Day At The Track

Monbet chasing another major moment

07:59 PM 27 Apr 2016 NZST
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Monbet in a class of his own
Monbet in a class of his own
Stuart McCormick Photo

There is still plenty at stake for Monbet. The exceptional four-year-old trotting talent will start as a prohibitive harness racing favourite this Friday night in the Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland – the final leg of the 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters.

Following his scintillating victory in last week’s ANZAC Cup where he blew away Speeding Spur who was subsequently diagnosed with a season ending injury, Monbet can’t surpass his arch rival who gathered enough points to hold an unassailable lead heading into the final leg.

Speeding Spur has 220 points while Monbet has 103 points prior to Friday’s feature.

But there’s still plenty up for grabs for the Canterbury trained star.

If Monbet proves successful in the Rowe Cup and then ventures to Cambridge in June for the Jewels and collects another Group One victory, he could easily claim the Trotter of the Year plus the overall Horse of the Year titles.

The Love You gelding has already won five Group One races this season.

On Friday night, Monbet will face twelve rivals in the grueling 3200m stand start feature including all bar Speeding Spur from last week’s ANZAC Cup.

The Greg & Nina Hope trained performer is a stand start specialist but is foreign to the two mile distance range with 2700m being the longest he’s raced.

Another intriguing factor to be considered this week for Monbet is his draw, the inside of the second-line.

But if there is a scratching to his inside in the great race, Monbet will move from his inside second line draw to the outside of the front line, barrier nine, in direct contrast to what happens in mobile races.

Most expect to him win regardless of where he starts from - front or second-line.

And favourites have a great record in the race with the punters elect winning 7 of the last 9 editions, the exceptions being Stig in 2013 and I Can Doosit in 2011, the first of his two victories in the feature event.

Champion reinsman Ricky May will once again handle Monbet and he is no stranger to success in the premier North Island trotting feature having won the race back in 1988 with Highwood.

Key rivals this week include Sheemon, a runner-up in this event two years ago while the improving types of Blackguards Corner and Yagunnakissmeornot will also command respect.

Realmein, Jag’s Invasion and Scarrymcleary all have upset chances on current form.

Waterloo Sunset, Valmagne, Queen Kenny, Paramount Dream, Al Bundy and Quite A Moment will all require luck to claim the feature.

The Canam Rowe Cup is race 8 on the program and scheduled to start at 9.13pm local time.

Chris Barsby

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