By Julieanne Horsman
It’s a long drive from Murwillumbah to Rosehill Gardens. 823 kilometres to be exact. But Owner/Trainer Liam Munro isn’t fazed by the journey, he’s overjoyed to have a Saturday metropolitan runner in the form of Call The Captain.
“We’ve got a good horse who I believe will be genuine city class one day so we have decided to give him a crack at Rosehill and ourselves a little trip,” he said.
Munro set off for Sydney on Monday with one of his friends in the passenger seat and his promising gelding in the float behind. The lightly raced four-year-old will line up in the Class 2 TAB Highway Handicap (1400m) on Saturday and goes into the race with a record of two wins and a second from just four starts.
He won his last outing, a midweek 1800m Maiden at the Sunshine Coast on 5th April, and came 2nd at Doomben the start before. The winner, Fallacy, ran 3rd in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick ten days later.
“I thought they were pretty classy performances, especially considering he was at the end of his prep,” Munro said.
“He’s had a nice freshen up and come back stronger and more full of himself. He knows he is a racehorse now.”
Recent flooding at Murwillumbah has limited Call The Captain’s chances to gallop on turf so he stopped off at Grafton yesterday for a trial.
“I was happy with that run,” Munro said. “He was only beaten 2.3 lengths over 1000m which is encouraging.
“Obviously he is better suited to longer races but I am confident he will still be competitive over 1400m first up.”
3kg claiming apprentice Blaike McDougall has the ride on Saturday.
“Call The Captain is a one speed horse with a big set of lungs and no turn of foot,” Munro said. “Blaike rides front runners well and should be able to get him to power up on the speed. Even if he doesn’t quite have the toe to go with them at the start, he should be able to keep going when they ease off.”
Liam Munro was granted an Owner/Trainer Licence in early 2014 and if he were to be successful on Saturday, would become the first to win a TAB Highway race.
“A few years ago I was building houses up in the NT and had a crazy idea to buy a few yearlings and train them myself,” he said.
“I am still doing the building but I’ve had a handful of winners and it’s good fun.
“The other trainers at Murwillumbah are very helpful and forthcoming with their knowledge.”
Munro and co will spend tonight at the Port Macquarie home of friend and veteran bush jockey, Peter Graham, before pushing onto Rosehill tomorrow.
“If Call The Captain runs a decent race we might hang around for the 1500m TAB Highway in two weeks time,” he said.