Playing God Takes Kingston Town Classic

Western Australia’s reigning Horse of the Year Playing God gave the Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale a terrific boost when he scored a resounding win in Saturday’s Group One Kingston Town Classic (1800m).

In bouncing back to his best, Playing God has able to defend his title in the race which shot him to prominence by winning as a three-year-old a year ago.

A son of leading WA based sire Blackfriars, Playing God was given a perfect ride by Steven Parnham and he zipped clear on straightening and set up a winning break.

He was still very strong to the line, cruising home to beat Ranger by a length, while exciting three-year-old King Saul was next home in third place.

Playing God, bred and sold by Durham Lodge, was purchased by trainer Neville Parnham for $27,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale.

The four-year-old entire is raced by Colin Loxton’s Cockatoo Ridge Syndicate – he also races Playing God’s full brother, the group winner God Has Spoken.

“I was very confident that the horse would be hard to beat today,” a delighted Neville Parnham said after the race.

“I realised where we took the speed out of his legs leading into the Railway when he was back to 1600 metres after four solid runs at 2000.”

“We planned to ride him close on the speed and it worked perfectly – it seems a bit hard to make up too much ground on a day like today.”

“Steve rode him tremendous,” he added.

Parnham Snr fought back tears after the race – relieved and proud of his stable star for producing at racing’s elite level.

“Everybody wrote him off and I was probably the only one who didn’t,” Parnham commented.

“He’ll go to the paddock now and then probably back to Melbourne.”

Parnham’s son and winning rider Steven was not surprisingly all smiles in the winning enclosure after the race.

“He’s done a terrific job,” the jubilant jockey said. “I have to take my hat off to the horse.”

“A big mention to the staff who’ve revived him. He was down and out – after the tough, wide run with weight in the Railway they changed his work around and got him back to here he is.”

“I’m very pleased. He got across nice and relaxed. The pace was nice. When I felt he was ready, I pulled him out and when I asked him he grabbed the steel and that’s how he did it last year.”

A magnificent advertisement for the WA thoroughbred industry, Playing God was bred and sold in Perth and is raced, trainer and ridden by West Aussies. The sire is based in the West as well in a fantastic result for the locals.

Now a seven time winner, Playing God has boosted his earnings past $1.38 million – during a career which has seen him run against many of the best horses in Australasia.

Earlier this year at three Playing God won the Magic Millions Perth 3YO Trophy before heading to Melbourne and placing in both the Group One Australian Guineas and Cup – the latter to proven Flemington star Shocking.

A three quarter brother to Playing God, by Blackfriars from Ruby Doll, is being prepared by the team from Durham Lodge for February’s 2012 Perth Yearling Sale.

The good looking bay colt is catalogued as lot 21 and he will go under the hammer during the first hour of the auction on February 14.

King Saul, who ran an eye catching third, didn’t let his supporters down and he looks to have a very exciting future.

Like Playing God, King Saul was bred and sold in WA and is raced and trained by Perth based connections.

A $120,000 Perth Yearling Sale purchase, King Saul won the Group Two WA Guineas at his run before Saturday.

A half brother to King Saul by leading WA based sire Oratorio, is being prepared by Namerik Thoroughbreds for February’s Perth Yearling Sale.

McEvoy keen to stick with Darley stars

Kerrin McEvoy has put his hand up for a trip to Dubai for World Cup Night

Darley’s No 1 jockey Kerrin McEvoy has expressed a desire to maintain his association with star three-year-olds Sepoy and Helmet when they compete on Dubai World Cup Night next March.

News emerged late yesterday afternoon that following a brief Melbourne Festival of Racing campaign, Peter Snowden’s two wondercolts would head to Dubai to race in front of their owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

McEvoy has ridden Sepoy to his four Group 1s, including the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double, and Caulfield Guineas hero Helmet to his three wins at the top level and would love to be a part of the first phase of their international careers.

“It would be fantastic if I could go over there and be a part of their campaign over in Dubai, but we’ll just have to wait and see,” McEvoy told Radio Sport National.

“But with Frankie Dettori being their (Goldolphin’s) No 1 jockey it might well be that he gains the ride over there.

“I’m just looking forward to getting the horses back in work and helping Peter and the team prepare them to go there.

“It would nice to see them run here in Australia, so Australia can farewell them and they go off to Sheik Mohammed over in Duabi.”

It seems likely that Helmet, who returned to work at Snowden’s Flemington stable yesterday morning, will have two runs during the Festival of Racing, culminating with the Australian Guineas on March 3.

Sepoy, who returns to the stable next Tuesday, will probably have only one run with Snowden suggesting the timing of the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on February 25 fits in well.

The 1900-metre UAE Derby and the Golden Shaheen (1200m), both worth $2 million, are the respective races that they will target on the March 31 program.

South Australian-raised McEvoy is no stranger to Dubai, having been Godolphin’s No 2 rider behind Dettori for four years before returning to Australia in 2008 to become Darley’s No 1 jockey when they bought out the Ingham’s Woodlands operation.

He benefitted from his association with Sheikh Mohammed later that year when he rode the Godolphin-raced All The Good to Caulfield Cup victory and is a regular rider of Godolphin’s Melbourne Cup runners.

McEvoy gained an ally in his quest to partner Sepoy and Helmet in Dubai with Snowden, who will train the pair until after their Dubai World Cup Night commitments, after which he hand them over to Godolphin, keen to keep him on.

“We haven’t spoken about jockeys yet but hopefully Kerrin will be able to go with them because it’s been a good partnership,” Snowden said.

“He knows the horses inside out, so it would be a big advantage to have Kerrin on them. But ‘m not sure who the boss wants on as yet.”