x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

One more year for Munro in England

Globetrotting UK jockey, Alan Munro, riding a first season in Dubai, is planning to spend one more summer racing in England before returning to Asia.

DUBAI // Globetrotting UK jockey, Alan Munro, riding a first season in Dubai, is planning to spend one more summer racing in England before returning to Asia for the remainder of his career. The 43-year-old has ridden all over the world, even picking up a conversational knowledge of Mandarin during his time in Hong Kong, but thinks it may now be time for a last hurrah on home soil. Munro enjoyed huge success in England and Ireland, winning the 1991 Epsom and Irish Derby races on Generous and taking the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the same mount. Among other victories, he also completed a unique treble when claiming the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch on tough stayer, Sergeant Cecil in 2005. Between stints in England, Munro successfully fought his way back to the saddle after a nasty fall, which left him with head injuries and was also brave enough to step away from the sport at the height of his ascendancy for five years, to pursue other interests including a passion for martial arts in Asia. Now with his sights fixed firmly on racing for at least another eight years, Munro has added the UAE to the long list of countries in which he has ridden a winner. Last week he claimed a first Dubai victory on Mick Channon's Halicarnassus - the horse that carried him to victory in Turkey's Group Two Bosphorus Cup in September. In the short-term success in the desert is a priority but the prospect of a final sign-off from English racing also occupies Munro's thoughts. "It's going to be a funny year for me in England," he said. "It could well be my last year there. I'd like to make some money and it's hard to do that in England. "You can make money if you get on a good horse and have a few good wins. Then it's great, but all the money is at the top of the sport and it's very tough, the workload is hard and tax extremely high, so I think it's time to leave really, maybe I should have done it sooner" Halicarnassus has set him up well for a good season in Dubai, but Munro said that with competition so fierce, picking up rides can be hard. "That win was very good and I needed that," said Munro, who decided to become a jockey as a Hertfordshire schoolboy after watching a television feature about American rider, Steve Cauthen on children's current affairs show, Newsround. "I'm here to make money and as a freelance I have to shoulder all costs myself, so you really have to get a winner," he said. "It's hard to pick up rides. I've been trying to pick up spares and I've got myself an agent, so I'm trying to break through." Munro's astute, tactical victory on Halicarnassus, in the 1m4f turf handicap, a nostril ahead of Herman Brown's Mourilyan, would not have done him any harm with trainers. "I'm delighted with that," he said. "It was great to get a win and I was quite lucky the race panned out. I felt in control but you still have to get away with it. "If I could get one more in it would be great." To that end Munro partners another Mick Channon charge, Rileyskeepingfaith at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday and will also ride stablemate Montaff, when that horse next runs. "I was lucky enough to get on three of Mick's," he said. "Obviously Kieren Fallon rides the other one he has, Youmzain. "They are nice horses and since they have arrived they have gone the right way." stregoning@thenational.ae