2010 Dominion Handicap winner Stylish Monarch made a surprise appearance at the Timaru trials on Saturday.
The 17-race winner, who was thought to be retired after going amiss again back in August of last year, has been back in work with original trainer Murray Tapper for several months.
“He made his own mind up,” said Tapper. “He had been out for six odd months when he started galloping around the paddock like a mad man so I decided to bring him into work to help educate my young trotters,” he explained.
But that didn’t exactly go to plan as the son of Monarchy, who has earned over half of a million dollars and currently holds the New Zealand trotting record for 3200 metres, quickly found his racing spirit.
“As he got fitter he became very competitive again and I could never hold him,” said Tapper. “He just used to trot away from the young ones which wasn’t doing anyone any favours,” he laughed.
Stylish Monarch finished third of three in his trial, but was only beaten just over four lenghts by 9-win pacer Motu Speedy Star who started of equal terms.
“I was very pleased with his trial and, more importantly, how his legs look afterwards,” said Tapper. “He is still a day-to-day proposition but at this stage his legs look great and don’t look like going any time soon,” Tapper said as he touched wood.
Tapper said if the Group One winning 10-year-old showed any signs of soreness it would be curtains on his career and this time it would be for good.
“He has been too good of a horse to me for me to put him from pain,” he stressed.
Tapper said Stylish Monarch would trial at least two more times before making a possible comeback in August.
“I’m not making any rash plans at this stage,” said Tapper.”I think there is a C3 & faster trot for him sometime in mid-August but I won’t be rushing him to get there.”
“He is ten-years-old now so I am just hopeful that he will still have the same speed and stamina because even if his 10-15% down on his best he is going to struggle,” admitted Tapper.
“But even if he could be competitive again at the highest level it would be a dream come true,” he enthused.
By Mitchell Robertson