Matt Dartnall likes Monmore. He has travelled to the West Midlands for two Cat 1 events this year and won them both – though he will concede that Ela Juliet’s (Romeo Recruit-Killinan Baby, Sep 16) potential to win the Ladbrokes Stayers Classic wasn’t always obvious.

Drawn red in the £7,500 decider, the 7-4jf was led up by Mark Wallis’ pair Roswell Romanov and Bombers Bullet before finishing best to grab the £7,500 winner’s prize by three quarters of a length.

It was her fourth consecutive win over course and distance and the fifth from a UK career with just one narrow defeat over Hove’s 515m. Trainer Dartnall admits he entirely underestimated his tenacious pup.

He said: “She showed a lot of bravery to get inside Bombers Bullet at the last bend and then she stayed on best. But when she first arrived in the kennel and I looked at her card, I wondered why the owners had bought her. She was A5/A6 at Shelbourne Park who had been put over a longer distance as a pup, and although she had shown some promise, I couldn’t see much there. I was thinking ‘S3’.

“But I decided we would take a bit of time with her. She started off ‘okay’ over four bend But she ran on really well when she was beaten in her second race and I decided it was time to step her up in distance. She is unbeaten at Monmore and has beaten Bombers Bullet and Roxholme Poppy so you would have to say that the form is solid.

“I have booked her in for a trial at Sheffield next week with the ‘Three Steps’ in mind. I like the track and have won the event before with Kilmore Say Go – if she gets decent draws in the four bend races, I think she will be well suited to 660.

“In the longer term you would want to be thinking Doncaster St. Leger and St.Leger but with a bitch in form you have to keep them going because there is always the fear that they could come into season. She isn’t two until September so you are really thinking next year“.


Position Trainer Points W R % TPM
1 M A Wallis 684 104 430 24% £114,600
2 M J Dartnall 347 56 143 39% £56,125
3 K R Hutton 330 50 188 27% £214,945
4 A Harrison 287 38 97 39% £48,995
5 P Janssens 279 66 239 28% £39,305
6 P J Simmonds 270 83 408 20% £53,600
7 E McNair 250 41 110 37% £29,140
8 R J Holloway 241 32 130 25% £25,460
9 S A Cahill 232 66 239 28% £41,600
10 J G Mullins 224 36 270 13% £26,955
=11 P W Young 179 48 521 9% £47,525
=11 C R Lister OBE 179 43 180 24% £38,015
13 K P Boon 153 27 178 15% £29,180
14 D D Knight 150 25 71 35% £31,880
15 H J Dimmock 144 32 144 22% £18,745
16 E T Parker 142 51 168 30% £23,315
17 H Keightley 138 31 86 36% £17,720
18 D Mullins 130 49 359 14% £30,985
19 C Weatherall 125 18 91 20% £14,390
20 P J Rosney 118 25 149 17% £34,235

The kennel’s first ‘Cat One’ at Monmore in the spring also went to the same connections Alex Antoniou and Paul Bennett, and Matt is hopeful that their Ladbrokes Puppy Derby winner Rising Brandy will be back later in the year to contest the Olympic and Eclipse.

He said: “It is a long term shoulder injury but we are taking our time. He is due to start swimming next month and will hopefully be back on the track in October.”

Ela Juliet’s win took Matt Dartnall back into second place in the Trainers Championship table.