Jason Miller proved nice guys can come first after he grabbed his first feature race courtesy of Naughty By Nature in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes. Post-race there was genuine affection from an army of friends for Miller who were keen to share their delight. It’s a race that holds fond memories after he won it as a jockey and owner previously. It might not be the last time he enjoys big race success as Naughty By Nature possesses a stack of ability.
2-Chris & Michael Gangemi
What a great way for a stable to expose their new investment when he wins first-up against a handy field of sprinters. It should come as no surprise as the Chris and Michael Gangemi team are the masters with tried horses. With the imminent retirement of Rock Magic, they were looking for a new sprinter and despite it being early doors they may have discovered a worthy replacement. Off to the Beaufine next.
Clint Johnston-Porter did his best to mimic Mitch Pateman when he stood high in the stirrups and enthusiastically waved his whip passing the post on Naughty By Nature in the Strickland Stakes. It was another side to the popular rider who generally keeps his emotions in check. It showed it meant a lot and the respect and affection he holds for Jason Miller.
It’s generally William Pike in the last race that punters gravitate towards, but he was upstaged yesterday (Saturday) by Shaun McGruddy who skillfully crossed from barrier 13 to land The Spruiker into a perfect spot in fourth position. The Steve Wolfe-trained three-year-old is unbeaten from three this campaign and might be better than average.
5-Paige Kenney/Victoria Corver
Paige Kenney put her faith in Victoria Corver to replace a senior rider and the young apprentice didn’t let her down on Vane Tempest. The progressive filly isn’t the easiest of horses to handle but she did it with aplomb.
Is there a better sight than William Pike weaving and diving in search of a run? He almost produced a race stealer when he darted to the inside on True Attraction. A half-head margin to Born To Try proved his stumbling block.
Is the trainer’s premiership done and dusted for the season? Probably. Adam Durrant holds the advantage and upper hand with 60 wins, but Grant and Alana Williams have narrowed the gap and sit behind on 54 after five wins from the past two Belmont meetings.