Chris Parnham’s return to top-level racing after injury and infection has been fast-tracked to make the most of a Group One opportunity.
Parnham made rode for the first in three months in Perth on Wednesday.
The next day he got the call to replace the suspended Damien Oliver on Vezalay in Saturday’s Group One Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville.
Parnham broke his foot in a mishap at a Cranbourne jump-outs session and needed surgery.
“I needed to get it plated and I got a pretty bad infection,” Parnham said.
Oliver was suspended from race riding for almost a month on Thursday after he blew above the 0.020 limit in a breath test for alcohol at Warrnambool races.
It means Oliver has had to relinquish his rides at Morphettville on Saturday.
Parnham had three rides at the Belmont meeting in Perth on Wednesday after three weeks of riding trackwork.
“I was a little bit rusty but felt pretty good though,” Parnham said.
“I think I’ll be all good for Saturday. I’ve blown the cobwebs out now and I should be pretty much 100 per cent for Saturday.”
The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Vezalay is one of three rides for Parnham at Morphettville.
Parnham’s best Group One finish from 14 rides is a second on Smokin’ Joey in the 2015 Futurity Stakes.
Vezalay, a $26 chance, has the outside barrier in the capacity field.
“I have ridden her before in jump-outs and she’s definitely a horse with a lot of ability so I’m rapt to be on her,” Parnham said.
“It won’t be easy from out there, but I’ll see what the connections have to say and I’ll do my best.
“If she can get a bit of luck in running and a few things go her way I think she can be very competitive.”
Parnham will return to the Victoria scene from Sunday when he rides at Ballarat.