Is Clint Johnston-Porter fast becoming the new William Pike of Western Australian racing?
The 23-year-old might be early into his career, but it won’t be long before he overtakes star hoop Pike in the Western Australian jockeys’ premiership.
Leading Western Australian trainer Adam Durrant has paid his young rider the ultimate compliment leading into Saturday’s $125,000 Natasha Stakes (2200m) at Ascot.
Johnston-Porter – second in the Western Australian jockeys’ premiership standings with 117 wins for this season – will pilot top-weight Constant Dreaming in the Perth feature.
He now sits just 13 wins (in WA) behind Pike, who has relocated to New South Wales, after Racing And Wagering Western Australia introduced its no-vax, no compete rule on February 5.
“Clint was an apprentice to us, and we’re very happy he’s stayed on with us. He’s a very accomplished rider and has continued to improve,” Durrant told Horsebetting.com.au.
“Willie Pike has dominated over here with a lot of wins. Willie leaving for NSW has opened doors for Clint, but it’s not the sole reason why he’s going so well right now.”
Johnston-Porter won’t be without his challenges in the Natasha Stakes.
“(Jockey) Pat Carbery’s filly (Fine Romance at $3 to win) is an obvious stayer who deserves respect,” Durrant said of the three-year-old stayer who finished almost two lengths behind Constant Dreaming in the $125,000 Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m) on February 26.
With that victory being Constant Dreaming’s last start heading into Saturday’s feature, she will start the $2.35 favourite with online bookmakers from barrier six, carrying 56kg with her 10 competitors to run with 54kg on their backs.
“She’s rested well after her second-up run,” Durrant said.
“The distance will be a test for her, but she’s shown a lot of improvement.”
After overcoming some injury nightmares early in her career, Constant Dreaming really could end up being the stuff of dreams for Durrant on race days.
“She’s strong mentally and physically, and she’s a good size,” Durrant said.
“She had to overcome injury when she was younger, and she had to lift herself up off the canvas from that.
“That has made her a tougher horse.”