After a near miss at Group 1 level in The Galaxy, jockey Josh Parr couldn’t think of a better springboard into Big Parade’s next assignment in the top grade than Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 TAB Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
The five-year-old has been expertly guided through the grades by trainer Mark Newnham and has him set to put his TAB Everest credentials on show in his next two starts.
Parr, who missed Thursday’s Wyong meeting due to a recurring neck issue but is confident of fronting up at Randwick, said since Big Parade was gelded he’s seen a steady rise in the horse’s confidence and that’s translated to his form.
“He’s reached this level now because he’s thinking like a horse that can race at this level,’’ Parr said.
“Back when he was a colt his attitude was terrible towards racing and you were never too sure what you were going to get.
“Now, after a couple of preparations as a gelding, his mind is matching up with his ability and he’s racing accordingly.”
Big Parade hasn’t raced since Golden Slipper Day and his narrow defeat at the hands of Shelby Sixtysix in the Galaxy where he carried 5kg more than the winner.
Parr felt ambushed in that race but still had high praise for the performance.
“I must be honest I thought I’d done enough when we fought off In The Congo,’’ he said.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t and Shelby Sixtysix got to us really close to the line. I feel if Shelby Sixtysix got to us 50m earlier than what he did I reckon Big Parade would have fought back and beaten him.”
The Doomben 10,000 next month is shaping as Big Parade’s next opportunity to collect his first Group 1 and in that race he’ll likely meet another Everest hopeful in exciting three-year-old Mazu.
Parr said he’s been rapt with the gelding’s progress since the Galaxy and the make up of the Hall Mark Stakes suggests to him that he’ll be able to ride Big Parade, $1.85 with TAB on Thursday and $26 in the TAB Everest, to his strengths.
“I get to ride him a lot at the track and he’s in great shape. He’s tracking along really well for this Saturday,’’ he said.
“I like the gap between runs because it keeps him nice and fresh, when his runs are spaced he’s been able to perform at his best so I like this set up.
“The beauty of him these days is we can be versatile on him, we can change up our tactics for each race we contest. Race speed changes and you need to be able to adapt to that.
“Drawing well is a beauty as well because we can sum up the speed and do as we please.”
Maurice’s Medad hasn’t been far away in a couple of Group 1s this autumn and Parr said he can be a big improver in the Group 3 $160,000 ACY Securities Frank Packer Plate (2000m) if he can take advantage of a favourable gate and settle in the run.
The gelding finished seventh off a wide gate in the Australian Derby behind Hitotsu and Parr said it was a total forgive run from the Bjorn Baker-trained galloper.
“He raced too fiercely in the Derby to be any hope to finish off,’’ he said.
“I needed cover but from the draw he jumped half a length in front of anything else and we were forced outside the leader. It didn’t go to plan.
“He’s definitely a black type horse, hopefully we can tick that box off this weekend.
– Racing NSW