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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.

Bosson aboard Maygrove for Waikato Cup

Opie Bosson is the new rider for last-start Group 3 Counties Cup (2100m) winner and Laurel Oak bred Maygrove in Saturday’s Group 3 SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa.

The champion jockey takes over from Johnathan Parkes, who was aboard the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Authorized seven-year-old for his wins in the Feilding Cup (2100m) and Counties Cup, who is ruled out on Saturday feature through suspension.

Bosson, who married Trackside presenter Emily Murphy since last riding, returns to riding at Tauranga on Friday.

“I’m looking forward to getting back. I’m a bit hungry actually and I’m looking forward to riding Maygrove again. He was tough at Pukekohe last time and he knows how to win a Cup,” said Bosson, who began a suspension on November 18.

“I need to win a couple — after all, I’ve got a wife to support now.”

It Was The Perfect Pitch

The Gary Portelli trained PERFECT PITCH was slowly away on debut last month when chasing home promising filly Gongs for third on debut at Canterbury, but took plenty of improvement from that outing in both fitness and experience.

She raced up on the pace for Rachel King and fought on tenaciously to claim a head win in the 1100 metre dash over the favourite Miss Invincible.

Perfect Pitch was a $100,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Southern Cross Breeders draft for Laurel Oak Bloodstock in whose colours she runs.

Gary Portelli has intimate knowledge of Perfect Pitch, having trained the mother Absolutely Flying and half-sister Lipizzan for Laurel Oak Bloodstock.

“I was pretty confident coming into today but no one wanted to talk about this filly,” Portelli said.

“She had no luck at Canterbury, I think she should have finished a lot closer to the winner and she’d come on since the run.

“What you saw today is probably just a taste of what’s going to come.

“She’s got a real stayer’s action for mine and I think she’s going to be a nice three-year-old later on so I probably wouldn’t push onto the Magic Millions.”

Perfect Pitch is the second winner from Absolutely Flying, a placed Commands three-quarter sister to Group II winner Camporella from stakes-winner Really Flying.

Coolmore’s Golden Slipper winning son of Lonhro is the leading Australian Second Crop sire with 18 winners of over $2.1 million highlighted by four stakes-winners Pinot, Levendi, Kentucky Breeze and Satin Slipper.

Another Cup for Maygrove

A $110,000 purchase at the Select Sale at Karaka, the Laurel Oak-bred, lion-hearted stayer Maygrove (Authorized) is becoming a king of New Zealand’s Cup races.

The gutsy grey’s trophy cabinet already included the Group 2 Wellington Cup (2400m), Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m), Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) and Listed Jakkalberry Classic (1950m), and on Saturday he struck again in the $100,000 Group 3 Ssangyong Counties Cup (2100m) at Pukekohe.

A victim of his own success, Maygrove’s high rating has earned him a 60-kilogram topweight in the Fielding Gold Cup and Counties Cup in his last two appearances. But it hasn’t been enough to stop him.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and ridden by Johnathan Parkes, Maygrove sat in a handy position before surging into contention in the straight.

In a desperate three-horse battle down the straight with lighter-weighted rivals Five To Midnight (NZ) (Domesday) and Promise To Reign (Manhattan Rain), Maygrove refused to surrender and lunged at the line to win by a short head.

“He’s a cracker horse, having to carry the 60 kilograms,” Parkes said. “He’s been headed about 100 metres out, but he’s kept giving in a super effort.”

Raced by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock Ltd in partnership with Patrick O’Rourke, Maygrove has now won nine of his 48 starts and more than $470,000 in prize-money.

“He’s a star,” Petagna’s bloodstock manager Bruce Perry said. “He’s so game, he’s brilliant. He’s great for everyone to be a part of.”

News from New Zealand Bloodstock

Monasterio Another Impressive Winner

MONASTERIO followed a similar path to Bid Of Faith in that he ran an encouraging fifth first-up, was placed second-up, and then won impressively third-up.

Second-up from a spell at Doomben, Monasterio drew the outside gate and had to go back to last in a 1600m race. Jockey Matthew Cahill was continually held up getting a run, and had to pick his way through the field, but when clear Monasterio motored to the line for a very good second that made many of the horses to follow analyses.

On the strength of that impressive run, trainer Chris Waller decided that another run in the same grade over the same distance on the same track would suit him well, but once he drew wide again our optimism diminished. On this occasion though Matthew Cahill was able to push his way to the outside so Monasterio had clear running and once again he motored to the line, this time reeling the six-length deficit on the home corner to record an emphatic victory.

We expect him to be better suited over further, and Chris is yet to decide whether he will run over 2000m on 9 December at either Doomben or Rosehill, or wait till 16 December for another 1600m run at Doomben.

Bid Of Faith Wins Impressively

Coming back from a long injury layoff, BID OF FAITH put the writing on the wall with an encouraging second-up placing at Moruya in October. Third-up this Keith Dryden/Scott Collings-trained mare won impressively at Canberra on Melbourne Cup Day.

Ridden by Brendan Ward, she settled well back in the field and gave them a good start on straightening, but powered to the line to score an emphatic win. There was much celebration in Canberra where she was one of a winning treble for the stable.

There was also plenty of cheering at Flemington where a number of the owners were in our party in the Panorama Restaurant.

She appears to be in good form going forward, and was scratched from a strong race at Goulburn last Sunday due to a wide gate, and runs again this afternoon (Friday 1 December) in Canberra, but has a wide gate to contend with again, so will need a lot of luck.

Stakes Win #4 As Maygrove Goes For Gold

Australian-bred Maygrove returned to the top of his game at Awapuni in New Zealand on Saturday, capturing the Listed Feilding Gold Cup over 2100m in a gutsy performance.

Winner of four stakes races across the ditch, Maygrove has been out of the winners’ circle since October last year, but fought back strongly when challenged in the Gold Cup.

Having no luck at his most recent outing in the Listed Rotorua Challenge Plate, when second up from a spell, Maygrove had to overcome a wide draw at Awapuni, taking up the lead 600m from home and then holding on gamely.

“He (Maygrove) had to overcome the draw and a big weight (59kgs), but it was a tough effort from the horse,” an admiring trainer, Andrew Forsman, said after the race.

The flashy grey is something of a crowd favourite in New Zealand and has now compiled eight wins – including the Group Two Wellington Cup and Group Two Awapuni Cup – and 15 placings from 47 starts for over NZ$400,000 in stakes.

Now a 7YO, Maygrove was bred in NSW by the Laurel Oak Lady Zhivago Syndicate, which is managed by leading bloodstock agent, Louis Mihalyka.

“We’ve always had an opinion of Maygrove and were actually the underbidders when he sold to Bruce Perry Bloodstock for NZ$110,000 as a yearling,” Mihalyka points out. “He is by the former Darley stallion, Authorized: a son of Montjeu who won the 2007 Epsom Derby. John O’Shea really liked the horse at the time and said to me that he wanted to train him, but obviously the other mob were keen to buy him too.

“Laurel Oak raced Maygrove’s mother, Lady Zhivago, which we’d purchased at Easter for $120,000 and she ended up winning a couple in Sydney and a VRC race at Bendigo.”

HOOFNOTE: Mihalyka has an interesting story as to how Maygrove got his name.

“When he was being sold as a yearling, some people from a local rest home were there at the sale for a day out. Maybe they liked him because he was a grey, but anyway the new owner got wind of it and decided to name the horse after their rest home … Maygrove. Evidently they now take a bus load to the races to follow the horse whenever he goes around.”

News from Aushorse

Fourth Black Type Win For Laurel Oak Bred Maygrove (NZ)

Bought for $110,000 at Karaka in 2012, accomplished stayer Maygrove (Authorized) took his prizemoney earnings to almost four times that amount with another tenacious performance in Saturday’s $50,000 Listed Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni.

Ridden by Johnathan Parkes for Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Maygrove trailed the early leader and then made his move as the field rounded the home turn.

The grey kicked away and opened up a clear advantage, then stuck to his guns under 59 kilograms to win by a long neck.

Raced by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock in partnership with Patrick O’Rourke, Maygrove has now had 47 starts for eight wins, 12 placings and just over $409,000 in prizemoney. This was his fourth stakes win, having previously won the Group 2 Wellington Cup and Awapuni Gold Cup along with the Listed Jakkalberry Classic.

