Evergreen Valour Road is poised for the next month’s $1.5 million Gold Rush (1400m) after his amazing career resurgence continued at Ascot on Saturday.
The Simon Miller-trained eight-year-old, aided by an outstanding Chris Parnham ride, claimed the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) by just under a length.
Sent forward from barrier 13 by Parnham, Valour Road sat outside the leader Marocchino and kicked clear to defeat Dom To Shoot, who battled wide throughout.
Comfort Me was a long-neck way third with dual Lee Steere Stakes winner and defending hero, Massimo fourth.
Bustler, held up for clear running until late, flashed home to finish fifth.
Marocchino, on the quick back up from last week’s Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) victory, weakened to seventh.
The ageless Valor Road certainly retains his zest for racing and has found a new lease of life after his racing career looked to be all over just 12-months back.
Unhappy with Valour Road’s action, Miller opted to forgo last year’s Ascot Pinnacles carnival and retirement was considered this year if he did not show improvement.
But after over a year out, the longest of his career, Valour Road made a spectacular return to claim the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m) at Belmont in August.
Two months later he followed up with a close second to Karli’s Karma in the Group 3 Eurythmic Stakes (1400m), the perfect hit out before the Lee Steere Stakes, according to Parnham.
“He’s pretty tough and after that run under his belt I knew he was going to be hard to run down,” Parnham said.
“He’s been up for some period of time, but his longevity is quite remarkable.
“You don’t often see two-year-olds come back as three-year-olds, let alone still punching it out at eight.
“The owners have been very patient and I’m just happy to pick up the ride.
“He’s a good old horse.”
Valor Road, giving Parnham a double after his earlier win on The Boss Lady, extended his record to 11 wins from 35 starts for $1.7 million in prizemoney.
Valour Road’s Lee Steere Stakes success was his third at G2 level following the Karrakatta Plate (1200m) and Euclase (1200m) in Adelaide.
The G3 Gold Rush will be run at Ascot on December 16.
Parnham’s win on Valour Road continued a red-letter day for his family.
Brother Brad got the meeting off to a perfect start in race one when he guided home Onemoretwomany for trainer-father, Neville.
The father and son duo were at it again when Investment Strategy won the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m).
It was the second leg of a feature double for Parnham (Brad) after his mount Another Chino took out the Listed Luckygray Stakes (1800m).