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13th May: Parkes Starting To Wonder On Group 1 Goals
Published: 12 May 2017 - - Author: NZ Racing Desk


Johnathan Parkes will be doing a bit of homework on the Doomben course before he combines with top Wanganui sprinter Start Wondering at Group One level on Saturday.

Parkes has been Start Wondering’s regular rider since the Eighth Wonder six-year-old returned from Sydney. He has guided him to wins in the Gr.1 Railway at Ellerslie and Gr.1 NRM Sprint at Te Rapa and seconds in the Gr.1 Telegraph Handicap and the Haunui Farm Group One WFA Classic at Otaki.

Jockey Johnathan Parkes will continue his association with Start Wondering

“It’s his first time over here and he walked the Doomben track today (Friday) and will again in the morning,” co-trainer Evan Rayner said. “He’ll work it out. I’m happy to have him on. Why break a winning combination?”

After his hard fought second to Kawi in the Otaki feature, Start Wondering rounded off his New Zealand preparation for his Queensland trip with a win at the Waverley trials and Rayner is thrilled with how he has settled into his Gold Coast environment.

“He’s done very well since he’s been here,” Rayner said. “He has worked well and settled in. I couldn’t be happier with him.

Trainers - JJ & Evan Rayner (Image: Lawrence Racing)

“Whether he’s up to the Aussie sprinters we’ll find out on Saturday.”

Rayner is also pleased with the improvement track condition at Doomben track for Star Wondering’s mission, the Gr.1 $A700,000 Doomben 10,000 (1200m).

“They’re calling it a seven, but it will probably improve further,” Rayner said. “It should be all right for him. He won’t mind it a bit soft and he’s got a good draw (eight).

“I think I’ve got him ready to go.”

Start Wondering’s performance on Saturday will have a big bearing on a possible tilt at the Gr.1 $A1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 10.

“A start in the Stradbroke will depend on how he goes in this one and also on what weight he gets,” Rayner said. “Black Heart Bart is nominated so he will bring us down in the weights. If we win on Saturday it’ll be interesting to see what weight he (Start Wondering) gets.

“He’ll run in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup next start after this and then we’ll decide on the Stradbroke.” – NZ Racing Desk

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