Stallion Update

STALLION UPDATE as at 18 February 2020

Welcome to the second Stallion Update for the 2019/2020 season. The major spring and summer races are behind us, but the Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Carnivals with their major races are looming rapidly and as usual they will have an influence on final premiership outcomes.

After Rubick’s brief stint in the lead, courtesy of Yes Yes Yes’s The Everest win, a more orthodox pecking order in the stallion premiership by earnings is taking shape. I Am Invincible leads from Snitzel, Pierro and Rubick, with less than $1 million separating first to fourth. Next comes Zoustar, Declaration Of War and Ocean Park who are all close together, with Zoustar getting there through consistent results, while the latter two had one-off big race wins.

By winners I Am Invincible (115) continues to lead with Written Tycoon (106) second, followed by Snitzel (99), Sebring (93) and Fastnet Rock (90). By stakes winners Snitzel (11) leads I Am Invincible, Pierro, Exceed And Excel and So You Think (all 7). Zoustar and Redoute’s Choice are next on 6.

The leading 3yo sire by earnings remains Rubick by some margin courtesy of The Everest. Then follows Exceed And Excel, I Am Invincible, Fastnet Rock, Dundeel and All Too Hard. By winners the leading 3yo sire is Deep Field (45) from Fastnet Rock (40), I Am Invincible (38), Snitzel (35), Sebring and Better Than Ready (30). Zoustar (29) is next. By stakes winners the leading 3yo sires are Exceed And Excel, I Am Invincible and So You Think (all 4) and lead from Snitzel and Brazen Beau (both 2).

The leading second-season sire by earnings is Rubick from Deep Field, Brazen Beau, Better Than Ready and Shooting To Win. By winners the leading second-season sire is Deep Field (50) from Better Than Ready (35), Rubick (30), Brazen Beau (24) and Shooting To Win (22). For our Dissident owners, he sits seventh on 18. By stakes winners the leading second-season sire is Brazen Beau (4) from Deep Field (2) with eight stallions on 1 including Dissident, courtesy of our own Pancho.

By prizemoney the leading first-season sire is Pride Of Dubai from Spill The Beans, Headwater, Night Of Thunder and Vancouver but it is early days and any significant race win will take a first-season stallion to the lead. By winners Spill The Beans (4) leads Headwater (3) followed by Pride Of Dubai, Night Of Thunder, Jabali and Press Statement (all 2).





With the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale over for another year, we kicked off our 2020 intake with three purchases, which we were delighted with.

We first struck on day one with lot 134, a colt by first season sire Stratum Star out of Northern Meteor mare Bisutti, from the Widden draft, for $180,000. He is a three quarter brother to stakes winner Absolute Flirt, who is trained by Danny O’Brien. This was a major factor in our decision to ask Danny to train him, which will be our first horse with Danny, so we are super excited to see where this new association goes. Below is a photo and link to his pedigree and parade video on the Magic Millions website:

Our second purchase was lot 864 for $260,000. He is a striking grey colt by another first season sire in Capitalist, our of group winning mare The Grey Flash, which Gary Portelli will train. As he has the physique and pedigree to be a runner in next years MM 2y0 Classic race, he will therefore be an all female ownership to target the Magic Millions Racing Women’s Bonus, a great initiative which awards a bonus to the first four all female owned or leased horses across the line in the 2yo Classic race. Below is a photo and link to his pedigree and parade video on the Magic Millions website:

Our final purchase of the sale, and only one from Book 2, was lot 942, another colt by a first season sire, this time in Winning Rupert for $170,000. He is out of stakes placed mare Nadeem Lass and will also be trained by Gary Portelli as he will be our Prostate Cancer fundraising horse, with a percentage of prizemoney, Gary’s training fees and our management fees going to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. This will be our second ever Prostate Cancer fundraising horse, after Sox On The Fox a couple of years ago with Gary. Unfortunately, due to a career ending injury, we never saw Sox On The Fox make the race track, however we were still able to raise over $4,000 for the foundation.

The Prostate Cancer fundraising horses followed a number of sucessful Breast Cancer fundraising horses we have had with Gary, most notably All My Loving, who raised over $30,000, and currently Ruby Tuesday, who is already a winner in her three career starts. So we are excited to see how much we can raises with this new boy for a very important cause.

Below is a photo and link to his pedigree on the Magic Millions website:


We now turn our attention to Karaka in NZ, with inspections starting in a couple of weeks, ahead of Book 1, from 26-28 January.


