Top Perth rider Steven Parnham has some sleepless nights ahead before he chooses his mount for the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on Saturday week.
Parhnam has the option of sticking with his proven performer and dual Group 1 winner Playing God or try to repeat history by winning the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) and the Kingston Town Classic in the one year on three year old Ihtsahymn.
Parnhman steered Playing God to a historical double in 2010 by winning the W.A. Guineas and the Kingston Town Classic and then backed up the following year to make it consecutive victories in the 1800m weight for age Summer feature.
He has also been aboard the Neville Parnhamtrained six year old for the majority of his career including his four runs this campaign which included a last start fifth to Luckygray in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot last Saturday and a win three starts back in the Group 3 $125,000 Northerly Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on October 19.
But Parnham has also been the exclusive rider for the Fred Kersley trained Ihtsahymn and has netted four wins from eight starts including last Saturday’s Group 2 win in the W.A. Guineas.
“It is too early to split them,” Parnham told The West Australian.
“I haven’t been asked at this stage by either party. Both owners have been really good to me and I respect them equally.
“Playing God has raced very well in the top company for the past four years. He is performing very well and I know he is up to it again this year.
“Ihtsahymn is a young horse who is going to improve with more racing.
“At the moment he is a bit slow away and gets into traffic, but he will mature to where you will be able to put him into a race.
“He is coming through the grades and the question is whether he will be up to the pressure of a Kingston Town.
“Three-year-olds certainly have a great record in the race because they get in with a light weight.
“On the other hand, Playing God is foolproof.”
Perth’s favourite race horse Luckygray has jumped straight to the top of the Kingston Town Classic market order after returning to form by winning the Railway Stakes and is now the $3 favourite just ahead of Mr Moet at $4 with Ihtsahymn at $7 and Playing God well in contention at $8 to take out his third Classic.