Day At The Track

Alchin says Tough Monarch "as good as any"

01:56 PM 07 Dec 2018 NZDT
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The likes of Tornado Valley, Speeding Spur and Kyvalley Blur may have ruled the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship so far but the trainer-driver of NSW raider Tough Monarch says his horse has the ability to knock them off the throne.

Rickie Alchin said he believed the seven-year-old gelding, outright sixth in the rankings on 20 points after the first two rounds of heats, was capable of winning the final on December 15.

He said Tough Monarch’s first two ID18 runs – a third and fourth to Tornado Valley – had been “really good”.

“Night one was probably the ideal draw (2) but I didn’t push him early just because I was happy to keep him trotting and keep him happy,” he said.

“He probably got a little further back than I would have liked to have had him early but I think his run had a whole lot of merit in it, to sit outside Tornado Valley in the quick third quarter and still not get beat by too far.”

Alchin said the run was even more impressive given it was Tough Monarch’s first race for almost a month.

“He has come into the series reasonably fresh and his run (at Ballarat on Tuesday) night was terrific; he has never been in a race when they have gone a sub-27 (quarter); he did it and was still strong on the line.

“I honestly think, on ability, he is as good as any trotter in the series; it is just (that) Tornado Valley has got such good point-to-point tactical speed that can get him into a position early whereas I haven’t actually pushed my fella out of the gate yet.

“But when the time comes I will – he has got gate speed.”

Tough Monarch is owned by a syndicate of six – Alex and Ryan Kay, Peter Gadsby (all from NSW), Charlie Montebello and Vincent McDonald (both Queenslanders) and the late Michael Van Rens from Western Australia – who have owned several top-tier horses over the decades, most notably Smoken Up and The Falcon Strike.

They also raced the Monarchy gelding’s dam, Tough Tussle, who won more than $100,000 and raced at Harold Park, Globe Derby and Moonee Valley between 2005 and 2008.

“I was fortunate enough to get (Tough Monarch); he was unbroken and quite a handful and a bloke in NSW called Dennis Wilson recommended me to (the owners to) try and break him in,” Alchin said.

“It has taken him a long time to mature and do things right but he has always shown tons and tons of ability and he seems to be putting it all together a bit later in his career.

“(His dam) has just had another little filly foal by Love You that the studs tell me is a really good sort of a foal so I am looking forward to getting her in a couple of years.”

Today Alchin is looking a couple of days ahead to tomorrow's final round of heats, where Tough Monarch will again be pitted against Tornado Valley – and the second time from the back row.

“It is going to be really tough but barrier 9 is not the end of the world; I would probably prefer him to draw there than 7 or 6,” he said.

“At least he is in the running line (and over 2500m) he will be running home. As the series goes and the distance grows, he should only be better again.”


Shaun Campbell

Trots Media

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