James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
After their impressive Kingston Town Classic win on the weekend the Fred Kersley-trained Ihtsahymn is a chance of heading to Melbourne in the autumn for a shot at the Australian Guineas 2014.
Their Ascot-based trainer Kersley is weighing up where to next options for the talented Ihtiram gelding after they become the sixth three-year-old in history to complete the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) – Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) double.
Saturday’s effort was a brave one from the youngster who, getting in on just 52kg under the weight-for-age conditions was able to hold off last start Railway Stakes winner Luckygray by a quarter length to win the Group 1.
The Kingston Town was not only Ihtsahymn’s first Group 1 assignment it was also their first look at further than a mile and indicated a big future on the track.
Exactly where that future will take them is something Kerlsey won’t be rushed into deciding.
One option is to stay put at home with them to see out their three-year-old season with a campaign targeting the $400,000 Group 2 W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) in April.
That however could prove problematic with Ihtsahymn likely to cop hefty weight allocations thanks to their Kingston success in the Derby lead-up races.
They’ve also been made a late entry for the $225,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) at Ascot on December 21 where they would take on a field of Perth Cup hopes under WFA.
“He’s entered for the Cox Stakes and it’s tempting to go that way,” Kersley told The West Australian on the weekend.
“But I’m keen to give him a rest ahead of his next campaign.
“Being a lightly-framed horse, I don’t want to go to the well once too often.
“The rest of his three-year-old career needs to be carefully structured. My first preference is to stay at home.
While an all-Perth 2014 WATC Derby lead-up is Kersley’s preferred option at this stage he certainly hasn’t ruled out a trip east for the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
“As shown by Luckygray, Mr Moet and others, travelling is very hard to do successfully,” Kersley said.
“But all these things will be considered. We can’t make a decision hastily.”
There the youngster would be targeted for the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 followed by the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) back at the track the following Saturday.
That’s the same path 2010 WA Guineas – Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God travelled.
The Neville Parnham-trained stallion, a length away fourth to Ihtsahymn in the Kingston Town Classic, ran third to Shamrocker in the 2011 Australian Guineas and third to Shocking in the Australian Cup one run later.
They later came back home and finished second in two Ascot races including to Dreamaway in the WATC Derby.
Jockey Steven Parnham had the option of Playing God or Ihtsahymn in the Kingston Town Classic this year and was relieved his decision to stay on the young gun proved the winning one.
The win was the hoop’s third in the Kingston Town in the past four years and proved in his opinion the winner could handle an interstate trip next year.
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