This Saturday one of WA’s most prolific trainers Neville Parnham will saddle-up a three-horse assault on the Strickland Stakes 2013 at Belmont Park, two of his runners embarking on their final start before retirement.
There are a total of 14 starters and an emergency making up the field for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m), three of which come from Parnham’s Ascot stables.
And two of those three are brothers with dual Group 1 winner Playing God and God Has Spoken both Blackfriars stallions out of Rubiton mare Dolly Will Do.
In an effort to improve the recent form of the full brothers Parnham is planning a vital gear change for the duo before they run their swansong races in the Strickland.
Five-year-old Playing God and six-year-old God Has Spoken both come via a run behind Black Tycoon in the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at the same track on June 15 where they finished a disappointing 10th and 12th respectively.
Parnham is hoping for improvement and a possible final black type win for one of the two before they start their new careers at stud, Playing God having amassed over $1.5 million in prize money to date making them a very valuable stud prospect while God Has Spoken is also a million dollar earner thanks to their eight wins from a 50 start career including the 2011 Strickland Stakes.
After racing in bar plates on both his offside front and hind last start Playing God will have only a bar shoe on his offside hind.
God Has Spoken will have bar plates removed after racing in them on his front hooves in all thre of his below par runs this time in.
The shortest priced of the pair in the Strickland Stakes odds at $14 is Playing God while God Has Spoken is at a juicy $26 to win their first race since the Group 2 CB Cox Stakes (2100m) in December of 2011.
Parnham is hoping their nice barrier draws, Playing God (barrier eight) and God Has Spoken (barrier five), will also play a role in helping them run a winning race but he would like to keep them off the pace if possible.
“They drew terrible barriers last time and with no speed on we elected to go forward with them,” Parnham said.
“It was out of their character of racing and left them vulnerable to be run over.
“There is not a lot of speed there, but God Has Spoken won’t lead this week. From a better barrier he can take a trail and he can improve.
“He has been looking for the 2000 this campaign and he can turn it around. Whether he can turn it around enough to beat Black Tycoon is another question.
“Playing God is working well and he is likely to sit off the pace.
“I don’t think his runs have been super bad but they have been below his best form. Both are stallions and we have turned things around to make them happy.”
Playing God and God Has Spoken will also be joined in the Strickland Stakes field on Saturday by another stablemate in Bridgestone who has drawn nicely in barrier three with Brad Parnham to ride who jumps off God Has Spoken to do so.
Paying $21 in the Strickland Stakes betting markets, Pentire six-year-old Bridgestone was 15th of 16 runners in the Hyperion Stakes two back, albeit only beaten four lengths after jumping from the far outside barrier.
They improved on that last Saturday however when they relished the inside draw and finished fourth to Cyber Crime in a Benchmark 78 over 2200m at Belmont.
“He was short of a hit-out for the Strickland Stakes,” Parnahm explained.
“He carried a big weight (58kg) even with the three-kilo claim.
“I haven’t been disappointed with any of his runs.
“Paddy (Carbery) got off him in the Hyperion and said, ‘he’s almost ready’.
“He has thrived since his run last Saturday and he’ll improve massively.”
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