Melbourne Cup winning hoop, the Queensland-trained Chris Munce, will get the chance to add more elite level success to his commanding record during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival having been booked to ride in-form four-year-old Love Conquers All.
Family training team Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes have contracted Munce to maintain his recent association with the son of Mossman who is nominated for two Group 1 showdowns in Queensland this season.
Munce first partnered with Love Conquers All in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day, coming within a nose of victory when just defeated in the final stride by Rangirangdoo.
Love Conquers All was also ridden by Munce last-start in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 16, the ride producing another second place finish this time behind Sacred Choice.
To date Love Conquers All has won six of their 16 starts, their highest-level victory and most recent being in the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) during August last year.
The galloper’s first Group 1 assignment in the sunshine state is set to be a tough one, Love Conquers All likely to face off against the world’s best sprinter Black Caviar in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28.
Connections also have him nominated for the premier sprint on the Queensland racing calendar, the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next month.
Having shown good form over comparative distances to the Doomben 10,000, Love Conquers All is well liked in the early markets rated a $16 chance and is even shorter for the Stradbroke sitting on the fourth line of betting at $12.
Although leading the Brisbane jockey’s premiership, Munce has not enjoyed success at Group 1 level in Brisbane for quite a while.
To date Munce has ridden just one Doomben 10,000 winner, aboard for WA sprinter Barrosa Boy’s win back in 1992.
Next month will give him a shot at a Stradbroke Handicap triple, Munce already having won the feature with Dane Ripper in 1997 and more recently Landsighting in 2000.
The Hawkes training team are also looking for just their second Doomben 10,000 win after success with Accomplice in 1997.
It’s also been a long time between Stradbroke drinks for the training team, who prepared the 2001 Stradbroke Handicap quinella with Crawl and Hire when Michael Hawkes was the Brisbane foreman.
Michael has reported that Love Conquers All is in good fitness following his Doncaster Mile second.
“He came through the Doncaster well and has had a freshen up,” he said.
“He’ll have a barrier trial at Rosehill next Tuesday and depending how he goes he’ll probably head up to Queensland late next week.
“He was a bit stiff in the George Ryder but his Doncaster run was a fabulous effort considering he was caught in the worst second of the tack from the 600 metres.
“He’s had a nice break after the Doncaster but he’ll only have the two runs in Brisbane before he goes out for a spell.
“He may come back for the latter part of the spring races in Sydney and Melbourne.”
During their winter carnival assault, the Hawkes team will locate themselves and their current trio of contenders at a small Sunshine Coast base at Caloundra.
“We’ve only got three here at the moment after sending Dao Dao for a spell following his Hollindale Stakes failure last Saturday (eighth to My Kingdom Of Fife at the Gold Coast),” Hawkes said.
“But a few more might come up later on.”
The headline interstate raider saturating the media in Queensland, Black Caviar, has been in Brisbane since last Sunday and is fitting in well to her new surroundings.
“The trip up here tightened her up a bit,” premier Victorian trainer Peter Moody said of his stable star.
“She let down well during the week and really pleased with her work.”