Chilli Pepper shares the major prize at Cranbourne

Apr 05, 2019

Chilli Pepper had to share the prize but she still followed her little sister Shandy into the winner’s circle at Cranbourne.

Shandy got the money for Ellerton Zahra Racing at Geelong on March 16 before running a solid second in town at her next start but it was Chilli Pepper’s turn in the Maiden Plate (1200m) at Cranbourne.

Jockey Michael Dee gave Chilli Pepper the perfect run behind the speed and the filly looked set to score by a comfortable margin but the bright lights of the night racing venue distracted her in the straight.

Chilli Pepper lost concentration and momentum late in the race but still managed to dead-heat for first.

“I thought I’d won,” Dee said.

“A win is a win but I honestly thought I had won by a short head or half a nose at least.

“She had something there but as soon as she hit the front, the ears came forward and she had a look at the big screen.

“She got 50m further along and had a good look at the winning post.

“She should have won by a margin but a win’s a win.”

The four-year-old daughter of Reward For Effort took 11 starts to break her maiden but had been around the mark at her two runs this time in.

She was narrowly beaten at Kyneton first-up and wasn’t far away when fourth to stablemate Bionics at Ballarat at the start before her Cranbourne dead-heat.

Trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra have coped admirably with the additional pressure of training Chilli Pepper and Shandy for racing manager Sharnee Rose and her family, who bred both horses.

Congratulations to Chilli Pepper’s owners and all involved in her breakthrough performance at Cranbourne.