Hall-of-fame trainer Neville Parnham is hoping his latest acquisition Fulgur can deliver him his first Perth Cup winner since Luna Tudor in 2000, as he starts a campaign aimed towards the Group 2 classic at Ascot on Saturday.
Fulgur will run first-up in Saturday’s Group 3 David Grays Aglink-R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m), a race Parnham won with another import Bass Strait last year.
Fulgur, a winner at five of his 39 starts, came to Australia in 2013 where he won three races in a row for Chris Waller.
Parnham said it had been a tough road to get the eight-year-old galloper ready for his first start in Western Australia.
“We’ve had a few issues with him since he got here,” he said.
“He trod on a nail and that turned pear shape and he had to have surgery to remove a bit of bone.
“After that he got colic and had to have surgery.”
Despite the setbacks, Parnham said he expected a good showing from Fulgur in the $150,000 event, but was mindful his main goal this preparation was still a little under two months away.
“He’s in pretty good order,” he said.
“He trialled very well on Monday.
“I don’t know if he could win first-up to be honest, we’re just getting him ready for the Perth Cup, so you would think whatever he does he will improve on.”
Parnham will also saddle up rank outsider Esperanca in the Group 3 Breast Cancer Care-WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, but said he expected a good showing from the filly.
“I’ve got a very high opinion of the horse,” he said.
“She’s drawn a gate, and she will be prominent.
“I’m sure Perfect Reflection will be finding the line pretty well, but I expect her to make her presence felt.”
Parnham said he also expected a lot of improvement from Malibu Style in the Schweppes Handicap (1200m) after he had very little luck first-up on October 31.
The R.J Peters Stakes is one of two feature events on the program at Ascot and jumps at 4.40pm.