Chris Parnham is preparing to go where he’s never gone before in order to finish the season as Australia’s leading jockey.
Parnham, who rode a double at Belmont on Saturday, sits three wins clear of New South Wales-based jockey Blaike McDougall with just five days left in the season. He has six rides at Belmont on Wednesday and a further five on Thursday at Northam.
As well as rides at the midweek cards, Parnham will travel to Carnarvon for the first time on Friday as he looks to maintain his lead.
Parnham said watching McDougall compete with him for top spot over the past few weeks had been giving him a “headache” but hoped he had enough of a lead.
“I’m watching all the time,” he told TABradio. “He’s got a few rides today and tomorrow, so good luck to him.
“It would be a good feather in my cap. Regardless of if I win or not, I’ve had a great season and it’s been my best season so far.”
Parnham had eight rides at Kalgoorlie yesterday for three second placings and two thirds. He said he hoped he could turn the string of placings into wins at Carnarvon this week.
“I don’t know any of the form there but [manager] Scott Embry tells me they are really good rides,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get something out of the day, but the way I’m going when I get on a plane I’m expecting nothing.”
Parnham said he wanted to finish the season in style after what he felt was an underwhelming month.
“This season I reckon I have ridden better than I ever have before,” he said.
“My last month has been a fair bit quieter than normal for me. I’ve had a really frustrating run of placings, particularly at Kalgoorlie.”
One of two winners at Belmont on Saturday for Parnham was the H.G. Bolton Sprint (1200m), when he teamed up with the Simon Miller-trained Amasenus.
Parnham said the mare was capable of winning more feature races, including later this year at carnival time.
“Black-type racing is probably the only option for her now, so she’s going to have to step up to stronger races,” he said.
“Not many have the will to win that she does. She will make her presence felt.”