Gerald Ryan’s gallant Sydney galloper Ironstein last Saturday scored his second city Cup win in just three starts, the in-form five-year-old narrowly taking out the Tattersall’s Cup at Eagle Farm.
Having won the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Rosehill last month before their eye-catching fourth to Tullamore in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Zabeel gelding Ironstein went out as a well-backed $8.50 chance in the $200,000 Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) last Saturday.
In a thrilling ride by Brenton Avdulla, Ironstein held on to take out this year’s Tatt’s Cup by a mere half-head after the race become a two-horse affair on the home straight.
Bryan Guy’s previous Premier’s Cup winner Shuffle The Cash ($6EF) gave Ironstein a strong challenge that resulted in a photo finish after the pair matched each other stride for stride over the final few hundred meters, but just didn’t have enough in the tank to defeat the eventual winner.
Finishing off the Tatt’s Cup trifecta a further three and a half lengths away was the Brian Smith-trained Little Stranger ($14), while Michael Moroney’s Viking Hero ran a close fourth.
There were a few tense moments putting on hold celebrations for the connections of Ironstein, however, as Shuffle The Cash’s jockey Luke Nolen lodged a protest.
Nolen claimed that Ironstein and Avdulla shifted ground in the run for home, but admitted the two horses never came into direct contact.
“He dictated my line, and the margin is only a half head,” Nolen said.
Avdulla, who later copped an eight-meeting suspension for his ride on Tattersall’s Tiara runner Hurtle Myrtle, narrowly avoided an earlier charge in the Tatt’s Cup after pleading his case.
“Even though I shifted ground, they didn’t touch and I didn’t impede Luke’s riding,” he said.
Before the Tatt’s Cup win Ryan said that he would not back Ironstein up in this Saturday’s $200,000 Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m), a race the horse won 12 months ago, but plans may be reshuffled.
Ironstein will then look to add more black-type glory to his record in the Wyong and Newcastle Gold Cups in September, while there is also the chance they will be stepped up to elite level for the first time at the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, Ironstein a possible contender for the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 1.
Ryan’s travelling foreman Brad Banfield on Saturday, however, also said that there was a possibility Ironstein’s pre-spring spell would be delayed for a run in the $160,000 Grafton Cup (2300m) on July 14.
“(A final decision) is up to the boss (Ryan), but the Grafton Cup is under consideration,” Banfield said.
“This horse took 11 months to win another race after the Caloundra Cup, but he’s back in good form now.
“He showed a lot of tenacity to fight back and win.
“He’s been going good up here.”
Ironstein has been the picture of consistency this campaign, the John Singleton part-owned horse racing 12 times in their current prep earning prize money in 11 of those races.
In total, Ironstein has started 27 times for seven wins and eight minor placings earning over $516,000 in career earnings.