Munce returns to Ballina Cup, but this time he's a trainer
FORMER Group One and Melbourne Cup winning jockey Chris Munce only rode in one Ballina Cup, when fifth on the Bevan Laming-trained Desert Chill in 1994.
Despite being born in Lismore and raised in Casino that was the only time Munce rode at Ballina but he returns as a trainer tomorrow to try and win the Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) with Specific Choice, to be ridden by international jockey Robbie Fradd.
Ironically that 1994 cup was won by Celestial Boa, ridden by Ballina's Gary Kliese who will be hosting tomorrow's cup meeting Australia wide for Sky Racing Central and Racing Radio plus providing the mounting yard commentary.
This will be the seventh start Specific Choice will have had under Munce's care after Dynamic Syndications switched him from Sydney where he won three races, including one each at Rosehill and Randwick, for Chris Waller.
Those six starts for Munce have produced a second at the Sunshine Coast and a win at Ipswich before the horse was sent for a spell.
Since then he has been unplaced twice over unsuitable sprint distances.
"He is getting back to his right distance in the cup," Munce said.
"It is a race I have had in the back of my mind for a while for him but to be honest I haven't been through the field yet."
There are 14 runners in the cup with Specific Choice drawing well in barrier seven while Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester will have the two top weights in Youthful King and Collar.
Last year Sylvester ran second in the cup with Reunite and has always had it in the back of his mind to return for another tilt at the race.
David Kelly had a change of mind and will have only one runner, Cheval Du Feu (Glen Colless), after deciding overnight not to run Aldini.
Cessnock apprentice Codie McPherson will ride Youthful King while Brisbane's leading female jockey, Tegan Harrison, will ride Collar.
She is no stranger to the horse, having ridden him in two races at Doomben last year including a third in a race over 2200 metres.
Harrison finished third behind Jim Byrne in last year's premiership and is in third place this season behind Jeff Lloyd who rides Spatha for Maryann Brosnan.
Lloyd and Brosnan also team up with Perfect Punch in the Tursa Ballina Newmarket which has eight runners.
The interesting runner in the Newmarket is Manu Manu, now trained at the Gold Coast by Marcus Wilson.
His only two starts for Wilson have produced two good thirds at Doomben.
In both cases he was ridden by Paul Hammersley and he retains the ride.