Bass Strait into 2014 Railway Stakes Field

Victory in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot Racecourse over the weekend has assured the Neville Parnham-trained Bass Strait a start in this weekend’s Railway Stakes 2014 field.

Bass Strait (pictured at Caulfield)

RJ Peters Stakes winner Bass Strait (pictured at Caulfield) has firmed in 2014 Railway Stakes betting for this weekend’s major. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

The $150,000 RJ Peters Stakes was a last chance attempt for a number of gallopers looking to return to the track on November 22 to race in one of three elite levels held at Ascot, the $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1800m).

Winning the race and the chance to shoot for the Group 1 seven days later was Parnham’s now locally-trained Holy Roman Emperor five-year-old Bass Strait.

Ridden by apprentice hoop Chris Parnham, the galloper went out as a $13 chance and was able to beat home some better fancied rivals including the Grant Williams-trained Respondent ($4.80) by a half-length, and third placed Trading Day ($12) who was three quarters of a length off the winner.

The victory gained him automatic entry into the Railway Stakes field, final acceptances for which close at 12pm (Perth time) today.

Formerly prepared by David Hayes in Victoria, Bass Strait has been tested just twice in stakes’ company now.

He made his black type debut when he also started in Perth for the first time for his new trainer on November 1 to finish fifth behind fellow Railway Stakes bound Balmont Girl in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m).

The RJ Peters Stakes performance then was an improved step and one connections, including Haayes’ former bloodstock manager Mark Pilkington and a group of Parnham’s stable clients, will be hoping he can repeat in better company again this Saturday.

“I think there were some other people chasing the horse and he (Pilkington) ended up being at Lindsay Park one morning and he’d been chasing the horse for a while,” Parnham told The West.

“We had to bump up our price a little but we got the deal done.

“The horse was in great condition (when he first arrived) and I was always confident he’d improved significantly since his first run.

“He’ll be better suited at a mile and perhaps a bit further.”

Bass Strait stormed up the Railway Stakes betting markets at after the win and was paying around $14 to win yesterday.

The Cleaner still leads betting at around $3.80, Mick Burles’s Tassie raider having arrived in local horseman Fred Kersley’s stables on Friday.

He has a blowout gallop at Ascot on Tuesday morning as part of ‘the breakfast with the stars’ proceedings that will also include the live Railway Stakes barrier draw.

Also high up the futures Railway Stakes odds are the likes of RJ Peters Stakes runner-up Respondent ($5.50) and Williams’ smart mare Elite Belle ($7.50).

Stay tuned to for all the latest on the Railway Stakes as well as Saturday’s other Group 1 feature in Perth, the $750,000 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

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