The Keith Dryden-trained HANDLE THE TRUTH started favourite in the 1100m Listed Starlight Stakes at Rosehill last Saturday 30 November. Consequently it was a touch disappointing that he did not win, but he put in another outstanding performance to finish third (pictured below courtesy of Bradley Photographers).

The drop back to 1100m from the 1400m of his last start in the Goulburn Cup was always going to be a risk, but Keith had four weeks to freshen him for the race and he was in great order on race day.

After threatening to be in a perfect position after the start, Handle The Truth was checked twice which forced him to lose ground and travel three-wide. Tommy Berry was suspended for the interference that he caused.

This, combined with the fact that they raced at a fairly modest tempo to the home corner for a Listed 1100m event, meant that he gave away an impossible start on straightening. Handle The Truth flew to the line under Nash Rawiller’s encouragement to fill the minor placing. He ran the fastest last 400m of the meeting as well as the equal-fastest last 200m to highlight the quality of his performance.

After an incredibly successful preparation that included victory in the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko on Everest Day he has now gone for a well-earned spell. All going well his target next year will be the Gr 1 Stradbroke Handicap so we will plot a course towards that when he comes back from a spell. Like the Coolmore Classic above for Sweet Scandal, it is a handicap race so we hope he gets his chance coming in with a light weight.


After Pancho’s outstanding second placing to stablemate, Kubrick, in the $1 million Bondi Stakes, trainer Chris Waller set him for the Listed TCL TV Stakes (traditional name the Batman Stakes). This is a traditional 3yo 1800m race run at Flemington on Oaks Day for potential stayers of the future. Many years ago our Tony Noonan-trained Dambuster ran in the race but to our dismay champion jockey Damien Oliver was three wide throughout and Dambuster finished well back. Last year’s race winner has gone on to bigger and better things, as that was Melbourne Cup winner, Vow And Declare. Hopefully Pancho can also go on to bigger and better things.

Drawn a little awkwardly in barrier eight out of fourteen, the plan was to get back and slot in, which jockey Hugh Bowman managed to achieve. But coming into the straight he was held in by another runner near the tail of the field and his chances looked forlorn. However Hugh managed to push his way into the clear and Pancho took off. He flew down the outside to reel in race favourite Russian Camelot in the shadows of the post, much to the delirium of his large group of owners present. (Photo courtesy of Racing Photos)

He has been very impressive at each of his last three starts, and prior to the Flemington race, Chris had already earmarked a Rosehill Guineas program for him. That has now been confirmed and his immediate plan is a three-run program starting with the Gr 2 Hobartville Stakes on 22 February over 1400m, followed by the Gr 1 Randwick Guineas on 7 March over 1600m, and then the Gr 1 Rosehill Guineas on 21 March over 2000m. As you can imagine that plan has the owner group very excited.

Of added significance was the fact that Pancho was Dissident’s first stakes winner, which is great news for the Laurel Oak syndicate which owns a share in Dissident.


Last Saturday, 19 October, saw one of the absolute highlight moments in Laurel Oak history when a plan came together as well as anyone could possibly have expected, with HANDLE THE TRUTH’s brilliant victory, pictured below courtesy of Bradley Photographers, in the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick.

We had identified The Kosciuszko as a potential race for Handle The Truth earlier in the year. After his impressive Rosehill win in July, trainer Keith Dryden mapped out a plan for him. He had a little freshen-up and then back to work aiming for the race with the only variables in the plan being whether he had one trial and two race starts or two trials and one race start. Race programming meant that Keith chose the latter option which saw him run an unlucky fifth at Randwick on Epsom Day.

Nash Rawiller was booked to ride several weeks ago and the horse was in great order leading into the race. The last piece of the jigsaw was a good barrier in seven out of fourteen, and we arrived on the day knowing that we were a live hope for victory.

Walking onto the track we heard the course announcer say that Handle The Truth would look the winner at some stage in the straight due to his on-pace racing style, and the fact that the main dangers were get-back-and-run-on horses. And that is how it panned out.

After jumping reasonably, he mustered quickly and Nash had him trailing the speed and poised to challenge on straightening. He went to the lead 200m from home and held on for a one-length victory.

To say that there was unbridled joy in our camp would not do the display of emotions justice. We were hoarse from cheering and the mass celebrations began.

