Racing: Monbet eyes Jewels after Cup demolition job

By Michael Guerin

Dexter Dunn drives Field Marshal (4) to victory in the $100,000 Messenger at Alexandra Park. Photo / Greg Bowker
Dexter Dunn drives Field Marshal (4) to victory in the $100,000 Messenger at Alexandra Park. Photo / Greg Bowker

Fans of trotting hero Monbet had two reasons to celebrate last night.

Because not only did the superstar destroy his opponents in the $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, but soon after co-trainer Greg Hope confirmed his dream season is not over.

"Providing he pulls up well we will press on for the Jewels now," said Hope.

The season-ending Jewels at Cambridge on June 4 gives Monbet one more chance to press for Horse of the Year honours, his Jewels task made easier by the sad loss to racing for the remainder of the year of his arch rival Speeding Spur.

While the absence of three topliner, injured trotters meant last night's feature wasn't the strongest Rowe Cup, the way Monbet won it is hard to believe he could have been beaten. Handled cautiously by Ricky May early he settled near last before looping the field to lead at the 1800m mark and he simply kept running, winning effortlessly.

The victory takes him past $500,000 in stakes and only injury stands between him and more than doubling that tally next season.

His win gave last night's meeting a Groundhog Day feel, with the three other group ones all taken out by the horses who had won the corresponding races a week earlier.

Field Marshal went close to the race record in the Messenger when beautifully driven by Dexter Dunn, settling midfield and moving at the right time to put a gap on brave runner-up My Kiwi Mate.

He too will head to the Jewels, where reverting to mile racing should suit him beautifully but after that trainer Tim Butt may allow him to miss the New Zealand Cup. "I think a really hard Cup might be a bit much for him this year so we might look at other options," said Butt.

Marcoola quashed any doubt - not that there was much - as to his superiority in the 3-year-old trotting ranks when he led for most of the Northern Trotting Derby last night, adding that classic to the Sires' Stakes and NZ Derby, with the Jewels also next on his agenda.

But while Spanish Armada justified her hot favouritism in the $150,000 Sires' Stakes Fillies Championship, there was enough to like about the second of Delightful Memphis to suggest she can challenge the winner under the right circumstances.

Meanwhile, at Addington previously unbeaten filly Dream About Me suffered her first career defeat in 13 starts when she couldn't run down stablemate Golden Goddess in a Nevele R Fillies heat.

- NZ Herald

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