Checkpoint raises the bar for Parnham
Brad Parnham guides Checkpoint to a strong second-up win over 1200m at Belmont Park on Saturday. Picture: Hollands Photographics

Premier trainer Neville Parnham is confident three-year-old Checkpoint can fill a key role behind WA's best middle-distance galloper Playing God in a powerful arsenal he is preparing to unleash next spring.

Parnham has enjoyed wonderful success at the past two Ascot carnivals through the deeds of brothers Playing God and God Has Spoken.

Playing God won the 2010 WA Guineas and Kingston Town Classic and returned from a Cox Plate mission last year to join an elite group to win the Classic for a second time, before returning to Melbourne where he completed a streak of nine successive runs at Group 1 level.

God Has Spoken won the 2010 RJ Peters Stakes and 2011 Cox Stakes and ran second in last year's Perth Cup.

The $936,750 stake-earner was floated back last week following a Melbourne autumn campaign.

Checkpoint showed his potential when caught three wide on the outside of the leaders, before surging home to a convincing win over 1200m at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Parnham paid $70,000 for him at Perth's 2010 Magic Millions Yearling Sale. The Snitzel youngster has two wins and two seconds from his four starts.

Parnham has short-course features, the Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m), Crawford Stakes (1000m) and Summer Scorcher (1000m), as prime targets.

"He is a speedy Snitzel out of a Keltrice mare and will be suited in those handicap sprints," Parnham said.

"I'm hoping in the long term he'll run 1400m. He probably would have won first-up if he had not ducked in.

"It was inexperience which cost him and he was a bit underdone. He'll have another one or two runs and then we'll go to Ascot."

Parnham feared the worst when Checkpoint injured his sesamoid bone on the Wednesday at trackwork, following a Belmont win in July last year.

"He took a piece out of the top of his nearside front sesamoid," Parnham said. "When he hobbled into the vets I thought this was touch and go, but they took the chip out and he has been right since."

Parnham may look at setting Playing God for the Emirates Stakes (1600m) on the last day of the Melbourne Cup carnival to springboard into the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town.

"I need to talk it through with Colin (Loxton) which way we go," Parnham said.

Parnham named Fort Courage, who had hoof issues last campaign, Almachino and Reign Of Terror as horses capable of a four-year-old assault, with unraced Snitzel juvenile Dominating to lead his three-year-old brigade.

Meanwhile, a filly by impressive young sire Scandal Keeper and a Strategic colt shared top billing at yesterday's Yarradale Stud sale, knocked down to Group 1-winning owners Craig Thompson and Keith Biggs respectively for $160,000.

The West Australian

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