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“.
|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|
|6||P J Simmonds||270||83||408||20%||£53,600|
|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|
|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.