Trainer Neville Parnham has revealed that he expects Bass Strait to be settled close to the speed in the 2014 Railway Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.
Bass Strait has generally been settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of races during his career to date, but apprentice jockey Chris Parnham, Neville’s son, elected to settle the Holy Roman Emperor gelding just behind the speed in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot on Saturday and the decision paid dividends when the five-year-old earnt a place in the Railway Stakes field with a narrow win.
The Cleaner is expected to set a quick early tempo in the early stages of the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m), but Parnham told Racing Victoria that he is happy for Chris to settle Bass Strait close to the leader.
“He should get into a nice position and not be too far off them, which some of them may be,” Parnham said.
“Quite a lot of the expected chances in the race do race off pace and that might mean they’ve got a fair bit of ground to make up on The Cleaner.
“It’s a step up, but he’s improved off the back of his win last week and hopefully he can go there and win a bit of prizemoney.”
Bass Strait was a consistent performer at Group level as a three-year-old under the care of David Hayes and contested races like the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) as a four-year-old, but failed to fire during his autumn preparation and was sold to Parnham after making a slow start to his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
The five-year-old made his debut for the Parnham stable with a fifth place finish in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 1 before his R.J. Peters Stakes win and Parnham believes that he has already started to work out what makes Bass Strait tick ahead of the Railway Stakes.
“Our first attempt with him we were just feeling our way but he ran a slashing race when he ran on and hit the line well,” Parnham said.
“I was able to have another fortnight with the horse just to get a feel of him and I think I worked him out a fair bit more and the horse duly saluted last Saturday, aided by a good ride by Chris.”
Bass Strait is currently available at 2014 Railway Stakes odds of $14, while The Cleaner ($4.80) remains favourite from Respondent ($6) and Elite Belle ($7.50).