Quality New Zealand jumper Monarch Chimes showed his versatility at Sandown on Wednesday when winning on the flat in the Mypunter.com Handicap (2400m).
The David and Emma-Lee Browne-trained runner was using the race as a lead-up for his two Australian targets next month, the A$125,000 Crisp Steeplechase (3900m) and the $350,000 Grand National Steeplechase (4500m), and that was duly reflected in his $38.40 win price.
“It has come as a little bit of a surprise,” Emma-Lee Browne said. “Obviously he is nice and well and that is why we have come over here.
“He has run the odd cheeky flat race, but I just said make sure he gets a good hit-out up that last bit in preparation for the Crisp and he did that well.”
The Shinko King six-year-old duly obliged and showed a good turn of foot in the closing stages of the race, under the urgings of jockey Jordan Childs, to score by a head over the Liam Howley-trained Latin Beat.
“The main thing was just to get him to relax early and he did that,” Childs said. “The field really bunched up at the top of the straight and he did a really good job to lengthen out to the line and keep going.”
Monarch Chimes had just the one run in New Zealand since his Warrnambool carnival campaign, where he finished in the minor placings, and showed enough in his victory in the 3100m open hurdle at Hastings to warrant a trip back across the Tasman.
“We’re heading for the national and he won the hurdle race at home before he came here so that gave us the confidence to come again,” Browne said.
“I think he was just still a bit fresh at Warrnambool, that is why I really wanted the run today, which will help pay a few expenses along the way.
“He loves it here, I’m really proud of him.” – NZ Racing Desk.