News & Events

Monkey King's shock comeback

By Michael Guerin

Retired dual New Zealand Cup hero Monkey King is on the verge of a shock comeback.

And that could see the $3.4million earner aimed at Addington’s greatest race again this year.

Trainer Brendon Hill has confirmed Monkey King will be nominated for the Cup when entries close tomorrow. And he believes the 10-year-old has a great chance of being at Addington on the second Tuesday in November.

“But the one thing is for sure, you won’t see him on the track again unless I am 110 per cent happy with him,” said Hill.

Monkey King was retired earlier this year after an 18 month battle to regain his best form, which ended with him struggling to even place in moderate races. Hill believes that form loss was caused by a string of frustrating minor issues rather than any one underlying problem. Rather than simply heading to the retirement paddock, Monkey King was kept in work as a galloping pacemaker by Hill and as a wise old head to educate the younger horses.

“I looked at him a few months ago and he had never looked sounder so I just thought I’d chuck the hopples on him more often and up the ante.

“Since then he has gone ahead and leaps and bounds and feels perfect.”

Monkey King will have a fast workout at Hill’s Canterbury property on Saturday and if his trainer is still happy he will head to the workouts the following week. He could be racing in three weeks. Being nominated for the Cup means he will be in the first market opened by the TAB next Monday but Hill wants to warn punters who want to support their old favourite.

“If anything goes wrong along the way, even something small, then we will pull the plug,” he offers.

“But at this stage I’d say there is a good chance he will be there.”

Hill is not so confident though with his other stable star and former Horse of the Year, Carabella. She has had he work duties reduced in her comeback from a tendon injury and Hill admits he is starting to lose faith.

“She definitely won’t be at Alexandra Park for the mares races in December and I am now starting to thinks she might miss her main aim, the mares races at Addington in the New Year, too.

“The latest scan of her tendon two weeks ago wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great so we are hopeful more than anything else with her.”