Racing: Change in scenery working wonders

Monnay winning at Waikouaiti earlier this month. His win at Wyndham on Saturday takes his record with Phil Williamson to four wins in his past five starts. Photo by Matt Smith.
Monnay winning at Waikouaiti earlier this month. His win at Wyndham on Saturday takes his record with Phil Williamson to four wins in his past five starts. Photo by Matt Smith.
Monnay's form is hard to ignore, and it is becoming harder for his trainer to ignore the big races just around the corner.

The 5yr-old Monarchy gelding trotted his way to victory at Wyndham on Saturday, running the 3200m in 4.07.6, a time good enough to win the Dominion Handicap in 2007.

Monnay's patch of form - four wins in his past five starts - is not just testament to the talents of Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson, but also Wyndham owners and former trainers Megan Irvine and Ivan Gutsell, who decided to send the gelding to Williamson.

''It was their call to send him to us, and they're thrilled they made it so it's worked out great for him,'' Williamson said.

Williamson is quick to apportion plenty of credit to Irvine and Gutsell, and suggested life on a new property can often make a difference for a horse.

''He's just turned the corner for whatever reason,'' he said.

''I can't put a finger on what I've done - he was with a good trainer. You can pick up horses off good trainers and turn them around just with a change of scenery.''

Williamson's stable will benefit massively from the extra Jewels races added earlier this month, with 5yr-old trotters now having their own $100,000 race in June. Springbank Sam and Monnay give Williamson the top two spots on that category's leaderboard, and Murcielargo is not far away in fourth.

All three will likely head to the 4 and 5yr-old trotting championship at Addington in late March, and Williamson sees no reason to give Monnay a spell at this stage.

''We'll probably just carry on racing, because when you're in such good form, I don't see much to be gained by putting him out,'' he said.

''He seems to want to be there. And when it comes to the business end, he wants to put his hand up.''

Galleons Triumph had his mind on the job in the lower-class trot, giving Alan Mason an owners' quinella. The Kakanui retiree has a share in the ownership of Galleons Triumph, while he also races Nickelson - who finished second - out of Nathan Williamson's Ryal Bush property.

Galleons Triumph unwound nicely to zip past Nickelson in the closing stages on Saturday, winning by three lengths. Williamson said the inconsistent form-line was not all of Galleons Triumph's making.

''He jumped a bare patch at Waikouaiti, so it wasn't really his fault, but he's been looking like a maiden winner ready to go for a while.''

Matthew Williamson drove both Monnay and Galleons Triumph to victory, and also picked up wins behind Supersub and Royal Impression to go into the Australian young drivers championship, starting in the New South Wales town of Goulburn today, in great form.