Neville Parnham’s Perth Cup conundrum demands that even if he does win tomorrow, he must also lose.
Parnham will not only saddle up two starters in WA’s most iconic horse race, but also has three sons competing as jockeys.
Youngest son Chris will ride Bass Strait for his father, while his brothers Steven (Ihtsahymn) and Brad (Respondent) will ride for prominent trainers Fred Kersley and Grant Williams respectively.
Although the record 13-times leading Perth trainer remains as competitive as ever in chasing a cup dream he has managed only once, with Luna Tudor in 2000, tomorrow’s family achievement will also add a special edge.
“Not only is it a feather in their cap, but it makes me very proud to think that other people have the confidence in them as jockeys to want them on their horses in the race as well,” Parnham said.
“To me, it’s recognition that they’ve made it as jockeys.
“It’s a time-honoured race, the Perth Cup, and the boys have all got rides in it. They’re fending for themselves and doing very well for themselves and I’m proud of their achievements.
“For me, to have a runner in the Perth Cup is great and to have two is even better.”
Parnham’s other horse, God Has Spoken, will be tackling the race for a fifth time, having run second to Black Tycoon this year and to Western Jewel on New Year’s Eve in 2011.
Like Red Cadeaux, who has finished second in three Melbourne Cups, Parnham hopes his eight-year-old can measure up again despite the foot soreness that has plagued the entire’s racing life.
“All this preparation, he’s probably worked as good or better than he’s ever worked,” Parnham said, adding the son of Blackfriars had stripped 25kg from his hulking 618kg frame since the start of this campaign.
“He’s as quiet as a mouse, he’s a lovely horse to deal with and has the best temperament of any horse I’ve had.
“Steven galloped him on Saturday morning and said if he wasn’t riding Ihtsahymn, he’d want to ride him. He’s a chance in the race and we’re due for a win.”
Parnham was left stranded with Bass Strait at Monday night’s barrier draw, when he was left with the last selection and it was the widest gate – No.18.
“It would have been nice to have been able to select one, but someone has got to be the last one out and he was,” he said.
“However, the horse is going great and I’m happy with him.
“It is a bit of a test at the 2400m and the barrier doesn’t help his cause, but Chris is riding in brilliant form at the moment and been able to go to tracks he’s never been to before like Bendigo and Sandown and win races in the last week or so.
“It’s testament to his ability as a jockey and at 17 years of age, I’d be pretty confident he’ll find a spot.”
They’re fending for themselves … I’m proud …”Neville Parnham
The West Australian