Best known as a sprinter, Group winner Monton will be out to prove he has another string to his bow in Saturday’s Listed Festival Stakes at Rosehill.
Monton’s four career wins have been in the 1000-metre to 1400-metre distance range, the highlight his 2010 Group Two Hobartville Stakes victory.
The gelding will have his first start in almost two months in the Festival Stakes and former top jockey-turned-trainer Ron Quinton has no qualms about him tackling 1500 metres fresh.
“I don’t worry about that. The Europeans don’t worry about it,” said Quinton, who won the Group One Irish St Leger during a successful European riding stint for John Oxx in 1989-90.
“I’ve had a bit of experience over there.”
The only time Monton has been tested over further than 1400m was in the 2010 Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m) in which he was sixth to Shoot Out, beaten less than two lengths.
Quinton pointed to that effort as an indicator the five-year-old could be competitive in the Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 17.
The summer feature was pencilled in as a target after Monton’s three solid runs for his new trainer during the spring, including a third to Decision Time in the Concorde Stakes.
“There wasn’t too much else left for him after those runs so we gave him a let-up for a couple of weeks,” Quinton said.
“We brought him back with this (Festival Stakes) in mind and he will probably head to the Villiers as well.
“He won the Hobartville as a three-year-old and one of his best runs was in the Randwick Guineas when he drew off the track (15 of 15).
“If he’s ever going to run it (middle distance) it’s now.”
With a plethora of Sydney’s best jockeys unavailable to ride at Rosehill for various reasons, Quinton has booked senior hoop Chris O’Brien.
O’Brien is the regular partner of dual Group One winner Sincero and Quinton rates him highly.
“He’s an excellent rider, which is evidenced by his riding aboard Sincero,” Quinton said.
“We’ve drawn a good alley (one). It’s perfect for the horse. He likes a smother and to be able to get one bite of the cherry.”
Monton’s former trainer Tim Martin will be represented in the Festival Stakes by Fibrillation who showed she had returned in good fettle with a eye-catching third to Kontiki Park first-up last month.
Kontiki Park will also line up, one of two runners for Gai Waterhouse who also runs King Lionheart.