Day At The Track

Monbet in a class of his own

05:46 PM 24 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Monbet in a class of his own
Monbet in a class of his own
Stuart McCormick Photo

North Canterbury harness racing trainer Greg Hope has never been slow to point out to journalists his opinion of his outstanding trotter Monbet.

Right through his three year old campaign when due to a variety of issues he was playing second fiddle to another outstanding young trotter in Speeding Spur, Greg never let a chance go by without taking the opportunity to tell you that the best was yet to come.

That the big son of Love You would continue to improve as he matured into his large frame and if Greg was patient now, he would reap the rewards further down the track.

It is a philosophy that Greg and wife Nina, who train the four year old gelding have stuck to again this season with the four year old gelding as they have structured his programme for his long term benefit regardless of the money involved.

Even though he dominated the New Zealand FFA on Cup Day this year, he was at home in his box when the $250,000 Dominion Handicap was run three days later. 

Now as we approach the $300,000 Southern Star series, Greg is in Australia with his star trotter but not for the big dance.

Instead he has targeted the Australasian Trotting Championship and after a brilliant heat win at Ballarat last night appears in a different league to the opposition he will face next week in the $50,000 final.

Away slowly as the lone back marker on 20 metres, Monbet tagged on to bunch after 500 metres but when regular driver Ricky May pushed the go button, he quickly looped the field and grabbed the lead and proceeded to run away and hide from a smart field of FFA trotters.

At the line he had 19 metres to spare from runner up Super Zeck as Ricky let him coast down to the line.

The quality of the win was there for all to see and Monbet carved nearly two seconds off the track record to boot.

Ricky May was thrilled with the the first up effort in Australia.

"We gave them 20 metres start and still won with a lot in hand so I am rapt with the run."

"He was really fresh tonight so I was a bit careful with him early but that run will tidy him nicely for next week and he should strip a better horse again."

"I have always said that Monbet was a freakish trotter who has pacer like speed and he looks to have a huge future," Ricky said.

Ricky was just as upbeat when talking about his Ballarat Pacing Cup drive Mossdale Conner who ran a creditable fourth in his Australian debut.

"I have never known him to get that keen in a race."

"Greg had him pretty fresh going into it as he has a big few weeks in front of him but as a result he half pulled himself into the ground."

"The way he felt, I didn't think he would have been too far away from the first two if he had settled."

"He will be really tight next week so that won't be a problem and I give him a chance of getting amongst it."

"The race that will really suit him will be the Hunter Cup where his great standing start manners will make him a huge chance," Ricky said.

Harnesslink Media

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