By Julieanne Horsman
It was around this time last year owner/trainer Liam Munro had a tough choice on his hands. His then five-year-old gelding Chloride had bowed a near-side tendon and he had to decide whether to retire him or dedicate the time and energy to his rehabilitation. Munro chose the latter. Vets told him it was a pointless exercise however it’s been anything but a waste of time.
In his first race back from injury Chloride embarrassed his rivals in a BM50 over 1300m at Lismore, winning by more than eight lengths. He had six weeks off then won again at Grafton, leading all the way to salute in a BM65 1410m race. Apprentice Leah Kilner was aboard for both victories and will again pilot Chloride this Sunday when he shoots for his third win in a row in the Grafton2Yamba Houseboat Hire BM 65 over 1610m.
“Chloride should win again,” Munro said. “He’s up in class but down in weight and the extra distance will suit him.
“He will lead. He’s best left to roll along out the front to do what he wants to do.
“He will have to get going a bit earlier though. He won’t run home any quicker than 34 seconds so he needs to have 3-4 lengths on those speedier horses who can run 33s and below.
“I think he will be better over 2000m. If he wins over the mile he will win over 2000m.”
Chloride only rejoined Munro’s stable after he suffered his injury. Munro had bought him for just $25,000 at the 2013 QTIS Yearling Sale and trained him himself for two years until he became unable to balance it with his building business. He sent the horse to his good friend Jim O’Shea at Rockhampton where he notched three wins in his first campaign but it was too hot for him and he developed anhidrosis – the inability to sweat.
Munro was still too busy to train him himself so he entrusted Darren Graham to look after him at Murwillumbah. He notched a couple more places before injury struck.
“I’m just so glad to have him back in form now,” Munro said. “He’s a stable favourite and he’s pretty easy to train as long as you keep him happy.
“We mix up his training. We go to the beach, put him over jumps, try the sand track from time to time.
“Our track rider, Courtney Moorehouse, comes from a pony club background and has nice soft hands which he appreciates.
“He’s also trained out of a paddock now which he prefers to being trained from a box.”
If Chloride performs on Sunday and pulls up well he will have two more runs over 2000m and 2100m before being freshed and aimed at the Lismore Cup. Munro is also considering the Grafton Cup.
“We might send him around in the Grafton Cup and see if he can sneak a place at big odds,” he said.
As a trainer, Liam Munro bats well above his average. He only has four horses in work but places them perfectly.
All three that have started have won and from his last 11 runners he’s recorded five wins – a strike rate any trainer would be envious of.
“I wouldn’t mind expanding but I’m just taking it one step at a time.”