Monegal was a surprise winner at last November's The Gong day, but Theresa Bateup is keen to prove her chestnut mare's win was no fluke when she runs at Rosehill on Saturday.
Bateup had "flown under the radar" leading into Kembla Grange's biggest meeting, spending months quietly preparing Monegal. Her approach paid off in style, with Brock Ryan swooping late to win the Benchmark 78 over 1400 metres.
Since, the five-year-old has managed a fifth and eighth placing at Randwick and Gosford respectively, but Kembla's Bateup predicts Monegal to put in a strong run in Saturday's TAB Handicap (over 1500m).
"She's super in herself, she looks fantastic," Bateup said.
"We always knew Gosford wasn't going to be the ideal track, plus we struck a heavy track, but her run was full of merit. She was caught wide from a wide barrier but she was doing her best work late, so she will be much better suited getting back to Rosehill. She races well there.
"It's going to be a drop back in grade, but obviously up in the weights with [jockey] Chris Williams, she comes in quite nicely. She's drawn the outside barrier, which doesn't worry me too much. Hopefully if she can find a midfield spot and get a crack at them in the straight ... she should finish off hard.
"She's one of those mares, she's got her fair share of ability but she's got a big heart to go with it and I don't think she's ever run us a bad race. You know that she's going to be out there and give it 110 per cent - you can't ask for more than that. Some days, races are going to be run to suit and things fall into place and other days they're not, but she's always trying."
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Back on home turf at Kembla Grange on Saturday, Bateup is also confident her gelding River Charge will be hard to beat in race five, a Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m).
The four-year-old has shown great recent form, saluting at Goulburn and Sapphire Coast last month.
"He's always been a horse whose shown a lot of ability. He's an immature horse, but he's going to benefit from another break to strengthen up," Bateup said. "He's still learning his race craft, he's still a bit timid going in between horses and taking gaps. Even in those races where he has found himself at the front, he starts switching off but when something comes at him, he digs in.
"I was impressed with his run at Sapphire Coast, he squeezed through a narrow gap up the fence and I liked the way he accelerated away once he got through the gap. So he has taken improvement from every run this prep. Once he strengthens up, he's going to be a horse that we have a lot of fun with.
"But I'm sure he will run a very competitive race [at Kembla on Saturday]."