Jockey Ian Coombes heads for home in the first race at Gympie on Saturday.
Jockey Ian Coombes heads for home in the first race at Gympie on Saturday. Craig Warhurst

Munce, Coombes in race day treble

TRAINER Kerry Munce and stable jockey Ian Coombes had plenty to celebrate after notching up a winning treble at the Gympie Turf Club's Christmas Party Race Day.

Former Sydney galloper, Alriodane landed a betting plunge to win the first race at his debut for the Munce stable.

Challoman, who has recently returned from a stint in Victoria, then won the 1170m Class B before the remarkable Frenardi maintained his unbeaten Gympie record over 1170m to convincingly win the Open.

Gympie trainers, Peter Fleming and Steven Thomas also saddled up winners with Craiglea Tina and Ascend winning the Class 3 and 1470m maiden respectively.

A perceived lack of ability and a leg problem almost led to Minardi gelding, Frenardi meeting a sad fate after just one start in Brisbane.

However the now six year old was sent to Gympie to be trained by Kerry Munce and has shown a remarkable aptitude for the tight Gympie sand track and, in particular, the 1170m distance.

After winning his first Gympie start by 11 lengths, Frenardi has now won seven races and never been out of a place in his 11 Gympie starts.

He has proved unbeatable in six starts over his pet distance of 1170m.

On Saturday, jockey Ian Coombes used Frenardi's high cruising speed to frustrate his rivals who tried, unsuccessfully, to put him under pressure early before surging clear on the home bend.

The six year old went on to win very convincingly by 2½ lengths from At the Roxy (L. Appo, $4.60) with Coen (K. James, $26) running on for third.

Well bred Danehill Dancer four year old, Alriodane was confidently backed by his group of Gympie owners to win the 850m maiden first up for the stable despite having raced over distances from 1500m to 2000m at his last few starts when trained at Warwick Farm in Sydney.

Despite jumping from barrier 11, Alriodane ($3.30 eq.fav.) moved forward mid-race before charging away in the straight to win by 3¾ lengths after racing very greenly most of the way. Falfario ($4, L. Appo) gave the quinella to the Munce stable in finishing second – his third successive second in Gympie with 3¾ lengths to Charlie's Choice ($7, K. Sawyers) third.

The winner was sourced in Sydney about three months ago by a friend of trainer Kerry Munce who races the chestnut with Ron and Sue McMah of Marlin Park Brooloo, Gympie Devils coach John Greensil and four Munro brothers who are nephews of legendary jockey Darby Munro.

David Israel, owner of Saturday's Class B winner, Challoman, had sent the VOBIS registered four year old to Victoria in search of some bonus money earlier this year.

The venture proved unsuccessful but trainer Kerry Munce was very disappointed with the condition of Challoman when the horse returned from interstate to rejoin his Gympie stable.

However the Hillman gelding has thrived since being back in Gympie and looked particularly well on Saturday running up to his looks with a five length win over the 1170m.

Backed from $8 to start at $5, Challoman easily defeated Noah's Smile ($5, K. Yoneyama) with Bella Montana ($3.80, L. Appo) a luckless third a head further away. The $3 favourite, Craiglea Edge ($3, K. James) was never in contention.

Top Echelon filly, Craiglea Tina, ran home very strongly to blitz her rivals in the 1470m Class 3 to give apprentice Keely James another winner.

The $3.60 chance had run a good second at Caloundra two starts previously before an unplaced run over 1640m at Roma a week back for Gympie based trainer, Peter Fleming.

Sydney Easter Yearling sale graduate, Ascend, failed to live up to his breeding or $160,000 price tag in Sydney eventually finding his way to the Gympie stable of Steven Thomas about four months ago. Raced by father and son combination of Steve and Keith Johnston, the four year old by boom stallion Fastnet Rock, romped home in the 1470m maiden.

The biggest field of the day was in the Fashions of the Field where about 40 entrants lined up for the last chance to go into the draw for the $3000 Fashions of the Field giveaway.

Gympie next races in March next year.

Gympie Times

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