Josh Parr (pictured) is excited about 2017 - and he explains why. (Photo supplied)
RACING is built on dreams.
Josh Parr has never ridden in a Magic Millions and his goal is to win a Golden Slipper Stakes.
So who could blame the popular jockey if he dreams of winning both in the next few months?
Especially when an impressive debutant winner named Chauffeur could well “drive” him into contention for both races. Parr was aboard the Gerald Ryan-prepared colt, a rather expensive $1.6m purchase at last year’s Magic Million sales, when he scored at Rosehill Gardens on December 10.
Chauffeur is likely to have another start before he tackles the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 14, and Parr, understandably, is very keen to stay on him.
“I guess I’ll have to keep winning on Chauffeur,” Parr said. “No doubt there will be other jockeys chasing the ride, but if I win again on him I’m sure I would have a really good chance of riding him in the Magic Millions.”
Parr, one of Sydney’s most popular jockeys, was to have ridden the Gary Portelli-trained Racy in last year’s Magic Millions. He had won on the filly when she made her debut at Warwick Farm a month before the Queensland feature. But an illness prevented him from taking the Millions ride. His brother-in-law Tim Clark replaced him, and Racy ($51) finished 11th to Le Chef. Ryan is looking to run Chauffeur next on December 31 – a fortnight before the Magic Millions. He can choose between the $100,000 2YO Plate (1100m) at Canterbury or $200,000 Group 3 B J McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm.
Parr always takes a short break at Christmas for a family getaway. It will be even more special this year as he and his wife Amanda now have a beautiful daughter, Bonnie, who was born in March.
But he won’t hesitate to briefly interrupt the holiday to continue his association with Chauffeur if he gets an expected call-up from Ryan. A Magic Millions victory undoubtedly would seriously tempt Chauffeur’s high-profile connections to then have a crack at the $3.5m Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 18 It’s race which is foremost on Parr’s bucket list.
“Most jockeys want to win the Melbourne Cup, but my ambition is to win the Slipper,” he admitted.
“It’s the world’s richest two-year-old race, and it would be fantastic to win it. “I’ve had a couple of rides in the Slipper so far without any luck.” He rode $26 chance Altar when fifth in 2011 and then Kuroshio ($81) when 14th in 2013.
Parr, who underwent surgery in March to repair a painful hip condition, has been in outstanding form this season. With a new manager, John Walter and fully refreshed after more than six months on the sidelines, Parr is consistently in the winning list, attracting rides from a wide array of stables.
His Warwick Farm double on December 14 followed by another double at Canterbury two nights later and a Christmas Cup victory on renowned wet tracker Destiny’s Kiss at Royal Randwick lifted him to 54 wins for the season.
As a result, he shares the NSW premiership lead with last year’s winner Brenton Avdulla. What a contrast to his troubled last season when he rode only 26 winners after being sidelined for more than half of the racing year with that hip problem. Parr is also second to Jeff Penza in the provincial premiership, and in the “Top 5” jockeys in Sydney with 22 metropolitan wins.
HOOFNOTE: A Magic Millions triumph on Chauffeur would be quite an early birthday present.
Parr turns 30 on January 18 – four days after the Millions is run.