Queensland's Own Welcome to the best coverage of racing in Queensland Queensland's Best
Horse Racing Only
www.horseracingonly.com.au Horse Racing Only logo
Home Racing Queensland National International Blogs Photo Gallery Links Contact Us


By Graham Potter | Monday, June 13, 2022

While the dust was still settling on Stradbroke Handicap, which was run and won by Alligator Blood, the last race on Stradbroke day at Eagle Farm provided racing enthusiasts with another super ‘comeback’ story.

It was ‘Tarrant time’ in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes and the moment belonged to Luke Tarrant, trainer Chris Munce and the four-year-old mare Palaisipan who charged down the straight, hard up against the inside running rail, to upstage the hot favourite Najmaty, who had to settle for second place.

The fact that Tarrant’s past record is littered with a long list of (serious) indiscretions makes his redemption trail and the rewards that come with it all the sweeter.

And make no mistake, this one was very sweet indeed.

A move to Toowoomba and the support of the Tony and Maddysen Sears stable after returning from a lengthy suspension was the springboard for this new phase in Tarrant’s career which brought him to Eagle Farm on Saturday and on to a Group 2 win just three months after resuming race riding.

That, and so too … it should be said … the persistence of Tarrant’s long-time manager, Melanie Adams-Smith … who has stuck fast with the young rider through thick and thin.

“I rode the Palaisipan two starts prior to Saturday’s run,” explained Tarrant. ‘It was a huge, huge run on a wet track. I actually missed the start and got right back on a wet track on a day where horses just weren’t hitting the line. It was a massive run.

“I wasn’t able to ride it in the next start … but then Melanie, my manager, hounded Chris (Munce) all week to try and get me back on and, thankfully, he did put me back on.

“I’ve just got to give serious thanks to Chris for having me up. I was happy just to be here on a day like today. After a rough past I honestly didn’t think I would be back here this early. To ride a winner is massive.

“I don’t think many managers would have got the job done. I have to give a ton of credit to Melanie. She is very good at what she does. She is very involved.

“Melanie wasn’t at the track, but I spoke to her afterwards and she was very emotional after the win.
“It made me emotional because it means so much to her and Frank (Phillips), who I used to be apprenticed to. It was just so good that I could repay her for her hard work.

“She said, ‘you’ve only been back three months … who would have thought … a Group 2!

“I was smiling the whole way up the straight,” continued Tarrant.

“I wasn’t worried about going down the inside. The way she hit the line with me two runs prior, when it was a horrible track and nothing was hitting the line that day, I knew it wouldn’t matter. We just needed some room.

“We drew the number one gate, and my biggest concern was whether we would get a run through. I didn’t want to barge my way out and when the rail opened up I didn’t hesitate and it worked out.

“I’ve won a couple of Group 2’s before … I won the Sires in something like 2015, ages ago … but this one is special for obvious reasons.

“It’s up there, but my win in the Magic Millions (aboard the Darryl Hansen trained Le Chef) is always going to be hard to top.”

Palaisipan, who had been prepared to the minute by Chris Munce, boasts a pretty proud record.

This time last year she won a three-year-old feature … the T L Cooney … at which stage she was still unbeaten after four starts.

In her seven subsequent starts, the daughter of So You Think has now won twice and finished second twice … including a runner-up finish to no less a rival than Apache Chase in the Gateway.

Her overall record now stands at six wins and two second places from only eleven starts.

No wonder you would fight to get the ride for your jockey if you were a manager.

It was fitting finale for a job well done by the Munce team on Queensland’s biggest day of racing … and the evidence suggests there will be more to come.

More articles

Something to celebrate
Something to celebrate
Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best