Maygrove was bred by the Laurel Oak Lady Zhivago Syndicate.

Copy: NZB, Image: Maygrove claiming the Listed Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup – Race Images PNth

Stallion Profile – Rebel Dane

Sentiment and luck played a large part in the Rebel Dane story, but once he got to the track, the horse did the rest. He proved one of our best sprinters for several seasons and now there’s every reason to believe he will make a success of his new career at stud.

Bluebloods’ David Bay takes a look at Rebel Dane in his July Stallion Profile. Click the below image to view the complete article.

Back to back wins for Vaucluse Bay

Vaucluse Bay (Al Maher) added a second victory on the day for Waller when he impressively took out a Benchmark 85 (2000m) at Rosehill.

The rising four-year-old gelding came into the race having won a Benchmark 74 (1800m) at the track on 15 July and yesterday he defeated More Than Fabulous (More Than Ready) by four lengths with just a short head back to Life O’Brien (High Chaparral) in third.

“He’s come of age this preparation. Today was by far his most impressive win,” Waller said.

“It was a typical Corey Brown ride, 10 out of 10. He found the right spot and makes it a lot easier for horses. He should win another race based on that pretty quick. We’ll look for a race in two weeks. If not, we’ll go three weeks.”

Bred by the Laurel Oak Power Of Love Syndicate, we would like to congratulate the winning connections of Vaucluse Bay; Mr S P Grant, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mrs E K Grant, Mr K Grant, Mr G J Grant, Mr M Lamens, Mrs J A Gazal, Ms L A Green, Mrs L T Malouf, Mrs S Bishop, Mrs M L Bekier, Mrs L Lamens, Mrs H A Szangolies, Mrs A J Cobcroft, Mrs E C Walker, Mr D J Gazal

Sebring Winner for Laurel Oak

The Gary Portelli stable continued a great run of success with their juveniles at Canterbury on Wednesday with a front running victory for Lipizzan, a $120,000 Inglis Easter purchase for Laurel Oak Bloodstock from the Newhaven Park draft.

A brave second in the Listed Woodlands Stud Stakes at Scone when resuming from a spell, Lipizzan was sent out favourite for this 1100 metre maiden despite drawing near the outside.

Ridden forward by apprentice Rachel King, the daughter of Sebring quickly worked across to lead and was never headed to win by a length and a quarter.

“She’s always shown a lot of potential,” said Gary Portelli.

“She drew wide at Scone and fought on strongly, so I always thought if she dropped back to a midweek race she could just win.

“She’s a BOBS filly, so now we’ll try and win as much prizemoney with her as we can.”

With a win and three placings, Lipizzan has already won over $70,000 for her large group of Laurel Oak Bloodstock owners.

The 13th two year-old winner this season for Sebring, Lipizzan was bred by Laurel Oak in partnership and is the first winner for Absolutely Flying, a Commands three-quarter sister to Group III winner Camporella.

News from Breednet

Rebel Dane retired and ready for stud

The successful racing career of Rebel Dane, a dual Group 1 winning entire, has concluded and a new phase as a stallion at Swettenham Stud this spring now awaits.

While the team at Swettenham Stud is full of excitement at the arrival of the stunning seven-year-old, it has been a sad past week for all at Portelli Racing as they said goodbye to their stable favourite.

It was evident by the way Portelli spoke about his old champ, that there was a real sense of respect and awe, looking back at what this horse has accomplished throughout his career.

“He was such great flag bearer for the stables, a great booster to staff morale racing at Group level each carnival, and the old saying rings true “you don’t know what you miss till it’s gone,” Portelli said.

“Horses like him don’t come around very often, not with his record. He has more wins and placings at Group 1 and 2 level than what most horses going to stud have had starts,” Portelli said.

“He raced the best, at the highest level, season after season, he couldn’t dodge them, he always put up a fight. He is a genuine Group 1 horse, he raced and beat the best horses in the country.”

“He is a war horse, he has finished sound, he never had an issue, a real trainers horse.”

“I hope he sets the trend for breeders to appreciate well-campaigned, well performed and proven gallopers, and the advantages of breeding to them.”

Louis Mihalyka of Laurel Oak Bloodstock, Rebel Dane’s managing owner, reflected on his career and is excited about his future as a successful stallion.

“Having a horse race in Group 1 or 2 company for over 30 starts is an owner’s dream. The fact he was competitive virtually every time he raced made it even more special,” Mihalyka said.

“The Manikato Stakes win was the highlight as there were nine Group One winners in the ten horse field. Once he drew well we knew he had a chance and the fact he delivered was a magic moment in life for all of us.

“Bred on a Danehill/More Than Ready cross, he has the pedigree to go with his looks and soundness, to be as good at stud as he was on the racetrack. We are really looking forward to the next stage of his career.”

Rebel Dane will stand for the a fee of $12,500 (incl. GST)

News: TBV

Rebel Dane to stand at Swettenham Stud

Adam Sangster of Swettenham Stud and the owners of Rebel Dane are delighted to announce that the dual Group One-winning stallion will stand at Swettenham Stud from the 2017 season.

Rebel Dane will continue his racing career over the coming weeks in a number of Group One options that will be available to him in Sydney, Brisbane or Adelaide before the curtain comes down on a magnificent racing career.

Rebel Dane has raced in top-class company for the majority of his career and his last 30 starts have been in Group One or Group Two company, a testament to his ability and his soundness. Since his 4th career start he has not raced below Group 3 company.


His Group Ones win have come in the Manikato Stakes and the Rupert Clarke Stakes. After his magnificent win in the $1million WFA Manikato Stakes last October Rebel Dane contested the Hong Kong International Sprint, where he was beaten just over four lengths after a wide run in a race that was rated one of the best International Sprints in 2016.

He has been a high-class racehorse for several seasons and the opportunity to stand him at Swettenham Stud was enthusiastically accepted by Rebel Dane’s owners. Louis Mihalyka of Laurel Oak Bloodstock, Rebel Dane’s managing owner reported ‘Standing Rebel Dane in Victoria was a natural fit as the horse has won his two Group Ones there and a number of Victorian Studs expressed interest in him. The opportunity to stand him at Swettenham is simply a bonus as they are one of the leading stud farms in Victoria with a wonderful reputation and  a well-established client base that will give Rebel Dane the opportunity for a successful stud career.’

Adam Sangster was equally enthusiastic. ‘The opportunity to access a dual Group One-winning sprinter is rare for Victorian breeders, especially the winner of one of our iconic sprint races the Manikato Stakes. We were keen to get the stallion for Swettenham Stud and Victoria and were delighted when the owners agreed. He will provide Victorian breeders the opportunity to access a sound, high-class sprinter bred on the successful Danehill/More Than Ready cross that will compliment Swettenham’s existing stallion roster and be ideal for SuperVOBIS.

Trainer Gary Portelli was also effusive in his praise. ‘Rebel Dane has been an incredible horse over the past five years for me competing at an elite level every start. His speed, temperament, and courage were matched by his soundness. I can’t wait to be training his progeny.”

Rebel Dane’s career earnings to date are over $2.4m and his wins aside from his Group One victories include the Group 2 The Shorts, Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes and Group 3 Show County. He has also been placed nine times in Group One or Two company highlighting what an exceptional sprinter he is.

By California Dane, Rebel Dane is bred on the Danehill/More Than Ready cross and as a Group One sprinter should make an exceptional SuperVOBIS stallion.

A service fee for the upcoming breeding season will be announced shortly.

News from Swettenham Stud

Rebel Dane Prepares For Stud Duties

Dual Gr1 winner Rebel Dane is not only preparing for the richest race of his career but he’s also eyeing a stud career from the 2017 breeding season.

The Gary Portelli trained 7YO is looking in the finest form of his career, fresh from a convincing win in the prestigious Gr1 Manikato Stakes and preparing for the Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint on 11 December. On his return to

On his return to Australia he’ll be set for the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick in April, with a Queensland campaign an option after that. Louis Mihalyka,

Louis Mihalyka, syndicate manager at Laurel Oak Bloodstock, says Rebel Dane’s owners would support him, but don’t have large-scale broodmare holdings to stand him themselves.

