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Lord Monty an unexpected bonus for breeder

Warren Robinson never expected Montine Rose would be in his possession as a broodmare when she arrived at his farm. The time she was there, however, would lead to him earning credit as the breeder of Montine Rose's son Lord Monty, an astonishing 10-1/2 length winner of the Winter Cup (Gr 3-1600m) at Riccarton last Saturday.

Robinson, then based in Horowhenua, in the early 1990s owned the multiple black type-winning mare Waihora's Lass. He leased a racing share to two others, one of whom was the mare's Foxton trainer Grant Laursen. Also in Laursen's stable was Montine Rose, who joined him after a spell with Grant Searle. She turned a few heads when she distanced a field in a race at Trentham before heading up to race in Gisborne in the early 1990s. "She won on the first day before bleeding on the second day and she was given to me to look after by her owner," Robinson remembered. "After a few months I asked if I was going to get paid to look after her and I was told 'how about you have the horse instead?'"

Robinson then sought out Levin horseman Peter McKenzie and looked to do a foal share deal with him to send the mare to McKenzie's new stallion His Royal Highness.
"I remembered him as a racehorse and he looked the type of stallion who could be a chance and not cost too much," Robinson recalled.

Montine Rose's family is not without black type. She was from the Australian-bred mare Rose Robin, whose dam All For Love was also the dam of Chipolata, winner of the West Australian Derby (Gr 1-2400m). All For Love's half-sister Gay Rosalind was the dam of Monopolize, a dual winner of the Hong Kong International Bowl (Gr 2-1400m), and another half-sister As You Like It was the dam of AJC Champagne Stakes winner I Like Diamonds (Gr 1-1600m) and the third dam of Hill Of Grace, winner of the Storm Queen Stakes in Sydney (Gr 1-2000m) and second in the NZ Derby (Gr 1-2400m).

McKenzie remembers the mare for her size and her brief race record. "She won a few races, and I particularly remember when she won a race by a long way at Trentham," he said. "She was a great big strong mare, typical of a number that came to His Royal Highness." McKenzie said he couldn't have been happier with the first foal they got. "He was a magnificent colt," McKenzie said. "He was getting prepared for the Magic Millions sale and was broken in but he died, which was a huge blow."

Montine Rose next foaled a filly by Yachtie. She then missed twice to His Royal Highness before foaling the colt who would become Lord Monty in 2000.
"He was brought up on my farm as a foal and he was a good sort," Robinson said.
Shortly afterwards Robinson handed over both Montine Rose and Lord Monty to McKenzie. The mare was sent once more to His Royal Highness, without success getting her in foal, before being sold. There are no records of her being bred after that.

For various reasons Lord Monty didn't begin racing until he was five, and even then he had a number of minor injuries. He has just turned eight but has only raced about 20 times, with his current campaign being the only one he's raced when fully injury-free.

Robinson admits he had a couple of dollars on Lord Monty in the Winter Cup. "After his runs in Queensland I thought he had a great chance in the Winter Cup, but I didn't think he'd win by as much as he did."

Robinson was later involved with Sky Mist, winner of the Highview Stakes (Gr 3-1200m) for thee-year-old fillies and subsequently the dam of Anca and Needuask after leaving him. He doesn't have any mares at the moment, preferring to concentrate on his bar, the Gladstone Inn in Wairarapa, which he bought three years ago. But he says he might get back into racing and breeding again, most likely with fillies, with which he has had more luck racing than colts.
"It's hard to afford to get in to horses so I looked for mares I could afford and send them to young unproven stallions that I think had a chance. That's why I looked at His Royal Highness for this mare. But even now that he's proven he's still good value."

- Alastair Bull


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