A second Festival Stakes victory at Rosehill on Saturday for long shot Monton isn’t out of reach for the seven year old according to Randwick trainer Ron Quinton.
Monton took out the 2011 Listed $100,000 Blackwoods Stanley Dewalt Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill but a win would surprise punters and most bookies who have him marked at $41 to win his second Festival Stakes.
Quinton says Monton is in great order and another win is possible if the Catbird gelding races up to the best of his ability.
“It’s just the matter of him putting his best forward and he can run a good race,” Quinton told the Sportsman.
“He’s a seven year old but he is one of the soundest horses you’d ever want to see.”
Monton hasn’t won a race since taking out the 2011 Group 2 $175,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm but with a bit of luck could have been lining up for his third Festival Stakes win after running second to Malavio last year.
And even though the seven year old has been winless for almost two years, his form during this year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival includes a second at Group 1 level to Shoot Out in the $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm and a third to Havana Rey in the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
Quinton kept Monton racing at Group level during the early Spring and even though he finished out of the placing, his runs were okay in some very strong Group 2 races.
After finishing three and half lengths seventh to Rain Drum in the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on September 28, Quinton sent Monton out for a short break before preparing him for the more suitable Summer races.
“Monton had no time out, basically he had two weeks off after his last prep, that was all. He’s come back and looks in great order,” Quinton said.
Quinton sent Monton around in a 1050m Randwick barrier trial for a third to fit him for Saturday’s race and he has taken the blinkers off to begin his Summer campaign.
The Joe Pride trained Terravista ($3.30) and John O’Shea’s unbeaten mare White Sage ($3.70) are battling it out for favouritism for the Festival Stakes ahead of Strike The Stars at $9 and Ninth Legion at $10.
Terravista has won all his three starts this campaign and is stepping up to open class after scoring over 1400m on the Kensington track last Saturday while White Sage is searching for her fifth win from five starts as she faces her toughest test to date.