Star jockey tipped to ride

THE budding association between star Brisbane rider Chris Munce and classy Queensland sprinter Essington is set to continue at Grafton next month.

Essington, one of Queensland's most promising sprinters, is expected to lure Munce to Grafton for the $130,000 WHK Ramornie (1200m) on July 13, adding another big name to the star-studded list of jockeys set to ride at the July carnival.

Munce travelled to central Queensland last week to ride Essington to victory in the $75,000 Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m) at Callaghan Park, his fourth win from five rides on the exciting sprinter.

Sunshine Coast trainer Daryl Hansen named the Ramornie as the next target for Essington after his Newmarket win and said he expects Munce to take the ride.

Munce is yet to win a Ramornie but has two Grafton Cup wins to his credit on Count Scenario (1999) and Stormhill (2005).

Essington carried the topweight of 59kg to win the Newmarket in course record time from his stablemate Perugin Thought to give Hansen his second win in the sprint after Onalar's success in 2008.

“He's the best horse I've ever trained,” Hansen said after the Newmarket win.

Essington, a superbly bred four-year-old by champion sire Redoute's Choice from the Encosta de Lago mare Besame Mucho, was originally purchased as a yearling for $150,000 at the Easter sale in Sydney by leading Melbourne owners Lloyd and Nick Williams.

However after recording only one placing in his first four starts for Victorian trainer Robert Hickmott Essington was put on the market in early 2010.

He was secured by Queensland painting contractor Marino Katsenevas for $50,000 and transferred to Hansen, who began his training career in Rockhampton before moving to the Sunshine Coast.

Essington has since had 13 starts for Hansen for nine wins including four in Brisbane and has earned almost $250,000 prizemoney.

His Rockhampton win came at his first start for three months. Only one Newmarket winner in almost a half a century had carried more weight.