Monkey King: 2009/10 Barastoc Grand Circuit Champion
The victory of Monkey King in tonight's Gr. 1 $500,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup underlined his entire season.
Clearly, Monkey King was 'Mr Consistency'.
Heading into tonight's final leg of the Barastoc Grand Circuit, Monkey King was looking untouchable after his dream season which netted him victories in the New Zealand Cup, Show Day FFA and Miracle Mile plus boasting a fine second placing in last week's Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final whilst he was an unlucky fourth in the Victoria Cup from a horror draw.
Victory in the Auckland Cup was far from a given even allowing for his good draw with the depth of this year's Cup field being extraordinary.
It was a race stacked with heavy hitters and big race regulars.
Tipping against Monkey King was a decision only for the brave.
Luck was on the side of the Brendon Hill trained megastar even before the event officially got underway with Ohoka Dallas who drew ideally in gate two sent to the outside of the front line after causing a false start.
That indiscretion made life much easier for Monkey King and his regular driver Ricky May who crossed easily to lead before taking cover on what proved to be the perfect foil in the Davey Butt driven Bondy.
Once in front, Bondy dictated a leisurely tempo before Baileys Dream moved up on his outside with 1400m remaining.
Race favourite Monkey King remained perfectly positioned behind the leader whilst Changeover was beautifully driven to occupy the one out - one back trail.
Approaching the final turn, Baileys Dream drew level with Bondy who struggled to handle the bend at speed at his first attempt of the right handed way of going.
It mattered little though as Monkey King darted back to the sprint lane and quickly claimed his stablemate Baileys Dream and the weakening Bondy, victory looked guaranteed with 100m left to run.
Except there was one last threat.
Boom 4yo Tintin In America in the hands of 18yo reinsman Zac Butcher charged through on the inside of Monkey King with 50m to go.
To make matters worse, Monkey King wrenched his head sideways in the shadows of the post which almost cost him victory.
At the finish, Monkey King had a half neck to spare over Tintin In America with a further neck back to Baileys Dream in third placing.
"He's a great horse, he was out on his feet halfway up the stretch but like the great ones do - he just kept fighting" winning driver Ricky May stated.
"This season has been amazing, he has always delivered and Benny (Hill - trainer) must be commended on his performance too" May added.
The 2700m was covered in mile rate of 1.59.8 with the last half covered in 56.4 seconds.
Hill along with owner Robert Famularo intend on spelling Monkey King now before embarking on another Grand Circuit season later this year.
So, with four Grand Circuit victories to his credit this season, Monkey King was a runaway winner on the Barastoc leaderboard with a total of 22 points, 10 clear of his nearest rival Bettors Strike.
Monkey King - a deserved champion of the 2009/10 Barastoc Grand Circuit.
Again, congratulations to owner Robert Famularo and his Cavalla Bloodstock Company, trainer Brendon Hill, driver Ricky May and all of the team behind the horse affectionately known as 'Sam'.