Neville Parnham’s Blackfriars four-year-old Playing God could still be back at Ascot on Saturday week to defend their title in the 2011 Kingston Town Classic despite the reigning champion’s discouraging performance in the Railway Stakes last weekend.
Playing God was one of the top fancies for Perth’s richest race, the $1 million Railway Stakes over the Ascot mile last Saturday, but in a disappointing effort they only managed to beat home two of their rivals when finishing nine and a half lengths away 14th to winner on protest Luckygray.
“The weight structure and dropping back to 1600 (metres), having lost the sprint in his legs from racing over longer distances in Melbourne, made it difficult,” Parnham said of Playing God in the Railway which was their first run back in WA after their five-start spring campaign in Melbourne.
Having shown early promise in Victoria this season when less than a length away fourth to Littorio in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 3, all reports were that Playing God would measure up and be a competitive force in the spring the way they were during the autumn when third in both the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
Their best result at the carnival, however, would be their third to December Draw in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Playing god falling well short in the culminating run when 11th to Pinker Pinker in the prestigious Cox Plate.
Despite their failed Railway Stakes effort, Parnham is optimistic that Playing God will be there attempting to go-back-to-back in Saturday week’s $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
“He seems to have come out of it (the Railway Stakes) unscathed and worked OK (on Monday morning),” Parnham said.
“I’m yet to discuss it with Colin (Loxton, owner).
“We’ll probably sit on the fence for a day or two.”
Twelve months ago the then three-year-old capped off a sensational season that included earlier wins in the WA Guineas and Aquanita Stakes with a smart half-length victory over Impressive Jeuney in the 2010 Kingston Town Classic when carrying just 52kg.
This year they will have 58.5kg on their back under the weight-for-age conditions, Playing God one of seven horses still entered for the Kingston Town Classic 2011 for Parnham.
Playing God is currently rated a $12 chance in the Luxbet markets for the December 3 feature, Kingston Town Classic odds led by Luckygray.
Parnham’s other entries are Bridgestone, God Has Spoken, Fort Courage, Reign Of Terror, Shady Bet and Almachino.
Pentire five-year-old Bridgestone, however, has been confirmed as a non-acceptor after Parnham discovered they had a small tear to their near-fore suspensory ligament and would be sent for a four month spell to recover.
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