Jason Miller has the chance to record his first Listed winner since last year’s Belmont Classic, when he saddles up Startthefriar in Saturday’s Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) at Ascot.
Miller returned to the role of stable foreman for Adam Durrant in August, after forming one half of a training partnership with Durrant’s father Geoff last season.
It has been a relatively quiet time for Miller since Durrant’s return, having saddled up 32 runners this season.
When Jackpot Prince won last year’s Belmont Classic, Miller was still in the training partnership with Durrant Sr, but this weekend he has the chance to record his first Listed winner in his own right with Startthefriar.
The three-year-old won on debut over 1100m at York last month, before he finished fourth last start over 1406m at Pinjarra.
Despite the defeat at Pinjarra, Miller said he was pleased with the gelding’s condition heading into the Listed feature.
“He has been pretty impressive,” Miller told TABradio’s The Sports Daily.
“This is a test for him…it’s only 10 runners, but it’s a really good race.
“He’s impressed in his work.”
Miller said the one-and-a-quarter length defeat at Pinjarra was a better run than what result says on paper.
“The barrier beat him last start, he had to make up too much ground,” he said.
“His sectional time was good and he probably made up 10 lengths on straightening.
“That kind of run looks very good going into a race like this.”
Miller indicated he didn’t expect Startthefriar to have any trouble stepping up to the mile for the first time either.
Meanwhile, Durrant saddles up Miracle Man in the Lex Piper Stakes on Saturday, following his fifth place finish to Nelson’s Flight at Ascot last weekend.
Miller has helped oversee the Viscount gelding’s preparation, where he is third-up this Saturday.
Durrant elected to bypass last week’s Challenge Stakes in favour of running in this Saturday’s feature, and Miller said the addition of blinkers would significantly enhance his chances.
“I think his first-up run was excellent,” he said.
“The blinkers go on to help him concentrate a little bit more.
“He’s definitely up to those three-year-olds that’s for sure.”