Harness racing recently saw the brilliant Monarchy gelding Sovereignty retired due to soundness problems and he has been joined in the retirement paddock today by another Monarchy gelding in Stylish Monarch who has also succumbed to soundness problems.
Trained for all but one start in his career by his Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, Stylish Monarch at his peak was as good as any trotter going around in New Zealand in the last ten years.
Between 2009 and 2011, Stylish Monarch was the horse they all had to beat in the big trotting races in New Zealand.
Partnered with champion reinsman Ricky May through most of his career, Stylish Monarch claimed two New Zealand Trotting Championships (Group One) over the brilliant I Can Doosit and a stunning win in the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge over Sovereignty in 1:57.5.
The biggest win for Stylish Monarch was undoubtedly his victory in the Group One $200,000 Dominion Handicap where he again defeated I Can Doosit in a stunning 4:02.9 for the 3200 meters from a stand.
Plagued by soundness issues, Stylish Monarch was retired in August of 2013.
However around May this year Murray Tapper took Stylish Monarch back to the stables because he was looking so well in the paddock.
The plan was to use him as a training partner for the younger horses in the stable but Stylish Monarch was so impressive and sound that Tapper decided to try to get him back to the races.
The first few trials were encouraging but after a less than stellar performance at his fourth trial, Stylish Monarch came up sore a few days later.
So Stylish Monarch goes to the retirement paddock having faced the starter just 60 times for 17 wins and 21 placings for $500,620 in stakes.
Harness racing today is dominated by the big stables in the main but Stylish Monarch and Murray Tapper proved once again that the little guy can still succeed at the top level.