Day At The Track

Retirement for Montana Marie

02:29 PM 06 May 2014 NZST
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Darrell Graham - trainer of the now retirement Montana Marie

The run of bad luck continues for Darrel Graham.

But, there is an upside.

The latest disappointment is the third in a short period of time that has rocked the Fernvale stables of the astute horsemen but he’s hopeful the tide will now turn.

Giant mare Montana Marie has run her final race after succumbing to a slight tendon strain in her nearside front leg forcing owner Dean Shannon to make the obvious call.

The Art Major – Just Del mare has been retired for stud duties.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind something like this could happen because of her size, she’s a monster and unfortunately it has occurred which is really disappointing. It’s only a very slight strain but we were never going to take any chances with her, so it was an easy decision to make in the end.” Graham said.

This latest news quickly follows on from exciting three-year-old Mafuta Vautin and feature race winning rookie Major Montana also succumbing to season ending injuries in the past couple of weeks.

But Graham is philosophical about the run of outs he’s encountered recently.

“This is the business we’re in and there’s always a possibility that plans won’t come to fruition. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with livestock and things can’t be guaranteed unfortunately. I haven’t had a horse succumb to a tendon injury in ten years and all of a sudden I’ve had three.

“I never had to battle with injuries like this when I was racing the likes of Lanercost, Courageous Annie or Rollon Bigred. It’s disappointing but we keep the show on the road and keep moving forward.”

Montana Marie went unraced as a two-year-old but rose to prominence last season when the well-related filly strung together a record 12 straight victories including her triumph in the Gr.2 $75,000 Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park.

Her winning streak was ended by Kiwi filly (Our) Splendour in the $30,000 Gold Coast Oaks at Parklands which was followed by a rare mistake in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks when fifth behind Itz Nosurprisesthere.

“Del was a filly I always had plenty of time for because she displayed talent from the very beginning, we gave her plenty of time to mature and develop and she repaid us in spades as a three-year-old.

“The winning streak was the obvious highlight during her career on the track and it came together very quickly, she was in the zone and loving her racing during that period and she just kept winning.

“Dean is building a select group of broodmares including Courageous Annie and now Del can join her at his Sunshine Coast property. Del is a half-sister to former iron horse I Am Sam so she can go and make babies now.”

Montana Marie retires as the winner of 18 races from 27 starts while amassing more than $120,000 in prizemoney.

Her final start was in the final of the Gr.1 $175,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final when 8th behind star filly Frith at TABCORP Park, Melton last August.

By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

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