Rommel will jump from the outside barrier in the 2014 Kingston Town Classic, but trainer Neville Parnham still expects the three-year-old to take up a forward position in the Group 1 event at Ascot on Saturday.
Rommel was settled in third position behind runaway leader Furious Dame in the early stages of the Group 2 Western Australian Guineas (1600m) and despite sitting on the strong tempo was still able to show an impressive turn-of-foot in the final stages of the race.
Parnham admits that he was not particularly happy to draw the outside gate with Rommel at the 2014 Kingston Town Classic barrier draw, but he told Sky Racing HQ that he remains confident his son Steven Parnham can settle the Commands colt just behind the leaders again in the Kingston Town Classic
“Unfortunately we have drawn the outside barrier, which is obviously a little bit of a disappointment, but it is what it is,” Parnham said.
“Fortunately the horse generally races in a forward spot, he did in his past two events and performed very well, so with the likely speed of Pheidon and perhaps Fuchsia Bandana we should have a genuine tempo.
“Our plan at this stage is to work across and try to find a spot in the first three or four.
“If we happen to finish up outside the leader then so be it.”
Rommel failed to fire in the first three race starts of his 2014 Perth Summer Racing Carnival campaign, but returned to a semblance of his best form in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 8 before his upset win in the Western Australian Guineas.
Parnham blames himself for the slow start that Rommel made this preparation and he believes that the three-year-old is peaking at the right time heading into the Kingston Town Classic.
“I think that the horse has only just peaked,” Parnham said.
“His form early in the prep was not so good and I sort of blame myself, I didn’t have him quiet fit enough.
“Once I got his work up a bit he came out and ran a slashing second in the Fairetha Stakes behind Disposition and then he was able to sit right on the pace in a pretty fast tempo in the Guineas and he finished too strong.
“He held off Disposition quiet easily and since that race he has galloped extremely well.
“He is jumping out of his skin and I think that he has really peaked at the right time.
“With the 52 kilos it certainly bring these three-year-olds right in.”
Rommel is currently available at 2014 Kingston Town Classic odds of $9, while Moriarty ($4) remains a clear favourite from Disposition ($6.50), Elite Belle ($7.50) and Balmont Girl ($7.50).