Chris Waller’s in-form galloper Montauk defeated a brave Red Excitement narrowly denying the runner-up a shot at back-to-back Summer Cup victories thanks to a gun ride from jockey Mathew Cahill at Randwick on Tuesday.
The highlight of Sydney’s Boxing Day races, the Group 3 $150,000 Summer Cup (2000m) saw More Than Ready five-year-old Montauk ($12) continue his excellent Royal Randwick form taking his record at the track up to four wins, two seconds and a third from ten runs.
The gelding hadn’t enjoyed a turf triumph since early February, but had subsequently strung together a succession of frustrating minor stakes placings for the Waller stable.
That included a Winter Cup (2400m) second and Grafton Cup (2350m) third in the winter along with his lead-up third in the ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on December 2.
A change of hoop proved the winning move as country jockey Cahill broke through for his maiden city winner for the season, and his first stakes race success in half a decade, thanks to an outstanding Summer Cup ride on Montauk.
“I thought he was beautifully ridden,” Waller’s stable representative Charlie Duckworth told the media post-win.
“Matthew was given some advice from Glyn (Schofield) and Brenton (Avdulla) as they obviously know the horse well.
“They told him the horse needs to be cuddled and that he doesn’t respond to whip.
“He (Cahill) didn’t go for the whip and managed to near enough cuddle him all the way to the line.
“I don’t think Montauk quite knew that he won!”
Cahill was able to get Montauk to edge past the reigning Summer Cup champion, Gerald Ryan’s veteran eight-year-old Red Excitement ($5.50), for a long neck victory.
In third rounding out the Summer Cup trifecta was the Gary Portelli-trained recent Festival Stakes winner Testashadow ($6) just a quarter-length further back, just ahead of the beaten $5 favourite Mighty Lucky.
“It’s a nice Christmas present to come to the city and win this race,” winning hoop Cahill, 50, said.
“Montauk is a funny sort of horse, he has got ability but is tricky to ride.
“We were tracking a little wide early so I let him go forward and follow the leader then he kept sticking his head out in the straight.”
Montauk is now paddock-bound for a well-deserved rest according to Duckworth.
“That was his Derby. He’s a tough performer. He just doesn’t win very often so it’s good to get a Group race to his name,” he said.
“He’s the kind of horse that needs his confidence up. He’s rock-hard fit and the track is a little bit softer than official good 4 rating and that helped.”
The next black-type race of the summer in Sydney is the Listed $150,000 Christmas Classic (1200m) at Royal Randwick this Saturday, December 30.