George N Ernie earned a shot at feature race glory after rewarding astute punters with a maiden victory in the Clubs In The Community Handicap (1400m) at Ascot on Wednesday.
Despite George N Ernie’s maiden status and two unplaced runs back this campaign, punters were all over the son of Blackfriars, who firmed from $7 to $3.30 with backers on course.
George N Ernie, ridden by Steven Parnham, settled sixth in running before finishing strongly to defeat Incoming Tide by one length with pacesetter, Barzinho, hanging on for third.
Trainer Neville Parnham said combined with a gear change and a drop in grade, he was confident George N Ernie would put up a determined performance.
“I really thought he would win after dropping back a little in company and with the removal of blinkers,” said Parnham.
“They didn’t go out at a very strong speed so for him to come from the back and run over the top of them was a pretty good effort.
“I’ve always had a pretty good thoughts of him and he is a better horse than this grade and will be even better with speed on.
“I’m looking forward to testing him against good grade in the next run or two and then we will get a good measuring stick on him.
“I’m tempted to run him in the Fairetha Stakes because there will much stronger speed in that particular race.
“That will give us a guide where his class is at.
“Today was only midweek but I think he is better than that.”
The Fairetha Stakes, a Listed race, will be run at Ascot on November 7.
Meanwhile Parnham advises punters not to dismiss the claims of Bass Straight in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Bass Straight, to jump from barrier three in the field of eight, is looking to bounce back after running eighth on his return in the Northerly Stakes (1420m).
“Things didn’t go his way the other day with the rail out,” said Parnham.
“But he has been working very impressively and I expect a marked improvement on Saturday.”