Harness racing trainers Greg and Nina Hope have been having a wonderful run for the last 18 months and that was capped off in style today when the Love You gelding Monbet completely overwhealmed his opposition in this years $100,000 2 year old Ruby for trotters at the Harness Jewels.
Steadied out of the gate, he was caught three wide early as Sunny Ruby sped to the lead from eight with an opening quarter in 27.1. Working to the death at the 1200 meters, he stayed there until the 400 meters when Ricky May pushed the go button and he sprinted away for an easy win in a stunning 1:56.6, just a tenth of a second outside the New Zealand record.
It was the first New Zealand Group One win for the popular North Canterbury trainers, following on from their success in the Australasian Breeders Crown in Australia last season.
Prince Fearless was parked early before receiving the one by one from the 1200 meters but only battled in the straight and was nutted for second by the smart Angus Hall filly, Arya only for her to lose that placing in the inquiry room for interference to Speeding Spur on the first bend. Prince Fearless was promoted to second with Yagunnakissmeornot who stormed home late on the inner was promoted to third.
Wanna Play was caught three wide early and never really got closer in but showed real grit to battle on for fourth in such a fast run race.
Owned by the longtime supporter of the Hope stable in Michael Molloy, Monbet looked the best of the two year old trotters early before going through aflat patch in the last six weeks. A stunning winner at the workouts last Saturday at Cambridge, Monbet reaffirmed today his standing as the best two year old going round.
"His bloods were out last start but after the way he trialled last Saturday I thought I had him back to his best," said Greg Hope. "As it turns out, I was right," he added.
By Mark Robertson