Cup coup a family affair for jockey Chris Munce
WHEN jockey Chris Munce crossed the finish line at Corbould Park yesterday he had not only won the Caloundra Cup - he had entered his father-in-law's good books for the foreseeable future.
Beaming trainer Barry Mitchell waxed lyrical about his son-in-law after the Brisbane-based jockey guided Brayroan to an upset win in yesterday's $175,000 race.
"He's a good one," Mitchell said.
"He won't let you down."
Brayroan ($17) strode home three lengths ahead of Brave Ali ($4.8), capping off a heap of hard work in the family-operated Brisbane stable.
Mitchell, Munce and Cathy Munce toiled for months to build the seven-year-old Zabeel gelding up to the standard needed to win the 2400m Cup.
A well-beaten 10th in the Ipswich Cup (2150m) a fortnight ago looked ominous for connections, but the seven-year-old gelding was a far different animal as rain soaked Corbould Park.
Mitchell said the family connection made it one of the most rewarding wins in a career that included some of North Queensland's most prestigious prizes.
"Cathy's the strapper and hopefully next year she will be my co-trainer, but she did a great job getting him prepared," he said.
"Chris has done his part too and I've just helped them along the way. We all put it together to get the result."
Munce, who rode a perfect race to put his horse in position to win, said the hard work that went into Brayroan's preparation made the landmark win even more rewarding.
"We've worked 100% with this horse," he said.
"We've put a lot of effort in - super effort.
"It is one of the most satisfying wins because of what we've had to do, the amount of hard work that's gone into it."
Munce said anything less than a convincing win might have forced Brayroan into retirement, but the team would now be looking at next Saturday's Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm.
He believed Brayroan should have no trouble backing up after yesterday's stunning performance.
"That was probably his main goal anyway, the Queensland Cup, and this was obviously along the way," he said.
"But he's obviously got to come through this okay too.
"He's pretty fit so I can't think of any reason why he wouldn't."