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Emotion surrounds Monton's Apollo return
Mandy Cottell
17:01 AEST Wed Feb 20 2013

Monton's reappearance in Saturday's Group Two Apollo Stakes will be an emotional one for trainer Ron Quinton.

It comes just over a week after the sudden death of the gelding's part-owner and long-time stable supporter David Lamond.

Quinton met the bloodstock agent many years ago through a mutual acquaintance and the pair forged a strong friendship, and a successful racing partnership.

"That was soon after I started training so we'd been friends and mates and worked together with the horses buying them at sales," Quinton said.

"He will be a big loss to our stable."

Quinton will look to Monton to provide a much-needed bright spot.

The six-year-old is returning from a three-start summer campaign which included a second to Malavio in the Festival Stakes.

He is traditionally a good performer fresh and at his first run last autumn finished a slashing second to glamour mare More Joyous in the Canterbury Stakes.

He had his final serious gallop on Tuesday morning and did enough to convince Quinton he could give Saturday's Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm a shake.

"I gave him a couple of weeks off and then brought him back. He's lost nothing in fitness," Quinton said.

"I thought he worked particularly well on Tuesday morning on the course proper.

"He's capable of running a real good race, don't worry about that."

Monton was one of 13 acceptors for the Apollo in which premier trainer Chris Waller will start almost half the field.

His team is headed by the classy Shoot Out and last year's winner Danleigh.

Gai Waterhouse paid up for Glencadam Gold, who looked in great order during an exhibition gallop between races last weekend, and Laser Hawk who was cleared to start after recovering from a foot abscess.

Monton has drawn well in gate four and will be ridden by Quinton's stable apprentice Sam Clipperton.

The Apollo is the starting point in a campaign connections hope will eventuate in a Doncaster Mile berth for Monton.

Quinton is also open to stepping him up in trip.

He finished fifth in the Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2000m) on January 1, his only attempt at a distance greater than 1600m.

"I thought he ran creditable in the mile-and-a-quarter Cup with a huge weight," Quinton said.

"I wouldn't hesitate to give him another crack at another 2000 metres race at some stage."

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