Western Australian galloper Rommel has been included in the 2015 Zeditave Stakes field and trainer Neville Parnham is confident that the Group 3 event at Caulfield on Saturday will top the colt off for the 2015 Australian Guineas a week later.
Rommel returned to racing with a third place finish in the Magic Millions Trophy at Ascot on February 14 and Parnham initially planned on sending the Commands colt into the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 without a lead-up run for three weeks, but he changed his mind after analysing this weekend’s racing schedule.
Parnham told Racing Ahead that he believes the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) is an ideal preparation race for Rommel and he said that he will be happy knowing that the three-year-old has had a race start in Melbourne under his belt ahead of the Australian Guineas.
“It will be three weeks between runs if I wanted for the Guineas and I looked at options like giving him a trial or a jump out under race conditions, but I saw this race on Saturday and I thought that I would just throw him in and have a look at it,” Parnham said.
“He is not a big gross horse and initially I wasn’t really concerned about him going into the Guineas off three weeks, but I thought that race looked suitable for him and it will top him right off.
“We galloped yesterday morning and I feel that I am doing the right thing because he had a good blow and I am going to be a lot happier with him going into the race knowing that he has had a 1200 metres gallop a week before.”
Rommel stamped himself as one of the best colts in Western Australia when he scored an upset win over Disposition in the Group 1 WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot on November 22 and he was far from disgraced when seventh in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at the same venue on December 6.
Parnham said that he was very pleased to see Disposition come out and finish a close second behind Wandjina in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last weekend and it has given him confident that Rommel is worthy of a place in the Australian Guineas field.
“We were very keen to see how it performed on Saturday and I thought that the horse was terrific,” Parnham said.
“He was out of his comfort zone up there on the speed and pulling, that is not his go at all and it looked to be the wrong side of the track to be on.
“To just go down narrowly was encouraging from my point of view knowing that I have actually beaten him and finished a length and a half off him in the Kingston Town.
“I was very pleased to see that horse perform and it has given us some heart going forward that we are not doing the wrong thing by giving our horse the chance to run in the Guineas.”
The 2015 Zeditave Stakes field was released this morning and Rommel will face Fast Cash, Galaxy Pegasus, Convincible, Armada, Ulmann, Onerous, Schneller and Setinum in the Group 3 event.