Aarts happy with fresh Monkey’s Way

NZ HARNESS NEWS

There’s always been some mystery surrounding Monkey’s Way and that will be the case again when he resumes in the feature trot at Addington on Friday night.

The now 9-year-old Monkey Bones gelding hasn’t been sighted since brilliantly winning his last start at Addington in May although there have been no issues and it’s not something concerning his North Canterbury owner-trainer John Aarts.

“He hasn’t trialled simply because he doesn’t need to,” said Aarts.

“We can trial him at home and he’s always raced pretty well when fresh in the past.”

That is a bit of an understatement as Monkey’s Way has only raced 20 times for his seven wins since he began his career as a five-year-old three and a half years ago.

He was off the scene for a year at one point but since the start of December, Monkey’s Way won four races at Addington from seven starts and those races were all well-spaced over five months.

He made really good progress during that time and that last start win really took him to another level.

Back on 30 metres in a 2600-metre handicap and giving 10-metre starts to BD Khaosan, Le Lievre’s Gift and McLovin, Monkey’s Way negated that with a smart getaway.

After improving three-wide over the last 1400 in a hotly-run affair, he wore down Le Lievre’s Gift by half-a-length with BD Khaosan heading the rest six lengths away.

Monkey’s Way trotted 3.16.7 that night, all of which suggests this week’s field will hold no fears for him, particularly when most of the others will also be resuming and looking to benefit from the race ahead of next week’s Ordeal Cup.

With Monkey’s Way off the unruly mark on 10 metres and with only two starters off the front, a similar sort of beginning would see Monkey’s Way bowling along in front before long for regular pilot Robbie Close.

Aarts has always preferred to space Monkey’s Way’s races but now that he is up in the classes, Aarts has invariably had few options in keeping him to suitable events.

“I could have started him off 50 at times, but that would have ruined him because he always tries so hard, so I had to wait for the right races.

“I’ll see how he goes this week and how he comes through it before deciding whether he’ll back up next week, but he looks good and is working well so I’m fairly confident he’ll do well.”

The Dutch immigrant has always been a little guarded in his assessments of Monkey’s Way as often he has had no idea what to expect.

There was certainly a lot of mystery around Monkey’s Way when he began his career – he took some sorting out and he was usually first or last for a good while.

That was hardly surprising considering Aarts bought him for a song from a neighbour as a virtually unbroken four-year-old.

“He was rather well named actually as he was always up to mischief around home and he had a good bag of tricks for the races.

“But we slowly worked our way through all those things and he’s always been a lovely horse to be around – I can recall my seven-year-old driving him around the paddock.”

Monkey’s Way is the only horse Aarts has trained to win races and now he is heading towards the lofty heights of a start in the Dominion.

He’s not exactly sure how he’s getting there yet as Aarts will simply continue to take each race and week as it comes before reassessing things.

But the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup on October 5 is definitely on the radar.

Aarts has thought about heading to Auckland after the Cup meeting, although commitments on his cattle farm are likely to keep him close to home.

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