In a week when Australia’s first lady of racing was justly feted and elevated to Legend status in the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in Perth last Thursday, it was WA’s first family of racing, the Parnham’s, who took centre stage at Ascot on Saturday.
It was a red-letter day for the Parnham’s at WA racing headquarters. Could it have been scripted any better?
A unique double shared between father and son.
Bustler, trained by Hall Of Famer, Neville Parnham, and gifted a superb ride by his son, Steven, won the G1 Railway Stakes.
Western Australia’s most prestigious race, won by Western Australia’s most famous racing family.
The entrée to the Parnham spectacle came 34 minutes earlier when their rising three-year-old Zipaway took out the Group 2 WA Guineas.
Bustler and Zipaway, separate winners yesterday, likely combatants in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes in a fortnight.
The Parnham family are in a wonderful position to tackle the remainder of the Ascot Pinnacles carnival.
“It’s been a fantastic day and I couldn’t do it without the team behind me,” Parnham humbly said.
“We are a large stable and have wonderful support from a good ownership group.
“It’s a plan that has all come together and it’s all happened on the one day.
“It’s right up there with the best days that I’ve had.”
Surprisingly for Parnham, after racking up so much success in a decorated 40-year career, the Railway Stakes was a race missing from his trophy mantlepiece.
Not anymore. The monkey is now off his back.
“The Railway Stakes had eluded me,” Parnham said.
“It was the one race I wanted to tick off.
“I think it’s one of our most prestigious, if not the most prestigious race.
“I thought I had a genuine winning chance to win the race.”
First time win in the Railway for the Parnham’s, but for Steven, his fifth Group 1 victory after previous success in the Northerly Stakes.
A big time jockey in big time races.
“Steve pulled out an 11 out of 10 ride,” Parnham said.
“He was able to get him in the moving line and pounce when he wanted to.
“Steve always turns up on the big days.”
Bustler started $9 and defeated favourite Alsephina by one length. Dom To Shoot was a long-neck away third.
Zipaway’s margin a little tighter in the WA Guineas, but good enough to hold out A Lot Of Good Men and win by a neck.
Gun filly Super Smink, the odds-on favourite, close behind for third.
“Zipaway is a really nice horse and I think he’s got a good future,” Parnham said.
“I think he’s the sort of horse that can go to the next level and be right up there.
“He’s by Playing God, Bustler’s by Playing God.
“He’s a great stallion and anyone who can get hold of one, should get hold of one.”
In contrast to the Railway Stakes, the Parnham’s share an enviable Guineas record.
Neville has won the three-year-old feature more than any other trainer.
Steve posted a record-equalling fourth victory.
The elder brother of jockeys Brad and Chris might have to make a difficult call in a fortnight.
Neville said Zipaway and Bustler could meet in the Northerly Stakes.
The alternate option is for Bustler to go in the Damien Oliver Gold Rush over 1400m.
“Zipaway will definitely go there, provided he pulls up well,” Parnham said.
“Bustler, we’ll have a think about it, we may hang off for the Gold Rush.
“But the way he’s going it’s probably silly not to have a go, because he is trending like a horse that will get 1800 this year.”
Parnham has Bustler and Zipaway locked and loaded for more races in upcoming weeks. Longer term, next year in the autumn, he could turn his attention to major juvenile races.
On any other day Onemoretwomany’s all the way win in the Magic Millions Gai Waterhouse-Crystal Slipper Stakes (1100m) could have attracted more attention.
The Tassort gelding is unbeaten-two from two.
Indeed, it was a red letter day for the Parnham’s.