Trainer Neville Parnham has confirmed that Rommel will settle close to the speed in the 2015 Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Rommel has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date, but he produced an outstanding performance when he was settled just behind the leaders in the Group 2 Western Australian Guineas (1600m) at Ascot last year and he hit the line strongly after being settled in fourth in the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28.
Parnham told Racing Ahead that his son Steve Parnham will be instructed to push forward on Rommel in the early stages of the Australian Guineas and the leading Western Australian trainer is hoping that the son of Commands’ toughness will give him every possible chance to fight out the finish of the Group 1 event at Flemington this weekend.
“He will definitely go forward and be in the top four or five,” Parnham said.
“I’ve heard a couple of people saying that there may not be genuine speed in the race and that would make me want to race in a forward spot.
“He raced on the pace in the Guineas and there wasn’t a great deal of speed in it, but he was able to quicken and got a bit of a break on Disposition that day.
“He loomed like he was going to get him, but he held him off quite strong and Rommel is usually pretty strong at the finish.
“He has always shown those fighting qualities in the final.
“He is the perfect racehorse.”
Parnham originally planned not to give Rommel an Australian Guineas lead-up run in Melbourne, but he changed his mind and ran the colt over 1200 metres in the Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield last weekend.
Rommel was under heavy riding a long way from home, but he was able to tough it out to the finish to record a narrow win and Parnham said that the three-year-old had taken plenty of benefit from the run.
“He was probably a little bit out of his comfort zone, but it was more making sure that he was going to be solid enough at the mile,” Parnham said.
“I started to second guess myself about going three weeks into the Guineas against good horses at their home track and it worked out really well.
“He was under pressure when they quickened up on the corner, but he dug deep like he normally does and he finished the race off very solidly and was able to nose it out on the line.
“He has been in excellent order and we have been able to vary his work around.
“We have kept him nice and fresh and interested in what he is doing and he has eaten very well since he got off the plane.
“He will do a bit of fast work tomorrow and that will top him off for Saturday.”
Rommel is currently available at 2015 Australian Guineas odds of $12 with Ladbrokes, while Kermadec ($3.60) is a clear favourite from Alpine Eagle ($7) and early market mover Wandjina ($8).