, was the race his mare should have won, and was delighted by her effort to run fourth to Happy Trails in last Saturday week's Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Yosei has the visitor's draw in 18, but she drops out in her races.
"She is a good worker," Webb said. "Troy was impressed by her cruising speed and she has pulled up good.
"She is really well for a mare, who has been up for a while now.
"She just loves working and racing and makes my job easy.
"We have been competitive with Wall Street and Fat Al. I think the form from the Epsom, Toorak and Emirates will hold strong.""He definitely is a bit bigger and stronger than he was last year and I am banking on that."" *Luckygray's * trainer *Gino Poletti *