Monbet, unarguably New Zealand's best trotter. Photo: Race Images.
New Zealand trotting's forgotten star, Monbet, is just days off starting his racing comeback.
The phenomenally talented, but injury-stricken star is around three weeks off returning to work and in great order after being out of training since November.
In fact, the Greg and Nina Hope-trained seven-year-old is doing too well.
''He is due to come in in about three weeks’ time,'' Greg Hope said.
"He has just had the last lot of stem-cells in his knee and we have just put him up on some rolling hill country just to get his bodyweight down a bit to drop it so that when he comes in to training he is not too heavy."
"He has done phenomenally well while he has been out and we are really happy with him; he is galloping around.''
Monbet has not been sighted at the races since winning the Dominion during New Zealand Cup week, 2016.
He was sidelined after needing surgery to remove bone chips from his near-side knee.
The trotting star was set to make his comeback before last year's New Zealand Cup meeting but burst a blood vessel in his offside knee.
Though it was not considered a devastating injury, the Hopes took no risks with their star and immediately ended his season.
The trainers then took the opportunity to have stem cell therapy to further improve his previously troublesome near-side on Monbet's troublesome knee.
The treatment has been a major success and vets are extremely happy with the knee, Hope said.
Though Monbet's comeback campaign will be managed carefully, it has not stopped the Hopes thinking big with their trotting freak.
Their plans should serve as a massive boost for big-race organisers and for the weakened Australasian trotting ranks.
Monbet's initial new-season target will be the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and he will start to get really serious from there.
"The main aim is to have him ready for Ashburton and then the New Zealand Cup meeting and we would like to take him to the Inter Dominions if we could,'' Hope said.