Montana D J thriving ahead of Cambridge test

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

He has already won one Group One race in his short career and now smart juvenile Montana DJ is marching on to try and add a few more to his burgeoning record in the coming months.

The Gr.1 Garrards NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final and Gr.1 Harness Jewels 2YO Emerald are firmly on the radar and he will continue his preparation towards those targets in the Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes (Heat 2) Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday.

The son of Captaintreacherous won his 1609m trial at Pukekohe a fortnight ago following a freshen-up after his win in the Gr.1 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) at Alexandra Park last month.

Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan are pleased with the way he has returned and said they elected to bypass the Gr.2 Welcome Stakes at Addington last week in favour of the Sires’ Stakes heat.

“He’s come through that race well and had a good trial about 10 days ago and he is forward enough,” Phelan said.

“There wasn’t really much for them in the way of two-year-old races. There was the Welcome Stakes which wasn’t good timing for them having to travel down there and then travel back home, or stay down there for six weeks.”

Montana DJ will continue his rivalry with the Graeme Rogerson-trained Classy Operator on Thursday, who he has beaten in his last two outings.

“He is a nice enough horse, that one of Rogerson’s, but we have got a good draw (1) so we will see what happens,” Phelan said.

Phelan will be in the bike himself behind stablemate Major Perry, who has followed a near identical preparation to Montana DJ.

While he has lived in the shadow of his more fancied stablemate, Phelan said he expects his charge to perform well after drawing barrier two.

“He has finally got a good draw, so he will settle pretty handy and will go a good race,” he said.

As well as the Sires’ Stakes Final and Harness Jewels, the Listed Harness Million is also in the sights for both runners at Addington next month.

“They will head down for the Sires and Harness Millions and then head to the Jewels,” Phelan said.

“We will just try and find a suitable race in a fortnight or just give them a trial before they head to Christchurch.”

The Clevedon stable will also contest the Dunstan Horse Feeds Mobile Pace (2700m) on Thursday with Montana Storm and Montana Jet.

Montana Storm recorded their maiden victory at Cambridge Raceway last week, while Montana Jet extinguished his chances in his 2200m contest when breaking down the back straight.

“Montana Storm got a deserved win,” Phelan said. “He has gone some good races at Auckland and the drop back to Cambridge he got his win, which was good.

“Montana Jet got a couple of things wrong, but he is a nice enough horse. He is probably the better of the two chances.”

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