A Western Australian Derby campaign could be in the pipeline for Ihtsahymn if the three year old can handle the step up in distance in the Group 2 WFA $250,000 LD Total – C.B. Cox Stakes over 2100m at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
Prominent Perth trainer Fred Kersley will postpone a trip to the eastern states with his latest stable star and if Ihtsahymn can show that he can run out a strong 2100m will set him for the Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot in April.
Ihtsahymn is lining up for his third Festival Of Perth Racing feature race in a row after taking out the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot on November 23 and the Group 1 WFA $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 7.
“I’m a little apprehensive about whether I am going to the well one too many times but he seems pretty well,” Kersley told the Sportsman.
“He gives every indication that the 2100m would be to his liking but you never know until you have a go.”
“Whether or not he is a Derby horse is another reason to have a look at the distance.”
Ihtsahymn is taking on virtually the same field that he beat in the Kingston Town Classic and include Luckygray, Rohan, Playing God, Mr Moet and Elite Belle who finished in that order at Ascot.
Under the weight for age scale Ihtsahymn drops one kg to 51kg for stepping up to 2100m while the rest of the field will carry the same weight as they did in the Kingston Town Classic.
Top local jockey Steven Parnham will again use his weight advantage on the three year old as the pair look to stretch their winning run to three.
Kersley is finding it hard to be critical of Parnham’s winning ride in the Kingston Town Classic even though he thought he took off a little bit too early before holding off the fast finishing Luckygray by a head.
“He could have held up another hundred metres but at the end of the day it was a winning ride so you don’t criticise,” Kersley said.
“It is a tough field and I never underestimate horses like Luckygray, who is probably under rated in the east but is a super horse here in Perth, along with Playing God and Mr Moet.”
Western Australia’s favourite horse Luckygray heads the Cox Stakes market order at $3.60 with Ihtsahymn hot on his heels at $3.80 with Mt Moet next in the betting at $4.60.
Rohan, who also ran a mighty race to finish third in the Kingston Town Classic is marked as a $9 chance in front of Playing God at $12.