Trainer Neville Parnham's plan to set a big squad for Perth Cup day paid off with a treble yesterday, highlighted by Excelorada's brilliant win in the $80,000 Schweppes Summer Scorcher (1000m).
Parnham saddled 14 runners, though his Perth Cup trio Bridgestone (ninth), Playing God (14th) and God Has Spoken (16th) finished well back.
Smart Twister and Checkpoint scored strong wins in race two and five respectively, before Excelorada recorded the most impressive victory of his career in the Scorcher.
The race was marred by the pre-race death of Texan, who collapsed on his way to the barrier.
Veterinarians were to do an autopsy last night on Texan, a former NSW galloper who became a favourite of trainer Adam Durrant with feature wins in the Hannan's Handicap and Birthday Stakes.
Ridden by Parnham's son Steven, Excelorada settled perfectly in third position and stormed home to beat Acorns by two lengths.
Excelorada boosted his record to 10 wins from 18 starts for $300,230 in prize money.
"I specifically set a lot of these horses for today and it's good to get the results," Parnham said.
"Excelorada's doing his job in his own right and the horse has come back well from a situation where he was in a lot of trouble as a two or three-year-old with injuries to his knee.
"There's really not much else around for the horse apart from taking him east, but he's been up too long to think about anything like that.
"We might just wait for the winter for something like the Beaufine Stakes."
Parnham said Checkpoint could be set for the $100,000 Bunbury Stakes (1400m) in March after his amazing win in the Golden Karnup Handicap (1200m).
Parnham's jockey son, Brad, almost fell from Checkpoint when the sprinter went down on his nose as he jumped. But the son of Snitzel recovered to gun down Metal Talk by a half-length.
Smart Twister was the first leg of a treble for apprentice Ben Paterson, who also won on Durrant's Summah's Touch, and Babieca Noire. He outrode his 3kg claim with the win on Smart Twister.
Durrant's roller-coaster day hit a brief peak when consistent mare Mabel Grace won the $80,000 La Trice Classic (1800m).
Mabel Grace ($4.60) took advantage of a hot speed set by Upon This Rock to easily account for Miss Tipsy Topsy ($14) by two lengths. Upon This Rock, the $2.30 favourite, held on to finish third.
Two huge on-course bets on Full Steam Ahead totalling $110,000 came unstuck when the heavily-backed $1.70 favourite finished last in race four.
Bets of $65,000 and $45,000 were placed on Full Steam Ahead, who passed a post-race vet exam.Trainer Noel Pateman told stewards he was extremely disappointed with the performance, which could have been attributed to the sweltering heat last week at his Dongara stables.
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