One of Australia’s best known hoops Chris Munce will call it quits from the saddle after riding 2015 Magic Millions 2YO Classic favourite Wicked Intent in the feature race on the Gold Coast this Saturday.
The now 45-year-old Melbourne Cup winning jockey will retire from riding post-Saturday to pursue a fulltime career as a trainer as announced officially on Wednesday.
“I knew retirement was coming when I went to bed the night before a race meeting and didn’t dream about riding winners,” Munce told the AAP this week.
He will bow out with a strong book of rides aboard seven horses across the eight-race Magic Millions Race Day program in Queensland this summer including in the two features of the day.
In the $1 million Gold Coast Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) he will jump aboard the Tony Gollan-trained Yeager from barrier three who is a $34 roughie through Ladbrokes.com.au following a disappointing ninth last time out in the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate (1300m) at the track on December 27.
His headline assignment then comes one race later in the prestigious $2 million Jeep Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) aboard the Barry Mitchell-trained co-favourite Wicked Intent drawn to perfection in gate five for his father-in-law.
Wicked Style colt Wicked Intent currently sits top of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic betting markets at $6 as equal favourite with market mover and Toowoomba Magic Millions 2YO Plate winner Frequendly ($6) drawn one on his inside in the capacity 16-starter field.
The Eagle Farm-based Wicked Intent has won three of his four career starts to date including over 900m at the Gold Coast on debut when ridden by Brad Steward in early October.
Munce, who has famously completed Australia’s Grand Slam of riding, took over next start and together the two combined to win back-to-back 1050m races at Doomben including the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes on December 13.
Last time out Munce retained the ride in the Group 3 B.J. McLachlan Plate (1200m) when two lengths off the upset winner Mishani Honcho, now in the paddock, finishing second as the beaten odds-on ($1.45) favourite.
The track was a Soft (7) that day and despite his Phelan Ready win being on a Soft (6), Mitchell is convinced Wicked Intent will be improving on firmer ground this weekend with Munce chasing his fourth win in the race.
Munce’s previous Magic Millions 2YO Classic winning rides were aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Dance Hero (2004) and Excellerator (2001), and Sunblazer back in 1989 when the race was run in separate editions for fillies and then colts and geldings.
Munce though is best known for wins aboard Jezabeel in the 1998 Melbourne Cup, Savabeel in the 2004 Cox Plate, Prowl (1998) and Dance Hero (2004) for their Golden Slipper victories, and Descarado in the 2010 Caulfield Cup that completed his Grand Slam five years ago.
“When I won the Caulfield Cup for Gai in 2010 on Descarado and completed the grand slam I originally started thinking about retiring,” Munce, one of only seven jockeys to win Australi’as big four races, said.
He retires this week with a total of 43 Group 1 wins, five Brisbane Jockeys’ Premiership titles, a record 102 Brisbane wins in a single season and in excess of 2,500 winners in total.
His career however wasn’t all gold and Group 1 trophies with Munce famously spending 20 months in prison, starting in Hong Kong in March of 2007, for his part in the tips-for-bets scandal that tainted his triumphs on track.
After being released in October of 2008 after serving the latter part of his sentence in Sydney, Munce was quick to bounce back to great heights in the racing world and regain the support of the nation.
He begins his training career on Sunday with 12 horses currently in work but has plans to build his Munce Racing stable up to 30 or 40 gallopers.
“It is not beyond the realms that I can be the first premiership-winning jockey to also be the leading trainer in Brisbane,” he said.
To back Munce across the Gold Coast race card in his last day of riding then visit Ladbrokes.com.au where you can win a share in a racehorse this Magic Millions Day by placing a minimum $5 bet on any horse in any race on the program!