Prominent Perth trainer Neville Parnham wouldn’t be surprised if his stable favourite Playing God returns to the Group 1 winner’s stall in the $1m Carlton Draught – Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Playing God became Parnham’s stable star with his back to back wins in the summers of 2010 and 2011 in the Group 1 $500,000 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot and the local trainer is confident the six year old can reproduce that form for another Group 1 win.
“His form has been fantastic this time in,” said Parnham.
“I think he is going as well as he was two years ago.
“I thought his Lee Steere Stakes run was as good as his Northerly Stakes win.
“I think he is an excellent chance on Saturday.”
Playing God broke a twenty-two months winning drought when he produced a storming finish to win the Group 3 $125,000 Northerly Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on October 19.
The Blackfriars stallion then ran home in 34.12 seconds, the fastest 600m sectional of the race, when sixth to Conservatorium in the Group 2 $250,000 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 9.
Handicapped on 55.5kgs in the Railway Stakes, Playing God will be carrying the lightest weight since March 2011 when he finished third to Shocking with 54.5kgs in the Group 1 $1m Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.
Regular rider Steven Parnham will again be aboard Playing God who has drawn thirteen in the original draw but will come into eleven in the final field of sixteen if the four emergencies fail to gain a start.
They will be up against Conservatorium again with Joe Bowditch sticking with the Gary Kennewell trained gelding and the six year old will be looking for his first win past 1400m.
Rejuvenated galloper Smokin’ Joey has been installed the $4.60 favourite for the Railway Stakes following his second to Sydney sensation Boban in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9.
Last start Flemington winner Longport is on the second line of betting at $6.50 in front of the Peter Moody trained Plucky Belle at $8 and Queenslander Fire Up Fifi at $9.
Conservatorium has been marked at $15 to win his first Group 1 while Playing God is a $21 chance in the market order.
Parnham will also saddle up outsider God Has Spoken, an $81 chance.