King of the Cup

09 November 2010 | Chris Barsby
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Cups King; New Zealand champion Monkey King goes back-to-back

Cups King; New Zealand champion Monkey King goes back-to-back

The people’s champion Monkey King claimed a stunning victory in the Gr.1 $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup today at Addington.

In a dramatic race, Monkey King stormed to the line to record back to back victories in the country’s biggest event downing Australian raider Smoken Up by l ½ lengths whilst Sleepy Tripp was a further neck away third in a time of 4.00.7 for the 3200m stand start feature.
Monkey King made a brilliant beginning today, surprising many whilst Smoken Up only stepped away fairly losing his early advantage on the defending champion.
With Smoken Up surging to the lead after his moderate beginning, Monkey King was forced to call on all of his strengths when forced to race outside Smoken Up for the final 1000m of the event after being heavily contacted by Sleepy Tripp on the way.
The parochial crowd stood as one when they turned for home, Monkey King responded and charged past Smoken Up whilst Sleepy Tripp finished well to grab third from Power Of Tara.
Race favourite Stunin Cullen faded to finish seventh after also beginning in an uncharacteristic manner before trailing Smoken Up for the majority of the event.
It was May’s fifth win in the New Zealand Cup, he is now only one win away from equalling the record of the late Cecil Devine who claimed a hat-trick of Cup victories on False Step.
May’s other Cup victors include Inky Lord, Iraklis, Mainland Banner whilst going back to back with Monkey King.
And the outstanding reinsman was quick to deflect the praise to the rest of the team behind Monkey King headed up by his trainer Brendon ‘Benny’ Hill.
“Benny and I never lost faith in this great little horse, we were more than happy with his Cup trial last week and he delivered on the most important day, it was a great win,” May stated.
“He felt great in the warm-up and that gave me a lot of confidence, after he stepped so well I knew we would be hard to beat but once we straightened and I fought off Smoken Up, I was worried when Stunin Cullen would come at us but he just lifted with big crowd cheering him home.” May added.
Trainer Hill said he felt different emotions watching his pride and joy cross the line to claim back-to-back victories in the time-honoured event.
“In a way, the pressure wasn’t the same as last year and I was more relaxed, and after making a flyer at the start I felt confident he would be in the mix,” Hill said.
“This is special stuff, what a wonderful horse and what a wonderful driver.” Hill added.
Hill not only prepared the winner but he also trained the fourth placegetter in Power Of Tara whom both Robert Famularo’s Cavalla Bloodstock races.
Famularo was seeking New South Wales Harness Racing officials at the presentation ceremony.
“That should see us gain an invitation to the Miracle Mile again.” Famularo beamed.
Monkey King won last year’s Miracle Mile at Menangle in Sydney in Australasian record time of 1.50.8.
Soon after the euphoria settled, connections were officially invited to contest the 2010 Miracle Mile on November 27 at Menangle.
The win of Monkey King was his 37th from 76 starts whilst his prizemoney is now exceeding $3.3 million.
Monkey King will back-up in Friday’s Gr.1 $200,000 Woodlands NZ FFA at Addington, another race that he also claimed last year.