Day At The Track

First Group victory for Kylie Sugars

06:23 AM 30 Jul 2016 NZST
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Kylie Sugars accepts her first Group level trophy after Lord Monaloo's win.
Kylie Sugars accepts her first Group level trophy after Lord Monaloo's win.

Persistence was rewarded when Lord Monaloo broke through to win the Hygrain Tabcorp Park Melton Cup, delivering a first Group victory for harness racing trainer Kylie Sugars.

Lord Monaloo appears bound for a spell and then a giant country cups campaign after cashing in on his potential for connections in the $30,575 feature, which he won for driver Greg Sugars by 1.1m from favourite Major Star and Lets Elope.

The Group level win has been a long-time coming for owners Darrell, Raelee and Graham Brook and Kylie Sugars, who nursed Lord Monaloo back from a suspensory injury in April last year, which put his career in jeopardy.

“He was a horse that showed a lot of promise early and after the injury (it was unclear) if he would get back to his very best but on that run tonight he is pretty close to it,” brother Greg said. “Full credit to Kylie and the horse, they are doing a terrific job.”

The seven-year-old gelding by It Is I returned at Melton on May 21 after a 16-month spell and progressively improved, breaking through in an MO on July 2 before winning again in the city one week later.

A third placing in the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup heat comfortably qualified him for tonight’s final, when from gate 11 Greg Sugars was happy to bide his time, sitting third last at the bell before moving three-wide and finding cover into the race behind second-favourite Lets Elope.

Phil Monty set the pace up front inside Major Star, who boxed on well for Kate Gath, but it was Lord Monaloo who swept out four-wide and overran them all to win the Group 3 and register a third victory in four starts.

 “It’s been a very long, slow process. Just every run I’ve had a feeling he is getting a little bit better each time,” Greg said. “He has kept on improving.”

And there appears more to come, with the seven-year-old now seemingly placed to fulfil his potential as a country cups horse.

 “That’s what we sort of had him aimed at last time before he injured himself,” Greg said. “He has done a magnificent job, it has been a long and winding road to get to this point.

“I would imagine he would have a little freshen up now, he deserves a little break, and we will look at the timing but the country cups circuit is not too far away. So a freshen up and then we will get him ready for then.”

Michael Howard

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