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First win joy for Kilmore jockey

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It took apprentice jockey Danica Munro two rides to land her first winner and, if the opinion of her master Liam Howley is anything to go by, future success will not be in short supply.

Munro steered Bainbridge to victory in the Elmore Cup at Bendigo on Saturday, just days after her first ride at Pakenham, where she scored a third place.

Howley was heartfelt in his praise of the 23-year-old Kilmore resident, who turned her back on a career in criminology to follow her passion of riding horses.

“She sits on them really well, she’s got a great sense of timing about her and she’s strong as an ox,” Howley said after the race.

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“In terms of her work ethic, there are few like her; she’s the first one in the barn, she doesn’t mind picking up the rake and getting dirty.

“She’s got a fearlessness about her too that I think will carry her a long way, she gets on anything and horses just get along with her.

“The ‘buckers’ and young ones, she doesn’t mind getting on them and they just seem to relax underneath her.”

Danica Munro returns to scale on Bainbridge. Photo: Ross Holburt/Racing Photos.

The fearless Howley speaks of comes from Munro’s childhood riding motorbikes and motocross rather than horses when growing up in northern New South Wales.

She moved to Kilmore with her parents Joanna and Randal when she was 16, and attended Broadford Secondary College.

Rather than studying a form guide, Munro had her head buried in books.

“I don’t know what made me want to throw everything in because I was exactly where I wanted to be with school and I got accepted into my uni courses [criminology and psychology] and I just went ‘screw it, it’s not too late’,” she said.

Munro is an apprentice to Howley at Macedon Lodge, where she has worked with Bainbridge for some time.

The rising eight-year-old with just seven starts to his name was specifically targeted for the Elmore Cup, with Munro in mind as the one to pilot him.

“That was what I set out to achieve when I first applied for the (apprentice) program was to win on that horse and it felt phenomenal,” Munro said.

Munro’s winning ride was one that defied her noted inexperience.

She took the gelded son of Rebel Raider straight to the front and dictated the race before urging him home to see off a late challenge from the Arron Lynch ridden Mister Me.

“People will start to ask the question [of booking her] after [the win] but we’ll just keep it under wraps for the next little bit at least [as] I don’t want anyone else getting the benefit of the 4kg claim just yet,” Howley said.

Danica Munro after winning the O’Sullivans Transport Elmore Cup. Photo: Ross Holburt/Racing Photos.


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