After riding two livewire chances for Saturday week’s Kingston Town Classic 2014 at Ascot Racecourse over the weekend jockey Steven Parnham has to make a choice on whether to ride this year’s WA Guineas winner Rommel or the defending champ Ihtsahymn in the December 6 showdown back at the track.
The next major of the Perth Summer Racing Carnival the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) is on the agenda for a host of Railway Stakes Day graduates from last Saturday, two of which Parnham has the option of riding.
He faced the same problem last summer when given the option to ride either the 2010 WA Guineas – Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God for his father Neville Parnham or the progressive Ihstahymn.
He made the right choice then and the 29-year-old hopes to do so again 12 months on and come away with another win in the classic.
Parnham’s only winner on ‘Super Saturday’ over the weekend, Commands colt Rommel is another prepared by Neville and continued his ace form this time in with an upset in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m).
He was runner-up to the undefeated Disposition as a 51-1 roughie the start before in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m) before turning the tables in the Guineas to beat the even money favourite by half a length at $21 odds.
Post-race $140,000 yearling Rommel was still in top form suggesting the stretch out to 1800m for the Kingston Town Classic, for which he’s now fully qualified for, would be a non-issue for the progressive three-year-old.
His trainer was also thrilled with how he came through the run, Parnham senior hoping the ace record of three-year-olds in the Kingston Town Classic can hold up again with his galloper on the sixth.
“I took him for a walk and he was just full of beans,” he told The West Australian yesterday.
“To be honest with you he doesn’t know he has been around in a race.
“Three-year-olds have a very good record in there (Classic) and I’ve won the race with a three-year-old.
“A three-year-old won it last year. With that 7kg pull off the older horses it has an impact for a good three-year-old.
“He is just peaking. He took a while to get fit and to get him in the right frame of mind.
“I think he can be the same or a better horse next start.
“Steven is in exactly the same position as last year with an up-and-coming three-year-old and a horse who has won him a lot of races.”
Parnahm’s other possible Kingston Town Classic mount Ihtsahymn however didn’t have quite as much luck over the weekend.
Fred Kersley’s Ihtiram four-year-old ran third-up in the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) but could only manage to finish three and a half lengths away 10th behind the winning mare Elite Belle.
Winner of last year’s WA Guineas, Ihtsahymn went on to beat home Luckygray in the Kingston Town Classic 14 days later when getting in on the 52kg three-year-old light weight.
Star of the summer, he also won last year’s Group 2 CB Cox Stakes (2100m) to make it three features on the trot but has won just the one subsequent race.
A solid autumn followed his career defining season and ended with a second to Respondent in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) in April, his first look at the mile and a half.
Since suffering cardiac arrhythmia first-up when dead last at Belmont Park on October 4 however the gelding has been on the back burner and whether he still has Parnham’s loyalty will be known shortly.
“He hasn’t made a decision, but he’ll wait for the next few days and make it from there,” Neville Parnham said.
“It is going to be hard for him.
“It was the pull in the weights which swayed his decision last year and he pulled the right rein because Playing God ran a gallant fourth but he couldn’t haul him in.”
Current favourite in Kingston Town Classic betting is Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle followed by second and third past the post Balmont Girl and Chris Waller‘s Sydney raider Moriarty.
Rommel sits around $13.
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