Victorious Munro calls timeout on riding

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 April, 2000, 12:00am

Leading English jockey Alan Munro added yesterday's Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup to his English and Irish Derby triumphs and then announced the shock news that he would take a sabbatical from racing at the end of this season.

Munro, 33, still on a high after his short-head victory on Industrialist, has been here since the 1991-92 season and prior to that was in racing from the moment he left school.

Yesterday he revealed: 'I'm not quitting racing. I love horses, I love riding and I love the competition.

'But I'm 33 now, I've been doing this for many, many years and I just feel the time is right to take a sabbatical, a kind of timeout if you like.

'I don't know what I'm going to do or for how long, but whatever it is I think I will still be based in Asia.

'I figure I can take a year off or maybe two and still come back to riding when I'm 35.' Munro has never been your typical racing character and has always pursued a number of interests outside racing.

He is particularly known for his love of the martial arts, which he studied for nine months in Indonesia during an enforced absence from riding due to a head injury three seasons ago.

He added: 'I just want to experience a bit more of life while I'm 33. I don't want to leave it too late. I can then come back to riding.' Munro has explained his position to the Hong Kong Jockey Club and stressed that he would be riding until the end of the season.

'They know my thoughts and have said I can reapply for a Club Jockey position when I feel ready. I very much appreciate their stance.' LAWRENCE WADEY