Randwick trainer Ron Quinton has declared Monton as in peak form to defend their Villiers Stakes title when they look to go back-to-back in the Sydney Summer Carnival classic at Warwick Farm Racecourse this Saturday.
The Catbird gelding won the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) last year and is after their first win since in the same race this weekend which would see them became the first dual Villiers Stakes winner in history – the race inaugurated in 1892.
“There might not have been many horses try it (successive wins), but he’s in great shape,” Quinton said.
Twelve months ago Monton took out the Festival – Villiers Stakes double and this year they come via the same lead-up race having run a brave second to Malavio, currently out with injury, in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) on December 8.
After a hit and miss year Quinton is confident the galloper is back to their best and is the one to beat in the Villiers again on the weekend despite having been allocated the 59kg topweight, only one kilogram more than they carried to victory last year.
“He has come through his last run very, very well and I couldn’t be happier with him,” he said.
“Naturally he’s got a bit of weight but I guess he’s earned it.”
Adding to Quinton’s confidence is Monton’s excellent record during the summer months.
“His form has always been better in the warmer months,” Quinton said.
“He’s developed that pattern in the past couple of seasons.”
Other notable Villiers Stakes entries for Saturday are the Gai Waterhouse-trained Goulburn Cup winner Kinnersley, Bede Murray’s recent Hawkesbury Gold Cup champ Darci Be Good out to improve on their Festival Stakes 10th and Matthew Smith’s smart mare Cabernet.
The 2012 Villiers Stakes field and barriers are due out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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