Grafton sprinter Lucky Meteor has always paid his way on the racetrack and trainer John Shelton believes the seven-year-old can add to his excellent record when he chases the 13th win of his career at Port Macquarie on Tuesday.
Lucky Meteor will carry topweight of 61kg after apprentice Leah Kilner takes her 2kg claim in the Newhaven Park June Sprint (1108m), the final race on the seven-race program.
It's a hefty burden, but the sprinter is no stranger to successfully carrying weight. In his most recent win in the Jacaranda Cup (1100m) at Grafton back in November, Lucky Meteor carried 60kg to an easy victory after apprentice Olivia Pickering's 3kg claim.
Lucky Meteor tackles Tuesday's race at his third run back from a spell. In his two recent runs he carried 62kg into seventh place when he resumed over 1000m on a soft 5 track at Casino on May 25 then lumped 62kg again at his most recent run when sixth behind Dreamalina over 1006m on a soft6 at Port Macquarie on June 17.
"He's definitely needed those two recent runs. He's obviously much fitter now and I'm very happy with him going into Tuesday's race," said Shelton.
"His last run at Port Macquarie was a pretty good effort under the circumstances as he was always caught wide from his alley (barrier 11) on a soft 6.
"Ideally, the Port Macquarie track will improve from its current (soft 6) rating by Tuesday. He doesn't mind soft tracks, but a firmer track suits him better. The big plus for him on Tuesday is that he's drawn perfectly from the inside gate this time while a couple of his other main rivals have drawn awkwardly. He still has to carry the 61kg, but I think he'll run very well."
Lucky Meteor goes into Tuesday's race with the record of 12 wins, 11 placings and a tick over $222,000 in prizemoney from his 44 starts. That's an average of around $5000 earned every time he's gone around in his career - not bad at all for a horse who cost owners Brian and Betty Paine a mere $3000 at the 2011 Magic Millions sale.
Lucky Meteor's 12 wins to date have been spread over six different tracks in NSW and south-east Queensland and victory on Tuesday would add Port Macquarie to that list. The son of Northern Meteor has so far won races at Grafton (five wins), Doomben (twice), Ballina (twice), Coffs Harbour (one win), Bowraville (one win) and the Sunshine Coast (one win). He was particularly impressive as a three-year-old and early four-year-old, putting together a sequence of six straight wins between July and September in 2014.
"He's certainly been a good horse to us, especially as he cost so little to buy at the Magic Millions," said Shelton. "And we haven't got any plans yet to retire him just yet - he'll tell us when that time comes. After he runs on Tuesday, he'll have a crack at the James Kirby here at Grafton during the carnival. That's a Quality race so he'll get down in the weights a little."
The $50,000 Sir James Kirby Quality (1000m) is run at the Grafton Cup meeting on July 12. Lucky Meteor was one of the main hopes in the Kirby Quality last year but could only finish seventh behind outsider Johnny Roo Boy.
Lucky Meteor's main threats on Tuesday, include the Todd Howlett-trained Nic's Vendetta, who draw gate 11, and Neil Godbolt's mare Dreamalina, who has barrier 13. Nic's Vendetta, coming off recent good efforts at Randwick, Scone and Warwick Farm, will be ridden by 2kg claiming apprentice Louise Day.