Leading Brisbane jockey Chris Munce has announced that he will retire from riding following the Magic Millions Meeting on Saturday and start a new career as a trainer.
Munce has a very strong book of rides at the Gold Coast on Saturday, including the prized ride on Wicked Intent in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic, and has ridden 36 winners this season, but revealed at Doomben today that he would end his glittering riding career to immediately start work as a trainer on Sunday
“I feel the time is right and this is not a spur of the moment decision, it has been a long-range plan to become a trainer,” Munce said.
“Most of the trainers I have spoken to reckon I’m mad, but racing is in my blood.
“It’s what I love and what I want to continue to be involved in.
“I met my wife Cathy through racing and have also built some wonderful friendships in the sport.”
Munce served his apprenticeship under the late Eric Kirwan in Queensland and he quickly stamped himself as a rider to watch when he took out the Brisbane Jockeys Premiership in 1989/1990 while still an apprentice and he took out the title again in 1002 and 1994.
The leading hoop recorded his maiden win at Group 1 level when he steered Nick’s Joy to victory in the 1995 edition of the Epsom Handicap and he had plenty of success at the highest level of racing before he won the 1998 Golden Slipper on Prowl and the 1998 Melbourne Cup on talented mare Jezabeel.
Munce added a win in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) to his racing resume in 2001 and had a career year in 2004 when he took out the Golden Slipper, Sires Produce Stakes, Champagne Stakes, Spring Champion Stakes and Cox Plate.
The talented jockey was giving the opportunity to ride in Hong Kong in 2005, but his riding career was placed into jeopardy in 2007 when he was convicted of taking bribes in exchange for racing tips and he was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Munce was able to serve the final year of his prison sentence in Australia and he was cleared to return to riding at the end of 2008 and less than two years later he became just the seventh jockey in history to complete the Australian racing ‘Grand Slam’ when he won the Caulfield Cup on Descarado.
He returned to Queensland and was the dominant jockey for a number of seasons, including the 2011/2012 season when he became the first rider to ride 100 Brisbane metropolitan winners in a season, but he was forced to step down from riding when he was diagnosed with throat cancer at the end of 2012.
Munce received the all clear from his doctors less than a year later and quickly returned to riding winners.
Munce has been booked to ride leading Magic Millions Classic contender Wicked Intent on Saturday and he will have his final race ride when he partners Into The Red for Kelso Wood in the Magic Millions Cup.