The Kosciuszko provided a unique concept in that we were chosen by a slot-holder who had the good fortune to draw a winning ticket from the sweepstake in which several thousand tickets were sold. Our slot-holders were the Shellharbour TAB Punters Club, of which there were forty members, and around thirty of them came to the races. Add that to our twenty-odd owners in Handle The Truth and there was much jubilation.

We have got to know some of the slot-holders over the past few weeks and it has been a delight to be involved with them. And it is also a delight to see the pure joy that Handle The Truth has brought them. They could not have imagined the journey that a $5 ticket in a sweep could have taken them on. Pictured below, courtesy of Bradley Photographers, are the happy owners and slot-holders at the trophy presentation.


The post-race scenes, the trophy presentation and the aftermath in the winner’s room and beyond were sensational to be a part of.

The $685,000 first prize was the highest prizemoney cheque that a Laurel Oak horse had ever earned, although from the owners’ point of view once shared with the slot-holders it was behind a couple of REBEL DANE’s biggest prizemoney cheques.

The quality of Handle The Truth’s victory was evidenced by the race time of 1:08.21 which is sizzling and was quicker than Deprive’s time in the Gr 3 Sydney Stakes one race later.

Remarkably, including bonuses and trophies, Handle The Truth’s prizemoney is now officially over $1 million.

The victory in the second feature race on Everest Day resulted in widespread media coverage and an appearance by a very tired-looking Yours Truly the next morning on Thoroughbred Weekly. The morning after a big race win is not ideal for live TV!

A particular highlight from the win was that we were able to enjoy it with Keith Dryden. Last year we celebrated our 30-year association and to be able to share our biggest moment together made it extra special (pictured below, courtesy of Bradley Photographers).

While the overall management of the horse and the lead-in to The Kosciuszko were a credit to Keith and his team, the win was part of a very long-range plan that turned out better than we could ever have imagined. When Handle The Truth’s dam, Assertively, retired from racing as a disappointing maiden, I was keen to keep her in order to send her to Star Witness as it introduced some well-balanced linebreeding to the good mare Audrey Joan. We could not keep the first product of the mating due to xray issues and sold him cheaply. However the second foal had clean xrays so we retained him and the result is Handle The Truth.

We subsequently sold the mare in-foal to Star Witness (a bad move now!) but hopefully we will get some future benefit as we bought back into the full-sister to Handle The Truth when Ben Ahrens bought her as a yearling at the Magic Millions Gold Coast March Sale earlier in the year.

Even before last Saturday the Handle The Truth journey has been fantastic and after last Saturday’s magnificent outcome, we hope that there is more to come.


Sweet Scandal Earns Well Deserved Black Type

In another satisfying result, albeit not a winning one, the Chris Waller-trained SWEET SCANDAL followed up her great first-up win at Randwick with a good third placing in the 1200m Gr 3 Bass Strait Beef Steaks (traditionally the Northwood Plume Stakes) at Caulfield on 12 October. After she drew well in what was a very strong field of black-type mares, jockey Michael Walker gave her a good run in transit, and she battled away well to run a very good third (pictured above in the yellow Grant Bloodstock colours, courtesy of Racing Photos). After previously running two fourths with no luck in black-type races, it was great to see her earn black type for her future breeding career, with hopefully the prospect of more to come.

Kentucky Diva – One To Watch

Despite just celebrating her fifth birthday, better things look in store for Laurel Oaks’ lightly raced Fastnet Rock mare Kentucky Diva following a dominant win in a benchmark 64 over 2100 metres at Sandown Lakeside on Sunday.

The veteran of just four starts, the Team Hawkes-trained mare (pictured as a yearling) was given a picture-perfect ride by Dwayne Dunn to defeat Romelo (Ekraar) by one and a quarter-lengths with Ayers Rock (Nicconi) three lengths back in third.

The winner of a 1600 metre maiden at Hawkesbury on June 21, Kentucky Diva was coming off a luckless sixth at Warwick Farm at her most recent start.

“She’s only had a handful of starts, the owners have been very patient,” co-trained Wayne Hawkes said.

“They bought a horse knowing that she would need a stack of time.

“She never showed a lot from the get-go but she’s slowly starting to put it together.

“She should have won in Sydney last start, but she is doing the right thing and really hit the line hard today.”

