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Bel Thor in campaign swansong in Eclipse
Jeff Turnbull
13:59 AEST Tue Nov 12 2013

Life hasn't changed dramatically for Mornington trainer Wez Hunter despite his spring carnival success.

Hunter won two races during the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival with one of his winners, the rejuvenated Smokin' Joey, almost scaling Group One heights with his narrow defeat in the Emirates Stakes.

He says he is now being interviewed more often but, so far, his stable of five racehorses has not got any bigger.

The durable Bel Thor, who has been racing consistently since February, will earn a break after he runs in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

"He's really only had five weeks off this year so he has earned a spell in the paddock after Saturday and he will come back a stronger horse next year," said Hunter.

The four-year-old gelding is also nominated for the Group Two $350,000 Zipping Classic but Hunter has talked the owners out of that race saying his weight advantage on the 54kg limit in the Eclipse was a better deal for the horse.

Dwayne Dunn gets the job of guiding Bel Thor after regular jockey Ben Melham had already been engaged by Lloyd Williams to ride Hartani.

"The gate is important so we don't have to do too much work early," Hunter said.

He rates two horses at the top of the weights - Mouro (59kg) and Lord of Brazil (58kg) - as the dangers.

Smokin' Joey's Derby day win at Flemington and his photo second to Sydney sensation Boban in the Emirates has earned him a start in the Group One $1 million Railway Stakes in Perth.

Hunter said Smokin' Joey would be flown west on Sunday.

"He's pulled up super," Hunter said.


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