Star squaregaiter close to returning

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    MONBET - Photo HRV

    CHAMPION squaregaiter Monbet is only a fortnight away from stepping out in public.

    Last season’s New Zealand Trotter Of The Year is progressing well for Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope, who are ready to unleash their stable star for his spring racing campaign.

    Due to trial in a fortnight, Monbet’s first major target is the Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile during Labour Weekend as he works towards the Group One features during New Zealand Cup week.

    Greg stated the feeling of having Monbet close to a return was exciting.

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

    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,” Hope said.

    The stable’s other trotting star, four-year-old Enghien, is still in the paddock where he will remain 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 yesterday.

    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 2600-metre stand from a 40-metre handicap, covering 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.”

    All going to plan, Seel The Deal will contest the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on September 24, with the Methven Cup on grass in October also a key race in their build-up to the NZ Cup on November 14.

    • NZHN

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