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Tawrrific time 11 years on
It’s been a wonderful week for past winners of the Melbourne Cup. Yesterday’s story on The Breed highlighted the wins at Bendigo of Olympica (granddaughter of Let’s Elope, winner of the 1991 Melbourne Cup) and Sunset Café (direct descendant of 1965 Cup winner Light Fingers).
Remarkably, the Cup link didn’t stop at Bendigo – it stretched to the other side of the world. Overnight in Ireland, trainer Lee Freedman’s former grand old stayer, Tawrrific (NZ), who won Freedman’s first Cup in 1989, sired a winner in Ireland, an event made more incredible because Tawrrific has been dead for 11 years!
Tawrific Laois (IRE) – yes they misspelt the stallion’s name – a 10-year-old gelding, won the Munster Handicap Hurdle (3600m) at Thurles in Tipperary. The old horse, having his 56th start (for his fourth win) was expected to win after three good placings – he was backed from 7/1 to start 5/1 favourite.
Punters certainly had faith in that recent form – Tawrific Laois, trained by Seamus Fahey, hadn’t won since June 2007; all his wins are over jumps.
Tawrrific (b h 1984, Tawfiq (USA)-Joyarty (NZ), by Noble Bijou (USA)) was retired from racing in 1991 and stood at stud in Victoria. His type and stout pedigree meant that it was a struggle for the horse to attract commercial mares, although he sired two Stakes winners – Eagle Charge (ch g 1993, ex At Li8berty, by Boucher (USA)) and Roccoco (br g 1993, ex-Merry Manina, by Charlottown (GB)) – from limited opportunities.
Tawrrific was sold in late 1998 to stand as a National Hunt stallion in Ireland. He covered his first, and only, book of Irish mares in 1999 at Timothy Carey’s Tullaghansleek Stud, at Castletown Geoghegan in County Westmeath, before he died from a twisted bowel on July 14, 1999.
That sole crop has resulted in only eight wins from only 85 starters (Racing Post statistics), of which Tawrific Laois has won four. It’s sad that Tawrrific wasn’t able to make a bigger impact on the Irish jumps scene, but he will always be remembered for beating his stablemate Super Impose in the Melbourne Cup, and for being the first Cup runner (he had finished 10th in 1988) and the first of five Cup winners for his Hall of Fame trainer.
Tawrrific, ridden by Shane Dye in the Cup, was part-owned by Victorians Barrie and Midge Griffiths and Ed McKeon, and New Zealander Brian Avery. He also won the 1988 SA St. Leger, the 1989 AJC St Leger and the 1989 WATC Cox Stakes.
Watch Tawrrific win the 1989 Melbourne Cup.
Photo: Tawrrific (left) overtakes Super Impose and Kudz (inside) to win the 1989 Melbourne Cup. Courtesy of Freedman Racing.