Monbaher working back to fitness

Monbaher is set for the second run of his campaign after a long injury lay-off.

MONBAHER (red cap) winning the Banjo Paterson Final at Flemington in Australia.
MONBAHER (red cap) winning the Banjo Paterson Final at Flemington in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

Trainer Matt Cumani was looking forward to the late summer and autumn staying race of 12 months ago with Monbaher

After a win at Flemington in July 2022, Cumani elected to send Monbaher for a break with the view of campaigning the stayer through 2023. 

After three months in the paddock, Monbaher made his way back to Cumani's Ballarat stable to begin his preparation, only for the trainer ordering the gelding be turned out for another break. 

"He came back in from the paddock after having a nice long break over the winter and as soon as I saw him, he had swelling on the inside of his off-fore (leg) and had a suspensory-slash-sesamoid injury," Cumani said. 

"So, we had to give him more time which wasn't great as he had had a fantastic prep." 

Monbahar is set to have his second start this campaign in the Mal Seccull Handicap (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday having returned to racing in late December at Moonee Valley. 

Cumani said the extended break had been beneficial for Monbaher. 

"Interestingly, I think he has come back really well," Cumani said. 

"I think it did him the world of good. He's strengthened and matured, and I thought his first-up run was really good. 

"We've jumped up in distance quite quickly, and I think that will suit him, but also, I'm happy to forgive him if it proves that he needs the run. 

"I would have loved to have run him at Flemington or Sandown, but there weren't any suitable races about for him." 

Long-term Cumani would like to target the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in May with Monbaher, but first he wants to see the stayer get back into some sign of winning form. 

Cumani said there was a number staying races that could be available to Monbahar and even the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), which has been transferred from its December date to June at Caulfield, could be on the agenda. 

"We'll see how he goes on Saturday and then work out where we go from there," Cumani said.