Chris Munce didn't need to ride a winner at Eagle Farm on Wednesday to know he's back where he belongs.
The 43-year-old had three rides at Eagle Farm with his best result being two fourth placings but just being able to compete again after staging the fight of his life against throat cancer, was victory enough.
"I was feeling a bit anxious more than anything else this morning with all the build-up and got myself a bit worked up," he said.
"But once I got on the horse and got on the track and into the rhythm of things all those butterflies went away."
While the Eagle Farm crowd and thousands of racing fans around Australia were hoping for a fairytale win, Munce took a more measured outlook.
"I've been around the racing game long enough to know that fairytales don't always eventuate," he said.
"They're on again Saturday and we'll just back up and have another crack there."
Munce underwent seven weeks of radiation treatment and three sessions of chemotherapy which he completed in late February before setting himself the goal of returning to riding before the start of the winter carnival.
"I needed to get the miles under the belt before the carnival started and I've had a good blowout today," he said.
"It's just what I needed. It was hard work but I've pulled up pretty well.
"All my rides had their chances if they were good enough."
Munce, whose last ride was at the Gold Coast on New Year's Day, said his timing will improve as he gains more fitness.
"I'm probably not where I want to be yet but I'm not far off the mark," he said.
"I got my breath back pretty quick after each race and my timing's not too bad. It's just a matter of getting on the right cattle and that will come with time."
Munce will undergo more specialised tests next month to determine whether he is cancer-free but is maintaining a positive outlook.
"Even when you're not feeling well you just have to grit your teeth and think 'well tomorrow's another day'," he said.