Playing God plays winning hand at Belmont

Mungrup Stud stallion Playing God played a winning hand with three of a kind at Belmont on Wednesday.

His 3yo fillies Classy Lassy and Playing Marika increased their strike-rate to a combined 6 wins in 9 starts while his 3yo gelding Hotham Valley broke through when racing for just the second time this year.

The midweek treble could be the catalyst for a close finish to the second-season premiership in WA. There’s about $100,000 between Rangeview Stud leader Galah and Playing God with seven weeks remaining this season.

Classy Lassy is a homebred for Wally Daly and was in command at every call as the $2.40 favourite in the Old Mate’s Sports Bar Hcp (1000m). She is prepared by rookie trainer Jake Casey who rode her dam There’snonesosassy (Due Sasso) to wins at Belmont, Broome and in the Goldfields.

The only question mark about Hotham Valley’s easy victory was why it took him 9 starts to salute the judge. The Neville Parnham-trained galloper rolled to the front and wasn’t challenged before coasting home to three-length victory in the Ascend Trophies Maiden (1400m).

Stable followers backed him into a $2.30 favourite on the back of Parnham’s confidence leading into the race. “I thought the horse would be hard to beat today,” he admitted. “He wasn’t suited at 1000m first-up and the rise in distance helped him get into a rhythm.”

Parnham trained Playing God to dual wins in the G1 Kingston Town Classic and he bought Hotham Valley for $20,000 at the 2017 Perth Magic Millions on behalf of his wife Carol, Bill Biggs, Trevor Holgate, Paul Cooke and Colin Loxton.

His dam Bermaise (Orientate) was also prepped by Parnham to win the LR WATC Matchmaker Classic in 2012. The mare has enjoyed a monogamous relationship with Playing God foaling another three fillies by him in as many years.

Playing Marika completed the Playing God treble with a last-to-first victory in the Schweppes Hcp (1300m). She was undefeated in three starts at Northam and Ascot (2) last year and the latest win signalled another successful campaign during the back-end of the season.

“I’m rapt with how she went,” trainer Steph Bakranich said. “Troy (Turner) said she’s a better chaser than a leader and the wide gate made it an easy decision to settle back in the field. It all worked out well although I was panicking a bit when she was caught wide out the back.”

Bakranich will take Playing Marika through the grades for owner-breeders Livio and Renato Divitini. Her dam Just Marika (Grandera) is a stakes-performed half-sister to Doyoudare (LR WA Tatt’s Cup).

Playing God stands for an $11,000 service fee at Mungrup Stud alongside Oratorio ($11,000), I’m All The Talk ($5,500) and A Lot ($5,500). All fees (inc GST).