Blackfriars quinella in Northerly Stakes

Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars returned to the top of the Sunspeed sires’ premiership when Playing God defeated Rohan in the LR Northerly Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.

In a surprise result for punters, the Blackfriars quinella paid over $304 on the WA TAB.

Playing God (6h Blackfriars – Dolly Will Do by Rubiton) had been winless since winning the G1 Kingston Town Stakes in December 2011 but trainer Neville Parnham was confident he would go well when racing returned to Ascot.

“I made no secret of the fact he’s been flying – the only worry was the handicap conditions,” Parnham said.  “He’s a stallion so we’ve kept him up to the mark over winter and he’s going better now than at any other time in the last couple of years.”

Playing God was camped behind the leaders approaching the corner in a race chock-full of stakes winners.  There were three abreast at the furlong – Rohan, Platinum Rocker & Luke’s Luck – until the top-weight levelled up to win running away by a neck

The bulk of the Northerly Stakes prizemoney helped Blackfriars overhaul Oratorio (Aus) at the top of the Sunspeed table.  He has now sired the winners of $577,000 this season to lead the Mungrup Stud stallion on $570,000.

Parnham has the summer carnival in sight for Playing God and his older brother God Has Spoken.  “They will both be forces – people are quick to forget just how good they are.  They’re both millionaires and there’s plenty more to come before they retire to stud next year.”

Playing God will start in the G2 Lee-Steere Stakes and G1 Railway Hcp before attempting a three-peat in the G1 Kingston Town Stakes on December 7.  “We might even send him back over to Melbourne in the autumn,” Parnham added  “He will have plenty of time to let down before the start of the stud season.”

On his first trip east in 2011, Playing God was third in the G1 Australian Guineas and G1 Australian Cup.  He was placed again in last year’s G1 C F Orr Stakes behind world-champion Black Caviar.

Blackfriars (Danehill) has won the last three West Australian sires’ titles.  He is currently covering another quality book for a $22,000 (inc gst) service fee at Scenic Lodge.