Racing: Monet's Garden makes perfect impression in the Carlisle mud

After Monet's Garden, one of last season's crack novice chasers, made a gratifyingly satisfactory start to his senior career, his rider Tony Dobbin paid him the considerable compliment of comparing him with the best horse ever to emerge from his stable. Not as good as the paragon, you understand, but at least mentioned in the same sentence. "He's the same colour, sure," said the rider, "but it's more than that. It's the way he jumps and the way he travels. He's got a long way to go to be One Man, but we can dream. And he'd be the closest we've had."

Should Monet's Garden prove the equal of the great Gordon Richards-trained grey who won two King George VI Chases and a Queen Mother Champion Chase, he will be some tool, among the all-time top 20 chasers. Yesterday's victory at Carlisle was merely the first step on the road, but one brimful of excitement.

The severely undulating Cumbria track is no mug's test when the ground is as heavy as it was yesterday. That, plus the presence of very good French raider Mid Dancer, a proven mudlark, ensured that the race was no sinecure for Monet's Garden. Punters, however, decided that a walkover, not a match, was the order of the day, backing their favourite to 4-11.

The two and a half mile race proved full of interest. Dobbin, willingly aided by Monet's Garden, grabbed it by the scruff from the off; the set of the jockey's shoulders and the thrust of the horse's powerful grey quarters at the first of the 13 obstacles set the tone. It was a tale of two sitters, in a way; no-one could possibly have ridden as short over fences at Carlisle before as did Christophe Pieux, but his quiet style, poised over Mid Dancer's withers, clearly suits the horse, who flowed fast and economically over the birch, French-fashion.

Up front, Dobbin attacked, getting some spectacular leaps from Monet's Garden as he fired him at his fences. Jumping is the eight-year-old's long suit; he is extravagant but athletic, sure-footed and accurate. Mid Dancer crept stealthily closer through the last mile and was almost on terms two out, but Monet's Garden maintained his metronome gallop up the draining climb to the post and had two and a half lengths to spare at the line.

Given that Mid Dancer - unbeaten in 12 races at home - kept him honest and that he hated the boggy ground, it was a pleasing return to action. "Our fella has done really well to win," confirmed Dobbin. "He is such a good mover and jumper and so quick that he'll be much better on better ground. And that French horse loves this ground and is really talented, make no mistake.

"Ours was still a little burly and a bit keen in front, just wanted to get on with it, so he'll improve a heap. It's all systems go now."

Though second in last year's Arkle Trophy, Monet's Garden was a high-class staying hurdler and three miles round Kempton in the King George VI Chase looks right up his street. He is now vying for favouritism, with Kauto Star, to make it another white Christmas for Greystoke in what is likely to be his next outing.

Trainer Nicky Richards kept up another family tradition, that of understated pleasure. "That wasn't too bad," he said. "He looked as big as a house before the race and blew up during it and we didn't need that other horse being here, but we had to get going. He wants proper good ground, he's a different horse on it. But he can jump all right, he's got springs in his legs."

The European Flat season is still kicking - just - and yesterday Mount Nelson gave Ballydoyle its 14th Group One of the year in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud. The son of Rock Of Gibraltar, ridden by Seamus Heffernan, stepped up from success in a Curragh maiden last week to better France's best juvenile Spirit One by a head.

The mile race has a short but distinguished history, with Bago, Dalakhani and Act One three of its six previous winners and Mount Nelson has been duly introduced into Derby lists. The colt is a first top-level strike for his sire, also responsible for yesterday's third Yellowstone, but, ironically, the young stallion recently received something of a no-confidence vote from Coolmore, as he will stand in Japan next year.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Bonnet's Pieces (Warwick 2.20)

NB: Saddlers Cloth (Plumpton 2.10)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea