In recent times, when discussion centres on the WA Oaks, it generally turns to the astonishing record of owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters.
The Peters family have racked up an amazing ten wins in the three-year-old staying classic and five in succession since Delicacy’s triumph 2015.
And according to good judges the husband and wife team should start preparing for more space in their trophy cabinet with Tuscan Queen.
The Fastnet Rock filly is all the rage to take out Saturday’s Group 3 event, firming into $1.55 with Tabtouch after reviving her campaign in the Natasha Stakes.
After the Challenge Stakes (1500m) and an unlucky run in the Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m), Tuscan Queen stormed back with a superior staying performance.
One man intent to be the spoiler for the Peters family is trainer Neville Parnham. His entrant Pambella was the horse that got closest to Tuscan Queen in the Natasha.
The Playing God filly closed out the race strongly from the second half of the field and ran the fastest final 600m when 2 ¼ lengths runner-up.
The Natasha Stakes rounded out Pambella’s Oaks preparation after consecutive fifth placings over shorter trips in the Challenge Stakes and Ascot 1000 Guineas.
Parnham, who has got the runs on the board when it comes to the Oaks, having prepared Superior Star in 2003, believes a rise to 2400m is the key to his charge
The Hall Of Fame horseman is under no illusion that defeating Tuscan Queen is a formidable challenge, but won’t rule out Pambella providing stiff opposition.
“This is the race that I set her for,” Parnham told The Races WA.
“Since the Pinjarra win she has been building to the race.
“Each of her runs this preparation have been improving runs.
“She is a dead-set stayer and will have no problem running out the 2400m.
“Her mother (Parc D’ Amour) won a Belmont Oaks.
“I’m expecting her to be in the finish.”
Parnham’s son, Steven, maintains his association with Pambella. He will be keen to join his younger brother on the WA Oaks honour roll.
Chris Parnham recorded a hat trick of wins with Very Tempting (2017), Special Alert (2018) and Dark Choice (2019).
Pambella ($9), Mood Goddess ($8), and Cambist ($7) are in single figures behind Tuscan Queen.
Parnham is surprised by Tuscan Queen’s market dominance.
“You would have to say Tuscan Queen is the horse to beat,” Parnham said.
“But no one gave her a chance before the Natasha and now everyone thinks she is unbeatable.”