Munce to fight cancer scare

Grand Slam winning jockey Chris Munce has set the 2013 Brisbane Winter Carnival for his return to riding as he prepares himself for a tough few months ahead with cancer treatment.

Doctors have recommended a two month course of radiation therapy at The Royal Brisbane And Women’s Hospital commencing in January and if successful Munce can see himself back in the saddle for the Winter.

Munce was told ten days ago that a lump in his throat was cancer and even though the top jockey was shocked, he will keep riding until his treatment begins next month.

“I was a bit shocked when I was told, it gives you a fright,” Munce said.

“But I think deep down in my own heart I knew something wasn’t right.”

“I’m not sick, physically I feel great, and my doctors have advised me to keep living like normal,” he said.

“So, I’m not going to change anything, it is business as usual and I’ll keep riding for the rest of the month.

In a career that has seen the ultimate highs and the hardest of hardships, Munce is ready to fight another battle that hopefully will have a happy ending.

Munce has stamped himself as one of the best modern day jockeys with multiple premierships, forty-three Group 1 wins including wins in the four major Group 1s, The Golden Slipper, Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup.

Munce’s two Golden Slipper wins came in 1998 on the Clarry Conners trained Prowl and in 2004 on Dance Hero for Gai Waterhouse while he took out the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel and the 2004 Cox Plate on Savabeel for Graeme Rogerson.

And Munce showed all his toughness and courage by riding Descarado to victory in the 2010 Caulfield Cup after serving two years in prison after Hong Kong authorities found him guilty of race tipping while riding in Hong Kong in 2005 – 2006.

Munce hasn’t missed a beat over the last couple of season’s and after winning last year’s Brisbane jockey’s premiership with over a hundred winners, including the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm T J Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 on Sizzling, went on to be narrowly beaten on the Team Hawkes trained All Too Hard when second to Ocean Park in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.

Munce thought there was something wrong three weeks ago after discovering a lump in his throat and went straight to the doctor.

“The doctor had a look at my throat and said I needed to get myself to a specialist as soon as possible,” Munce said.

Munce then visited Brisbane’s leading ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr Maurice Stevens who removed his left tonsil with tests confirming the presence of squamous cell carcinoma.

“Dr Stevens said it could either be lymphoma or SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) which is basically throat cancer,” Munce said.

“I was admitted to hospital 10 days ago and they took out my left tonsil. Then the biopsy came back positive to SCC.”

As shocked as he was in being told that he had throat cancer, the toughest task for Munce and wife Cathy was telling their three children Corey, Caitlin and Conner the devastating news.

“It was hard telling the kids,” Munce said.

“But all I could do was tell them the truth.”

Munce will be riding at Doomben on Wednesday and also has an early booking for the well performed Belltone in the Group 3 $200,000 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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