Monbet on track


Champion trotter Monbet is only a fortnight away from stepping out in public.

Last season’s New Zealand trotter-of-the-year is progressing well in work for his Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope and they’re ready to unleash their stable star for his spring racing campaign.

A workout in two weeks time will begin the process, with the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile on Labour Weekend the initial aim, before things ramp up towards the Group One features of NZ Cup week.

Greg Hope said the feeling of having Monbet (23 wins) back in the mix was exciting.

“It certainly lifts things a bit knowing that he’s getting close to being back in business, that’s for sure.”

A decision is still to be made on whether a trip to Auckland for New Year’s Eve racing is on the agenda.

“We’ve got options and because we own him, there’s no pressure.”

The stable’s other trotting star, four-year-old Enghien (13 wins in 17 starts), is still in the paddock and will remain there until December.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of positive vibes coming from both Hope and driver Ricky May in regard to Seel The Deal after his blistering trial win at Rangiora on Wednesday.

Coming back from an injury-enforced layoff, the talented stayer got the big tick from his driver.

“He was phenomenal, I was really impressed with him,” May said.

“He felt super the entire way and I was really surprised at how well he did it considering it was his first run back and we ran a bit of time.”

Seel The Deal won the 2600m stand heat from a 40-metre handicap, the

last 800 metres in 56 seconds.

“I thought it was a really good trial, he’s in a good place at the moment that horse,” Hope said.

“I think the injury problems that he’s had are behind him now and we can really look forward with him because he’s such a wonderful staying type.”

Hope confirmed that, all going to plan, the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on September 24 is a target, with the Methven Cup on grass in October also a key race in their build-up to NZ Cup day on November 14.