Prepared by Gai Waterhouse in Sydney, Savabeel four-year-old Tullamore was given a gun run from Munce in the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m), proving their potential as a possible Group 1 winner for the spring with the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups looming.
Odds-on favourite for the 2011 Brisbane Cup on Stradbroke Handicap Day was Michael Moroney’s in-form European import Glass Harmonium.
After breaking their Aussie maiden with an impressive win in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) last Saturday, Glass Harmonium was again ridden by New Zealand-born hoop Lisa Cropp but couldn’t produce the same stay-all-the-way performance backing up today.
The favourite was found out in the Brisbane Cup, Glass Harmonium outstayed by a too-good winner on the line.
Tullamore and Glass Harmonium both jumped away well from their respective Brisbane Cup barriers fighting for the early lead.
Upon settling, it was the big grey Glass Harmonium who rolled off into the lead, Cropp trying to recreate the run that saw them secure victory at the same track just seven days earlier.
Munce allowed Tullamore to settle back third on the inside of the favourite, giving the eventual winner a lovely, non gut-busting ride.
Once on the home straight, Munce bought Tullamore up off the fence to challenge the leader, and challenge they did.
Disallowing Glass Harmonium to have an easy run out in front, Tullamore proved a dour stayer and a top class competitor over their pet distance of 2400m.
In a thrilling finish over the final few hundred metres, Tullamore matched Glass Harmonium stride-for-stride, the duo making the Brisbane Cup into a two horse affair.
Having held up to two lengths on the field earlier, Glass Harmonium’s lead was quickly chewed up by a gallant Tullamore who just kept coming.
Eventually Tullamore showed they had kept just that bit more in the tank, pushing forward in the final stride to narrowly defeat Glass Harmonium.
The Tony Vasil-trained De Fine Lago finished off the winning Brisbane Cup trifecta in third while Gerald Ryan’s well-backed runner Ironstein held on for fourth having raced wide throughout.
With Waterhouse in England, Denise Martin was in Brisbane to represent the stable saying Gai had told her she was “dreaming of Group Ones.”
Martin and all those involved with the 2011 Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore were over the moon with the result.
“He’s been so consistent this whole preparation,” Martin said.
“He’s so tough.”
She was also quick to give credit to the now Brisbane-based Munce who enjoyed his second win of the day having previously saluted aboard the favourite, Barry Baldwin’s Belle D’Amour, in the opening race – the $100,000 Listed Lancaster Stakes (1200m).
“Chrisy’s (Chris Munce) ride was just a gem today, just perfect,” she said.
“He rode a race to suit an emerging young stayer.
Munce still has a strong list of rides remaining at Eagle Farm including the mount on Mr Light Blue in the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) and one of the top fancies in the day’s premier event, Love Conquers All in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Tullamore has now won five of his 19 career starts to date and is part-owned by Mr. D Hendeson who has now won a Caulfield Cup, Golden Slipper and Brisbane Cup.
Munce’s other victories in the Brisbane Cup came aboard Grooming (1992), Desert Chill (1995 & 1997) and last year with 2010 winner Crossthestart.
“He was a bit keen today but I was happy to let the grey horse (Glass Harmonium) run,” Munce said after the ride.
“I was more than happy to put the pressure on him (the favourite).
“He (Tullamore) is just very tough.
“Typical of Gai he’s raw bone and muscle.”
When asked about Tullamore’s ability to get up to the two miles and bring him into contention for the Melbourne Cup in the spring, Munce said: “I can’t see why not, he’s a very genuine stayer.”