Prominent Perth jockey Steven Parnham has chosen three year old Rommel as his ride in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 6.
Parnham had the choice to ride Rommel, trained by his father Neville, and the Fred Kersley trained Ihtsahymn whom he partnered to win last year’s Kingston Town Classic as a three year old.
The top jockey is the regular rider for both Rommel and Ihtsahym and decided to go with the three year old after having plenty of success with that age group in previous years under the weight for scale in the Kingston Town Classic.
“I spoke to Fred and I just felt that three-year-olds have a big advantage in the race,” Parnham told The West Australian.
“I’ve won the race on two three-year-olds and rode God Has Spoken when he ran second as a three-year-old (in 2009).
“They come into the race with the weight pull. I just wanted to follow that formula.”
Parhnam was faced with the same dilemma last year before making the right decision and choosing the then three year old Ihtsahymn over one of his old favourites Playing God.
Parnham won on Rommel in last Saturday’s Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot and if successful in the Kingston Town Classic will follow the same pattern as two of his other three winners in the feature Summer Carnival race.
Parnahm took out the W.A. Guineas – Kingston Town Classic double on Playing God in 2010 and again on Ihtsahymn last year.
And as a four year old Playing God made it back to back Kingston Town Classic wins for Parnham in 2011.
Rommel started off his current campaign in fairly lacklustre style with three unplaced runs before Neville Parnham stepped the three year old up in distance and he immediately started to find form with a second in the Listed $100,000 Fairetha Stakes over 1400m at Ascot on November 8 before winning the W.A. Guineas over 1600.
And Steven Parnham has no doubt he will handle the extra distance on Saturday week.
“He’s peaking at the right time,” Parnham said.
“Ihtsahymn will improve stepping up to 1800, but the way Rommel ran out the 1600, the 1800 won’t pose too many problems.”
Last week’s Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle and the Chris Waller trained Moriarty share favouritism for the Kingston Town Classic at $6 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of local gallopers Balmont Girl at $7 and three year old Disposition at $8.
Rommel is marked as an $11 chance alongside of Outlaw Pete, Real Love and Respondent while Ihtsahymn is on the next line of betting with the Gai Waterhouse trained Pheidon at $13