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Grafton Cup Training Triumph For Chris Munce

Former jockey turned trainer Chris Munce joined racing legend Maurice McCarten in the history books when First Crush made light of a hard run to win Thursday's $160,000 Grafton Cup,

Grafton Cup Training Triumph For Chris Munce

Former jockey turned trainer Chris Munce joined racing legend Maurice McCarten in the history books when First Crush made light of a hard run to win Thursday's $160,000 Grafton Cup,

Trainer : Chris Munce
Trainer : Chris Munce Picture:(Photo by Jason O'Brien/Getty Images)

Munce won the 2350m Grafton feature twice as a jockey on Count Scenario Horseform (1999) and Storm Hill (2005).


Only Australian Racing Hall of Famer Maurice McCarten had previously won a Grafton Cup as a jockey and trainer, doing so in the saddle in 1927 on Coolgong and then 20 years later as a trainer in 1947 with Kiaree.

Runner-up in the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups, First Crush Horseform  ($4.20) beat Winkler Horseform  ($101) by a length on Thursday with favourite Reneged ($3.10) another head third.

Munce admitted it was hard watching as Mark Du Plessis Horseform   navigated a path out wide but all was well in the end.

"I was nearly going to walk back to the horse stalls," Munce said. "But Mark knew what he was doing. I didn't."

First Crush is raced by Sydney businessman Max Whitby, a long time supporter of Munce, and Jenny Moses, the wife of another former jockey-turned trainer Kevin Moses.

Whitby was a part-owner of Savabeel who Munce rode to win the 2004 Cox Plate.

"I told Max we would win the Grafton Cup and it's terrific to do it for him," Munce said.

“His wife is ill and he was unable to come, but we have been planning this a long way out and for it to come off is just great.”

First Crush had won the Grafton Cup Prelude last year but then finished unplaced in the stayer’s feature to Supply And Demand.

Du Plessis, a former Zimbabwean who has spent several years in New Zealand, has made Brisbane home for the time being.

"It was a tough run, a terrible run," he said.

"But even though he was wide he was in a beautiful rhythm and luckily he is rock-hard fit."

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