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FROM ROYAL RANDWICK TO THE COUNTRY




GROUP 1 winning trainer at headquarters one day. Float driver to a country meeting the next!

Kembla Grange’s Kerry Parker hardly had time to sit back and savour his champ Think It Over’s $1m Verry Elleegant Stakes (1600m) triumph at Royal Randwick yesterday before he was on the road again today – but in a different direction.

“My regular float driver needed a few days off, but came back yesterday to take Think It Over to Sydney,” Parker said as he headed south en route to Moruya.

“So it was my job to take Single Crown and Serafima to the races.”

It was quite a change from landing one of Sydney racing’s autumn majors to saddling up two lesser-performed stablemates in $30,000 races at the Showcase fixture, but as always, Parker took it in his stride.

Unfortunately, there was no repeat of Think It Over’s brilliant performance.

Single Crown finished eighth in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1650m), and Serafima was a late scratching at the barrier when favorite prior to the running of the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m).

Nonetheless, Parker was understandably still on a high after his remarkable eight-year-old had posted his third Group 1 success at Randwick.




After jockey Nash Rawiller had cut the corner and stole a march on his rivals, Think It Over ($8.50) was in full flight and $1.30 hotpot Fangirl couldn’t run him down.

“He’s a giant, not a giant killer,” Parker said of his ageless warrior.

“And he has pulled up in great order.”

“I was very happy with him right through the week, so I wasn’t at all surprised to see him race as well as he did.

“Think It Over will most likely go to the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens in three weeks and then we’ll have another crack at winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick three weeks after that.”

Both carry Group 1 status; the Ranvet being worth $1m on March 23, and Queen Elizabeth $5m on April 13 (Day 2 of The Championships).

Rawiller’s daring ride – but on this occasion skirting the outside fence on a heavy track rather than the inside – took the gelding to a $41 defeat of Zaaki and Mount Popa in the 2022 Queen Elizabeth.

Think It Over’s Verry Elleegant conquest of Fangirl lifted his earnings to nearly $8.5m from 41 starts which have yielded 14 wins and 13 placings.

The Verry Elleegant (previously Chipping Norton Stakes) raceday is particularly special to Parker.

He had a great association with the late Sydney trainer Guy Walter, whose name is now attached to the Group 2 Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares and sponsored by his brother Jamie’s Proven Thoroughbreds.

Parker won the race last year with Hope In Your Heart, and was thrilled to win again at the meeting yesterday with Think It Over in the day’s feature event.

Walter (Streama) and Parker (Aliyana Tilde) fought out a thrilling 2012 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick, with the former scoring narrowly.

Walter often referred to his Kembla Grange counterpart part as “racing’s best kept secret” and played an indirect role in Parker getting Think It Over to train after he had raced six times for a Sydney stable for a Goulburn 1300m breakthrough and placings at Hawkesbury, Scone and Randwick.

“Think It Over’s owner Richard Johnston had a share in a horse which Guy recommended be sent to me,” Parker said.

“We gave the horse only one or two starts, and I recommended to the owners not to persevere with him, and Richard must have remembered that.”




HOOFNOTE: Whilst 36-times Group winner Walter passed away suddenly in May 2014, Parker hasn’t lost that connection with the family.

“I saw Guy’s widow Wendy at the races yesterday, and she has a share in a horse I am training,” he said.

“That is the three-year-old Ribchester filly Bush Girl, who has started only six times and has been placed twice, the latest when a close third in a Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m) at home last Thursday.”

Story John Curtis, March 3, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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