“The owners are now considering options out of the Hunter Valley mainstream and believe Rebel Dane’s next step will be better suited to studs in Victoria, Queensland, New Zealand, South Australia, Western Australia or Tasmania,” Mihalyka said. “His last 27 starts have all been in Group One or Two company which is a testimony to his ability.”

He added: “Until now Rebel Dane has stayed in training as his earning potential on the racecourse has exceeded the value of offers received for him. The time has now come to find a stud position for this high-quality racehorse.” Mihalyka estimates a stud could successfully stand him at around $8,000, which would make him an attractive and worthwhile investment in the $1.2 million to $1.5 million range.

“Of course, if he can achieve further success in Hong Kong, his reputation and appeal will be further enhanced.”

Full steam ahead to Rebel Dane’s next adventure

Rebel Dane is breathing a lot easier these days and so is his trainer.

Gary Portelli credits a successful throat operation and a change in his training methods with getting the horse back to Group One-winning form which he hopes he can transfer to the big stage in Hong Kong.

Rebel Dane’s win in the Manikato Stakes earned him an invitation to the International Sprint at Sha Tin on December 11.

The seven-year-old will tune up for the trip with a barrier trial at Rosehill on Tuesday which will be held on the course proper as a mark of respect for Australia’s lone representative at this year’s showcase meeting in Hong Kong.

Rebel Dane took three years from his first Group One win in the Rupert Clarke Stakes to win his second with many near misses in between.

‘He can breathe normally now and he turns up on race day,’ Portelli said.

‘And I’ve got no doubt the way we are training him has helped. He has gone over a few jumps and we’ve been taking him to the beach and the change of scenery has sharpened him up.

‘At the moment he is the best I’ve had him this deep into a preparation.

‘He’s vibrant and happy and has four sound joints which is always a plus.’

Portelli has no concerns about how Rebel Dane will handle the trip to Hong Kong on December 4, a week before the big race.

‘He’s done many trips to Melbourne and Brisbane on a float so I think a plane to Hong Kong will be much easier,’ he said.

‘There are no traffic lights or turns. It will be a breeze.’

A seven-year-old, Rebel Dane has earned more than $2.4 million but attempts to find a suitable home at stud have so far come to nothing.

And if a stud can’t be found, Portelli is more than happy to keep him in his Warwick Farm stable.

‘He’s part of the furniture and I hate to think about the day he retires,’ he said.

‘I’d be happy to keep training him for another year.’

A field of six will take part in Tuesday’s 1000m barrier trial.

News from AAP Racing

Laurel Oak looking for ‘significant’ victory as Rebel Dane heads to Hong Kong

Gary Portelli, some 25 years ago, was dreaming of training racehorses in the ‘big smoke’ as he worked the nightshift, making pies at a bakery in Orange, a country town 254 kilometres west of the New South Wales state capital, Sydney.

That dream became a reality in 1996 when the man who brings recent Group 1 winner Rebel Dane to Hong Kong for December’s LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint set up stables at Warwick Farm, which is still fundamentally west of Sydney but more than 200 kilometres closer.

Ten years earlier, the seven-year-old stallion’s managing owner Louis Mihalyka set his dream in place when he abandoned the security of his career as an accountant – also in Sydney – to take on the much more fickle and fanciful world of horse racing by establishing Laurel Oak Bloodstock.

“I loved racing from my mid-teens. I worked as a chartered accountant for twelve years after leaving school but left the day before my thirtieth birthday; went on an overseas holiday for seven months and started Laurel Oak on my return, which I had really planned even before I left the accounting job,” Mihalyka.

Interestingly, Mihalyka – who bred Rebel Dane – recalls that he wasn’t the only young man then employed with Coopers & Lybrand with a passion for horse racing.

“In 1981, when I moved to Coopers (& Lybrand) there was a young university graduate in my audit group. The young graduate was John Camilleri, who bred the champion mare Winx, so that audit group provided the breeders of the two Group 1 winners at the Cox Plate meeting 35 years later,” he said.

This year’s HKIR will certainly not be Mihalyka’s first encounter with Hong Kong racing. Each year, he manages a tour group of enthusiastic owners and racegoers generally affiliated with his racing and bloodstock business, to the December meeting at Sha Tin.

Indeed it will not be his first visit as an owner. Laurel Oak had an interest in Into The Night who was beaten seven and a quarter lengths into ninth placing behind the all-conquering Silent Witness in the 2003 Hong Kong Sprint and Mihalyka is looking forward to having another ‘crack’ at the sprint title.

“Everybody loves travelling to Hong Kong, I certainly do and this year we come with an in-form horse. I understand it’s no easy task to go there and win but Rebel Dane is a very good horse and generally underrated. His asset has always been his devastating dash. He can really sprint for 150 to 200 metres and if he gets the right run in the race, as he did at Moonee Valley, then he can be very effective,” he said in reference to his 21 October Manikato Stakes win.

Mihalyka said that to win an international race with Rebel Dane would be especially significant. “We started Laurel Oak with our first horse in January 1986 and had our first winner in June 1987, which was Georgian Gold who is the great grandmother of Rebel Dane, so there’s a great history with this horse,” he said.

As to Portelli, his dream has materialised in the shape of major races wins from Group 1 sprints with Rebel Dane and Gold Trail to an ATC Oaks success with Rena’s Lady and this too will not be his first racing trip beyond home shores.

It was Gold Trail with whom he travelled in 2010 – going to New Zealand, Singapore and England: the gelding won the G1 Railway Stakes, ran fourth in the G1 KrisFlyer International Sprint and was 10th in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes.

“I’m really looking forward to going (to Hong Kong). It will be a great experience. The horse is in great form, he couldn’t have come through his last run any better and we think he can be competitive.

“I’ve spoken to Michael Hawkes who went over with Chautauqua earlier this year, to get some insight into how things work in the quarantine stables and he’s been great. You go somewhere new and it’s wise to get as much help as you can.

“Back in those days in Orange, in between riding some track work and working at the bakery, I certainly dreamed of going to Sydney to train but I couldn’t have imagined that overseas travel with a horse was ever going to happen. But here we are, bound for Hong Kong and my feeling is ‘why not, let’s have a go,’” Portelli said.

Steve Moran,
Hong Kong Jockey Club

Unsung Dane Proves To Be The Rebel In Manikato

It was probably the last thing Louis Mihalyka wanted to hear as he sat eating his lunch last Friday.

Attending a special Cox Plate eve function, Mihalyka listened on as MC, Steve Moran discussed Rebel Dane’s chances in the Group One William Hill Manikato Stakes that night.

Moran pointed out that Rebel Dane’s previous three efforts in the Manikato had seen him miss out by a cumulative 3.2 lengths … costing Laurel Oak and connections some $1.6 million in earnings. Moran actually said he thought Rebel Dane was good value at the odds, given his record in the race, and now that he had drawn a good barrier.

Turned out to be quite prescient as Rebel Dane – who was bred by the Laurel Oak Texarcana Syndicate and is part-owned by Mihalyka’s Laurel Oak Bloodstock – got up in a thriller. Hugging the rail throughout, Rebel Dane surged to the lead turning for home and had enough left in the tank to hold off a fast finishing Fell Swoop.

“That was a terrific thrill after having finished fifth, fourth and third with the horse in the last three Manikatos,” Mihalyka points out. “Seriously, this horse has had to contend with some absolutely diabolical barrier draws throughout his career: amongst them he drew 10 of 11 in the Doomben 10,000 and finished less than a length off the winner, jumped from 18 in a field of 18 in the Stradbroke and got beaten just on two lengths … he’s a much better horse than has been given credit for and has top four finishes in 20 black type races.”

The Manikato lowered the colours on two of racing’s superstars in Chautauqua and Buffering, with the former out until autumn and the latter retiring after a brilliant career that produced seven Group One victories and over $7.3 million in stakes.

However, Mihalyka reveals that no immediate plans have been made for Rebel Dane. “As for what happens from here, I’ll have to talk it over with (trainer) Gary Portelli,” Mihalyka adds. “He might be spelled until autumn, but I also got a call from Hong Kong at 7.55am on Sunday about him running in the big sprint race at Sha Tin in December and he’d had his (inoculation) shots by 8.30am!

“It’s very tempting to try and follow Australian-bred sprinters like Chautauqua, Sacred Kingdom, Silent Witness, Absolute Champion and co. that have raced to Group One success in Hong Kong, but we’re really just keeping our options open at this stage.”

