Top Perth jockey Steven Parnham will decide in the coming week if he is to stick with Rommel in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 6.
Parnham partnered Rommel to win the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot last Saturday for his father Neville but also is the regular rider for the Fred Kersley trained Ihtsahymn who is also heading towards the Kingston Town Classic.
Ihstahymn is struggling to find form and finished tenth, beaten three and a half lengths by Elite Belle in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot last Saturday.
Parnham was in the same situation last year when he had to choose between the then three year old Ihtsahymn who had just won the W.A. Guineas and Playing God whom he had a long time association with including wins in the 2010 and 2011 Kingston Town Classic.
Parnham picked the three year old and was proven right with Ihtsahymn scoring a memorable victory in the weight for age Perth Summer feature.
Neville Parnham will let Steven make the decision but noted that the three year olds have a 7kg weight advantage from the older horses under the weight age scale.
“Steven is in exactly the same position as last year with an up-and-coming three-year-old and a horse who has won him a lot of races,” Neville Parnham told The Western Australian.
“He hasn’t made a decision, but he’ll wait for the next few days and make it from there.
“It is going to be hard for him.
“It was the pull in the weights which swayed his decision last year and he pulled the right rein because Playing God ran a gallant fourth but he couldn’t haul him in.”
Neville Parnham said that Rommel had pulled up in great order after bringing Disposition’s unbeaten run to an end in the W.A. Guineas.
“I took him for a walk and he was just full of beans,” Neville Parnham said yesterday.
“To be honest with you he doesn’t know he has been around in a race.
“Three-year-olds have a very good record in there (Classic) and I’ve won the race with a three-year-old.
“A three-year-old won it last year. With that 7kg pull off the older horses it has an impact for a good three-year-old.
The prominent Perth trainer said that Rommel had taken several runs to get race fit this preparation and is now racing in peak condition.
“He is just peaking. He took a while to get fit and to get him in the right frame of mind,” Neville Parnham said.
“I think he can be the same or a better horse next start.”
Rommel is marked as an $18 chance for the Kingston Town Classic with Ladbrokes.com.au while Ihstahymn is listed at $12.
Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle is the ruling favourite at $6 just ahead of the Chris Waller trainer Moriarty at $6.50, Balmont Girl at $7 and Disposition at $7.50.