Popular jockey Chris Munce to retire after Saturday’s Magic Millions meeting
Champion jockey Chris Munce hopes to end his career on the highest note when he rides Wicked Intent in Saturday’s Magic Millions.
Munce announced his retirement from a near 30-year career in Brisbane this morning.
“It’s been a great career for me but I feel it’s time for me to move onto the next chapter in my life, which will be as a racehorse trainer,” he said.
“It’s been a long range plan to take on a new challenge.
“After 30 years in the industry, I don’t want to walk away from it and training horses is the obvious next step.”
Munce has ridden more than 2500 winners and is one of only seven jockeys in the elite club of having won the ‘Grand Slam’ of Australian racing.
He won the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel, the same year he won his first Golden Slipper on Prowl. He added a second Slipper in 2004 with Dance Hero and then won that year’s Cox Plate on Savabeel.
He completed the Grand Slam in 2010 when successful on Descarado in the Caulfield Cup.
He conceded that Caulfield Cup and then his effort to become the first rider to achieve a Century of Winners in a Brisbane season, completed everything he wanted to achieve in his career.
Not long after, Munce was diagnosed with throat cancer and even though he’s been given the all clear, he said his passion for riding had not been the same since making that comeback.
The only other jockeys to achieve the feat of the big four are Damien Oliver, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy, Pat Hyland, Neville Sellwood and Roy Higgins.
Munce thanked his wife Cathy, children and his manager Garry Legg.
Munce conceded Saturday would be an emotional day, but also one of his proudest.
“Cathy and I picked out Wicked Intent last year and paid $15,000 for the colt. He has a terrific group of owners, we’ve had some great fun on our current journey,” he said.
“Win, lose or draw on Saturday, seeing their reactions to his performances this preparation is worth a million in itself.
“This is one of my biggest thrills. I will be riding my father-in-law Barry Mitchell’s horse Wicked Intent, but I will also be leaving the jockeys room for the last time.
“That will be one of the toughest things for me. There’s a tremendous camaraderie between the jockeys and I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden against some of the greats.”
In 2006, Munce was jailed in Hong Kong for tipping horses to a businessman. He spent seven months in a Hong Kong jail before being transferred to Australia to complete his sentence in Sydney’s Silverwater Jail.
“It seems like a lifetime ago,” Munce said. “Hong Kong is something I don’t think about now.
“I tend not to worry about it any more. What’s happened has happened. I’ve moved on.”