A lot of hard work has finally paid dividends for father and son country trainers Brian and Ash McKnight at Sandown.
A seven-run campaign with Hot Seat finally bore fruit when the gelding was successful in the Thoroughbred Club Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday.
Craig Williams rode Hot Seat when he started his campaign with a placing at Sandown in November and was back aboard on Wednesday for the first time since.
The McKnights will send Hot Seat for a break before the winter knowing their three-year-old handles soft ground.
Sent out the $4.40 favourite, Hot Seat scored by a neck from Vintage Quartz ($5) with Another Coldie ($6) a nose away third.
Hot Seat was backing up a week after running a close second at Sandown when ridden by Damian Lane and the training pair had no hesitation calling on Williams for the ride.
“The first time he rode him here he told us just to race the horse saying he’s very green and doesn’t know much about racing,” Brian McKnight said.
“He told us he thought we had a nice horse and when the nominations came out he was the first on the phone.
“When Damian had to ride one for Darren Weir, it was a no-brainer.”
Last week the McKnights wanted Hot Seat ridden with a trail but it was miscommunicated that the gelding would be ridden from a rearward position.
After beginning well Hot Seat raced on the pace before being beateb a half-length.
“What we wanted to do was follow a horse,” McKnight said.
“He gets to the front and stargazes.
“We wanted him to chase a horse and learn to chase one down.
“What came out was we were going to go right back but that was never our intention.
“Every time he’s been in front he’s been run down.”
Williams said he’s seen improvement in Hot Seat from his first introduction.
“I rode him first time out and he was so full of himself and needed to grow up,” Williams said.
“It’s good to be on him at the end of his preparation.
“If he comes on from this preparation they’re going to have some fun during the winter months.
“He still feels a bit physically immature as well as mentally, so they’ve got a lot to come with him.”