Young apprentice jockey Chris Parnham is making it a habit of winning the last races whether at Ascot Geraldton or Pinjarra, including three such wins in the last week.
Although it doesn’t help him make Sunday newspaper deadlines he is still ‘getting the chocolates’-and better late in the day then not at all.
In a thrilling finish to the last at Ascot on March 30-the Richard Mortimer Handicap- the grey mare Even Astar won her first race since October 30 2010 when she overcame a tardy start to finish powerfully down the outside to just down Ready on Time by a nose. Red Hot Sax was a distant third.
Chris also got bragging rights over older brothers Steven and Brad who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on Black Magic Miss and Dark Rock.
Until her last three runs Even Astar has always been ridden on the pace but has generally been disappointing since her early days when she was an impressive winner. In her first six starts she had won three times, including two listed races (the Belgravia Stakes and Burgess Queen Stakes in successive starts) with two seconds. In those days Steven Parnham was her regular rider.
In her last thee starts when ridden back over 1400m races the pale grey has unleashed some powerful finishes and a third, followed by a second, made her the punters pick yesterday, being backed in from $5.50 to $4.60.
She has now won four races from 30 career starts, with five seconds and two thirds, for $208,150 in prize money.
Owner Greg Maclou had been contemplating retiring the 5yo Kendel Star mare to the breeding barn and had also offered her for sale but got no offers.
Her recent good form has value added to her dam potential when she is finally retired. For now trainer Neville Parnham is eyeing the Matchmaker Classic (1400m) on April 20 with some confidence.
Parnham has rejuvenated his charge with the change of riding tactics in the last three races which came about by accident.
“She slipped at the start three races ago and came home strongly and so we have engaged in that pattern of riding her in recent times.”
The trainer also noted that before the start of this current preparation she had also finished on well in a trial after coming from behind.
Parnham said she had probably got used to now being ridden off the pace hence she was not quickly away on Saturday despite drawing barrier two.
The win was some compensation for both Parnham and Chris after the pair lost a ‘squeaker’ earlier in the day when Oz Racing’s new galloper, Street Bandit, in his first race, was collared on the line by Flying Zoe (Jason Whiting).
In another thriller Thunderluv’n (Ben Paterson) did the same to Right Time by the same margin–a nose.
Racecaller Richard Bell did a great job calling these three tight finishes correctly and he also has the knack of identifying ultimate winners early in the home straight.
‘The Rich-man’ was filling in for ‘Dubai Darren’ (McAullay) who was swanning around the bright lights of the Middle East on Saturday.