Playing Gold could be a surprise leader when he strives to make history by winning his third Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Owner Colin Loxton and trainer Neville Parnham couldn’t come up with a pacemaker when they studied the weight for age field and wouldn’t rule out new jockey Paul Harvey taking Playing God to the front.
“A lot of people think God Has Spoken will lead, but if he was to lead he can then over race and that is no good for him,” Loxton told The West Australian.
“The problem is all of the runners want to sit midfield and if that happens and they all go slow, who wins?
“Playing God has the sectional speed to coast along and Paul Harvey is not frightened to take up the initiative.
“If they give him several lengths on the corner, they are not going to be able to run a fast enough sectional to get over him.”
Harvey takes over the reins on Playing God from Steven Parnham who elected to stay with three year old Ihtsahymn after the pair combined to win the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot two weeks ago.
Parnham had been the regular rider for Playing God throughout his career, chalking up eight wins including the 2010 and 2011 Kingston Town Classics as well as the 2010 W.A. Guineas.
Parnham said the decision to dump Playing God and ride the up and coming Ihstahymn was the toughest of his career but believes that the Fred Kersley trained three year old has the potential to replicate Playing God’s effort of winning the W.A. Guineas – Kingston Town Classic double in the same year.
“It’s the toughest decision of my racing career to get off Playing God,” Parnham said.
“He’s been my best winner and has given me the opportunity to ride in top Melbourne carnival races.
“But Ihtsahymn is a very good three-year-old who continues to improve. He’ll have a big advantage with only 52kg on Saturday.”
Playing God is going into the Kingston Town Classic after making up plenty of the ground in the straight from back in field to be beaten a length and a quarter when fifth to Luckygray in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot a fortnight ago.
Loxton is not dismissing the chances of his other runner and Playing God’s older brother God Has Spoken and is expecting the seven year old be competitive following a shoeing adjustment.
“He has had hoof problems but a change in shoes sees him going really well now,” Loxton said.
Last start Railway Stakes winner Luckygray heads the market order for the Kingston Town Classic at $2.60 with Ihtsahymn firming into $4.60 in front of Mr Moet who has drifted out to $5.50 while Playing God has shifted to $9 with stablemate God Has Spoken marked as a $26 chance.