Chili Is Hot is the perfect advertisement to prospective owners that you don’t need to spend big to find a good horse. Graeme Ballantyne and his wife Donna are already well in front and reaping the financial rewards after they outlaid a modest $500 for the Gingerbread Man filly as a weanling. After her stirring win over favourite Sheza Chalmer in the Belmont Oaks, her returns have swelled to $234,000 in stake earnings and bonuses.
Jason Whiting doesn’t mind winning the Belmont Oaks. His pilot on Chili Is Hot was his fourth, matching William Pike’s modern day tally in the race. Empire Dancer kicked it off for Whiting in 2005 and he followed up on Miss Tipsy Topsy (2011) and Rosmartini (2016).
You get the impression Clint Johnston-Porter gets a huge kick out of winning feature races for two men who’ve been driving forces behind his career. Last Saturday he steered home Naughty By Nature for Jason Miller in the Strickland Stakes and Saturday he claimed a feature race double on the Adam Durrant-trained Tena Koutou in the Aquanita Stakes. Johnston-Porter has won six of his 11 stakes races in partnership with Durrant. It won’t be too long before we see his younger brother enter the riding ranks.
Michael Grantham: Gifted horseman. Mr versatility. He trains the first winner at Belmont then travels to Bunbury and sits in the sulky driving Doctor Tom to victory. Hard to judge if there’s anyone busier in racing than the former jockey. With all of his commitments, he surely couldn’t have too much spare time on his hands. The training caper with thoroughbreds is sitting comfortably on his shoulders, particularly following the win of Hip Wiggle. He backed his judgement by taking her to Kalgoorlie for a confidence-booster and she’s responded by winning her second straight race.
There was no love for Amasenus who defied a betting drift to continue her outstanding winning spree. With a surging finish from the tail of the field, the daughter of Time For War made it six in a line and three straight since resuming at Belmont in June. Will trainer Simon Miller back her up in next week’s Beaufine?
She didn’t have the easiest of runs after racing wide with cover, but Playing Marika let down strongly in the last to record a solid victory. Her trainer Stephanie Bakranich does a great job with a small team of horses and is enjoying her best ever season with eight city wins to date.
The Parnham family were tearing up the first half of the card. Chris rode three of the first four winners: Hip Wiggle, Storm Commander for his dad, Neville and Amasenus. Steven gave his dad a double when Wakan Tanka scored a surprising win.