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Local trainer Neville Parnham is looking to repeat his stellar 2010 performance in this weekend’s Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot.
Relative newcomer Playing God won the WA Guineas that year before going on to claim the Listed Aquanita Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in his next two starts. Just a fortnight before the Guineas, Playing God finished second in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m), for which he was $1.80 favourite.
Four years later and Parnham could very well be on the verge of his third WA Guineas win with three horses running the race on Saturday.
Three-year-old colt Rommel is the trainer’s best chance at success in the race, having finished a fast second to Disposition in the Fairetha Stakes on November 8, for which he was a $51 shot. The same result Playing God got before going on to win his Perth trifecta.
Rommel, who will jump from barrier five with Steven Parnham in the saddle, is offering lucrative odds of $21 in the WA Guineas betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, which is dominated by Disposition at odds of $2.30.
“Rommel ran really well off a good gate last start,” the trainer told Perth Racing.
“He has probably improved off that. I think he would be better at the mile.
“Rommel worked super yesterday morning and he is ready to go. Although in saying that, Disposition and Outlaw Pete are going to be hard to beat.”
The horse will need to do what he couldn’t in the Fairetha to win the 2014 WA Guineas – beat home Disposition.
Three-year-old filly Top Show has missed out on success in her last three starts, all of which Parnham blames on wide gates.
“Top Show has had to work hard from bad barriers and her chances were ruined,” the trainer said.
She was fourth in the Listed Belgravia Stakes (1200m) first up this campaign, missing out on a placing by a ¼ of a length after jumping from barrier eight (of 12). She then finished third last in the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) with a start from the widest gate before jumping from barrier nine (of 13) in the Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) to finish in fifth place.
The filly will enjoy a start from barrier six in the 2014 WA Guineas, her most inside start this preparation.
Dancing Express did well to finish runner-up in the WA Champion Fillies Stakes last Saturday but will need to overcome a wide start from barrier 13 on Saturday.
“It is going to be a bit tricky, but Brad (Parnham) is riding really well and I’m sure he’ll manoeuvre her into a spot where she will have every chance,” Parnham said.
“But she may have to make up a little more ground than she did in the Champion Fillies. She came through her last race super.”
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