Turf legend Kingston Town won the now ‘Kingston Town Classic’ in 1982 when it was known as the Western Mail Classic yet this weekend Playing God will be out to write his own legacy in attempting to win Ascot’s Group One feature for an unprecedented third time.
Known as the Kingston Town Classic since 2007, a profile of the race’s past victors reveals that the Railways Stakes has provided six of past eight winners. The top six in early pre-post betting Luckygray ($2.50), Playing God ($5), Ranger ($9.50), Wall Street ($12), Mr Moet ($13) and Rosie Rocket ($14) all come via the Railway Stakes, as do longer priced trio God Has Spoken ($26), Maschino ($41) and Zester ($151).
It’s also interesting to note that 22 of the past 30 Kingston Town winners have placed in the top four in their final lead-up run.
Railway Stakes winner Mr Moet would become the sixth horse to complete the Railway Stakes/Kingston Town Classic double in the same year, joining Better Loosen Up (1989), Island Morn (1994), Old Comrade (2001), Modem (2004) and Sniper’s Bullet (2009).
The race’s WFA conditions sees Mr Moet rises 5.5kg from 53.5kg to 59kg here (with the Railway Stakes a handicap) and although he has won at WFA before (G3 Strickland Stakes) the weight turnaround plays heavily into the hands of pre-race favourites Luckygray and Playing God, with the former shouldering 58kg in the Railway Stakes and putting the writing on the wall with his fast-finishing second.
Playing God meanwhile, lumped 57kg himself and ran a gallant fourth after regular jockey Steven Parnham found himself left in front a long way from home.
I expect 5yo gelding Luckygray to be well-supported in betting but if there is a question mark, it is that he’s unproven beyond a mile. His only try was in last year’s Kingston Town Classic, where he finished 3.3 lengths fifth to Playing God as a $2.80 favourite. The ghostly grey was also 2.3 lengths in a rear of Ranger which placed second.
Playing God on the other hand is three from four over the 1800m journey, and in his history-making endeavour, could prove the better value of the two.
His consecutive Kingston Town victories are his sole Group One wins but he has placed in Group One company another five times, with three of those placings at 2000m or beyond (2011 Turnbull Stakes 2000m, 2011 WA Derby 2400m and the 2011 Australian Cup 2000m) so I anticipate Steven Parnham having designs to make this weekend’s Perth feature a staying test.
Three year olds also have a strong recent record in the race having won five of the past 16 editions, with three of those winners coming via the Group Two WA Guineas. Both of Saturday’s three year old runners, filly Fuddle Dee Duddle ($15), which will carry just 50kg, and first emergency Rebelson ($16) come via this race.
Four year old mare Pop Culture ($18) is another which will appreciate some weight relief in carrying 56.5kg and deserves plenty of respect having won six of her past 11. She is also two from two over 1800m at Ascot, one of which was her last run when she defeated Rosie Rocket, which has sinceplaced third in the Railway Stakes.
If you’re betting on horse racing this weekend and playing the multiples, it might be worth including God Has Spoken which ran Luckygray to two lengths at WFA prior to running a game fifth in the Railway Stakes, or even outsider Zester, who although untried beyond 1600m being sired by Danewin should run the journey, and for much of the straight he matched motors with Luckygray in the Railway Stakes, albeit with just 53kg.
Australia’s biggest bookmaker and the Managing Director of tomwaterhouse.com. Tom is a fourth generation bookmaker, and with 112 years of betting knowledge in his blood it was only natural for him to follow in the footsteps of his racing lineage.