After a racing career spanning 5 1/2 years, our talented, quirky, frustrating, but loveable Tom Melbourne has ran his last race. While his career may have done little for punters pockets, he certainly found a special place in their hearts.
Tom started his race career as a 3yo with an impressive win on a wet, winter’s night at Dundalk in Ireland. Given his relationship to Fiorente, who had recently won the Melbourne Cup, Tom’s Irish owner named the horse Tom Melbourne in the hope that someone from Melbourne would come and snap him up.
OTI’s Terry Henderson was on hand at the mares sales in Newmarket and saw the race with good friend and agent Hubie de Burgh. Within 12 hours the owner’s wishes came true.
Placed with Lee Freedman at Flemington, Tom started his career with an inglorious 12th of 12 runners in a modest benchmark 70 race at Bendigo. He then won his second start in Australia at Sale.
With Freedman, he went on to win the Albury Cup and finish second in The Lexus and the Queen Elizabeth on the final day of the Melbourne carnival. Other than his first two starts, Tom, while with Freedman, competed at 1600m or more.
Transferred to Chris Waller in Sydney, Tom continued to build his reputation as a ‘bridesmaid’. A stable favourite, he went on to win over a further $1M, winning only one race but finishing second 11 times. His seconds included the Epsom, Hollindale, Cantala and the Tramway (twice).
His only win for Waller came up in the Carrington Stakes on Australia Day in 2019 with Blake Shinn aboard. With Chris, he never started at a distance beyond 1600m.
There is no doubt Tom had the talent to be regarded as a top racehorse. However for many in racing, he became more important than that. His feats and quirky nature endeared him to many who otherwise wouldn’t have taken an interest in the sport. Like Maxwell Smart of the TV series ‘Get Smart’, his tag phrase may as well of been “missed it by that much”.
Tom now moves on to Living Legends where fans can give him a pat. He ended his career with 51 starts, 6 wins, 14 seconds and 4 thirds, winning $1.4M.
He’ll continue to remain a favourite horse for his owners and long suffering punters.