Given that Laurel Oak is the Australasian agent for Brain Pedigree Analysis, Mihalyka was quick to add that Rebel Dane is a “Brain mating” but agreed – on paper – that the pedigree page was unfashionable. Indeed, apart from Rebel Dane, black type is almost non-existent in the first five dams.

“Georgian Gold, Rebel Dane’s third dam, was actually our first Laurel Oak winner back in 1987,” Mihalyka recalls. “She ran nine consecutive city placings at one stage and eventually won five races – three of those in town – so we decided to send her to stud.

“Her second foal, March To The Sea, was with Kerry Jordan who had a high opinion of him and thought he was stakes class. He won five. The half-brother, Rustaveli, won three as well but a promising career was cut short by injury.

“Same with Rebel Dane’s dam, Texarcana, who won three races but was more talented than her ultimate record showed and her career was cut short by equine influenza. It’s not a commercial pedigree by any stretch but it has a lot of very good city-class horses.

“Funnily enough, when we did the Brain mating that resulted in Rebel Dane, it came up with two options … California Dane and another Hunter Valley stallion.

“When we tried to book into the other one we were told that the mare’s pedigree wasn’t good enough so we went to California Dane.”

HOOFNOTE: It has been a big week for Laurel Oak with another of its home-breds in Maygrove winning the Listed Jakkalberry Classic at Rotorua on 15 October, while Rebel Dane’s Manikato Stakes was followed up by Sir Bacchus winning the lucky last, giving Mihalyka a running double at Moonee Valley’s premier night meeting.

By Sebring out of the Encosta de Lago mare, Bacchanal Woman, Sir Bacchus is raced in partnership by Laurel Oak and was purchased by Mihalyka at the 2014 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale for $130,000.

“The breeder (Lockyer Thoroughbreds) is a Brain client and the yearling was a really nice type and, as it turns out, a very good racehorse.”

Story: Aushorse

Winning Double for Laurel Oak

The equal highest earning BOBS winner for the past season, consistent Sebring four year-old Sir Bacchus scored an eye catching last to first win at Moonee Valley on Friday night bringing up a memorable double for Laurel Oak Bloodstock, who also won the Group I MVRC Manikato Stakes with Rebel Dane

Given a patient ride by Kerrin McEvoy, the Chris Waller trained grey was able to overhaul the leaders and win the 1200 metre open event by a long neck as favourite.

A $130,000 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale purchase for Laurel Oak Bloodstock from the draft of Widden Stud, Sir Bacchus has won six of 12 starts earning over $368,000 in prizemoney.

He was bred by David O’Keefe’s Lockyer Thoroughbreds and is the first foal of his stakes-winning Encosta de Lago mare Bacchanal Woman.

Bacchanal Woman was on-sold last year at the Inglis Broodmare Sale where she was snapped up by Goldin Farms for $340,000.

Laurel Oak purchased a Sepoy filly from Bacchanal Woman for $230,000 from the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale this year.

News from Breednet

Group 1 Manikato Stakes to Rebel Dane!

Rebel Dane shocked punters winning Friday night’s $1 million Group I Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in his fourth attempt.

The seven-year-old entire finished fifth in the Manikato Stakes in 2013, fourth in 2014 and third in 2015 before winning and despite having not won in 12 starts since winning The Shorts last September. Trainer Gary Portelli said the easing track gave him confidence.

Settled in sixth place along the inside by Ben Melham, Rebel Dane ($61) was able to come through unimpeded along the inside into the home straight and powered home to defeat Fell Swoop ($7.50) by a head with Japonisme ($16) one length away third.

“The cut in the ground certainly helped him and he’s always run well in this race,” Portelli said.

“What a ride – I saw him (Melham) have a look behind him when he tried to push Holler out the way then he cut back to the inside – that’s what won the race.

“I knew he (Rebel Dane) still had it in him, the sectionals he ran last start were the best outside of Astern so I said we’ve got to have a go at this race.

“Sometimes you can be right and he’s won at a massive price.”

Portelli said he had been mixing up Rebel Dane’s routine to keep the seven-year-old stallion interested in his work.

“We’ve been taking him down the beach, putting him over some jumps, just trying to break things up,” Portelli said.

“I’ve got to thank the syndicate for letting me have another crack at this race – we could have pulled up stumps earlier in the campaign but we’ve been confident the horse is right and it was just a matter of him getting some luck.”

Ben Melham said Rebel Dane enjoyed a trouble-free run.

“There was that much room there I was a bit worried the grey (Chautauqua) might have come through there so I had a good look,” Melham said.

“When he wasn’t there, I was happy to have a crack and my horse gave me a good kick. I gave him a click before the corner and he picked up underneath me.”

Rebel Dane won in 1:10.99, the fastest 1200m race on a soft (5) rated track since 2011

Rebel Dane

News from Sportingnews

Maygrove wins Listed Jakkalberry Classic

Maygrove made light work of his topweight of 60kgs to record a strong win in the $50,000 Listed Jakkalberry Classic at Rotorua.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained gelding got his New Zealand Cup campaign back on track after the grey had missed two races due to rain-affected tracks recently.

Ridden for the first time by Michael Coleman, Maygrove settled midfield, as Admiral and I’llav Bubbles set the pace. Maygrove moved forward to the leaders close the turn then strode clear of the opposition to win by a length and a quarter. Gentil Tonton (S.Spratt) finished strongly for second, with six lengths to Flyinby (A.Schwerin) in third.

Maygrove’s winning time was 2:10.35 for the 1950 metres on a Heavy10 track.

“He’s a very good horse. He’s been consistent all the way through, especially on left-handed tracks. I wasn’t too worried about the conditions. I looked back at his win in the Awapuni Gold Cup on a heavy track and he won well that day, so I was quite confident today – even with the 60 kilos,” winning rider Michael Coleman said.

“He travelled really nicely, and got through the ground well. He possibly got there a bit too soon, but you don’t want to lose any of your momentum in this sort of going,” Coleman added.

Maygrove now shares $8 favouritism with the in-form Chris Wood trained galloper Pacorus for the next month’s Group 3 New Zealand Cup. Gentil Tonton is at $14.

“He won well today, it was pretty easy in the end with his big weight. We’ll probably only get one more race into him before the Cup – it will probably be in the Metropolitan (2500m), then the New Zealand Cup (3200m) a week later,” co-trainer Murray Baker said.

The six-year-old has now had 36 starts for seven wins – including three stakes races. Along with Saturday’s win, was last year’s Wellington Cup (Group 2) the Awapuni Gold Cup (Group 2), and with 10 placings has earned over $340,000 in prize-money for owners Lib Petagna and P W O’Rourke.

Bruce Perry purchased Maygrove for $110,000 from Haunui Farm’s draft at the 2012 Karaka Select Yearling Sale where the son of Authorized was offered on behalf of the Laurel Oak Lady Zhivago Syndicate.

Bowman weighs up Sir Bacchus’ prospects

Sir Bacchus captured his fifth career win when resuming in a 1200-metre benchmark 85 handicap last month at Rosehill.

The flashy grey will start in an identical race this Saturday, only this time he will be asked to shoulder 61.5kg as opposed to 59.5kg.

A 2kg rise at the top end of the weights is of some concern to rider Hugh Bowman but Sydney’s leading jockey has no doubt in the horse’s ability.

“He has got a bit of weight,” Bowman said.

“But I think he’s a horse that can carry a weight against this sort of grade. He’s obviously a horse that needs things to go his way but he’s pretty handy.”

Having carried a minimum of 57kg at eight of his nine career starts (56kg on debut), Sir Bacchus could be entitled to some weight relief in the coming weeks.

“I’m sure he’ll make it to stakes company but I just don’t know where he’ll fit in,” Bowman said.

“He might be a horse that could be better in a really good race with no weight than sort of going through that Listed/Group III stage.

“I just think he might be a horse that could pop up in an Epsom or possibly one of those Group I handicaps in Melbourne and he’d get in really low.

“I think he would be more suited by that than carrying bigger weights in Listed/Group III company.”

Early punters baulked at Sir Bacchus’ opening quote of $2.20 which has since eased to a top price of $2.50 with Sportsbet. The undefeated Bullrush, trained by Hawkes Racing, is shaping as Sir Bacchus’ biggest danger, quoted a $3.60 second favourite.

