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Top Aussie jockey Munce quits to be trainer

08 January 2015

MELBOURNE CUP winning jockey Chris Munce will retire from race-riding this weekend to become a trainer

In a career spanning 30 years,  Munce completed the Australian grand slam of the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Golden Slipper, but his reputation was tarnished by serving time in prison for betting offences. 

The 45-year-old from Brisbane will bow out after riding Wicked Intent, trained by his father-in-law Bruce Mitchell, in Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic at Gold Coast racecourse, a contest he bids to win for the fourth time. 

“I knew retirement was coming when I went to bed the night before a  race meeting and didn’t dream about riding winners,” said Munce,  quoted on AAP. 
He will start his training career with 12 horses but has big ambitions for his new venture and hopes to build up a string of 30 or 40 horses. 
“It’s not beyond the realms I can be the first premiership winning jockey to be the leading trainer in Brisbane,” he said. 

Having impressed during an apprenticeship for Eric Kirwan, including winning the Brisbane Jockeys’ Premiership in the 1989-1990 season, Munce went on to ride for several top trainers, including Gai Waterhouse and Bart Cummings.

He won 43 Group 1s – including the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel – five Brisbane Premierships, posted a record number of Brisbane wins in a season of 102, and landed more than 2,500 winners overall. He is only the seventh jockey to have won Australia’s biggest four races, completed in 2010 when landing the Caulfield Cup on Descarado. 

That followed almost two years in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for racing tips in Hong Kong.  His career took another twist when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2012, but he was given the all-clear and returned to the saddle. 

Munce added: “I've decided to take up training at a time when I'm still young and fit. “Even when I was riding work for Gai I was always a sponge soaking up whatever I could learn from her. I've learned something from each trainer. I've also been lucky to ride with some outstanding jockeys.”  

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