Connections of the Neville Parnham-trained Perth galloper Rommel will bypass another summer run at home with the progressive four-year-old saving him for a Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign targeting the Australian Cup 2016.
The Commands stallion has had 14 runs to date for four wins, his winning form going up to 1600m.
He is being aimed at a longer distanced interstate feature next March however with the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on Newmarket Handicap Day at Flemington Racecourse named as the likely Victorian target for the galloper.
Winner of last year’s Group 2 W.A. Guineas (1600m), Rommel has had one previous run outside of Perth.
Following his first-up third to Red Ora at home in the Magic Millions Perth 3YO Guineas in mid-February he travelled to Caulfield Racecourse a fortnight later and won the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) narrowly over Galaxy Pegasus.
He has had two runs since this Perth Summer Racing Carnival when ninth to Robert Heathcote’s star Brisbane raider Buffering in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and a last start fourth to Watermans Bay in the Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) on November 28.
This week Parnham confirmed to The West Australian the horse wasn’t scheduled to make another Perth appearance this season and will head straight to Melbourne at the start of next year.
Originally the team considered taking Rommel to Queensland for a shot at the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast Racecourse on January 9.
The taxing travel from Perth to the Sunshine State however had him reconsider and keep Rommel for bigger and richer races in Melbourne later in 2016.
“It’s a bit more of an ordeal to get up to Queensland,” Parnham said.
“There are some good races for him in Melbourne in February and March.”
This Saturday at Ascot Parnham is set to saddle-up Bass Strait in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m), a traditional lead-up into the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) on January 2.
Six-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Bass Strait hasn’t won a race since November last year when beating home Respondent in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m).
He ran third behind Elite Belle in last year’s CB Cox Stakes but hasn’t finished in the money since and is out to atone for a dead last when 16th and beaten nearly 35 lengths by Perfect Reflection in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in the mud on December 5.
A field of 11 is likely for the CB Cox Stakes this summer led by Grant Williams’ Perth Cup favourite Delicacy and this year’s Perth Cup winner Real Love for Lark Hill’s Adam Durrant drawn in barriers six and five respectively.
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