Parker goes for gold again

CAN HE DO IT? Freshwater Storm shooting at three Gold Nugget wins in a row in Ballarat on Sunday.
CAN HE DO IT? Freshwater Storm shooting at three Gold Nugget wins in a row in Ballarat on Sunday.

Freshwater Storm pursues a hattrick of Gold Nugget Handicaps in Ballarat on Sunday.

It is no surprise Geelong trainer Tony Parker has chosen to target the $50,000 feature.

The Gold Nugget, 1600m, has been Freshwater Storm's good luck charm.

The nine-year-old has only won twice in the past two years - the 2015 and 2016 Golden Nuggets.

Freshwater Storm is not necessarily a Ballarat track specialist though.

He landed the event at Caulfield last year after it was initially transferred to Geelong and then to VATC headquarters owing to heavy tracks.

The Gold Nugget is historically one of the Ballarat Turf Club's most prestigious races, being second only to the Ballarat Cup in standing.

A third time on the honour roll would put Freshwater Storm in rare air, but he will need to improve on his latest efforts.

Freshwater Storm has had six starts this preparation, with a sixth to Rhythm To Spare over this trip at Caulfield two starts ago his best effort. Patrick Maloney takes the ride on the veteran.

Kiwia is the form runner of Darren Weir's three starters in the Gold Nugget.

The 4yo is among the race-hardened runners, having racing impressively through the winter with two wins at Caulfield.

He appears well suited here on the minimum weight of 54kg and jumping from barrier four.

Weir's other two runners are in the early stages of their spring preparations, with top weight Raw Impulse third-up and Refulgent second-up.

Von Classic Hero carries the hopes of trainer Archie Alexander. The 6yo would give Alexander the biggest win on his home track.

Von Classic Hero will be fitter for three starts from a break, with his best run of late being a second over 1600m at Sandown Lakeside in early August.

PUFNSTUF resumes for Ballarat trainer Daryl Brown in the Sportsbets Power Play BM64 Handicap, 1400m.

The 4yo produced a hattrick of wins on the Geelong synthetic track in June-July before being spelled.

Pufnstuf finished second in Ballarat leading into the sequence.