Perth’s 13-time premiership winning trainer Neville Parnham is relieved his chance at a third Kingston Town Classic win on the weekend Bass Strait has returned to his best form ahead of the million dollar feature.
Parnham celebrated back-to-back wins in the weight-for-age feature at Ascot Racecourse back in 2010-11 with his former stable star Playing God.
This weekend he saddles-up one chance in the 16-starter field for the $1 million Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) with Holy Roman Emperor seven-year-old Bass Strait jumping from gate 11.
The gate might be a nasty omen, failing to produce a winner in the race in over 30 years, but Parnham remains quietly confident based on his galloper’s lead-up runs.
After a slow start to his preparation, Bass Strait has run second in his two latest races.
The first was behind subsequent Railway Stakes winner Scales Of Justice in the Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m) and the latest to Chocolate Holic in the Listed Carbine Club of W.A. Stakes (1400m) on November 19.
“He had a bit of a disappointing prep early on and I was worried he might not get here,” Parnham told Racing Victoria.
“I put him in the paddock for about eight or nine days and whatever had been worrying him was quickly gone and he bounced straight back to his best form.”
One of Parnham’s three sons Brad jumps aboard Bass Strait on Saturday replacing his brother Steven in the saddle.
Steven Parnham is a three-time Kingston Town Classic winning jockey having ridden Playing God (2010-11) for his father as well as the Fred Kersley-trained Ihtsahymn (2013).
This Perth Summer Racing Carnival Steven chases a fourth trophy reuniting with Ihtsahymn, the now six-year-old coming off a third in the Listed Northam Cup (1600m) from late October.
Parnham’s other son Chris, who has been riding well in Melbourne this season, also has a chance in the Kingston Town Classic 2016 aboard the visiting Lindsay Park-trained He Or She from barrier 14.
“It’s always great to watch the boys compete in these big races,” Parnham said.
“Steven’s won the Kingston Town three times before while Brad’s run second on one of mine a few years back and now Chris has joined them and he can certainly win the race on He Or She.”
Bass Strait is a $41 roughie in the latest Kingston Town Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, while He Or She is at $26 and Ihtsahymn at $34.
Markets are led by the reigning champion Perfect Reflection ($4.20), the mare coming up trumps with barrier two.
As for which horse Parnham rates a big danger he pointed out the Chris Waller-trained Good Project ($13) coming of a second in the Railway Stakes, a race the galloper won in 2015.
“One horse that seems to have improved out of sight since he’s been here is Good Project. He’s on a real upward spiral I think,” he said.
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