After a devastatingly close second in the Warwick Farm feature 12 months ago, the Ron Quinton-trained Monton is back for another shot in Saturday’s 2014 Chipping Norton Stakes.
The now seven-year-old Catbird gelding improved on a Group 2 Apollo Stakes 11th where they failed to let down in the wet to cross just a nose away runner-up to Shoot Out in last year’s Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) as a 30-1 roughie.
The $500,000 classic is on the agenda again for Monton, who will again jump at juicy odds, this weekend with their Sydney trainer taking confidence from their last start victory in the lead-up.
While Monton hasn’t raced in black type company since a disappointing eighth in the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) back on Boxing Day, they have been performing well in the lower-grade Sydney races getting their rating back up.
Their latest effort was a two length win in a Benchmark 95 over the Randwick mile on February 22 where they lumped a hefty 61.5kg to victory.
“We found those three open handicaps over 1600 metres and he won two of them, then he went to the Benchmark 95 with a big weight and won that so he’s raced his way out of those races again,” Quinton told AAP this week.
“His rating is back up to 106 so there is really nowhere else to go (but the Group 1).”
On Saturday they see the mile again but it’s an obvious class rise with possible rivals including Trent Busuttin’s flying young Kiwi El Roca, the Chris Waller-trained Boban and multiple Group 1 champion It’s A Dundeel who is the one Quinton rates.
“There’s no doubt It’s A Dundeel is a class act but if Monton can go there and run a terrific race we’ll be happy,” he said.
“He has been a great old warrior for the stable and he’s earned almost $800,000.”
All going well Quinton will then continue Monton’s Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival program, which has seen them run every two weeks, with a run in the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12.
“With these older horses, sometimes when you send them for a spell it takes too long to get them back,” Quinton explained.
“He seems to be the same now as he has been all through.
“We race him every fortnight and don’t do a lot with him in between.
“He is entered in the Doncaster again but we’ll just take things run by run, step by step.”
In futures Doncaster Mile betting the veteran galloper is a $101 roughie in markets led by Guy Walter’s Expressway Stakes – Apollo Stakes champion Appearance ($10) and the aforementioned El Roca ($11).
The Chipping Norton Stakes 2014 final field and barrier draw is due for release shortly with Walter sweating on a good gate for Monton.
Last year they had barrier four of 12, connections hoping for a similar draw in the weight-for-age feature where Monton will carry 59kg.
Apprentice hoop Sam Clipperton stays on Monton having ridden them for all but one of their nine most recent starts.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the Chipping Norton acceptances and then the updated markets courtesy of our preferred online betting agency Ladbrokes.com.au.
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