GYMPIE trainer Kerry Munce may have gained a couple of sand track starts in Saurimo and Shoulda to Shoulda as pair joined the winners' circle during Gympie's first race meet of the season last Saturday.
The latter, a four-year-old by Chateau Istana, won his fourth Gympie race from five starts, taking the $10,000 Garrads Horse and Hound Open over 1170m.
During his only other Gympie start, Shoulda to Shoulda looked certainly beaten in his Gympie debut when his rider was dislodged due to the saddle rolling.
He then won his maiden at his next Gympie start and is undefeated here in subsequent outings.
The ownership group of Shoulda to Shoulda includes the father and son combination of Bill Mumford and Matthew.
Their racing manager is Tim Taylor, who also shares in the ownership of Right or Wrong whose three recent Saturday wins at Caloundra and Doomben indicate he is a chance in Brisbane's rich Stradbroke.
Both horses carry the red with white spots colours of the Mumfords.
Bought for just $750 at a Melbourne VOBIS yearling sale, Shoulda to Shoulda is by the Grand Lodge stallion, Chateau Istana, who won a listed two-year-old race at Royal Ascot as well as a Group 2 race at Doncaster before being exported from Britain to Hong Kong, where he won two races.
He then journeyed to Australia but was injured and was retired to stud.
A handful of seasons were served at Oaklands Stud on the Darlings Downs as a shuttle stallion.
His progeny include top class sand galloper Unique Fuse, which has won nine races on the Gympie sand and finished second to Shoulda to Shoulda in Saturday's race.
The Munce stable's other winner, Saurimo, a four-year-old by Nicconi out of the unraced Catbird mare Purrsuader, bolted in by seven-and-a-quarter lengths in the maiden at his first race start.
As illustrated by horses such as Our Boy Malachi and Frenardi, both winners of Gympie maidens by 11 lengths, a big winning maiden here indicates a possible bright future on the racetrack.
SEXTON Jockey Kelly Gates pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge arising from last Saturday's final race and was suspended for eight days until midnight on March 13.
Stewards found that Kelly had allowed her mount, Halle Cat, to shift in at about the 200m causing interference to Groomed for Glory.
Stewards took into account Kelly's good riding record and her guilty plea.
RACING Queensland chairman John Muir visited the Gympie Racecourse last Saturday.
Mr Muir, a retired Appeal Court Judge, has a distinguished legal career which began in England.
He was appointed a Queens Counsel in 1986 after practising in Brisbane and occupied several prominent positions in legal organisation and associations.
Sponsor shows support
CHRIS Garrard, principal of Garrads Horse and Hound, which sponsored last Saturday's Gympie race meeting, believes "the best races are in country places".
It a catchphrase that features on the Gympie Turf Club's logo on its race books.
Mr Garrard presented the trophy for last Saturday's main race.
Garrards sponsor race meetings throughout the state with Saturday being their second involvement with Gympie races, providing the $10,000 prize for the main race.
Esk fires up
ESK races tomorrow with good fields in their five race card followed by Bundaberg with six races on Saturday week.
Nanango has its annual Easter Saturday fixture on March 26.