MILLER’S NAUGHTY CONNECTION TO STRICKLAND STAKES

22
Jun

ason Miller will take a trip down memory lane and draw on fond memories when he saddles up Naughty By Nature in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) at Belmont.

The Strickland Stakes has sentimental value for Miller who will look to strengthen that association when he strives to complete a unique achievement on the weekend.

Miller’s connection to the Strickland Stakes goes back to 2004 when as a jockey he guided Dedicated Miss to victory for trainer, Geoff Durrant.

Nine years later he won his second Strickland Stakes, but this time as a part-owner when Kincaple, trained by Geoff Durrant’s son, Adam, snatched a narrow win.

Miller says Naught By Nature has to step up against quality opposition to win Saturday’s Strickland Stakes, but believes she is up to the challenge.

He said winning a third Strickland Stakes would be good to attain.

“It would be nice to get the hat trick,” Miller said.

“I’m not sure if it’s been done as jockey, trainer and owner.

“Dedicated Miss was a real good horse who won the Hyperion before the Strickland Stakes.

“From memory I can’t recall everything about the race, but Kincaple was a bit more recent.

“I remember we just left the races at Moonee Valley and watched the race at a pub across the road.

“There was affair bit of excitement going on when he won.

“It’s a race that brings back fond memories.

“It would be good to do it again and I would love to win it with Naughty By Nature.”

Miller says Naughty By Nature is peaking for a shot at landing her maiden feature race.

The Trade Fair mare is coming off a strong last start win and Miller is happy with the way she found the line over a mile.

He expects Naughty By Nature to be at her peak going to the Strickland Stakes at her fourth run this preparation.

“She’s in good order and pulled up really well from her last run,” Miller said.

“The step up to 2000m should also really suit her.

“All her runs this prep have been really good.

“I can’t knock her form and she is doing everything right.

“She has to elevate against good horses, but I don’t think it’s beyond her.

“She deserves to win one of these races.”

The Strickland Stakes can end a run of close results in big events for Naughty By Nature.

The four-year-old has filled top three placings in five black-type events including a second to Tuscan Queen in the WA Oaks (2400m) in March.

Clint Johnston-Porter will ride Naughty By Nature in the Strickland Stakes.

Julio Santarelli