By Glenn Davis
Chris Munce can claim a special piece of post-war Ipswich Cup history by becoming the first to claim the Listed feature as both a jockey and trainer on Saturday.
Munce started his training career four years ago after an illustrious career in the saddle which included wins in the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Golden Slipper and Caulfield Cup.
Munce won the Ipswich Cup as a jockey on the John Wallace-trained Oompala in 1994 and he now gets the chance of claiming the race as a trainer with First Crush.
The Ipswich Cup has a long history with the first running recorded in 1866.
However, early records are obscure with the race’s modern history dating from 1948 after being suspended from 1937.
Records dating back to the end of World War 11 show no jockey has won the Ipswich Cup and went on to train a winner of the race.
Munce almost pulled off the historic feat with First Crush when the gelding ran second to Victorian stayer Tradesman last year.
First Crush then went on to finish second in last year’s Listed Caloundra Cup behind Megablast before claiming the Listed Grafton Cup last July.
Munce concedes First Crush is a little down on form since his Grafton Cup triumph but is hopeful the seven-year-old can turn it around.
“He’s an older horse now and he had a long campaign last preparation,” Munce said.
“After Grafton he went to Sydney and ran in the Premier’s Cup then he ran in the Newcastle Cup.
“He’s been racing in much harder company this time in where’s he’s been up against Group 2 and Group 3 horses.
“For some reason he doesn’t race at his best at Eagle Farm and some horses are just like that.
“Look at Chief De Beers! He couldn’t win at Eagle Farm but won everything at Doomben.”
Munce offered no excuses for First Crush’s last start failure when he tailed the field behind The Candy Man in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup at Doomben last month.
“His Eagle Farm run wasn’t flattering but Matt (McGillivray) rode him the best he could,” he said.
Munce’s confidence with First Crush stems from his previous start when fifth to the Chris Waller-trained Le Juge in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben on May 11.
“He only got beaten just over one length by Le Luge and he’ll be a big show if he can repeat that in the Ipswich Cup,” he said.
Although weights have been raised 1.5kgs in the Ipswich Cup, Munce believes First Crush is well weighted on 56kgs.
The Ipswich Cup weights were raised after Victorian topweights Lite’n In My Veins (59kgs) and Mask Of Time (58.5kgs) did not accept leaving New Zealander Sampson to carry topweight with 58kgs.
Racing Queensland webnews June 12