AFTER more than half a century in racing as a jockey or trainer, Alan "Groovy" Scorse has been forced to retire to focus on his second battle with cancer.
The 67-year-old starts intense treatment on Wednesday after the recent discovery of another tumour behind his eye. Scorse was given the all-clear from cancer on his optic nerve in late 2017.
The two-time group 1-winning Newcastle jockey, who turned to training in 1997 after retiring from riding, moved his team of five horses to the stables of David Atkins, Allan Denham and Steve Hodge last week.
"I just couldn't do what I wanted to do with the horses anymore with my treatment, so I decided to give them away and carry on," Scorse said.
"This is my 53rd year in racing so it wasn't easy, but in the end I had to finish. I had no choice.
"I start my treatment on Wednesday and it will be full-on for a month and it will just wipe me out."
The illness brings to an end a decorated career.
Scorse started his apprenticeship in Sydney before moving to Newcastle in 1972 after outriding his claim.
He formed a successful combination with trainer Roy Hinton, who later became his father-in-law. Hinton, who died in 2017, was inducted into the Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame this month.
Scorse and Hinton won the 1976 Stradbroke Handicap with Manawapoi and the jockey claimed another group 1 with the John Hawkes-trained Spanish Mix in the 1993 William Reid Stakes.
As a trainer, Scorse said highlights included Melbourne spring carnival wins in 2009 and 2010 with Looking Fur Lang and Who's Ready.
"I went into the stables when I was 14 and a half and I rode until '97, and then I went into training," he said.
"I'd do it all again. I rode some wonderful horses and I had a very good time, and I had a good time training.
"It's a shame it had to end but I've got more important things to worry about.
"I rode three really good horses - Manawapoi in the '70s, Razor Sharp in the '80s and Spanish Mix in the '90s.
"I didn't win a group 1 on Razor Sharp, but I won group 2s and 3s on him, and he was a great horse as well.
"Taking the two horses to Melbourne was a highlight. They weren't great big races but they were at the spring carnival and it was just great to succeed in something I wanted to do."
Although his time training horses has ended, Scorse said: "They won't miss me at the races.
"I've still got shares in a couple of horses, my wife and I, so we'll still be going.
"And I love a bet, so they won't keep me away from the races."