Having ridden the entire at his most recent start when fourth in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), jockey Damien Oliver suggested to trainer Gary Portelli that the six-year-old could be better suited by heading towards the handicap conditions of Saturday $700,000 Group 1 Banjo Galaxy (1100m).

After discussions between Portelli and owner Laurel Oak Bloodstock, the decision was made to send the Group 1 winner to the race with Oliver keen to maintain his association.

A winner of three and a second place from five starts at the Rosehill track, as well as one at the distance, Rebel Dane ($14.00) has been contesting Group 1 and 2 weight-for-age races at his most recent runs, having not finished further back than fifth.

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Three starts back he finished third, beaten just over a length in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley when racing first-up behind Holler, with that colt heading back to Sydney at his next start and winning the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) in impressive fashion.

Among the beaten brigade in Holler’s race that day included Our Boy Malachi ($8.00), who like Rebel Dane is stepping back to the handicap conditions and is down to 56 kilos, having carried 59 at his last start.

Drawn horribly in barrier 15 of 18, with three of the emergencies drawn inside him, Oliver will need to ride a masterful race to get Rebel Dane home according to Portelli.

With a current Soft 5 track rating and drying track conditions over the next few days including a possible high of 32 degrees on Friday, the only saving graces for Rebel Dane could be that the inside of the track may get cut up during the seven prior races being run, and that being drawn wide could see him settle back before working home over the top of them.

“He’s been freshened right up for the Galaxy,” stated Portelli.

“Oliver [Damien] suggested heading to the Galaxy, and while it wasn’t my first choice, he looks well off at the handicap conditions.”

“I’m really disappointed by the wide gate, but if the wet track happens to stick around, that could play into our hands with Rebel Dane likely to have to go back from his wide gate.”

“He could really power down the outside late if the inside is off.”

“Depending on how he comes through the run, there is the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes in April and he’s also had his needles for a trip to Hong Kong [Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint ].”

The hardest to defeat could be the lightly weighted pair of Fell Swoop (Not A Single Doubt) and English (Encosta de Lago).

An unlucky last start second in the Oakleigh Plate, Fell Swoop ($5.50) is looking to give his trainer Matt Dale his first Group 1 winner.

Race favourite English ($4.40 into $4.00) was an outstanding winner first-up last start, settling at the tail of the field before rocketing home to claim the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick.

Having had only one start at Rosehill, when a close second to Vancouver in last year’s Group 1 Golden Slipper, the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly will need to be on her game after drawing barrier 17.

Dual Group 1 winner and last start Oakleigh Plate victor Flamberge ($14.00) along with Joe Pride’s Terravista ($7.50 into $6.50) both carry weight extremely well and are set to lump 58 kilos with forward showings expected from the pair.

While unlikely to get a run, being the third emergency, the Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained Malaguerra ($7.00) was an impressive last start winner at Listed level down the Flemington straight, and although it is a huge class rise for the four-year-old, the manner in which he won suggests the Glen Boss-ridden gelding could be one to watch should he make field.

News from ThoroughbredNews

Quality filly She’s Positive provided her sire and owner with their first winner when she scored a dashing win in the $200,000 Magic Millions Adelaide 2YO Classic at Morphettville today.

The exciting youngster, who is trained by Tony Noonan in Victoria, showed dash from the barriers and led throughout to beat local Bullion Wolf by a length and three quarters.

Mr Markou was third home, a half neck from the runner-up, while the warm favourite Dam Ready, a last start winner at Moonee Valley, was another short neck back in a dead heat with Hussy’s Glow in fourth place.

She’s Positive joined the Noonan stable after being purchased by her owner Frank Carnovale for $180,000 at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Yarraman Park Stud.

Winning rider Jake Noonan was all smiles after piloting home the filly in an important win for the connections including his father Tony.

“She’s definitely got a bit of an attitude,” a delighted Jake Noonan said.

“She can be quite full-on and has white line fever when she steps on to the track.”

“They’ve done a magnificent job to get her to this stage and make her controllable.”

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Jake’s father Tony was delighted to learn as part of the victory he won a $10,000 sales credit voucher to spend at this week’s Adelaide Yearling Sale.

“That’s just fantastic – another bid,” he said with a laugh. “Jake is one of my three kids and they say he is the golden child. Well right now he certainly is.”

“We didn’t plan to ride the filly like that but full credit to Jake for a clever ride and we got the chocolates. It’s a great result.”

She’s Positive, who earned black type at her previous run when second in the listed Cinderella Stakes, is the initial winner for her sire, the Group One winning Elusive Quality stallion Sepoy.

