King Montrose defies the odds
King Montrose's big win was supposed to come last Saturday in the Pegasus Stakes.
But the Neil Ridley-trained sprinter defied the form guides to claim a stunning victory in yesterday's $100,000 Group III feature Stewards Stakes at Riccarton.
King Montrose ran a bold third behind Princess Katie and Final Touch on Saturday so the form wasn't as bad as it initially may have looked.
It wasn't enough to get most punters interested though and, with a plethora of North Island stars, the humble Canterbury runner was allowed to drift to a $16 quote.
Nor would they have gained any confidence from the quietly spoken Ridley.
"I didn't think he would be good enough to win a Stewards to be honest," Ridley said. "But the rain, the draw and having a bit of speed on helped."
Exceptionally handled by Hayden Tinsley, the King's Chapel 6-year-old scooted to a 1 -length win.
It did look momentarily as though fellow outsider Vincent Mangano was going to storm home down the centre of the track but Tinsley got a little extra out of his charge to claim victory.
King Montrose is owned by Ridley and long-serving Canterbury industry participant Bill Rutherford - a combination which holds its fair share of history in the makeup of the region's racing landscape.
If there was one horse racing at Riccarton this week deserving of a black type (group or listed) victory, Final Touch was it.
The dour, yet brilliant, John and Karen Parsons-trained mare claimed the $55,000 Canterbury Breeders' Stakes yesterday.
Following up from a very impressive second to Princess Katie over the unsuited 1000 metres on the opening day of the Cup Week carnival, Final Touch nailed a three-quarters of a length victory over pacemaker Kekova.
Hoop Chris Johnson pulled all the right reins on the 5-year-old daughter of Kashani and was required to angle his charge into the clear halfway down the straight before she did the rest.
"An inch-perfect ride," John Parsons said of Johnson's effort.
"He had her exactly where she needed to be."
The win took her bankroll to more than $230,000 with 13 wins and five minor placings from 33 career starts.