In-form trainer Wez Hunter has paid a massive compliment to apprentice jockey Chris Parnham, comparing the young Western Australian to champion hoop Nash Rawiller.
Parnham claimed his first significant success for his new master when he piloted Magnus Lad to victory in Sunday’s GBG Concrete and Construction Sale Quality (1205m), helping Hunter bring up the first treble of his career on the day.
Hunter couldn’t be happier with his decision to take on the 17-year-old and speaking to Racing.com’s Shane Anderson on Racing Ahead, predicted a huge future for Parnham.
“For anyone who doesn’t know Chris, he’s a gun. He follows instructions really well. He’s a really good jockey in the run. He thinks his way through,” Hunter said. “I think he’s very good.”
The comparison with Rawiller, who Hunter knows well through their mutual association with trainer Tony Noonan, is as much with how Parnham conducts himself out of the saddle as in it.
“He’s not very outspoken at all. He’s quite shy. When he talks, he doesn’t waste his words. He reminds me of Nash. I’ve had a bit to do with Nash over the years and when he talks you listen, he makes a lot of sense,” he said.
Hunter said Magnus Lad remains on track for the Hareeba Stakes at his home track of Mornington on March 28.
“Before his last run at Flemington, I was hoping he would be good enough for a race like the Hareeba. I am just trying to get his rating up. I thought if I went to Flemington then onto that race yesterday (Sunday), we can get his rating up to where he needs to be. He’s an 85 after that. The Hareeba is his main aim,” he said.
Parnham and Hunter will be looking for Group success this Saturday at Caulfield with The Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey headed to either the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) or the TS Carlyon Cup (1600m). “I’ll have a look at the noms today (Monday) and he’ll work tomorrow and we’ll get a guide to where he is at,” Hunter said.
“He’s feeling pretty good at the moment. His work on Saturday at Mornington on the outside grass was really strong. I’ll work him tomorrow and that will give us a truer guide on where he is at.”
But Smokin’ Joey’s claim as the star of the stable could be under serious threat, with Hunter describing newly acquired three-year-old Disposition as the best horse he has trained.
“I couldn’t be any happier with him. He’s a horse who takes a bit of work. He’s got a mind of his own, but you can’t question his ability. I think he is a really nice horse and to be honest, he’s the best horse I’ve got by a long way,” he said.
Disposition heads to the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 with the Australian Guineas two weeks after that firmly on the radar. “He came to us pretty fit, he didn’t have a long break, and he’s pretty much ready to go. Just a matter of ticking him over and getting him right on the day.”