Perth sprinter Indian Pacific tackles the Group 1 Willian Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night and jockey Brad Parnham believes the four-year-old will be right in the mix.
Parnham says his confidence in Indian Pacific, prepared by his father Neville, is backed up by the gelding’s two close finishes in top company at Flemington.
The son of Zoustar ran second to compatriot Perth mare Fabergino in the Bob Hoysted (1000m) and filled the same placing in a cracking run in the Group 1 Newmarket (1200m).
A winner of seven races from 14 starts, Indian Pacific is having his third crack in elite company after a ninth placing to Elite Street in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot last November.
Parnham was super proud of Indian Pacific’s effort in the Newmarket and says if he produces anything like that in the William Reid, he’s a top hope of ending his Melbourne duck.
“It was obviously a terrific run and I was very proud of him,” Parnham told Tabradio.
“He was able to do his own thing and toughed it out pretty well.
“We came up a little short but at that level I can’t be disappointed with that; I was very happy.
“I’ve always had a high opinion of him and really the only time I was disappointed with him was the Winterbottom.
“Other than that, he has always given me a feel of a top liner.
“It was good to see him perform at that level and against those type of horses.
“It’s something I thought he could do and it was just great to see him do it.”
Meanwhile Parnham says stable mate Platoon is ready to bounce back in the next few weeks.
After a run on third in the Shaftesbury Handicap (1400m) at Flemington behind Morvada, the five-year-old had his colours lowered when unplaced in the Australian Cup (2000m).
Parnham says going back from weight for age to handicap conditions is the key for the dual Listed winner.
“He’s doing pretty well,” Parnham said.
“I think the weight for age race didn’t really suit him.
“He was up in class and it was a bit of an ask.
“I think there is a race pencilled in for him in the next week or two over 1600m.
“It’s a handicap again, so he should get his chance.”
Parnham will return to Perth for Saturday’s Ascot meeting with feature events: the Grandstand Cup (1500m), Gimcrack Stakes (1100m) and Perth Stakes (1100m).