Racing: Bowman delighted to get Monton home for boss

Jockey Hugh Bowman. Photo / Getty Images
Jockey Hugh Bowman. Photo / Getty Images

Neither Hugh Bowman nor Ron Quinton is given to sentimentality, but Monton's Villiers Stakes victory has a special significance for jockey and trainer.

Bowman, who also won the other feature on Saturday's Warwick Farm programme, the Listed Razor Sharp, rated the win for his old boss up with his group one successes on retired stars Samantha Miss and Racing To Win.

A champion apprentice now in the top echelon of the Australian riding ranks, Bowman greeted Quinton with a simple "thanks boss" after the race.

Quinton, an eight-time premier Sydney jockey before turning his hand to training, has scaled his team back with Monton coming to him from Tim Martin after his career stalled following an unsuccessful trip to New Zealand this year.

Monton completed a rare double of the Festival-Villiers Stakes when he powered home out wide after he looked a forlorn hope on the turn to win the 1600m group two race by 1 lengths from Kontiki Park with that horse's Gai Waterhouse-trained stablemate King Lionheart another short head away third.

"Before the race I said to Hugh, 'No plans, mate.' From the barrier [15] it was up to him," Quinton said.

"At the 900m, I thought he was no hope but Hugh got him home.

"We are very, very close. I don't have many horses any more and Hugh rides for me when he can."

Quinton also paid tribute to his employee rider Steve Jeffries, who has devoted much of his time to Monton.

"I have to give Steve credit. He has got him to relax. He wasn't really quiet early and was a poor eater but he is a happy horse now and it shows."

Bowman was thrilled to win for Quinton.

"It was a courageous win and he did it hard," he said. "At the 900m, I thought I was in trouble but I didn't panic and let him balance up. We had a couple of lengths to play with and he was strong on the line.

"Ron is a great friend and a great mentor. It's great he's got a good horse again and I'm delighted to be able to win for him."

Quinton, who rode three Villiers winners - Dear John (1978), Zing Along (1981) and Northern Reward (1983) - said Monton would have a short break and then be prepared for the Doncaster in April.

As the winner of the Villiers, Monton gains automatic entry to the rich mile handicap at Randwick.

"There's nothing more for him now," Quinton said. "And the Doncaster sounds good to me."

Sydney trainer Joe Pride's ability to rejuvenate tired horses was on display again when News Alert prevailed to win the Razor Sharp Handicap.

News Alert ($9) looked beaten 50m out but dug deep to nose out Rarefied ($3.30 fav) and win the 1200m feature. Previously with Con Karakatsanis, who prepared him for four stakes wins, the 7-year-old's form had tapered off over the past 12 months.

His owners opted to send him to Pride for a change of scenery and it appears to have done the job.

Pride said News Alert was likely to be aimed at some of the second and third-tier sprints over the autumn carnival.

Pint-sized juvenile Diamond Earth turned on a blistering display of speed to run her rivals off their feet in the rich Inglis Nursery.

The Anthony Cummings-trained filly flew the gates and burned to the front, establishing a big lead to have her opposition off the bit and chasing at the home turn.

Although tiring over the later stages, Diamond Earth ($9) never looked in serious doubt and held on to beat De Shamekh ($8.50) by three-quarters of a length with favourite Flying Snitzel getting going late for third a further 1 lengths away. AAP

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