A couple of former housemates celebrated Group 1 victory together today in Adelaide when Smokin’ Joey won the $500,000 The Goodwood at Morphettville.

Emerging trainer Wez Hunter and comeback jockey Ben Melham, who used to live to together in Mornington, combined for a victory that was special for reasons beyond their old living arrangements.

It was the first win at the highest level for Hunter and the first meeting back for Melham, who had not ridden since undergoing hip surgery at the end of last year’s Spring Racing Carnival.

Hunter said Melham being aboard made the win extra special and he said Melham’s record in Adelaide – where he rode three Group 1 winners last year – made up for his lack of match practice.

“It was great to share it with Benny,” Hunter said of his maiden Group 1 success. “About four or five years ago, when I was working for Tony Noonan and Ben was down at Mornington, we used to live together.

“His record over here in Group 1 races last year was enormous, so I didn’t hesitate in putting him on.

“I spoke to him about it a couple of weeks ago and when Jamie Mott couldn’t make the weight, he went straight on.”

Melham justified Hunter’s faith when he brought Smokin’ Joey with a booming finish down the outside to score.

Platelet, who Melham partnered to victory in last year’s The Goodwood, looked set to go back-to-back after dashing clear at the 150m, but Darren Weir’s mare couldn’t withstand the finish of the Encosta de Lago six-year-old.

Smokin’ Joey ($41) scored by half-a-length from Platelet ($7.50) with local Riziz ($26) holding down third, three quarters of a length away, after saving good ground around the home turn.

The David Hayes-trained Gregers ran her usual honest race to finish fourth, while the disappointments were Blue Diamond winner Miracles of Life ($10, 16th), who was having her final start, and well-backed $6.50 favourite Sistine Demon, who beat home only the $101 longshot Whitlam.

Hunter said he thought Smokin’ Joey’s hopes were dashed when he encountered a chequered passage before the straight, but he started to get excited once Melham peeled the gelding to the outside.

“He got about three checks – so I was cursing during the run – because he’s a big, loafing bugger and he needs to build a full head of steam to finish it off well,” he said.

“But once he got to the outside I knew he’d run on. About the furlong onwards I started screaming because I knew he’d be strong at the end of 1200.”

Hunter said although Smokin’ Joey started $41, he gave him a chance based on his work under Hunter’s partner Meredith Tuckett at their new surroundings of Jonathon Munz’s Pinecliffe facility.

“We’ve moved there two weeks ago and it’s given him a new lease of life,” he said of Smokin’ Joey, who also had blinkers reapplied.

“He gets out in the paddock, he’s got his own beach and it’s just an amazing facility. He loves it there.”

Smokin' Joey, who put Hunter on the map last Melbourne Cup Week when he won at $41 on Derby Day before finishing second in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes, has now won six of 38 starts and the $320,000 winner's prize took his earnings beyond $1 million.

The Goodwood was the headline act of a bumper card that saw seven of the eight races won by Victorian-trained gallopers.

Damien Oliver celebrated a Group 3 double, winning the National Stakes aboard Mick Price-trained debutante Moonovermanhattan and the Lee Stakes with Mike Moroney’s Rhythm to Spare.

Robert Smerdon and Mark Zahra combined for Group 3 SA Fillies Classic success with Rezoned, Nigel Blackiston’s Ominous made it back-to-back Morphettville wins with his Listed Port Adelaide Cup success, while Colin Little engineered a blowout result in the Listed Centaurea Stakes with $51 pop Blue Ribbon.

The final race on the Morphettville card, the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes, saw Mick Kent and Dean Yendall combine for victory with Miss Steele.