Racing: Monton well placed

By Mathew Toogood

Despite carrying hefty impost, Monton can win second Villiers.

Monton will be hard to beat in the Villiers Stakes. Photo / Alan Gibson
Monton will be hard to beat in the Villiers Stakes. Photo / Alan Gibson

Sydney trainer Ron Quinton is confident Monton can create a piece of history and become the first horse to win back-to-back Villiers Stakes tomorrow.

Monton signalled he is on target for his Villiers defence with a brave second in the listed Festival Stakes, a race he won last year on his way to claiming the feature summer double.

He has to lump 59kg topweight in the 1600m group two race at Warwick Farm but it's a task Quinton says is achievable.

No horse has won the Villiers twice since the race was first run in 1892 and Monton is the only horse from the 2011 edition to try his luck in this year's renewal.

"There might not have been many horses try it, but he's in great shape," Quinton said.

"He has come through his last run very, very well and I couldn't be happier with him.

"Naturally, he's got a bit of weight but I guess he's earned it."

Monton, who will be ridden by apprentice Sam Clipperton in the Villiers, had his final piece of serious work ahead of the race at Randwick on Tuesday morning.

"We don't have to work the life out of him but we were happy with him," Quinton said.

Monton carried 58kg to victory last year when ridden by senior jockey Hugh Bowman.

He lumped 59kg in the Festival Stakes when he finished behind Malavio who was ruled out of the Villiers last week after arthritic changes were detected in one of his knees.

Quinton said Monton had shown a liking for summer racing which was taken into account when deciding to target the Festival and Villiers again.

All six of Monton's wins have come during the summer months.

"His form has always been better in the warmer months.

"He's developed that pattern in the past couple of seasons," Quinton said.

The Villiers normally run at Randwick is being contested at warwick Farm while Sydney's premier track undergoes reconstruction.

One of the toughest for Monton to beat will be Cabernet, trained by Matthew Smith at Warwick Farm.

The winner of the Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown last month, Cabernet was a close fifth in the Villiers lead-up, the Festival Stakes (1500m) on December 8.

"Cabernet is in good shape and I thought her last run was good," Smith said. "This will be her last run of the campaign and we will look to the mares' races for her in the autumn.

"I think she's good enough for races like the Coolmore Classic and the Queen of the Turf."


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