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Randwick horseman Ron Quinton remains confident that his defending Festival Stakes winner Monton can get the job done in the Sydney Summer Racing classic again on Saturday after they drew better than mid-field for the handicap feature.
Twelve months ago Catbird gelding Monton enjoyed a sizzling summer campaign taking out the Festival Stakes – Villiers Stakes double.
The now six-year-old is back vying for the same double this season not having won a race since last year’s Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m).
Last seen running sixth to Fat Al in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick in early October, Monton came up with barrier eight in the capacity field for the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) this weekend.
“That should work out alright for him and it’s certainly better than drawing 18,” Quinton said of the gate.
While the barrier holds no fears Monton will have to carry the 59kg top-weight, a notable step up from the 55.5kg they carried to victory in last year’s Festival Stakes.
“He needs to have a reasonable run with that weight (59kg) but I’m very happy with the horse,” his trainer added.
Current Festival Stakes betting markets are led by the Peter Snowden-trained Galah and smart mare Cabernet coming off a stakes win at Sandown.
Monton meanwhile is still one of the top chances paying around $12 in the Festival Stakes odds, a similar price to the $15 they paid at jump time in the race last summer.
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