By Ray Hickson
It’s never easy when there’s a target on your back so it’s no surprise that trainer Mark Newnham would like to see Big Parade play the hunter role instead of being hunted at Rosehill on Saturday.
And it seems Newnham may get his wish after the four-year-old drew an outside alley in the 50 Years ATC Members Recognition Handicap (1200m) with on pacers like Lillemor and Masked Crusader drawn closer in.
Big Parade was dynamic when scoring a 3.3 length win over 1200m at Randwick back on December 19, where he sat off the leader Oakfield Twilight then dashed right away.
But things didn’t pan out over the same course three weeks later as he was peppered by Oakfield Twilight to his outside before succumbing late, going under by just over a length to King Of Hastings and Bandersnatch - the latter then won last week's Carrington Stakes.
“I’d love to see him be ridden just off one similar to when he won,’’ Newnham said.
“He’s better off drawn out a little bit instead of having to be forced to hold a spot.”
Newnham said jockey Josh Parr’s hand was forced in the run last start and the gelding went a little faster early than is ideal.
Big Parade runs third at Randwick on January 9
Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed the first 600m was run in 34.59 which left Big Parade vulnerable late and it showed as he ran his last 600m in 34.69 including a 12.24 last 200m, the third slowest of the race.
“The other day he was in a position where he was under pressure, two horses outside him with two apprentice riders,’’ Newnham said.
“I understand Josh’s reluctance to let one of them cross him because it was a 100/1 chance.
“When you’re on a short priced favourite you don’t want to be behind a horse like that.
“And it probably just forced the pace of the race and created more pressure than what he needed but he’s come through the race really well.”
Big Parade opened $3.60 second favourite with TAB behind Masked Crusader ($1.95) on Wednesday.
Newnham debuts More Than Ready filly Zentime, who opened $15 with TAB in the Group 3 $160,000 Widden Stakes (1100m), on the back of two trials that pleased the trainer.
Parr has ridden Zentime in all her trials, the latest a three length fourth behind Verne on January 21, but with 54.5kg it’ll be up to Rachel King to do the steering.
“She’s a nice filly, a middle distance filly but she has done really well since the trial the other day,’’ Newnham said.
“It’s a good opportunity to get her to the races and further her education.
“She may stay in for another run after this or go for a break but I think she is going to make a fairly decent filly at 1400m and beyond.”