Melbourne Cup-winning jockey turned trainer Chris Munce (left) at the Ballina Cup today.
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey turned trainer Chris Munce (left) at the Ballina Cup today.

Horse gives Ballina trainer the best farewell gift ever

BALLINA trainer Andrew Sawden will head back home to Melbourne after Logan’s Blade had a convincing win in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m).

The former Victorian trainer has been based at Ballina for the past nine months and was delighted and impressed by his three-year-old’s frontrunning win at the Ballina Cup.

“He runs along, doesn’t he? … only a three-year-old, too just a lovely horse. He can get better than that,” Sawden said.

He said the morning rain that deposited 30mm on the Ballina track and made it a Soft 7 was a help as he plans to return to Melbourne with Logan’s Blade.

“Moonee Valley over 955m, for sure. He’s a very fast horse and still a young three-year-old, too,” he said.

Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matt Bertram was happy with crowd numbers at the 1000 mark.

Heavy rain in the morning put the meeting in jeopardy before blues skies welcomed the afternoon crowd.

“It could have really hurt us but we recovered and it turned into a really good day,” Bertram said.

“It’s hard to predict how many more we would have got if it didn’t rain this morning.”

In other races, Montana Mist broke through for his trainer Patrick Randall.

The five-year-old gelding, a son of Bradbury’s Luck, revelled in the Soft 7 going to lead and beat Ballina mare Spring Nymph (Terry McCarthy) and Lismore filly Amyrkal, who came third.

Randall prepares Montana Mist at Casino and has mended the ways of the former barrier rogue.

“(We) had a lot of trouble with him, (but) we’ve got him right now,” Randall said.

“What a feeling (to win). He knows what to do now.”

The gelding rolled and kicked around the tighter Ballina turn to set up his first win in six starts.

Matthew Paget rode Montana Mist and said he “was a little bit more focused today”.

“Once he got to the front he just went through the gears,” Paget said of the gelding who might now race at Grafton on January 27.