Star Perth hoop Steven Parnham has picked up a plum ride in Western Australia’s feature race of the weekend getting aboard Northpace in the $80,000 Listed Belmont Classic (2200m) on Saturday.
Continuing the winter racing action at Belmont Park, the Belmont Classic is shaping up as a cracker this year with 13 talented three-year-olds vying for the black type title.
One of the top picks in the mix is Parnham’s mount, the Fred Kersley-trained Northpace having just their sixth career start.
Drawn to perfection in gate five the consistent Cape North gelding is shooting for their fourth turf triumph after an impressive three and a half length effort in the $50,000 Dayana Plate (2000m) at Belmont on July 6 having come from last to first.
For that run they overcame gate 11 of 12 and were ridden by William Pike, dual Group 1 winner Parnham thrilled to have picked up the ride on the up-and-coming stayer following Pike’s subsequent suspension.
“He’s a good pick-up ride,” Parnham said.
“He won pretty well the other day and certainly looks like he’ll be hard to beat again.
“The way he hit the line, the step-up in distance shouldn’t pose a problem.
“I rode him on Saturday morning and he worked well. He looks like he’s trained on well.”
Daniel Staeck, aboard Northpace for their opening four career starts, was considered but is also out for careless riding.
Northpace will be joined in the Belmont Classic on Saturday by two stablemates, Kerlsey also accepting for Dayana Plate runner-up Go Tiger and last start Belmont winning grey Credo who are drawn in gates three and eight respectively.
Credo will be ridden by another ace jockey in Paul Harvey who rides the Scandal Keeper gelding for the first time while their last start hoop Patrick Carbery stays on Go Tiger who they have ridden for their last two second place finishes.
Hall of Famer Kersley is looking to atone for last year’s Belmont Classic after his short priced favourite Operational was scratched hours before the race after an accident in the stables that morning.
He has won two previous editions of the classic however with Priceless Matt (20030 and Boardwalk Lady (1997).
The biggest danger in the feature however looks to be the Adam Durrant-trained Summah’s Touch in gate two out to become the third filly in four years to take out the classic.
The Blackfriars filly, second in the WA Oaks back in April, has won both her starts this time in and so is a dual black type winner at Belmont.
Saturday sees her shoot for a hat trick following her easy victories in the Listed Belmont Guineas (1600m), where Northpace finished two and a half lengths away third in, and the Listed Belmont Oaks (2000m).
Also coming via a Belmont Oaks run are the likes of Elle On Friar (2nd), Fashion Princess (3rd) and Pants On Friar (4th) making for an intriguing edition of the classic.