A glittering but controversial career punctuated by one of Hong Kong racing's greatest scandals will draw to a close on Saturday when Australian jockey Chris Munce chases a fairy-tale finish in retiring from riding.
The 45-year-old announced yesterday the rich Magic Millions race day at Gold Coast in his home state of Queensland would be his last day in the saddle before he begins a training career.
Even though Munce is one of just seven jockeys to complete Australia's "grand slam" of big-race triumphs - with wins in the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper among his 43 Group One successes and more than 2,500 victories overall - the lightweight hoop will be remembered just as much for his controversial 2007 arrest and subsequent imprisonment in Hong Kong.
Shortly after finishing third in the 2005-06 jockeys' championship with 51 wins, the then 37-year-old Munce was arrested at the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui with HK$250,000 stuffed into his jean pockets, along with what Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigators alleged to be slips of paper containing betting tips.
Munce rode two Group One winners in Australia while on bail before returning for a trial. In March 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in jail by District Court Judge Kevin Browne for being in breach of his contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
After Munce served the tail end of a sentence reduced to 20 months for good behaviour in Australia's Silverwater prison, New South Wales' officials caused a political furore that still echoes to this day when they allowed Munce to ride while still banned by the Jockey Club.
Munce said he now aimed to become the first Brisbane premiership-winning jockey to also win the trainers' title.
In December 2012 Munce was diagnosed with throat cancer and he still returned, after radiation and chemotherapy, when given the all-clear in May of the following year. After nearly three more years of riding, Munce said he decided "to take up training while I am still young and fit".
"I knew retirement was coming when I went to bed the night before a race meeting and didn't dream about riding winners," Munce said.
He will be aiming for his fourth win in the Magic Millions Classic when Wicked Intent, trained by his father-in-law Barry Mitchell, lines up in the A$2 million (HK$12.5 million) race for two-year-olds.
Munce paid tribute to his wife Cathy and Mitchell, who will both be involved in an official capacity with Munce Racing.