Chris Munce is yet to really announce himself during the Brisbane Winter Carnival as the local jockey struggles to pick up as many top shelf rides as he’s used to.
He’s a man that certainly knows how to shine in Queensland’s biggest races and this Saturday is his last chance to leave a mark in 2011.
Stradbroke Day is the biggest day of the carnival and Munce looks set to turn it on with a book full of winning chances this weekend.
It starts from the very first event with Belle D’Amour is the Ambassador Travel Stakes.
She’s a very interesting filly and one with a heap of potential after she ran second to Pane In The Glass on debut at Eagle Farm.
After a spell she ran another second at Eagle Farm before then running third in Ipswich.
Last start was up in grade in the Champagne Classic where she could only manage sixth but dropping down here she’s a real chance for Munce to open his day on a winner.
In race two he’ll start in the Lightning Handicap on the five year old gelding Carry The Clubs.
This horse was sensational two starts back when first up from a spell he won at Doomben.
Unfortunately when stepping up in grade in the Chief De Beers he really struggled and finished a long way off the winner.
If trainer Darren Bell can recapture his first up form though he’ll be one to beat as he goes back in grade this weekend.
The third ride for Munce is one of his harder assignments as he attempts to get El Chico over the line in the Strawberry Road Handicap.
His first run at Doomben was ok when sixth to Woorim in the BRC Sprint.
Connections were looking for him to step up form that in the Spear Chief Handicap but unfortunately he struggled and languished in 9th place.
The seven day turn around could go either way but if Munce works hard he’s not without hope.
Race four is a Brisbane Cup and Tullamore gives Munce one of his best hopes for the day.
It’s the first appearance from the Waterhouse stable during the carnival and he comes in off a second in the Winter Cup last week.
It’s an incredible consistent horse and since moving to Australia he’s had 10 starts an never finished lower than fourth.
The two-year-olds are back in action in race five and Munce will take Double Impact into the TJ Smith.
This is another big ask and probably only a place hope as he comes up against Hot Snitzel and Beffica.
Double Impact was running consistently this prep with a second , third and fourth from his first three races.
Last start in the Sires Produce Stakes he struggled with the grade though and finished ninth, a long way off the winner Hot Snitzel.
In race six Munce has a massive mountain to claim but if there’s a horse with the courage to do it it’s Mr Light Blue.
He was a late nomination for the Queensland Derby after putting in the gutsiest of runs to come home second in the Grand Prix Stakes.
In that run he was three wide most of the trip before working to the lead and surprising everyone as he held on for most of the straight.
He’ll need a similar performance in the Derby after drawing the widest barrier, meaning he’ll almost certainly work to the lead again.
In the main event Stradbroke Handicap Munce has one of the favourites with the perennial bridesmaid Love Conquers All.
He’s finished second in his last four runs and last start in the Doomben 10,000 he came so close to claiming that elusive Group 1 win.
He went down to Beaded there but the fight he showed along with the extra distance and handicap conditions are expected to make him very hard to beat.
The final race of the day is the Queensland Guineas and Benny’s Buttons will finish off what Munce hopes to be a highly successful card.
The horse looked no chance in May when running 11th in the Gold Coast Guineas but in his next two runs he’s improved considerably.
He was 7th in the Fred Best Classic and last week he came home third in the Daybreak Lover.
The Group 2 field is very strong but if he can continue to improve Munce will have him going very close.
Overall Munce looks like a great pick on Stradbroke Day with a ride in all eight events and in reality six of them appear as genuine winning hopes.
He probably won’t have another card like this all year so there’s plenty of pressure on the Queenslander to impress on his home track this Saturday.