Whatever occurs between now and the end of the racing season in July, it’s been a successful 12-months in the saddle for Brad Parnham.
Parnham has ridden 52 city winners to date, easily surpassing last season’s career-best tally of 45 metropolitan victories.
Although satisfied he broke new ground on a personal level, Parnham’s competitive instincts has him targeting another lofty goal.
With just over two months of the 2022-23 racing season to run, Parnham is determined to make it to the top of Perth’s jockey premiership.
It’s an absorbing title race that is down to three with Parnham a golden chance to claim bragging honours for the first time in his career.
A giant hurdle for Parnham to overcame is multiple champion, William Pike and his younger brother and defending title holder, Chris Parnham.
Pike, who missed a large portion of the early season while domiciled in the eastern states, has ridden 57 city winners and Chris Parnham 51.
The educated money is certain to be on Pike, the “Wizard of the West”, and a dominant force in WA racing for over a decade.
Parnham agrees that Pike is the frontrunner and will be hard to reel in, but is delighted to be in the mix so close to the end of the season.
He doesn’t believe the premiership race is over just yet.
“He’s a hard man to beat, you know what he’s like,” Parnham told The Races WA.
“It’s always been a goal, but Pikey has been so dominant throughout my career.
“It would be the highlight of my career and one of the things I would love to achieve if I could do it.
“Obviously I’m going to have a lot of things go my way, but you can’t just concede, you have to keep a little bit of hope alive.
“You keep your head down and try to keep punching winners and hopefully it comes.
“I’m pretty happy that I’ve still stayed in touch with him for as long as I have.
“It gives a little bit of motivation to keep going.”
Parnham hails from one of WA racing’s most celebrated family dynasties. His father Neville was inducted into the WA Hall Of Fame in 2014 after 13 trainers premierships.
Older brother Steven is a four-time winner of the Group 1 Northerly Stakes.
Parnham (Brad) commenced life as a jockey in 2004 and arguably has taken his riding to a new level after a serious neck injury several years ago.
Parnham spent a lengthy stint on the sidelines recovering and at one stage it appeared he may never ride again. There were genuine concerns he would not get back in the saddle.
But turning a negative into a positive Parnham said there was a silver lining and time away from racing afforded him an opportunity to reflect on his riding journey.
“I think I’m riding career-best form,” Parnham said.
“One thing with the injury is it gives you a new perspective on things.
“Being out of the saddle for a long time and realising you might not get back again.
“It forces you to look at a few things differently.
“Since the injury I ride for a lot more stables and not just tied down to dad.
“I think I’ve created a lot more opportunities.”
One of those openings came about in the autumn when he formed a successful partnership with three-year-old Another Chino.
They combined to win the the J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m) and Melvista Stakes (2200m) double before running second to eastern states rival Awesome John in the WA Derby (2400m).
In a season of highlights, the loss still rankles with Parnham.
“I was disappointed not to win the Derby,” Parnham said.
“I feel he was the WA horse to beat, but unfortunately they brought one from over east.
“It spoilt the party for me, hopefully I can get a few more wins out of him down the track.”
Parnham hopes he can maintain momentum at the opening of the Belmont season on Saturday.
He rides Startrade in the G3 Furphy Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Snowdome in the Morley Growers Market Handicap (1200m).
Startrade ran some cracking races last year including a third in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and a second in the G3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m).
From the stable of red-hot trainer, Dan Morton, the six-year-old is third up in the Belmont Sprint after the Roma Cup (1100m) and The Joey (1200m).
“He’s drawn a bit sticky, but I’m not concerned,” Parnham said.
“His run in the Roma Cup was huge, it was way too short for him.
“I’d say Belmont, long straight and also 1400m he should be hitting the line.
“I give him a good chance.”
Startrade has drawn barrier 10 of 13 in the Belmont Sprint.