Jockey Steven Parnham has decided to partner with Fred Kersley’s WA Guineas winning three-year-old Ihtsahymn over Group 1 champion Playing God in the 2013 Kingston Town Classic this Saturday.
Parnham faced a tough call on which of the two promising gallopers he would opt to ride in this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Perth’s Ascot Racecourse.
The 27-year-old had the option of dual Kingston Town winner Playing God (2010, 2011) for his father Neville Parnham or the up-and-coming Ihtsahymn.
He rode both at the track on November 23, Blackfriars six-year-old Playing God for their close fifth behind defending Kingston Town Classic winner Luckygray in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Ihtiram gelding Ihtsahymn for their victory in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m).
After much deliberation he’s going with youth over experience in the 11-horse Kingston Town Classic field in a decision he’s called the hardest of his career.
“It’s the toughest decision of my racing career to get off Playing God,” Parnham told The West Australian this week.
“He’s been my best winner and has given me the opportunity to ride in top Melbourne carnival races.
“But Ihtsahymn is a very good three-year-old who continues to improve. He’ll have a big advantage with only 52kg on Saturday.”
Following the order of the odds, Parnham will ride the horse the bookies have rated the second best chance in the race with Ihtsahymn trailing only last start Railway Stakes champion Luckygray in the latest Kingston Town Classic odds.
Playing God meanwhile is further down the markets, the Blackfriars stallion looking to become the first triple Kingston Town Classic winner in history.
Ihtsahymn earned Parnham’s praise and the bookie’s favouritism when working their way from 10th on the turn in the WA Guineas to win carrying 56.5kg, the youngster to enjoy a 4.5kg drop in weights for the weekend.
Kersley is also confident Parnham is on the right horse in the Kingston Town Classic field saying Ihtsahymn had come through their last start in top form.
“He’s since worked well and is holding form,” Kersley said.
“Ihtsahymn has only limited experience and will be up against a top field. But the horse will have a weight which I don’t think he’ll get again for a long time.”
Playing God meanwhile will be ridden by Paul Harvey for the first time on Saturday, the hoop after his fifth Kingston Town Classic trophy.
Parnham’s father said he understood his son’s decision but warns Playing God could be the sleeper in the feature this year ready to peak over the distance.
“I understand Steven’s decision to select the lighter weighted horse,” he said.
“But Playing God is in peak form and he shows his best over 1800 metres at weight-for-age.”
Our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au are set to release their Kingston Town Classic betting markets once the barrier draw is conducted on Tuesday.
Now then is the perfect time to open your Ladbrokes.com.au account to get things going before Saturday’s WA major!