COVID-19 has wrecked Kempsey trainer Rocky Simonetta's hopes of trying to win a $100,000 Highway race in Sydney with promising mare Monte Di Rose due to lockdown.
The four-year-old mare has distinguished herself with an unlucky second at Taree and wins at Kempsey and at Port Macquarie last Friday in only four starts for him.
The half-sister to recent Casino Cup winner Prima Stella was with trainer Greg Hickman at Warwick Farm but after pulling up lame after a race at Nowra she was sent for a lengthy spell.
The Sydney owner-breeder decided the mare may be better served by a country environment and with Simonetta who has had good success with his gallopers over the years.
"She had three months spelling and then took another three months to train her up, her first start being at Taree for a second," Simonetta said.
"After winning at Kempsey she had a start at Grafton and was badly help up in the run at a vital stage and was most unlucky.
"At Port Macquarie on Friday I told Jon (jockey Jon Grisedale) as I legged him up that she was the best horse in the race and to ride her appropriately."
The mare ($4.60) won by nearly two lengths and landed some nice bets after coming from the outside barrier.
"She is a nice mare...only lightly framed and needs to develop more mentally and physically," Simonetta added.
"She is learning all the time, has a good engine and will probably have a spell after her next start."
With the Highway ruled out, Simonetta is looking for a suitable race for her next start, probably at Grafton in a Class 2 race.
Meanwhile, he is preparing Prima Stella for the $34,000 Hopkins Livermore Cup over 1400m at Manning Valley Race Club's eight-race TAB meeting at Taree on Friday, August 27.
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