The West

Luckygray stamps his authority
Luckygray, ridden by Shaun O’Donnell, returns with a resounding victory in the Lee-Steere Stakes. Pic: Hollands Photographics

Any doubts about Luckygray’s standing as the best current horse in WA were emphatically allayed when the star five-year-old scored a sensational win in the $200,000 WAROA Lee-Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot.

Trainer Gino Poletti admitted he was in a rush to get Luckygray back for the Festival of Perth Racing at Ascot after his Melbourne campaign was cut short by a virus in September.

With his summer campaign up in the air, Luckygray had only been back in work for about a month heading into the Lee-Steere Stakes.

But the hot $2.05 favourite showcased his freakish ability when storming home from eighth on the turn to beat God Has Spoken ($51) by two lengths.

The son of Bradbury’s Luck is on track to defend his title in the Group 1 $1 million Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 24.

He will almost certainly face the obstacle of carrying the topweight in WA’s richest race, with weights released on Monday.

Trainer Gino Poletti said he thought it was “all over” when Luckygray loomed large entering the straight in the Lee-Steere.

“He’s got to thrive between now and then to run in the Railway,” trainer Gino Poletti said.

“So long as he’s not weighted too far out of the race as well as it is a handicap.

“He hadn’t had much work leading into today but he’s just an exceptional horse.

“He makes up about six lengths without you even knowing it.

“If anything, the Melbourne trip has toughened him up and he’s still yet to fully mature.”

Jockey Shaun O’Donnell said: “He felt terrific. I had a tear in my eye as we crossed the line – he’s just an absolute freak”.

Luckygray is also entered for the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on Super Saturday, November 24.

Three-year-old Luke’s Luck ($4.40) again ran on strongly to finish third. He is likely to head to the $350,000 WA Guineas (1600m) on Super Saturday.

Pop Culture, a strong winner of the $80,000 CMI Ascot Gold Cup (1800m), is likely to be saved for the Group 1 $500,000 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 8.

Trainer Colin Webster left the classy mare, who looms as a top Perth Cup prospect, out of Railway Stakes nominations.

“She’s too dour now and I thought even the 1800m today could be too short for her,” Webster said.

“I’ll see how she pulls up and she might not race again until the Kingston Town in a month’s time.”

The West Australian

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