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Dual Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God will be bought back early next year to prepare for another international campaign, this time targeting the Group 1 riches of the 2012 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Neville Parnham’s talented Blackfriars four-year-old beat history and the odds on the weekend, racing away to claim an upset win in the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot.
It was the galloper’s second win in the feature following his success 12 months ago, and came on the back of a failed 14th place finish to subsequent beaten Kingston Town favourite Luckygray in the Railway Stakes (1600m).
Playing God showed Parnham he was still capable of greatness despite the lengthy break between wins, the horse’s last appearance in the winner’s stall being in the Perth Magic Millions Trophy back in February.
Having joined an exclusive list of successive Kingston Town Classic winners along with Summer Beau (1996-97) and Old Comrade (200-01), and in turn boosting their prize money to over $1.38 million, Playing God will next season head to Victoria for their third Melbourne campaign.
They first headed across the country as a three-year-old during this year’s autumn where they ran two eye-catching thirds first to Shamrocker in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and then to former Melbourne Cup winner, the since-retired Shocking in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), both at Flemington.
Racing again in Melbourne during the iconic spring carnival, Playing God had mixed results during their five-run assault that concluded with a disappointing 11th to Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
They looked better earlier during the prep when finishing closer in races including their third to December Draw in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Playing God showing his liking for the famous Flemington track.
Parnham will give his stable star the chance to continue that nice association with Flemington, and to have a rematch with Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker, penciling in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 25 as a possible autumn target.
The 2012 Futurity Stakes is shaping up as the strongest edition of the race in recent history with undefeated turf queen Black Caviar to be stepped up to 1400 metres in the race, while Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker and third placegetter Rekindled Interest are also scheduled headliners.
Playing God is expected to race on in Melbourne until Australian Cup Day where they will finish off their campaign with a run in the $250,000 Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) on March 10, 2012.
If successful in the Blamey, Playing God would add his name alongside Vo Rogue (1989) and Better Loosen Up (1990) as horses to win the Kingston Town Classic – Blamey Stakes double in straight seasons.
Meanwhile this year’s WA Guineas winner King Saul, who ran a brilliant third in the Kingston Town Classic on Saturday, has also been earmarked for an interstate campaign next year with owner Craig Thompson looking at the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival for his promising son of Flying Pegasus.
If all goes to plan King Saul will run in the $200,000 Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 3 before stepping up to the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) two weeks later.
“I need to talk to Trevor Andrews (trainer) because I want him to keep the horse,” Thompson said.
“There are just no suitable races for him (King Saul) in the autumn at Ascot.
“I was delighted with King Saul’s performance in that company in the (Kingston Town) Classic.”
It is the same two-run campaign Thompson set the then David Harrison-trained Sir Hallowell on in 2010, the galloper finishing a close fourth to Monton in the Hobartville before being found out when 12th to Shoot Out in the Guineas.
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