Tom Walter, Racenet

Major NSW Prizemoney Increases

Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club today announced that as of 1 October 2016 the minimum prizemoney for Saturday metropolitan races will increase to $100,000 per race.

“This increase headlines several prizemoney initiatives totaling almost $53 million annually which has been announced this year, capping off a surge in NSW prizemoney over four years,” said Racing NSW Chairman, Mr John Messara AM.

“Today’s announcement is a further step towards achieving a vital component of Racing NSW’s Strategic Plan, intended to financially stimulate the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry.

“In 2012, total NSW prizemoney was $118.9 million. Following today’s announcement, I’m delighted to advise that annual prizemoney in NSW will be more than $204 million, an increase of $85 million over that time.

“These increases are entirely sustainable and are fully-funded from the proceeds of the sale of digital media rights, Race Fields legislation fees and parity,” Mr Messara added.

Increases to prizemoney are highlighted as follows:

* Metropolitan Saturday minimum prizemoney increasing to $100,000 per race or almost 18% on 1 October 2016 from $85,000 per race.

* Provincial minimum prizemoney increasing to $30,000 per race or 36% on 1 October 2016 from $22,000 per race in June 2016.

* Country TAB minimum prizemoney increased to $20,000 per race or 33% on 1 July 2016 from $15,000 per race in June 2016.

* Country Sky 2 minimum prizemoney increasing to $10,000 per race or 25% on 1 October 2016 from $8,000 per race.

* Addition of an eighth race to 20 selected midweek and night ATC race meetings from 1 October 2016, injecting a further $800,000 in prizemoney.

* Inclusion of an $80,000 feature race on ATC night meetings from 1 October 2016, injecting a further additional $320,000 in prizemoney.

* Group 2 race prizemoney increasing to a minimum of $200,000 per race or 14% on 1 October 2016 from $175,000.

* Group 3 race prizemoney increasing to a minimum of $150,000 per race or 20% on 1 October 2016 from $125,000.

* Listed Race prizemoney increasing to a minimum of $125,000 per race or 25% on 1 October 2016 from $100,000.

* Inclusion of a $150,000 feature race on selected metropolitan meetings.

* BOBS bonuses of $20,000 to be added to two and three year old Listed races from 1 October 2016.

* Country and Provincial Championships qualifying heats to be run for $150,000.

* A fortnightly $40,000 provincial maiden race on selected meetings from 1 October 2016.

* Thirty $40,000 country restricted maiden races on selected Showcase meetings from 1 October 2016.

Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer, Darren Pearce said the depth and breadth of today’s announcements for Sydney racing were among the most significant in the Club’s history.

“The ATC is fully funding more than $4 million to increase all metropolitan Saturday races to $100,000, setting the new benchmark in Australian Racing,” Mr Pearce said.

“All Stakes races will benefit from newly increased minimum prizemoney levels, and new feature races will be added to Night Racing fixtures and the Melbourne Cup Race Day at Royal Randwick.

“These prizemoney increases are just one part of the ATC’s focus and long-term strategy to grow a stronger and sustainable future for Sydney racing for decades to come.

“The ATC will continue to help fund investment into racetracks, training infrastructure and our spectator facilities, for the benefit of everyone in racing. It’s time to make Sydney racing the strongest and most competitive racing in the world.”

News from Racing NSW & ATC Joint Media Release

Tuscan Trials In Style

While most at the Warwick Farm barrier trials on Friday were expecting Rebel Dane to set tongues wagging, it was in fact his stablemate Tuscan Falls that produced the goods.

The veteran of only one prior trial – back in October where he finished third, two-year-old Nicconi gelding Tuscan Falls impressed all at Warwick F arm with a very impressive performance in his trial.

Jumping from the middle of the line in Heat 11 over the 800m, jockey Brenton Avdulla hunted him forward to take the lead. Sporting a pair of blinkers, the gelding maintained his lead of about a length until the home turn.

As they came wide when teh field rounded the home turn, Avdulla asked his mount for more, and he really extended to take the heat by an impressive three length margin from the Clarry Conners-trained He’s A Given.

Secured at the 2013 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale as Lot 473 from the draft of Turangga Farm, Tuscan Falls (pictured below as a yearling) is the first living foal out of the winning General Nediym mare Queen Of The Falls, herself a half-sister to the Group Two -winning, Group One placed Elite Falls, both daughters of the Group Three-winning Danehill mare Niagara Falls.

Tuscan Falls

Trainer Gary Portelli was suitably impressed by the rising three-year-old and will wait to see how he pulls up before he decides on which direction to take.

Earlier in the day, Laurel Oak Bloodstock’s Group One winner Rebel Dane was in action, contesting Heat 7 over 800m.

Ridden by Hugh Bowman, Rebel Dane settled out wide in a mid-field position during the run. Pulled even wider on the turn, he worked home well to take third, beaten a head x half head by Celtic Prince and Dear Demi with the beaten brigade including Laser Hawk, Bull Point, Tougher Than Ever and My Kingdom of Fife.

After the trial Portelli was pleased with the effort but stated on Twitter that “he pulled up really big and that he had only had one decent gallop since Stradbroke Handicap.”

With Portelli also indicating that since Rebel Dane is older, he requires more work to get fit.

In what was a great day at the trials for the Laurel Oak Bloodstock horses, we really look forward to the coming weeks and months of the Spring Carnival when we see these two, plus a host of other runners head to the track!

Moody predicts bright Spring for Better Land

Part-owned by the Laurel Oak Shamrock (Mgr: L J Mihalyka, Ramsey Pastoral Company Pty Ltd (Mgr: S B Ramsey) Syndicate, trainer Peter Moody is expecting a bright Spring Carnival from the lightly raced Better Land after the Shamardal colt was an impressive Doomben barrier trial winner on Tuesday.

Risinng three year old Better Land and stablemate Dissident have been spelling in Queensland and both pleased Moody with their barrier trial efforts.

Leading Brisbane jockey Michael Cahill rode both the Moody runners and gave good reports following their respective outings.

While Dissident ran second to the Steve O’Dea trained Itchintowin in the 1000m Open trial, Better Land proved too strong for the Toby Edmonds trained two year old Life At Sea in their 1000m trial.

Moody has high hopes for Better Land and expects him to perform well against the top class three year old during the Spring Carnival.

“He is a nice horse and he might have a start in Brisbane before we bring him back south. I would be looking at some of the nice three-year-old races for him,” Moody told AAP.

Better Land Winning

As Moody does with a lot of his youngsters, he takes them to the country tracks of Victoria to let them gain some experience and confident and more times than not they return home with a win next to their names.

Better Land was no exception and at his only race start was able to record a comfortable three lengths win on a heavy track in an 1100m Sale Maiden on April 6 before heading for a Winter spell in Queensland.

Moody was also happy with the effort of Dissident who will head back to Sydney and then Melbourne with his ultimate goal being the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.

“Michael Cahill rode him in the trial and he was also happy with the way he went,” Moody said.

“His ultimate goal will be the Cox Plate in October.”

News from Mark Mazzaglia,

Rebel Dane’s sister to debut at Canterbury

Rebel Dane is set to trial at Warwick Farm on Friday and his little sister will make her debut at Canterbury on Wednesday.

It is an exciting week for the connections and while trainer Gary Portelli is pleased with Texardini, he feels it would be a pleasant surprise if she can emulate her older brother and win first-up over 1250m.

“Texardini is certainly not as sharp as him (Rebel Dane), she is a horse who I think will get better over longer distances, but not many are as quick as him,” Portelli said.

“She has her fair share of ability but I would like to see her step up in distance before we got any confidence about her.

“She gives me the impression she unwinds more than let down quickly.

“She will get back at Canterbury and probably need a bit of luck, we are hoping to see her striking through the line strong and once she steps up I’d imagine she would be more of a winning hope.”

Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Texardini in race two at Canterbury.

Rebel Dane has had a little freshen since his seventh in the Stradbroke Handicap and is due to resume in the Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick on August 9.


Following a sharp gallop on Tuesday morning, Rebel Dane (pictured above) will trial at Warwick Farm on Friday with Hugh Bowman to ride.

