Champion jockey turned trainer Chris Munce has given former country rider Les Tilley a vote of confidence with the mount on comeback horse Lucky Black at Doomben.
Tilley will ride Lucky Black in Saturday’s Open Handicap (1050m) against what appears a moderate field of off-season sprinters.
Lucky Black, who has won seven races, hasn’t run since finishing second to multiple stakes winner Sir Moments in April 2016.
The gelding has had several problems since but Munce has been able to get him back to racing fitness with two trials.
“Les rode him in his most recent trial when he was third. Les is a good worker and he is a promising young jockey,” Munce said.
“He rides plenty of track work and you have to reward hard work. He had a stint with Peter Moody as an apprentice and had plenty of experience.”
Tilley, who has ridden about 230 winners, was born in Charleville in western Queensland and had a stint at St George where he was apprenticed.
He has a strong racing pedigree through his father, country jockey Ross Tilley, while he is also the nephew of Toowoomba trainer Ducky Baker.
During his apprenticeship, Tilley moved to Melbourne for a time in 2014 to spend time with the now-retired Moody, another Charleville native.
Munce’s wife Cathy is a part-owner of Lucky Black who races for a syndicate headed by prominent Sydney businessman Max Whitby who was also a partner in Savabeel who Munce rode to win the 2004 Cox Plate..
Whitby also owns First Crush who runs in the Girls Day Out Handicap (1630m) with Larry Cassidy to ride.
“His three runs since a spell have been good and he is getting back near his best,” Munce said.
First Crush was formerly trained in Sydney by Kevin Moses whose wife Jenny retains a share in the gelding.