Tulloch Champion Racehorse
Tulloch Trained By None Other Than Legendary T.J. Smith
Any chronicle of the all-time great thoroughbreds, regardless of whether that accounting is limited to Australian race courses, or includes the entire world, would be incomplete without significant attention being paid to Tulloch.
This great stallion took his name from the Scottish town where the mother of his owner, E. J. Haley, was born.
Trainer T.J. Smith
T.J. Smith and Tulloch accounted for 36 wins, 12 seconds and four third-place finishes, leaving just one occasion out of his 53 total starts where he did not place.
He was foaled in 1954 at Trelawney Stud. That New Zealand operation is the oldest in the country.
A long the way, he became a national hero in a nation renowned for its appreciation of horse racing. He established records and created a legacy that has seldom been equaled, much less beaten.
His remarkable record becomes more so when consideration is given to the fact that he nearly died when his connections failed to recognize a severe digestive disorder that caused the horse to experience severe loss of weight and multiple infections.
These illnesses resulted in his missing two prime years of racing, leaving only speculation as to what would have been his eventual output had he remained healthy.
His sire was the British brown Khorassan, a lightly raced horse with two wins from seven starts. His dam was New Zealand’s Florida, a racing mare that seemed to possess good staying quality, with wins at 2200 and 2400 m. Her sire was the British legend Salmgundi.
T. J. Smith purchased Tulloch as a yearling in 1956 at the Trentham Yearling Sales for 750 guineas. He then sold the colt to Haley, who recognized his potential, an insight that would supply a considerable return on the original investment, considering Tulloch’s earnings that were equivalent to approximately 50 times the price he fetched at the sale.
1st Start As A 2YO In 1957
He had his first start in 1957 as a two-year-old. He did jump as the favourite in the AJC Breeders Plate, but he ran second to Flying Karuna ridden by George Moore.
He came back to race the following weekend with Moore aboard on this occasion, winning the Canterbury Stakes and beating Prince Darius over 5 furlongs, taking only slightly more than a minute to do that.
His next start produced another win, again a 5 furlong sprint, where Arthur Ward rode Tulloch to victory over Good Summer in the Gwyn Nursery Stakes at Caulfield. He followed that with a second-place finish in the Maribyrnong Plate, where he and Moore could not gain the advantage over Concert Star. The rest of the two-year-old campaign held five more victories for Tulloch and nothing worse than a second-place finish, giving him a record for the 1956-57 season of seven wins and six second-place finishes out of 13 starts.
Wins First 8 Races As A 3YO
Tulloch commenced his three-year-old season by winning his first eight races beating his worthy competitor Prince Darius four times in the process.
His next race, a St. Georges Stakes provided Prince Darius an in frequent opportunity to gain revenge, an opportunity of which he availed himself to relegate Tulloch to second place. Next came Tulloch’s only third-place finish as a three-year-old in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He went on to finish the 1957-58 season with six consecutive wins.
He was the pre-race favorite for that year’s Melbourne Cup, however, his owner eventually decided that the 53 kg weight his horse drew might be detrimental to his well-being, given the fact of the considerable additional distance the race involved.
Tulloch again beat Prince Darius to win the AJC Derby and establish a speed record that was 2 seconds better than that established in 1929 by Phar Lap. Of 16 starts that season, there were 14 wins, one second and 1 third place finish, setting his career record at 29 starts, with 21 wins 7 seconds and one third.
Tulloch Falls Ill
This is the point where Tulloch fell ill to the aforementioned stomach virus followed by numerous infections that almost resulted in his death, along with completely wiping out his four-year-old season. He returned for the Fall Racing Carnival in 1960 in a comeback fashion that was nothing short of phenomenal.
12 March, 1960 saw Tulloch returning to the track and winning the Queen’s Plate with Neville Sellwood steering, beating Lord in the process.
He won his last four races of the autumn season, including the Chipping Norton Stakes, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Autumn Stakes and concluding with the P. J. O’Shea Stakes. He now could boast of 26 wins out of 34 starts for his career.
As a six-year-old, Tulloch was tried no fewer than 19 times, producing what for many thoroughbreds would have been considered highly satisfactory results with 10 victories, that for him, represented a slight decline.
He did run the Melbourne Cup of this season, the distance well beyond anything at which he had previously competed and carrying more weight than he had at any time previous. This was the one race where he failed to place, coming in seventh.
Tulloch Wins 36 Races From 53 Starts
He finished racing with 36 wins, 12 second-place finishes, four third places and one unplaced from his 53 starts. Whilst he was a great favourite of the racing public, few could claim to have turned much of a profit from wagering on him since he seldom offered punters much in the way of potential profits.
Tulloch, in retirement, did not enjoy success at stud. He did sire a couple of stakes winners, one being Valide, winner of the 1968 South Australian Oaks.
He was justifiably inducted into the Australian and New Zealand Racing Halls of Fame in the inaugural classes. He was only 15 when he died on 30 June 1969 at Old Gowang Stud.
The name of Tulloch will forever be a part of Australian horse racing lore. Many would argue that no better middle-distance horse has ever graced the turf and there would be few possible examples with which to counter that opinion.