Mark van Deventer
2 minute read
9 Oct 2013
8:53 am

Parker has the ink to cross out his rivals

Mark van Deventer

A MR 94 Handicap over 1900m poses a good challenge to punters honing in on another tough card at Clairwood.

Some of the surrounding heats look unfathomable but horse players can shave costs of perms by short selecting in this race with a suggestion to base bets around the two top-weighted runners.

Now with Paul Lafferty, Parker has earned his welter burden after a series of brave pressing-the-pace displays in Cape Town. The gelding ran courageously on his course debut last time. Carrying 63.5kg, he only went down narrowly to Serissa in a MR 88 Handicap, despite a slipped saddle. Having run just four and three lengths respectively behind Cape Town Noir and Gifted For Glory in both the Cape and Winter Derbys, this game frontrunner must be respected at this level on pure ability as well as heart. Interestingly, for an energetic pacemaker, Parker is carded to race with blinkers for the first time.

Parker may find it tough to hold off King Neptune, as the Cataloochee gelding has run gallantly to some capable sorts, like Lehaaf, Rock Cocktail and Big City Angel. One of his best runs was over 1600m at this track, when defeated only three lengths by top-class Gitiano. That level of form makes him a likely winner. Whether Dennis Drier’s charge is as effective over further than 1600m is a concern. Perhaps the extra 400m will expose a chink in the “King’s” armour, especially if he gets locked in an early duel with Parker. In his defence, he was only pipped a short head by Rock Cocktail over 1800m at this venue in May.

Another with stamina doubts is Live Controversy because his better efforts have been up to 1600m, though taken strictly at face value on their last meeting there should not be much between this son of Lundy’s Liability and King Neptune.

Conversely, Ivan Moore’s six-year-old De La Danza has no issues with the distance but has a few lengths to make up on collateral form with Parker, while his reluctance to start alertly is another knock to his chances.

Further down the scale are Great Rumpus, Air Patrol, William Conquest and Roy’s Jet, who must all be in with theoretical claims at these handicap terms.

The feeling remains though that this will be a tactical contest between accomplished riders on the two best horses in the field, Anthony Delpech on Parker and Sean Cormack aboard King Neptune, as they strive to exact optimal performances from their mounts.