Neville Parnham’s Melbourne ambitions for Athlete will become clearer after he competes in the Vale Geoff Byers Handicap (1600m) at Belmont on Saturday.
The Ascot trainer has big plans for Athlete, but will make a further assessment after the Helmet gelding steps up to 1600m and races against older horses.
Parnham is leaving all options on the table, buy holds a strong opinion of the three-year-old who remains undefeated in his two runs this preparation.
“I do have a healthy opinion of the horse and think he will get over ground,” Parnham told TABradio.
“It’s not a race I really want to take on with a young horse, but this will give me a bit of a feel.
“The reason why he’s racing is to give him a test and see where I’m at with him because I’ve nominated him for the Victoria Derby.
“If it doesn’t look like the way to go I’ll back off and try and bring him back for the Ascot carnival and the WA Guineas.
“It’s going to be a lot tougher against older horses, but judging on his wins and his work he will present very well.
“He is a pretty fancy horse.”
Earlier Parnham believes Wakan Tanka and Amazed will spearhead his four-pronged attack of two-year-olds in the Crown Perth Opening Day At Ascot -21 Oct Plate (1000m).
Wakan Tanka, to jump from pole position, showed good speed in winning both his trials and Amazed has drawn ideally in barrier three for her maiden appearance.
“I think all my horses will run well, but the obvious one is Wakan Tanka from the barrier and the pace he’s got,” Parnham said.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me if Amazed and the run she gets is not a real chance in the race.”
Parnham says Kiss The Breeze, prepared by Adam Durrant and in the hands of William Pike, poses the biggest threat to his charges.
“The wraps on Kiss The Breeze has been enormous around the traps,” Parnham said.
“It must be showing quite a bit at home.”
Meanwhile Parnham won’t rule out a bold showing from The Nicconian, despite strong opposition and a wide draw in the Perth Racing Club Membership Plate (1000m).
The three-year-old son of Nicconi launches his return to racing after pulling up shin sore when unplaced behind Mizlecki on debut at Ascot in May.
He faces a big test against Karrakatta Plate champion Lucy Mae and speedsters Dynamite Dream and Saturia, but holds interest after winning his trial by eight lengths.
“Had he drawn a barrier I would have been confident he could run in the money,” Parnham said.
“But he has got potential and has won all the trials he’s had.
“On his trial victory he is certainly a good chance of running in the money if he gets a good run.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli.