A phone call sent Moe trainer Allison Bennett on a terrific journey with Monmouth that could bring a surprise win in the Sandown Cup.
Allison Bennett might be doing something else by now had she not received a phone call to watch a race in Tasmania on television.
Bennett was about to give away racing after a rough trot left her at the end of her tether with the game but a call from owner Edwin Batt changed her mind.
“I was ready to give it away and Edwin just rang me up one day and said, ‘have a look at this little horse go around in Tassie and let me know if you think you can win a (benchmark 58) with him,” Bennett said.
“I had a look and said ‘yeah, send him over’.”
That horse, Monmouth, has thrived since moving to Bennett’s stable at Moe.
Batt only wanted to win a Benchmark 58 with Monmouth, but the gelding has done much more than that, winning four races and running second another eight times.
Monmouth has taken his earnings to more than $200,000 in 18 months in Victoria.
The son of Pendragon could provide Bennett with her first stakes win since sprinter King Hoaks won the Group 3 Standish Handicap in 2009 when he has another crack at the Listed Sandown Cup at Caulfield.
But more importantly for Bennett, Monmouth has maintained the trainer’s interest in racing.
“This little horse is a delight to have and he’s probably the main reason I’m still doing it,” Bennett said.
“He’s an absolute dream to deal with. He runs his best every time you take him to the races, and you never come home disappointed.
“He’s kept me interested I suppose.”
Bennett’s time with Monmouth hasn’t been without stresses.
The stayer missed 10 months after sustaining a tendon injury while spelling after his solid sixth in last year’s Sandown Cup.
But the seven-year-old has steadily worked back to full fitness this time in, completing his Sandown Cup preparation with a third in heavy ground at Cranbourne on November 13.
While Bennett has Monmouth is great shape for the Sandown Cup, the trainer has one concern in the race.
“It doesn’t appear as strong this year but there’s just no pace in it at all,” Bennett said.
“I think they’re all going to be looking at us to be the pace.
“I don’t like being the bunny in these races because everyone is eyeing you up the whole time and (apprentice) Teo (Nugent) needs to have eyes in the back of his head.”
Whether Monmouth scores a surprise win or is honourably defeated, Bennett has done her job with the stayer.
“I love having him around and it would be nice if he can win on Saturday,” Bennett said.
“Anyway, he’s won a lot more than a 58.”
Originally published as Moe trainer Allison Bennett giving honest stayer Monmouth another crack at the Sandown Cup