Purchased by Laurel Oak Bloodstock for $280,000 out of the Milburn Creek draft at the 2015 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, the Makybe bred mare is the fifth foal and fifth winner out of the stakes-winning Jade Robbery mare Valkyrie Diva.

Also, the dam of the stakes-winner Wales (Redoute’s Choice), Valkyrie Diva is a half-sister to the champion, 3-time Melbourne Cup heroine Makybe Diva, the Group II winner Musket and the Listed winner La Amistad.

Valkyrie Diva has a 2yo colt by Zoustar. She was not served in 2016 and visited Snitzel last spring.

News: Breednet

Sir Bacchus Gains Winter Stakes Start

Sir Bacchus boasts a win over Redkirk Warrior but while the latter has gone on to win three Group One races, the Chris Waller-trained gelding will be aiming for a first black-type success in in the Winter Stakes.

Redkirk Warrior will run in the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday while Sir Bacchus will be at home at Rosehill after getting into the field for the Winter Stakes (1400m) as first emergency.

One of two runners for trainer Chris Waller, Sir Bacchus has been promoted to the field with Patrick Payne deciding to run Widgee Turf at Caulfield instead.

Payne will still have Chamois Road in Saturday’s Rosehill feature while Waller also saddles up Invinzabeel.

Sir Baccus’s win over Redkirk Warrior came in October 2016 in a 1200m-race at Moonee Valley in which another subsequent triple Group One winner Santa Ana Lane was fourth.

While he hasn’t risen to those heights, Waller believes Sir Bacchus can make his presence felt with luck.

“He’s going OK but needs luck because his get-back racing style makes it hard for him,” he said.

“Invinzabeel has an awkward gate but at least he is getting back on a good track which will suit.”

Invinzabeel to be ridden by Blake Shinn, is a $6.50 chance while is at $18 with Jay Ford to ride.

The John Thompson-trained Dreamforce was the $5 favourite on Thursday just ahead of stablemate Special Missile at $5.50.

Dreamforce looked the certain winner of the Civic Stakes on June 30 before being claimed on the line by the Waller-trained Liapari to go down by a half head.

Special Missile also loomed to win his most recent start before being overwhelmed late to finish third in a 1600m-race won by Karavali from Dark Eyes.

Dreamforce will again be ridden by Sydney premiership leader Brenton Avdulla with apprentices’ front runner Rachel King booked for Special Missile.

But if third emergency Flow gets a start, King will ride the Godolphin sprinter.

News: AAP

Sir Bacchus back to winning form

Rosehill’s Chris Waller produced the trifecta for the feature $100,000 Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday with Sir Bacchus, New Universe and Invinzabeel within 30 minutes of his stable winning the Group 2 PJ O’Shea Stakes with Egg Tart on the Sunshine Coast.

It has been some time since the five-year-old Sebring gelding Sir Bacchus saluted, October 2016 at Moonee Valley over 1200m, when he defeated the Royal Ascot bound Redkirk Warrior (GB), It is Written and Santa Ana Lane. Heady subsequent form lines indeed.

After a long time away from racing to rest and strengthen the stable produced him at Rosehill on May 5th for a fourth over 1350m and again on May 19th for a sixth over 1500m.

Back at 1400m jockey Tim Clark settled back with Sir Bacchus (53.5kg) and then made a weaving run from the 300m that took right until the line to haul in the stablemates New Universe (NZ) (53kg) and Andrew Adkins and Invinzabeel (58kg) and Jason Collett racing out in the middle of the track.

Once clear the grey stormed to the line and he now looks ready to add to his record of seven wins and two seconds from 23 starts.

Sir Bacchus and Tim Clark, picture

However, Saturday’s return to the winners stall caught punters out with Sir Bacchus paying $18.00 on fixed odds and $19.90 on the tote.

The margins at the line were a half head to New Universe (Darci Brahma) and a long head to Invinzabeel (I Am Invincible). The $3.80 favourite Special Missile was fourth.

The time was 1.24.37 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 35.01.

The win was number 161 for Waller for the Sydney season after two earlier wins on the programme.

“I thought he had a terrific chance, the writing was on the wall last start. He had about six to eight months off and they always need a few runs to get back and I think coming back to 1400m helped as it might have a bit far last start,” said Waller.

“Just getting him back to his best for now is pleasing and I think he will continue on with it,” he added.