“He had a gallop this morning, he ran half a mile in 49 seconds, he ran home his last 600m in 12.5, 11.2, 11.2 on the grass by himself,” Portelli said.

“He hasn’t lost any speed that is for sure.

“Hugh Bowman will ride him in the trial and I’m hoping he can stick on for the Missile Stakes and the Memsie Stakes.

“Basically I need a jockey who will commit to both races and hopefully once he rides him on Friday he will be happy to be aboard.

“He will have the two runs and then a little freshen up, and no doubt we will look at the Manikato again.

“He is the type of horse who is explosive for his first two runs.

“No doubt we will want to have a crack down the straight, and so we will have a go at the VRC Sprint Classic, which is a $1 million race.”

Maybe not Joy, but clearly Excitement

Having broken her maiden last time out over 1200m at Wyong, out Lonhro filly Supreme Joy was sent straight back to town by trainer Joe Pride to contest Race 5: Handicap over 1200m on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens.

Starting one of the outsiders in the field, jockey Tim Clark gave the filly a very good run, and when the it was time to get her mind on the job she seemed to take a little to make her run, but she then knuckled down and came with a strong run late along the inside to take third, beaten two lengths by the Gerald Ryan-trained Runaway Star with the Bjorn Baker-trained Coolring in second.

With seven placed efforts from nine starts to date, the Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr P J Duggan, Mr A F Hackett, Mr P L Nottage, Mr R Ward A M, Mr T A Brown, Mr B Carlstein, Mr E H Crethar, Mr M K Graham, Mrs A M Mcgrath, Mr A I Grant-Taylor, Mrs N L Grant-Taylor, Mr G A Pointon, Mrs A Blewman, Mr N Macdonald, Mr K Macdonald, Mr P T Grady, Mr W R Hayden, Mr W A Chalker-owned filly showed she clearly has the ability to perform at Saturday level and we look forward to another showing when she next heads to the races.

photo 7

photo 6

photo 2

photo 5


Warinda Runs Well Again

War Pass filly Warinda, a graduate from the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, recorded her seventh top three finish from her ten career starts to date, finishing a narrow neck second over 1200m on a cold and windy Canberra race day last Friday.

Racing on a Heavy 10 surface, the Keith Dryden-trained filly, has been in consistent form of late with her last three efforts resulting in a third and two narrow second placed efforts, both over the 1200m.

Raced by Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr D A Jeffery, Mrs C J Jeffery, Mr D J Caldwell, Mr W M Seay Jnr., Mr R A Wise, Mr D Emmerick, Mr K J Hudson, Mr P W Hickey, Mrs A M Hickey, Redbank North Pty Ltd, Mr S Cottle, Ms L A Hanrahan, Mr D J Ulrich, Mr P Hart, Mrs J S Murray, Mr G J Luton, Mr B L Luton, Mr M Duncan, Mr G N Hargraves, the filly is out of the Woodman mare Tolinda, herself a daughter of the dual Group Three winner Tolanda.


Supreme Joy For Patient Owners

After having recorded five placed efforts from her first seven starts, Lonhro filly Supreme Joy was starting to try the patience of her extensive legion of owners, but she is a maiden no longer after an impressive victory at Wyong on July 3.

Stepping up to the 1200m, the Joseph Pride-trained filly was ridden a treat by Jason Collet who settled the filly handy in the field and as the runs came, she sprinted strongly to take the Bishop Collins Accountants Maiden (1200m) by one-and-a-half lengths from the Sam Kavangah-trained Ceda Miss, with My Milly Moo back in third.

Supreme Joy surging clear to win by one-and-a-half lengths.

Supreme Joy surging clear to win by one-and-a-half lengths.

By Darley’s Champion sire, the 11-time Group One winner Lonhro, Supreme Joy is out of the Flying Spur mare Supriya. Secured from the draft of Bell River Thoroughbreds (as agent) at the 2012 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne, the filly is related to Group Two Light Fingers Stakes winner Rock Me Baby (Rock Of Gibraltar) and comes from the family of Champion Two and Three-year-old American filly It’s In The Air, Joint Champion Older Spring Mare in GB in Alverta, Champion European Three-year-old filly Balanchine and the Group One-winning and producing sire Storming Home.

Now that the filly has broken through for her maiden victory, we are excited about her prospects moving forward and best of luck goes to her owners; Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr P J Duggan, Mr A F Hackett, Mr P L Nottage, Mr R Ward A M, Mr T A Brown, Mr B Carlstein, Mr E H Crethar, Mr M K Graham, Mrs A M Mcgrath, Mr A I Grant-Taylor, Mrs N L Grant-Taylor, Mr G A Pointon, Mrs A Blewman, Mr N Macdonald, Mr K Macdonald, Mr P T Grady, Mr W R Hayden, Mr W A Chalker for her future both on and off the track!

Some of the happy connections of Lonhro filly Supreme Joy after her victory at Wyong.

Some of the happy connections of Lonhro filly Supreme Joy after her victory at Wyong.


Tommy Berry on Rebel Dane in Stradbroke

Gary Portelli has jumped at the chance to secure Tommy Berry to ride Rebel Dane in the Stradbroke Handicap amid speculation Glen Boss will ride Srikandi.

Portelli said he could not wait for Boss to decide and risk losing the chance to book Berry for the second favourite in Brisbane’s premier race on June 7.

Rebel Dane winning the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield - photo by Race Horse Photos AustraliaSrikandi is the Stradbroke favourite following her win in Saturday’s Glenlogan Park Stakes and the decision by connections to pay a late entry fee to put her in the field.

“Unfortunately the situation was that Bossy came up with another nice filly this year,” Portelli said.

“We were of the understanding he was booked for the preparation but then once this filly won he wanted to have a look at the weights before making his decision.

“We basically didn’t want to wait and miss out on Tommy.

“There was pressure coming from his side because obviously he was going to miss out on a ride in the race if we didn’t book him.

“The owners and myself made a decision that Tommy was the rider in the best form.

“He’s the new whiz kid and he’s riding with so much confidence. His style of riding is also one where he’s great at getting these horses coming from off the pace to get through fields.”

Because she has not yet been entered, Srikandi was not given a weight when handicaps were released on Monday but is expected to get 50.5kg.

Weights will go up at least half a kilogram with confirmation Buffering will not run with 59kg. Spirit Of Boom will be the new topweight with the required 58kg.

Portelli was a little surprised at Rebel Dane’s 56kg after the horse ran fourth to Spirit Of Boom with Boss aboard in Saturday’s Doomben 10,000.

“I thought he might get in a bit lighter,” he said.

“He goes up half a kilo so at 56-1/2 he’s probably weighted right up to his best.”

Berry, who is riding on a short term contract in Hong Kong, will also ride Almalad in the Group One J J Atkins and Elusive Runner in the Queensland Derby when he returns for Stradbroke day.

Portelli has a long history with Berry and his late brother Nathan who grew up in the Warwick Farm precinct.

“As a kid Tommy used to run around the streets with his pushbike and tell me he wanted to be apprenticed to me when he grew up,” he said.

“I always thought he would be too big to be an apprentice.”

“But he’s the best rider in Australia at the moment.”

News from APP

Rebel Dane Arrives In Brisbane Ahead Of Doomben 10,000

Group 1 winner Rebel Dane has arrived in Brisbane ahead of the 2014 Doomben 10,000 and trainer Gary Portelli has revealed that the talented sprinter will not have another serious piece of work ahead of the Group 1 event at Doomben this Saturday.

Rebel Dane had his final serious trackwork gallop before the Doomben 10,000 in Sydney on Saturday.

Rebel Dane was given a testing gallop on Saturday morning after finishing second behind Absalon in a barrier trial over 1030 metres at Rosehill Gardens on May 12 and Portelli told Sky Racing HQ yesterday that the float trip to Brisbane was all that the California Dane entire needed before running in the Doomben 10,000 this weekend.

“He left at about half past four this morning and he is on the truck,” Portelli said yesterday.

“We are going to pull up about half way and give him a good hour rest somewhere and he will probably get there before 4.30 this afternoon.

“He had his gallop on Saturday morning, his last gallop because realistically these float trips up are as good as a gallop sometimes.


Rebel Dane prior to leaving for his trip to Queensland.

“I thought that I would give him a good gallop early in the week, he trialed last Monday as well over 1000 metres at Rosehill, so he has done plenty of work in the last month leading up to this.”

