MELBOURNE’s famously fickle weather has presented novice jumper Montgomery with the chance to pick up a feature race at only his second start over the obstacles.
Currently he is rated as one of the early favourites to win the Australian Hurdle at Sandown on August 28, a race that should already have been run and won.
Montgomery was still running around in flat races when the Australian Hurdle was scheduled to be contested at Sandown on June 1, but after a true Melbourne downpour that meeting was washed out.
Unable to squeeze it in between the other jump races programmed for the season, the race was put back to the end of the jumps season.
In the meantime Montgomery, who had been struggling on the flat, won a jump’s trial at Traralgon by 15 lengths and a fortnight ago he won his hurdle debut by seven lengths at Sandown.
Robert Smerdon who trains Westsouthwest who ran second in that Sandown race is doubtful his horse can turn the tables on Montgomery.
“We’re hoping Montgomery’s rating has jumped up significantly so that they will be a lot closer in weights,” Smerdon said.
“Our bloke made a jumping error at the top of the hill that cost him but I don’t see that there’s enough there to say we’ll beat him.
“If we jump cleanly it might bring us closer to him.”
Smerdon may have a team of contenders for the race with champion jumper Black And Bent and 2012 Grand National winner Brungle Cry possible contenders.