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Monday, 17 December, 2018

More joy for McDonald as Montaly defeats Dartmouth in a thriller

High-profile success: Montaly (left) stays on strongly under PJ McDonald to beat Dartmouth in a thriller for the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at the Ebor meeting
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Andrew Balding's Montaly, who won the fiercely competitive Chester Cup in May, claimed the Queen's representative Dartmouth in the final stride to secure the Lonsdale Cup by a nose under PJ McDonald. 

Veteran High Jinx led the field early on, with fancied runners Dartmouth and Thomas Hobson racing prominently. Dal Harraild and St Michel raced further back with 16-1 shot Montaly, who was outpaced early, at the rear of the field.

The complexion of the race changed dramatically in the straight as High Jinx gave way and Thomas Hobson failed to put the race to bed when asked, with Dartmouth, who won the Yorkshire Cup by a neck in May and was sent off the 11-4 favourite, gliding through to take control.

It was Sir Mark Prescott’s Melbourne Cup-bound St Michel, who caught the eye, as he made menacing progress from the rear, but Montaly responded more generously for pressure to get up on the line, despite being carried right by Dartmouth in the closing stages.

Montaly (near side) powers home to overhaul Dartmouth in the Lonsdale Cup

'Riding for everything'

Ex-jump jockey McDonald, who has enjoyed a stellar season, with his Molecomb Stakes success on Havana Grey being one of the highlights, said: "I was getting carried off a true line in the final stages, but I had my head down and I was riding for everything."

Anna Lisa Balding, representing her husband Andrew, said: "The race was run to suit him perfectly, they went a nice gallop.

"PJ had never sat on him before but he knew he had plenty in the tank all the way to the line, but I didn't think he'd won.

"It's the trainer's decision where he runs next, I just have to get him home in one piece and we'll go from there."

The winner is now 12-1 (from 33-1) for the Long Distance Cup on Qipco British Champions Day in October.

McDonald's day got even better as he completed a double aboard Mark Johnston's Dream Today in the 7f maiden.


Lonsdale Cup results and analysis

I had my head down and I was riding for everything
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