Trainer Neville Parnham has described his latest training success as a “surprise” and suggested it could have all been down to “fate”.
In-form galloper Royal Rada delivered the champion trainer his second Hannan’s Handicap (1400m) victory on Thursday, holding off a late charge from Akhedasset and the desperately unlucky favourite Red Ora.
The win continued an extraordinary run of form for Royal Rada, now having won his last three starts at Kalgoorlie, and Parnham said the win was not planned.
“It’s all a bit of a surprise, we certainly didn’t plan on him winning a Hannan’s,” he said.
“The Kambalda Cup came up, and I nominated him, and I had nowhere else to go with him.
“It was all fate that I sent him there, win the Kambalda Cup and win the Hannan’s.
“It certainly doesn’t bother him the travel – he’s been going up on the Saturday night’s racing the Sunday and coming back on the Monday, which normally I wouldn’t do, I would leave them up there.
“He does have a liking for Kalgoorlie.”
Royal Rada started his career in Victoria, and did show potential early on, as he finished fourth and just three lengths off 2013/14 Australian horse of the year Lankan Rupee at his second start.
After a campaign in the Kimberly last year, Parnham sent the galloper to Kalgoorlie for his first run for the new stable, which paid off handsomely.
Parnham said he had struggled to get the gelding right since the win at Kalgoorlie last year.
“He came down to me and I took him to Kalgoorlie last year on Boulder Cup day and he won an 1100m race there because primarily I was told he was a short course horse,” he said.
“I thought I had him cherry ripe and I sent him to Geraldton, and when he came home from Geraldton he had travel sickness, he was a bit unlucky.”
Parnham said luck fell his way with the six-year-old this campaign, and admitted he was not sure if Royal Rada would even gain a start in the $140,000 Listed feature if it was a full field.
“Had it been a full field he would have struggled to get a start,” he said.
“When he came up with a good gate it was all the more reason to concentrate on starting him in the Hannan’s.”
From barrier one, Lucy Warwick gave Royal Rada the perfect trail in the race, sitting just off the speed set by stablemate Right Honourable.
Parnham was full of praise for Warwick’s ride, and said he was not sure what races he would set Royal Rada for next preparation.
“I told her to try and get off the fence at the 600 or 700 metre mark off the Charles Street side, which she did, and she had to get her way into the clear and it worked perfectly for her,” he said.
“We don’t have any high expectations with the horse or any plans to send him to any other features.
“Maybe a little break then a Mungrup Sprint and the Geraldton race might be his fit.”
Parnham won the race in 2000 with Slideaway, while for Warwick it was her first success in the race, and her fourth Listed race win this season.