Having faced a decision between riding Ihtsahymn or Rommel in the 2014 Kingston Town Classic on December 13, jockey Steven Parnham has opted for the former who he recently rode to an upset victory in the WA Guineas.
The 29-year-old jockey, son of Rommel’s trainer Neville Parnham, was aboard the Fred Kersley-trained Ihtiram gelding Ihtsahymn last Perth Summer Racing Carnival for his winning treble in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Group 2 CB Cox Stakes (2100m).
Ihtsahymn, now four-years-old, has been less competitive this time in and was last seen running three and a half lengths away 10th behind Elite Belle in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 22.
“He’s raced below-par at unsuitable distances,” his trainer Kersley told Perth Racing.
“I think he really needs to regain his best form.”
Parnham was aboard that day and offered the ride in this year’s $500,000 Kingston Town Classic should he opt for back-to-back wins, to give him a record-equaling fourth Kingston Town trophy along with Paul Harvey, in the weight-for-age feature aboard the defending champion.
He decided late last week however to jump off Ihtsahymn and instead stay on Commands colt Rommel who goes up to 1800m for the first time.
“He’s peaking at the right time,” Parnham said about Rommel.
“Ihtsahymn will improve stepping up to 1800, but the way Rommel ran out the 1600, the 1800 won’t pose too many problems.”
The three-year-old is after the same summer double Ihtsahymn secured last year after winning the $400,000 Guineas over the Ascot mile on November 22 over boom galloper Disposition, and is looking to continue the nice form of youngsters in the race.
He’s now rated a $10 chance in the futures Kingston Town Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, Ihtsahymn at $13, to win.
Those markets are led by the Chris Waller-trained Sydney raider Moriarty ($4.60) and Grant Williams’ in-form Canny Lad mare Elite Belle ($5) who ran third and first respectively in the Railway Stakes this year, which has produced six of the past eight Kingston Town Classic winners.
Two of Parnham’s previous two Kingston Town Classic winning rides were on three-year-olds as he also rode Playing God to victory in 2010, the champion returning to win again in 2011, on the back of a WA Guineas success as well.
Twice securing the Guineas – Kingston double then has influenced Parnham this year in his decision to go for it again with Rommel.
“I spoke to Fred (Kersley, Ihtsahymn’s trainer) and I just felt that three-year-olds have a big advantage in the race,” Parnham said.
“I’ve won the race on two three-year-olds and rode God Has Spoken when he ran second as a three-year-old (in 2009).
“They come into the race with the weight pull. I just wanted to follow that formula.”
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