Rebel Dane returned to the races, after a lengthy stint in the spelling paddock, with a strong second behind Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12, but was unable to replicate that performance when he finished fifth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at the same venue a fortnight later.

Portelli admits that he was extremely disappointed with Rebel Dane’s effort in the All Aged Stakes, but is hopeful that the four-year-old can return to his best form for the Doomben 10,000 and the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm two weeks later.

“The preparation was always to start off in the T.J. Smith, go to the All Aged and give him four weeks off into the Doomben 10,000 and a fortnight into the Stradbroke,” Portelli said.

“It was a bit disappointing what happened second-up.

“We were very keen on him and there was no reason or sign of anything that was wrong with him heading into the race and he just raced two lengths below what was expected by him from all of us.

“It leaves you a bit sort of shell-shocked, because you read the signs and all the signs were good, but obviously that run took a bit out of him and at this level you don’t want to lose anything because you can be found wanting very quickly.

“It was a disappointing day, but you have to pick yourself up and move forward and we have done everything that we can do to make sure that everything is right again and we hope that first-up run hasn’t taken too much out of him again.”

Rebel Dane on the road north to Qld winter

The road to the Doomben 10,000 has been rough in more ways than one for the favourite Rebel Dane.

The four-year-old put in a below-par run when fifth in the All Aged Stakes and left Sydney on Tuesday for the float trip to Brisbane with his handler reporting a few delays on the way.

Trainer Gary Portelli said he had done what he could to ensure Rebel Dane was in peak condition for his bid for a second Group One victory on Saturday and the rest was out of his hands.

“The strapper who is travelling with him said there had been a couple of accidents on the highway which put things behind by an hour or so,” Portelli said.

“It means he won’t get to Brisbane until later than planned and I just want to hear late tonight that he has eaten up and all is well.”

Portelli was pleased with Rebel Dane’s second in a barrier trial last Tuesday and gave him a final gallop at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

“With the float trip in mind, I didn’t want him to be doing too much when he got to Brisbane except trotting and cantering,” he said.

“He galloped really well and his recovery was fantastic. He is at his fighting weight of 482 kilograms. He was 483 before the All Aged and 480 before the TJ Smith.”

The trainer believes Rebel Dane’s second to Lankan Rupee on a heavy track in the TJ Smith Stakes in April took a lot more out of the horse than he showed in his work leading into the All Aged Stakes in which he failed to produce his usual dash.

“All seemed fine with him going to the All Aged so I’m hoping it was just a one-off,” Portelli said.

“And I hope he can draw a barrier for a change. He hasn’t had a lot of luck with them.

“Most of all we are just keeping things as simple as we can.”

Rebel Dane ran with a crossover nose band in his barrier trial and will sport the same gear on Saturday.

“He usually wears a nose band and the crossover one just adds another piece which keeps a horse’s mouth closed so it doesn’t pull and over-race,” Portelli said.

Rebel Dane is the TAB’s $3.70 favourite ahead of Wednesday’s declaration of the final Doomben 10,000 field and barrier draw.

Queensland star Buffering is at $4 with Spirit Of Boom at $4.80 and BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus at $8.


Grand Orator wins two of last three

Having won two starts back at Yarran Glen on March 16, Grand Orator then headed to Caulfield over 1200m, running a very good race to finish third, beaten just under two lengths.

Trainer Tony Noonan the took the five-year-old Oratorio gelding to Mornington on Sunday and the move paid dividends, scoring a very good length win over the 1200m, defeating Magic Tom, with the third placed Quatermain, two-and-three-quarter lengths astern.

Settling back and wide, jockey Jake Noonan had the gelding where he appeared comfortable and allowed him to slow make up ground in the run. It always appeared that Grand Orator had the leaders well within his grasp, and as the home turn was reached, it was evident he was travelling very well.

Going on to achieve another victory, his fourth from 17 starts to date, the five-year-old is racing in career best form, and as we progress with him, further wins do not look out of question at all!

Having his races spaced appears to really suite Grand Orator and a massive congratulations must go to trainer Tony Noonan as well as his patient owners; Laurel Oak Aidan Syndicate (L J Mihalyka), F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, G Duffy-Smith, Mrs K A Fraser & Ms A L Goble.


Grand Orator

Grand Orator (Photo courtesy of Slickpix)

Rebel Dane pleases in new gear

Rebel Dane wasn’t out to smash the clock or even win Monday’s Rosehill barrier trial, but more to allow Gary Portelli to trial a cross over nose band on his Doomben 10,000 aspirant.

Portelli was pleased with the outcome that allowed Rebel Dane, which finished fifth behind Japanese mare Hana’s Goal in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes at Randwick on April 26, to settle and relax and, importantly, finish off his gallop.

With Glen Boss unavailable, Kerrin McEvoy rode Rebel Dane in his trial and deliberately rode him conservatively early in a bid to help him relax.

Rebel Dane finished off his trial well to finish second, but for Portelli the most pleasing aspect was that the cross over noseband appeared to work.


“It was a very easy trial, but he ran super,” Portelli said.

“The cross over noseband worked beautifully. Kerrin put him to sleep behind them, eased him to the outside in the straight, gave him a little squeeze and he quickened up nicely.”

Portelli said there is no problem with Rebel Dane relaxing if he gets cover in his races, but he didn’t want the situation to arise if the horse drew wide in the Group 1 and he hadn’t planned for it.

He said the gear change would just help Rebel Dane relax if the barrier gods were against him in the Doomben 10,000.

Rebel Dane is a $4.50 second favorite for the Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24 with Sportsbet with Buffering as the $4 favourite.

To view footage of today’s trial click here.

News from TVN.

Gear Change Test For Rebel Dane

Rebel Dane will be tested in a crossover nose band in a Rosehill barrier trial before he heads north for his Doomben 10,000 assignment.

The Gary Portelli-trained four-year-old opened his Group One account in the spring with victory in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

Portelli deliberately avoided racing Rebel Dane early in the autumn with the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes his first-up target.

By the time the race came around last month, Australia was hailing a new sprint champion and Lankan Rupee lived up to the tag.

Rebel Dane got closest to him, finishing two lengths away, and started favourite in the All Aged Stakes.

But the tough TJ run on a wet track appeared to have taken a toll with Rebel Dane failing to show his normal sprint, finishing fifth, 3-1/4 lengths from victorious Japanese mare Hana’s Goal.

Kerrin McEvoy will partner Rebel Dane in Monday’s 1030m trial with race jockey Glen Boss unable to arrange travel from Melbourne after riding at Sandown on Sunday.

The crossover nose band is used to stop a horse opening its mouth during a race and Portelli will decide after the trial whether it goes on for the Group One Doomben 10,000 on May 24.

Buffering, who finished third in the TJ Smith and third again in Saturday’s BTC Cup, also felt the effects of the wet track run.

Despite that Buffering and Rebel Dane are the equal $4 favourites to improve at Doomben ahead of Spirit Of Boom, second to Famous Seamus in the BTC Cup, at $5.

Famous Seamus is a $9 chance and the only other contender under double figures.

Taken from AAP Megaform.


Rebel to All Aged

Gary Portelli has confirmed that smart sprinter Rebel Dane (California Dane-Texarcana, by More Than Ready) will line up in the Gr1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, reports

Rebel Dane resumed with an excellent second behind Lankan Rupee in the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday week, closing to within two lengths of him on the heavy track.

However, the effort took its toll with Portelli admitting he had his doubts about the 4YO running in Saturday’s feature. “He proved he was versatile and can run on all kinds of tracks but the TJ did take it out of him,” Portelli said.

“The morning after he didn’t eat his breakfast. He was fine but he just seemed very tired.” He added, “On that Sunday I was doubtful if we would be running in the All Aged but he picked up very quickly. He was very fit before that race and had plenty of miles in him so that helped him recover.”

Rebel Dane is one of 16 entries for the All Aged along with Japanese mare Hana’s Goal who has stayed in Australia following her eye-catching sixth in the Doncaster Mile. She will be ridden by Nash Rawiller, while Glen Boss stays with Rebel Dane, who heads to Brisbane after Saturday.

