Midnight Monarch is a ‘social outcast’ to the other greyhounds at Sale trainer Chris Tilley’s property.
But the racetrack is where he’s interested in winning the ‘popularity stakes’.
“He’s a bit of an outsider here, as the other greyhounds are all littermates and have grown up together,” Tilley, 73, said.
With New South Wales greyhound racing moving to a regional model and its city track Wentworth Park temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Midnight Monarch was transferred to Victoria.
He was initially targeted for the Bendigo Gold Rush Maiden series (425m) during Easter, but the series was postponed. (It has now been rescheduled for mid-June).
No longer a maiden, Midnight Monarch meets the top brass in the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson series (515m), which kicks off with three heats at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Owned by the ‘We Got The Lot’ syndicate, Midnight Monarch (Box 7) lines up in Race 7 at 8.04pm.
WATCH: Midnight Monarch (6) post a 29.77sec win at Sandown on April 30.
He will stand paw-to-paw with Australia’s No. 1 sprinter Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 6) and Group 1 Australian Cup winner Fernando’s Riot (Box 3) – at only his sixth start!
TAB’s early market has Tiggerlong Tonk a raging hot $1.70 favourite ahead of Fernando’s Riot ($3.60), with Midnight Monarch ($16.00).
However, Midnight Monarch (March 2018 Barcia Bale x Sovereign Queen) has made a considerable impression with four wins from only five starts – including a 29.77sec victory at Sandown Park.
“I would have preferred to draw inside as he couldn’t get any closer to the rail if he was painted to it,” Tilley said. “He was a bit of a ‘box rogue’ when he came down here, but his box manners have vastly improved.”
Tilley added that Midnight Monarch represented “value at a long price”. “He wouldn’t be in it (Harrison-Dawson series) if I didn’t think he was up to it.”
Midnight Monarch is a litter brother of budding NSW star Here Comes Joe who has won eight races from 13 starts.
“There wasn’t much between them, probably only a half-length, when they were trialling up the straight track at Appin,” Tilley said.
A former NSW detention centre coordinator, Tilley relocated to Victoria in retirement around 12 years ago and established ‘Okawa Park’, which is in close vicinity to the Sale greyhound racing track.
Okawa is the name of a career defining greyhound Tilley trained from the Sydney suburb of Croydon Park when he was only 19 years old.
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