Tough Monarch ready to bounce back
By Jonny Turner
Australian trotter Tough Monarch is ready to revive his Interdominion campaign on Tuesday after producing a shock defeat on night one of the championship.
Trainer Ricki Alchin admitted he was left scratching his head after his Sydney squaregaiter dropped out to finish more than ten lengths behind Winterfell at Alexandra Park last Friday.
Tough Monarch has since passed all veterinary and training tests with flying colours.
That has left Alchin thinking his TLC has worked in reverse for with his 8yr-old.
“We couldn’t find too much wrong with him apart from I might have been a bit easy on him.”
“He had a really good blow and he blew up over the back on Friday.”
“The plan was always to go in to the series a little bit underdone, but he might have got away from me a bit.”
Alchin was on a hiding to nothing ahead of the Interdominions after Tough Monarch felt the effects of his two huge efforts during the New Zealand Cup Carnival.
“He lightened off a bit down in Christchurch after those two runs.”
“So, I tried to pick him up a bit and I might have been a bit soft on him, I think.”
Alchin can not fault Tough Monarch following his below par performance.
“He seems well, he is eating well and he is as bright as a button,” the trainer said.
“I can’t find anything wrong with him at all, I will be expecting an improved performance on Tuesday.”
There is one factor in the back of the trainer’s mind that could have provided another explanation as to why Tough Monarch was below his best last week.
The Monarchy squaregaiter has spent his whole New Zealand campaign alongside fellow Australian McLovin, who has been withdrawn from the series after contracting a virus.
Tough Monarch has shown no signs that he is suffering from the same symptoms as the Victorian.
“They have been side by side those two horses,” Alchin said.
“That is in the back of my mind, but my horse seems bright.”
“There doesn’t seem to be anything going on, unless he goes bad on Tuesday night, that might say there is something going on.”
Tough Monarch is drawn to get a perfect run in the trail behind the likely leader and favourite, Marcoola, from his barrier 1 on the second row draw.
Though Marcoola was crossed from barrier 1 last week, it looks highly unlikely driver Sheree Tomlinson would allow the same to happen again on Tuesday.
That should give Tough Monarch the opportunity for a confidence to boost his confidence by hitting the line strongly off a soft run in the trail.
“That is what we are looking for – it is the perfect draw to get a soft run,” Alchin said.
“We are coming off the back of a below par performance, we have got the perfect draw to let him run home.”
Tough Monarch has been rated at $11 win odds and a $1.65 place price in fixed odds betting this week.
Marcoola has been a $1.55 win price ahead of second favourite, Temporale.
Temporale, who was fourth behind Winterfell, was able to cross the favourite in their meeting on Friday and is set to test him for the lead again.