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Ace Perth horseman Neville Parnham is preparing to saddle up three hopefuls in the 2011 WA Guineas at Ascot Racecourse this Saturday, and it is the roughie of the bunch Shady Bet who he believes could prove the value punt of the day and hand him back-to-back wins in the classic.
Running alongside the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and the $500,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), the $350,000 Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) is one of the key feature races held during the Festival of Perth Racing.
Attracting a quality field of 14 three-year-olds, down to 13 with the early scratching of #12 Pattie Me Lass, the WA Guineas 2011 betting markets are led by Simon Miller’s last-start Fairetha Stakes winner Ron’s Call at $2.50.
At the other end of the odds, however, is the horse Parnham is tipping as a genuine upset chance, $51 outsider Shady Bet.
The Bletchley Park gelding has won two of their seven career starts, but has been disappointing in their two most recent runs.
On October 15 they finished sixth, albeit beaten just two and a half lengths, to WA Guineas second favourite King Saul ($3.40) in the Listed Belgravia Stakes (1200m).
Stepping up to the 1400m last start, Shady Bet failed to come within nine and a half lengths of Ron’s Call in the Fairetha Stakes on November 5.
While on paper they look a far cry from the class of their WA Guineas rivals, Parnham knows that going up to the mile and drawn well in gate two Shady Bet has improvement in them as their earlier runs this prep were hampered by foot issues.
“I’ve had some issues with his feet and he’s worn bar shoes at his last two starts, but they’re coming off on Saturday,” Parnham said.
“I think last start (in the Fairetha Stakes), on the wet track with a lot of water on the surface and bar shoes on, he was gone at the 700 or 800 (metres).
“But I think we’ll see a different horse on Saturday.”
Shady Bet showed their potential at Tuesday’s Breakfast with the Stars at Ascot in a piece of work that had Parnham rapped.
“He worked superbly, has drawn in four and should get a pretty cosy run,” Parnham said.
The shortest-priced of Parnham’s WA Guineas contingent this year is Al Maher filly Almachino who has drawn wide in barrier 12 and will be ridden by Brad Parnham.
Almachino sits as a $13 chance in the WA Guineas markets at Luxbet having raced consistently all season including her close third in the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) and third again last Saturday in the Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes over the Ascot mile.
Fort Courage ($21 Luxbet) is Parnham’s third hope, the General Nediym colt coming off a third in the Fairetha and to be ridden by Steven Parnham from barrier nine.
“He’s a lazy horse which helps him relax and 1600m and beyond will suit him,” Parnham said of Fort Courage.
Parnham seeks his second successive WA Guineas success following the win by subsequent Group 1 Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God 12 months ago.
Playing God is also back at Ascot this Saturday lining up as a $7.50 chance at Luxbet for the 2011 Railway Stakes.
To check out the complete WA Guineas field and betting markets, as well as those for the Railway and Winterbottom, head to Luxbet today and open that online betting account you’ve been meaning to all season!
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