Remaining promise, Monastery chased home a couple of last starts and held on, giving trainer David Payne confidence he can tap into winning form at the Hawkesbury on Sunday.
The son of So You Think carried the field behind his stablemate and leader Caboteur and after hitting the front near 200m he was run down by Kozluca and White Boots here at the Hawkesbury over 2000m.
He drops back to 1800m on Sunday but should have no trouble over the reduced distance.
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“He’s a young horse coming through the classes and this looks like a nice race for him,” said David Payne.
“He ran well last start and I think he should improve in that race as well.
“It’s looking a very nice race for him and I expect him to be very competitive.”
The gelding’s other two starts at this track came as a two-year-old maiden over 1400m in May and he was a close third behind Wealthy Investor when resuming here in September.
Between his two placings this campaign, Monastery finished sixth behind the next two-time Group 1 winner, Golden Mile, in the inaugural Group 2 Callander-Presnell at Rosehill on 22 October.
“I think he was out of his league there at Rosehill, but again in his fair class, he races well,” Payne said.
“He’s been to the track three times now and performed well each time.
“He’s at the right distance now and looks like a good chance to break through.”
Out of a three-quarter sister to this year’s Everest winner Giga Kick, Monastery was a $35,000 purchase at last year’s Magic Millions Yearling Sale and has already fetched just over $54,000 for connections with the promise of more to come more.
“We’ll let him go through the grades for now, but it’s what you think and they tend to get better with age, so I expect him to continue to get better as he gets older,” he said.
“I think in time he could become an urban midweek horse for sure.”
Payne will also ride Octahedron in the opening race on Sunday, while Sweet Mercy is likely to be saved for a race at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Octahedron made his debut at Kembla on November 1 with a seventh place finish, but Payne is more than competitive here.
“He’s a nice horse and a progressive horse who’s still learning the game,” he said.
“He will want more than that in time, but this race is a good stepping stone for him.
“He just needs experience and he came from the first round.
“This is not a big field on Sunday and we will drive it a bit further this time.
“He’s capable of being there at the end.”
ADAM SHERRY’S TOP PICKS
Race 8, No. 6: ARALE
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained mare raced very well last campaign ending with back-to-back wins at Hawkesbury and Kembla. Backed up with a second at Irish Kisses in Newcastle and may go one better here.
THE NEXT BEST
Race 6, no. 2: AIR BENTLEY
He debuted here with a fourth behind the talented Communist in June. Tried twice in preparation for his return, including a win in a Gosford selection with pricked ears.
Race 3, No.14: RARE BEAUTY
He was a little slow and was caught three wide, albeit with cover, when third behind Iowna Merc at Kembla on 12 November. It will give another bold view.
Race 4: 1, 2, 3, 4
Race 5: 2, 3, 7, 8
Race 6: 2, 7, 10, 14
Race 7: 2, 6, 8, 13
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
Keagan Latham has a solid book of races, including early favorites Lady Gold, Baranof and Oceans One, as well as several other odds.
Turbo Charged was good in her two starts, running well over shorter distances. She was $101 on debut and came last to finish two lengths clear of Definitely Maybe at Newcastle over 1250m. She made ten ground here from last to sixth over 1300m. The step up to 1500 m looks ideal. 1. Fudai was a nice second on Beaumont on November 22. Lady Gold is close to a win after placing two runs back from a spell. Octahedron can run in placements.
Bet: Turbo Charged to win
Zouson Boy had a hand last campaign and started his three-year-old season with an encouraging neck third to Persevere in a Grade 1 at Kembla on November 12. Ideally designed and will do the job. Baranof scored a fine win in a maiden at Kembla on the same day before finishing just over a length from West Africa at Warwick Farm two weeks later. Portnoy is coming off a spell and has run nicely recently, including a win at Rosehill on November 24. Previously, he was placed in both premier rounds. Star Mission was consistent and followed through with a smart win over 1350m at Beaumont on November 22. The way he hit the line suggests the step up to 1500m shouldn’t be a problem.
Bet: Zouson Boy will win
Rare Beauty ran seventh over 1200m at Kembla. Dropped back to 1000m and finished third to the favorite Iowna Merc after racing at Kembla on 12 November. Stays at 1000m and should get a better run here from the draw. Looks like a good chance at the odds. Moonlight Grace performed well in her first campaign with two places from three starts and she did not disappoint when fifth at Warwick Farm in between. Well drawn, but go into it without trying. Bubba’s Bay finished second behind the handy Sweet Mercy on debut over a tough track at Kembla in April. Orthie’s Girls will strip for their fourth at Gosford. Widespread withdrawal is a concern, however.
Bet: Rare beauty in every sense
Oceans One had a maiden win in good style over 1100m here on October 25, then was led and only beaten late on by a couple of horses who go well over 1300m. Drop back to 1100m and this race doesn’t look like kind of strong. Alpha Go resumed by a second in the Snake Gully Flying Handicap at Gundagai in first place. It will be better for running. Mr. Bingo won two races, both at this track and over the distance. The second of those wins came from two starts on 9 November, before a third at Walkin’talkin’ at Warwick Farm on 23 November. Selhurst Park has been consistent in his short career. He resumes from a spell here and is sure to provide a sight.
Bet: Oceans One to win
Convent made the heavy yards last time, started to send the field up to the tearaway leader and was just overhauled in the final 200 meters when third here on November 17. It was over 2000 meters and drops back down to 1800 meters. He was sixth in the Group 2 Callander-Presnell behind Golden Mile on the front start and retired with a limp. It will be hard to beat here. Wonderful John stormed home for a close second to Devil Dan at Kembla, two starts back before third at Kovalica and Green Shadows at Warwick Farm on November 23. Should appreciate the step up to 1800m. Vancouver Khan will be better for his sixth at Taree after a refresher. Peekays Legacy was sixth in that Devil Dan race and will be close to the top in third. Won over 1800m here and should be kept safe.
Bet: Monastery to win
Air Bentley was written off a fourth debut here on August 9 behind the talented Communist who went on to win again and place twice in stakes races. He recently won a Gosford trial and ready to start his campaign with a win. Not That Easy was a close third to Definitely Maybe at Newcastle, two starts back before third at Gosford last start. A victory is not far away. Piraeus is a son of Merchant Marine Richard and Will Freedman. Trying well and attracted to be prominent. Selfless Act has been good in both starts so far and needs to be kept safe.
Bet: Air Bentley to win
Arale resumed a spell a length third to Irish Kisses under 61kg after leading. He will undress more suitable for running and lose a little weight. Hard to beat from good draw. Mobstar ran home strongly from last, unpressured, in a recent trial at Gosford. He has a good recent record with a win and the third from two first-up starts. Scorched Land was 13th at Four Pillars, but his run was not bad after being crowded into the stretch. Was fourth behind Clever in Floating in a Midway at Newcastle last start The Hunter Day. Carartie was written after failing at Canterbury in August. The previous form was handy. Include in multiples.
Bet: Arale will win