Parker tips hat to training partner

Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) favourite, Rocket Fuel. Photo credit: Trish Dunell

Gavin Parker is keeping shop while his training partner Graham Richardson is away in Hong Kong and would love to ring up a stakes win for the stable at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Already while Richardson has been away, Parker has ushered in a stable milestone with Paisley Park’s win at Rotorua on Wednesday registering Richardson’s 700th New Zealand winner.

“That’s a great achievement for him. That’s 699 winners more he’s trained than what he rode,” Parker quipped in reference to Richardson’s solitary winner as a jockey back in 1986.

“Richie plays it down quite a bit but I know how proud he is of what he has done.”

Richardson and Parker will seek to add to their memorable week at Ellerslie on Saturday with runners in both stakes races.

Smart Missile filly Rocket Fuel takes top billing as the $3.50 favourite for the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m), having run subsequent Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Media Sensation to three-quarters of a length when second in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at the same track last month.

“She’s still a bit green and while she wouldn’t have beaten that filly of Peter’s (Williams, co- trainer), she might have run her a bit closer if she’d been a bit more professional. But she’s learning all the time and she’s going well,” Parker said.

“She worked exceptionally on Tuesday morning on the course proper. She cruised through it. We couldn’t label her or anything but we’d like to see her carry on the way she’s going and we’re confident she’s in the right condition to be doing that.”

Safely through Saturday’s race, Rocket Fuel could follow a path through the summer’s three- year-old fillies features, tackling races like the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Awapuni on December 14 and the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Showcasing filly Ambitious Showgirl could yet give the stable a second runner in the Trevor Eagle Memorial, though Parker wasn’t sure she would start.

In the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m), Parker is expecting an improved run from Tiptronic, who ran second to Ocean Emperor in last season’s Group 2 Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) at Matamata.

“He’s going okay but the concern is the weather. He’s not at his best on rain-affected tracks,” Parker said.

“At the moment he’s a hard horse to place as a Rating 87 horse and finding the right open handicaps for him because there aren’t that many around. We needed to give him another run at a mile before we get him over more ground.

“We’ve always thought he would go over ground, but we haven’t got him up to a middle distance yet. He had two trips away in his first two runs back and he hadn’t quite turned the corner with his coat, so we’d like to think he’s an improver this weekend.

“He looks good now and his work on Tuesday morning was first-class.” Our trusted online bookmakers have Tiptronic at $11 for the Eagle Technology Stakes in a market headed by Love Affair at $2.80.

Other runners for the stable at Ellerslie are last-start winner Suspense in the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Qualifier (2100m) and Bays Foundations 1400 candidate La Mia Stella, who needs good ground to show her best, according to Parker.