Local horseman Neville Parnham believes his classy young colt Rommel is “ready to go” in Saturday’s $400,000 Group 2 Sky Racing W.A. Guineas (1600m) in Perth.
The Ascot Racecourse showdown is one of three Group majors running for ‘Super Saturday’ in Perth on the weekend and features a top line-up of 15 three-year-olds.
Parnham, of Playing God fame, is represented in the classic by three youngsters saddling up Rommel (barrier five), WA Champion Fillies Stakes fifth placegetter Top Show (barrier six) and runner-up in that same Group 3 from last weekend Dancing Express (barrier 13).
In the latest WA Guineas betting markets at Ladbrokes the favourite of his trio at long odds of $21 is Rommel to be ridden by Stephen Parnham.
Race favouirte at a short $2.30 and firming is the Grant Williams-trained Disposition, the undefeated son of Reset coming off back-to-back Black Type wins at the track.
His latest was a one length effort over Rommel in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m) from November 8, a performance Parnham is hoping his galloper can atone for in the rematch.
In the Fairetha Stakes Rommel put in a barnstorming late effort to finish second best as a $51 outsider, a price the bookies have halved for the Group 2 this weekend where Parnham is hoping he laps up the 1600m.
“Rommel ran really well off a good gate last start,” he told Perth Racing.
“He has probably improved off that. I think he would be better at the mile.”
Parnham is no stranger to recent WA Guineas success either.
Four years ago his stable ace Playing God won his first notable race in the Guineas before rising through the ranks at lightning fast speed winning the Listed Aquanita Stakes (1800m) and the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in his two subsequent runs that summer.
The master Perth horseman also won the WA Guineas in 2001 with Royal Retrieve.
Playing God went on to become a dual Kingston Town Classic winner in 2011 and was competitive at the highest level right up until his retirement to Mungrup Stud in December last year where he bowed out with over $1.66 million in prizemoney.
Now Parnham shoots for a third WA Guineas trophy but remains wary of the stiff competition his contingent face.
“Rommel worked super yesterday morning and he is ready to go,” he said on Thursday.
“Although in saying that, Disposition and Outlaw Pete are going to be hard to beat.”
Outlaw Pete in barrier seven is the early market mover into $5, Trevor Andrews’ Oratorio gelding out to improve on a Fairetha Stakes eighth.
As for Parnham’s two fillies in the mix, he’s hoping for more luck with Top Show after wide alleys have brought her undone of late.
“Top Show has had to work hard from bad barriers and her chances were ruined,” he said.
The bad barrier hoodoo however has shifted from her to stable mate Dancing Express, the WA Champion Fillies runner-up needing to overcome barrier 13 this weekend.
“It is going to be a bit tricky, but Brad (Parnham) is riding really well and I’m sure he’ll manoeuvre her into a spot where she will have every chance,” Parnahm said.
“But she may have to make up a little more ground than she did in the Champion Fillies.
“She came through her last race super.”
Other notable hopes in the WA Guineas field this year include the rails-drawn Tonto coming off a Fairetha Stakes fourth for Lou Luciani and WA Champion Fillies Stakes winner over this track and distance seven days ago Delicacy.