Jockey wants to add the Ramornie to his resume
By MANDY COTTELL AAP
SYDNEY. ? Chris Munce has won some of the biggest races on the Australian calendar but he will be chasing his first Ramornie Handicap when he reunites with exciting sprinter Mastermind in the Grafton feature today.
Munce, whose major wins include the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel, last year's Cox Plate on Savabeel and a couple of Golden Slippers, has had limited opportunities to snare Grafton's 1200 metre Listed sprint and said he had only made the trip a handful of times.
"I've only had three or four rides in the Ramornie," Munce said.
"My best result was a third on Loud Speaker a few years ago."
Munce gets his best chance yet to better his scorecard today on the Bruce McLachlan-trained Mastermind, who is early favourite in pre-post markets.
The three-year-old has put together an impressive strike rate winning six of his seven starts and finishing runner-up at his only other appearance.
Darren Beadman has been aboard for his last two wins at Gosford and Rosehill, but Munce is looking forward to renewing an old partnership.
"I rode him when he ran second to Captain Bax last preparation and then won on him a start later," Munce said.
"He's a nice horse and he's got a bit of depth about him.
"It's his toughest test tomorrow but on potential you'd have to say he was a good hope."
Mastermind has drawn awkwardly in barrier 12 but will jump from gate 10 if the emergencies don't gain a start.
Group One winner Takeover Target won the Ramornie last year despite enduring a wide run and Munce believes Mastermind also has enough tactical speed to overcome his draw.
"He will make his own luck up on the speed somewhere and he'll give himself a chance to win," Munce said.
His toughest opposition could come from another three-year-old, the Stuart Phegan-trained Rich Megadale, who tuned up with a powerful three-length victory over older mares at Randwick on June 25.
Rich Megadale campaigned well without registering a win in Queensland during the winter carnival, but Phegan brought her home to Tuncurry when she contracted a slight virus after being unplaced in the Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
"Running her in the Doomben 10,000 was a good learning experience but I think 1200 metres is the perfect distance for her," Phegan said.
"The Ramornie is the best of the bush and if we can roll that one it would be sensational."