Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
It’s a pickle all Perth jockeys would love to be in this summer, whether to ride the second elect or a dual winner of the race in Saturday week’s Kingston Town Classic 2013 at Ascot Racecourse.
That’s the dilemma facing Steven Parnham who is letting the action of last weekend pass before deciding whether he’ll partner with his father Neville Parnham’s two time Group 1 champ Playing God or last weekend’s Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) winner Ihtsahymn.
Parnham, 27, partnered with both horses on Railway Stakes Day and was impressed by the performances of both.
Blackfriars six-year-old Playing God was a close fifth behind Luckygray in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and will next vie for their third win in the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) Saturday week.
They won the race in 2010 and 2011 but failed to make it three on the trot when two and a half lengths away sixth to Luckygray in the race 12 months ago.
In the latest pre-field Kingston Town Classic odds at the Aussie bookmakers Playing God pays around $9 as one of four single figure chances to win.
Markets are led by the Trevor Andrews-trained Luckygray who is defending their title, while Ihtsahymn is the second favourite in betting.
Parnham rode the three-year-old Fred Kersley-trained Ihitram gelding for their WA Guineas success and must now decide whether to stay on their back or go ride his father’s horse in the Group 1 on December 7.
The weekend’s Guineas win was the jockey’s second success in the classic, and it also showed a nice improvement from the winning horse who thrived with the addition of blinkers to their gear.
Parnham’s first WA Guineas trophy was won three years ago with Playing God who he went on to score a rare Perth Summer Racing Carnival double with also winning the Kingston Town Classic.
Over the years Parnham is ridden Playing God for all but three of their 40 starts including all eight of their career victories.
He’s also ridden Ihtsahymn for all eight of their starts, which have produced a quartet of wins for $321,000 in prize money, and he’s having a hard time splitting age v experience ahead of Saturday week.
“It is too early to split them,” Parnham told The West Australian on Monday.
“I haven’t been asked at this stage by either party. Both owners have been really good to me and I respect them equally.
“Playing God has raced very well in the top company for the past four years. He is performing very well and I know he is up to it again this year.
“Ihtsahymn is a young horse who is going to improve with more racing.
“At the moment he is a bit slow away and gets into traffic, but he will mature to where you will be able to put him into a race.
“He is coming through the grades and the question is whether he will be up to the pressure of a Kingston Town.
“Three-year-olds certainly have a great record in the race because they get in with a light weight.
“On the other hand, Playing God is foolproof.”
The “great record” for three-year-olds Parnham refers to is that the youngsters have won 14 of the past 36 editions of the Kingston Town Classic.
In the WA Guineas Ihtsahymn carried 56.5kg to victory and will appreciate dropping down to just 52kg for the Kingston Town.
Playing God meanwhile will have 59kg under the weight-for-age conditions.
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