“I think the Doomben 10,000 is the ideal race for him,” Portelli said. “We will leave the BTC Cup to Buffering and we can beat him at Doomben. I was proud of the way Rebel Dane got past Buffering in the TJ. Not many horses can do that.”

To view the final field for Saturday’s G1 All Aged Stakes,click here.

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Rebel Dane’s story epitomizes all that is great about racing.

The story of Gary Portelli and Rebel Dane goes much deeper than one trainer with a bloody good horse. They represent a great Australian racing story of the tremendous relationship that can develop between owner and trainer, between trainer and horse.

Rebel Dane was bred by Laurel Oak Bloodstock, as was Rebel Dane’s dam Texarcana, trained by Portelli to win three races. Texarcana’s dam Cottonfields, again bred by Laurel Oak, was unraced, but some of Rebel Dane’s current owners also raced Rebel Dane’s great grandmother, Georgian Gold, winner of five races.

Having intimate knowledge of a horse’s family can often help a trainer, but in the case of Rebel Dane, Portelli admits that at first, it may have hampered him. Having trained his dam Texarcana, who was a 2,000m plus horse through and through, Portelli thought that he had a potential Cox Plate horse on his hands when the young Rebel Dane entered his yard. The colt started favorite for last year’s Randwick Guineas but failed over the mile trip.

On paper, Rebel Dane defies his pedigree in many ways. There is only one other Stakes winner within the first four generations of his maternal family – the Listed winner Bold Tie, a son of Rebel Dane’s fourth dam Georgian Knot, who herself was unplaced from three starts.

While Portelli says that Rebel Dane’s dam Texarcana had “a lot of ability”, she never reached her full potential on the track following a bad neck injury that resulted from clipping heels with another horse during a race.

It seems that Rebel Dane’s preference and ability over the sprinting trips is influenced by his broodmare sire More Than Ready, the sire of Texarcana. A highly successful sire with sixty-four individual Stakes winners to-date, More Than Ready was a Group One winner in the US over seven furlongs (approx.1,400m). As a broodmare sire More Than Ready is passing on this sprinting speed – his daughters having also produced the Group One winning sprinters Atlante and Miracles of Life.

Rebel Dane’s sire California Dane also excelled over shorter trips – he is the winner of two Group Two races over 1,000m and 1,200m. Again though it is a case of Rebel Dane out-performing his pedigree – California Dane’s only other Stakes winners are the Listed-winning Lake Sententia and Fire Thunderbolt.

Beaten into second place two lengths behind the world’s top rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group One TJ Smith Stakes last Saturday, Portelli is now aiming Rebel Dane at the All Aged Stakes Saturday week, stepping the colt back up in distance to 1,400m – the same distance as the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes won by Rebel Dane last year.

Rebel Dane is likely to improve from this first up run, having twice before won second time up for his trainer. Lankan Rupee is out of the equation, having gone to the paddock for a spell, while Zoustar’s next racecourse appearance is likely to be in England. Rebel Dane’s main rivals in the coming months will most likely be Buffering, who finished two lengths behind him in the TJ Smith, and Snitzerland. The BTC Cup and the Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane are possible targets for this trio. Portelli will tell you that Rebel Dane is the best he has ever trained. However he considers Gold Trail to be his best training achievement.

A Group Two horse in reality – Portelli trained him to many Stakes successes in Australia, plus the Group One Railway Stakes in New Zealand. He traveled to Singapore for the Group One Krisflyer International Sprint, finishing a creditable fourth.

Portelli was invited to travel to Royal Ascot with the gelding. Gold Trail gave Portelli and his team the opportunity to travel the world to some of the best sprinting races around, an accomplishment that Portelli is extremely proud of.

Portelli also holds a soft spot for Forest Express – his very first Group winner. However there is another horse that is surely up there with Gold Trail and Rebel Dane when it comes to the trainer’s greatest achievements, and that is Marwin Gold.

A $7,000 yearling, Portelli trained Marwin Gold to win twenty races and place eighteen times, with over $600,000 in earnings. Marwin Gold won on his eighty-fifth, and final start, aged eleven.

Portelli likes to source all his horses as yearlings and is involved in the selection of every horse that walks through his gate. With thirty five horses in work at present, in recent years Gary has been concentrating on keeping his numbers between thirty and forty. By keeping his numbers small, Portelli has a very close relationship with his owners (Elite Thoroughbreds and Laurel Oak Bloodstock have been great supporters of his), the horses themselves – he knows exactly what every horse is fed – and because he has been involved in the selection of all the horses, he takes it personally “if they don’t turn out any good”. Portelli helps Adrian Alan of Elite Thoroughbreds with his yearling selections and Gary says his preference to buy yearlings over tried horses is so that he can put the time into educating the youngsters – giving them every possible chance to succeed.

Looking to the future with Rebel Dane, Portelli’s plan with him is to keep him in Australia, to keep him sound and to keep him racing. Although he is a colt, because of having what many would consider an unfashionable pedigree, there is no pressure on Portelli to travel abroad to help boost Rebel Dane’s value as a future stallion. Instead, Rebel Dane’s owners are happy to continue to see their star colt run on home soil.

Rebel Dane’s story started at least three generations ago with a dedicated group of owners wanting to breed and race their own horses. In Gary Portelli they found a trainer who has helped this become a reality. Gary’s philosophy of ensuring that every horse gets the individual attention that they deserve, whose ambition to be involved with every one of his horses, right through from when they are ‘kids’, all the way through to the end of their careers, is one of the hallmarks of Gary Portelli’s success as a trainer. Speaking with the man, you get a genuine sense not only of the care and commitment he has for his horses, but also for his owners and staff. Gary Portelli, Rebel Dane, and this wonderful group of owners represent all that is great about Australian racing.

Laurel Oak secure share in Northern Meteor filly at Easter

Having no luck during the sale, it wasn’t until the day after the sale that Laurel Oak were able to secure a share in Lot 419: Northern Meteor x Dual Diamond, by Redoute’s Choice filly.

Purchased by trainer Anthony Cummings for $300,000, Laurel Oak discovered the following day that he had a share available and we snapped up the 30% Share on offer.

Bred on the same Northern Meteor x Redoute’s Choice cross as multiple Group One winner Zoustar, this filly was offered by Luskin Park Stud, the same farm who bred and sold Group One winner Foxwedge.

Dual Diamond has had one runner to the track for the stakes placed Dual Star (Starcraft). The Second Dam of this filly is the Group One Blue Diamond winner True Jewels, who is herself a half-sister to the Group Two-winning, multiple Group One placed Wager.

To view the pedigree of the filly, click here.

Lot 419 1

Lot 419 2

Group One Day for Laurel Oak Breeding Syndicates

While neither where victorious, both performed extremely well to record Group One placed efforts for their respective Laurel Oak Breeding Syndicates.

Having finished second last time out to the All American colt Bachmann in the Group Three The Schweppervescence over 1400m, two-year-old Snitzel colt Scratch Me Lucky went to the Group One Sires’ Produce Stakes on Saturday and finished an excellent second behind the filly Peggy Jean.

Bred by in partnership between Ramsey Pastoral Co Pty Ltd and Laurel Oak Bloodstock, Scratch Me Lucky (pictured below) is out of stakes performed Success Express mare Radiant Star, who Laurel Oak also part-owned and raced during her career.

Sold to trainer Paul Perry for $240,000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale, we congratulate the connections; G S Heber, Mrs P A Heber, Ms K Heber, Mrs Y C Pellegrino & P M Perry, on their exciting colt who has already earned back his purchase price.

Scratch Me Lucky is now likely to head to the third leg of the two-year-old Triple Crown, the Group One Champagne Stakes

The other success for Laurel Oak as a Breeding Syndicate during the day is the much talked about second placed effort by Rebel Dane in the Group One TJ Smith Stakes.

The effort on the extremely heavy track to the career earnings for the four-year-old past $1.2 million and owners; Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), J V Murphy, P M Kite, Lanista Thoroughbreds (Mgr: S C Cook), M W Powell, C J Baker, Pardon (Mgr: K G Sheppard), S J Lindley, Simpson-Morgan (Mgr: G M Simpson-Morgan), R H Spee, T J Gleeson, N A Parbery, G Zivkovic & A N Fitzgerald are extremely excited about the future prospects of the entire through the rest of the Sydney Carnival and then possibly Brisbane.

To read more on the victory, click here.