Sir Bacchus, out of the Encosta de Lago mare Bacchanal Woman, has now earned stakes of $465,250 for his ownership group Laurel Oak Bacchus, Boeara Holdings, Mr F W Cook, Mr S P Grant, Dirty Grey, Mr K Lowe, Mrs M P Lowe, Mr A W Reichard, Mr J T O’Brien, Club Bacchus, Mr M W Powell, Mr N Macdonald, Mrs R H Richards, Mrs C M Cook and Mrs E K Grant.

Copy: Rob Burnett, ThoroughbredNews,
Header Image: –Stablemates left to right, Sir Bacchus and Clark, New Universe (NZ) and Invinzabeel and Josh Parr, picture

Exceltic to give guide on Golden Slipper chances

Exceltic (Excelebration) is the horse Gary Portelli believes is his best chance for back-to-back Golden Slipper wins but he admits he faces a tough assignment at his first start.

The colt is one of five acceptors for Saturday’s Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill but standing in his way of a debut victory is the Chris Waller-trained Performer, winner of the Breeders’ Plate in October.

Performer is the TAB’s second favourite for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 24 and odds-on to win the Canonbury.

But as Performer has eased from $1.50 to $1.60, Exceltic has been backed from $4.60 to $3.80 to upset the Chris Waller-trained colt.

Exceltic’s debut has been delayed more than once with Portelli taking care to make sure he is at his best for his first start.

He decided not to run him in the Breeders’ Plate and opted to take him out of a race last week, sensing he was not quite as he wanted him.

“He has won all three of his trials and I have a lot of time for him,” Portelli said.

“It’s a big ask to go up against Performer but it will give us a guide where we are.”

Exceltic sports the white, green and red colours carried by the Portelli-trained dual Group One winner Rebel Dane who has just completed his first season at stud.

Gary Portelli Set To Unleash Laurel Oak’s Picaro

The next chapter of the successful partnership between Gary Portelli’s stable and Laurel Oak Bloodstock is begging to be written by superbly bred debutant Picaro at Randwick on Saturday.

Pierro’s strapping two-year-old son will contest the Tab Handicap (1200m) after an impressive trial, with Portelli eyeing off a start in the rich Karaka Million at Ellerslie Racecourse on January 28 should Picaro impress this weekend.

Picaro is out of group 3-winning mare Sookie, and Portelli is hopeful the link with Laurel Oak will deliver his yard more success following the recent retirement of their most successful venture, Rebel Dane.

He was a two-time group 1 winner and, while hoping to follow in his footsteps might be a tad ambitious, Portelli said Picaro had enough ability to carve his own reputation at the race track following his second to Burbank in a pre-Christmas trial.

“The winner of Waller’s is a pretty good horse,” Portelli said.

“There’s a big rap on him apparently, the winner of the trial, they like him a lot, he’s got ability. We’re looking forward at seeing [Picaro] run on Saturday.

“Our guy has always shown ability, out of a good mare Sookie, fantastic family.

“He’s got a good [pedigree] page, he was bought in New Zealand by Louis Mihalyka from Laurel Oak Bloodstock and we’ve had a lot of luck with Louis over the years.


“This bloke will go to New Zealand for the Karaka two-year-old race if he was to win this race or run second, he’d qualify to get into that million-dollar race at the end of January, so we’ll see how we go Saturday.”

Warwick Farm-based Portelli will unleash several two-year-old debutants in the coming weeks as he declares his hand for this year’s Golden Slipper, which he won last year with She Will Reign.

He rates Golden Gift (1100m) winner Secret Lady as the best of his juveniles so far this year, while Perfect Pitch, a Pierro filly also raced by Laurel Oak, won a race at Rosehill last month.

“Secret Lady’s probably the one that’s the best of them at the moment but we’ve had a few trial probably in the last week or so that go all right,” Portelli said.

“Next few weeks we’ll hopefully unearth something.

“I particularly like to train the two and three-year-olds, I put a lot of time into their programs and their preparations and their feed and the trackwork riders put a lot of work into educating them properly and having them do everything right on race day.

“It goes a long way, particularly if you’ve got a horse that’s bred to be [a performer at] two, you’ve got to make sure you give them every opportunity to race.

“With a bigger stable you probably can’t because you’ve got too many older horses in your stable. We’ve got two and three-year-olds but not too many older horses.”

Meanwhile, She Will Reign will resume in the Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm on February 10 before heading to Caulfield to contest the $500,000 group 1 Oakleigh Plate.

She hasn’t raced since failing in the Everest.