Lonsdale report: Montaly edges out Dartmouth in York thriller

Fri 25 Aug 2017

Watch the closing stages of the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes won by outsider Montaly at York on Friday

Chester Cup winner Montaly just edged out Dartmouth in a thrilling finish to the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes. Andrew Balding's charge has had just one run since his handicap victory back in May, but he proved more than game for the challenge in the hands of PJ McDonald in this two-mile affair.

High Jinx set out to make it a real test, but he was tackled two furlongs from home by smooth-travelling Royal Ascot winner Thomas Hobson, although there were plenty sitting in behind waiting to challenge.

The Queen's Dartmouth soon made his bid for glory on his first attempt at the trip under Ryan Moore, while St Michel could be noted moving with menace from the rear.

However, it was Montaly who produced a telling burst latest of all nearest the stands to claim the prize by just a nose in a photo.

Lonsdale Cup photo finish - Montaly

St Michel was a further half a length back in third.

McDonald said: "I was just getting carried off away (right) in the last 100 yards, but I just put my head down.

"He was really tough, though. It's great to be getting opportunities like this."

He added: "I was taken off my feet early in the race. Coming out of the bend, the horse came good. I didn't think I was going to win, but I knew he was going to run a big race three out. "Across the line I didn't know I'd won. I thought I was second. It was a surprise when the lads said I'd got it.

"I'd been lucky enough to get a few spare rides for Mr Balding here at York so it's nice to pay him back."

Balding was absent, as he was when Montaly won the Chester Cup.

His wife, Anna Lisa, said: "The race was run to suit him. They went a nice gallop. PJ had never sat on before and said he knew he had plenty in the tank all the way to the line.

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"As for plans, we'll see how he is tomorrow and leave it to the trainer."

Paddy Power slashed Montaly's odds to 12-1 from 33-1 for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October.

The Queen's racing adviser John Warren said of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth: "The Queen will be very proud of his effort, I don't know if she's ever owned a horse who tries so hard. "He lost nothing in defeat. Whereas he was helped by the width of the track when he won the Yorkshire Cup, I think it worked against him today. If he'd seen the other horse he might have been able to battle back.

"Sir Michael has done a tremendous job with him since Ascot and when this race came up with such good prize money we felt we had to go for it. We had also been looking at the Irish St Leger, but that may just come too soon now (September 10).

"We learned he stays two miles, but it's not set in stone he'll be campaigned as a Cup horse, all races from a mile and a half to two miles are options now."

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