Trainer Gino Poletti anticipates a top-four finish by Luckygray in tomorrow's Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and is hopeful the WA star can extend his Melbourne campaign with a win.
Poletti is expecting big improvement from Luckygray after he battled on gamely for fourth behind Second Effort in the PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), run on an unsuitable heavy 10 at Caulfield 13 days ago.
The Caulfield track was rated a dead 4 yesterday but rain was forecast to hit Melbourne overnight.
Scattered showers are forecast today and tomorrow is expected to be fine.
Luckygray, who won last year's Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on protest, was installed favourite for the Memsie and backed from $4 to $3.90 with interstate bookmakers. Player also quoted him at $3.90.
Poletti said the five-year-old's performance in the Memsie would determine whether he stayed in Melbourne or returned home for a freshen-up ahead of the Ascot summer carnival.
The Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m), run at Moonee Valley a fortnight after the Memsie, and the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 30 are possible targets.
"I'm pretty pleased with him," Poletti said.
"I'm looking for a bit of improvement from him and we should get that with a dry track. We've been lucky this week. There's been rain forecast but it hasn't really come.
"Rain was forecast (Thursday night) but let's hope they don't get anything around the 10-mil range otherwise we'll be looking at a slow track.
"I'm expecting a top-four finish and hopefully he can win. It's a tough field. We'll see where we go after this run."
Luckygray clashes with the likes of last year's Stradbroke Handicap winner Sincero ($4.60), Rekindled Interest ($6.50), Green Moon ($7.50) and Heart Of Dreams ($11).
Rekindled Interest's trainer Jim Conlan agrees with bookmakers that Luckygray will be hard to beat.
Rekindled Interest, who ran third to Pinker Pinker in last year's Cox Plate, kicks off his spring campaign in the Memsie. He ran fourth behind King's Rose in the Memsie last year before his dominant win in the Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Poletti reported Luckygray worked impressively at Caulfield on Tuesday but he is in two minds about the gelding's awkward draw in gate 12.
"He'll need a bit of luck. From the wide draw he'll have to go back, but he does race pretty well when he goes back," Poletti said.
"He worked nicely on Tuesday. It was his third look at the track and he was a lot more comfortable."
Amorino will also fly the WA flag at Caulfield when the Elio Galante-owned three-year-old resumes in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m).
"I'm looking for a bit of improvement from him and we should get that with a dry track."" *Gino Poletti *