She is from the Group Three winner Be Positive and is a half sister to the stakes placed Mr Optimistic.

She’s Positive was bred by Laurel Oak Bloodstock and Glenn Fraser, who raced her dam together, and was foaled and raised at Yarraman Park.

She is the second of only two foals for Group 3 winning Anabaa (USA) mare Be Positive, who died after foaling She’s Positive in 2013.

News from Magic Millions.

Rebel Dane was one of the big winners of the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes and trainer Gary Portelli believes that gate four gives his star galloper every possible chance to take out the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.

Rebel Dane has often been plagued by poor barrier draws throughout his racing career and he did not have a great deal of luck last start in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 23, but Portelli is hopeful that the California Dane entire will get an ideal run into the race from gate four and with a touch of luck will be right in the finish of the Orr Stakes.

“He should, but it all comes down to speed early,” Portelli told Racing Ahead.

“It is tricky because there are probably going to be horses there that are looking for further.

“If he gets to the right spot, he is certainly going well enough to be very competitive.

“He is not out of it and the gate puts him right into the race.”

Rebel Dane Bradleys

Rebel Dane was sent to the spelling paddock following his credible third in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23, but he returned to racing in the Australia Stakes just over a fortnight ago.

The six-year-old started the race as favourite and never really looked like winning, but Portelli said that not everything went to plan in the run and the Group 1 winner will take plenty of benefit out of the run ahead of the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes.

“It was a funny run race, they went out and didn’t go through the first 600 that quick, which had us a bit closer than I anticipated,” Portelli said.

“A little bit of pressure came from his outside at the 600 and Brenton had to get on his bike to find some clear running.

“He probably did a bit more work from the 600 to the 400 than what we were hoping and basically had a position where he had to attack the corner.

“He wobbled around the turn and probably just knocked up late.

“It wasn’t ideal, but he tried his heart out and I think he has come on from the run.”

Rebel Dane is currently available at 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes odds of $17, while Lucky Hussler ($4.60) is a narrow favourite from Turn Me Loose ($4.80), Boban ($8.50) and Bow Creek ($10).

While it may have been a long time between drinks for the extremely talented Better Land, fingers crossed that his victory at Ballarat on Thursday was the confidence booster the son of Shamardal needed to get him back to the level we know he is capable of!

A winner on debut before two narrow efforts behind Scissor Kick in the Listed Rosebud (second) and the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (fourth), everything hasn’t really not go to plan since.

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Now four, trainer Peter Moody elected to give the Inglis Easter yearling purchase almost six months away from the track and after a pleasing length and a half third when resuming, Better Land managed to put it all together at Ballarat when contesting the Sportsbet Watch Live Benchmark 70 over 1400m.

Away well from the middle of the line for jockey Linda Meech, the four-year-old went forward and settled a few lengths off leader Ballinaclash in fourth, with race favourite Satya settled in second.

With the field staying in the same formation for most of the race, Better Land started to make his run once the field rounded the final bend.

Although Meech needed to give Better Land a reminder of why he was there, in the end it was somewhat a soft long neck win from Satya, and fingers crossed for his owners that all appears back on track with the well-bred stallion prospect.

Congratulations to fellow owners; R A Pegum, Laurel Oak Shamrock (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Ramsey Pastoral Company Pty Ltd (Mgr: S B Ramsey), D J Tamblyn, R S Willis, Mrs J M Tamblyn, D J Tamblyn, R V 8 (Mgr: R V Dulhunty), M R Tudehope, B N E Hastie, M J Forsdick, A N Fitzgerald, Rdfit Pty Ltd (Mgr: S C Cook) and A W Reichard, as well as trainer Peter Moody and jockey Linda Meech.

To watch a reply of the victory, click the below image.

BL Ballarat

Improving three-year-old Wide Acclaim made up for some unlucky runs in town with an on-pace victory in the RTS Thoroughbreds Hcp (1200m) at Kembla on Saturday.

Louis Mihalyka of Laurel Oak Bloodstock (FBAA) said it was worth braving the return trip from Sydney amid wild storms to see him surge through a gap for an impressive half-length victory.

Jockey Jess Taylor jumped Wide Acclaim quickly from the gates and settled third on the fence. The inside was considered a little off due to the Heavy 9 surface but he stuck on strongly when challenged by Angel Miss.

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Wide Acclaim was coming off close up finishes behind Kangarilla Joy (Rosehill) and River Wild (Randwick) and both those winners have stakes races on the radar. “He’s starting to learn the trade and with time will be a much better horse,” trainer Gary Portelli said. “He will also appreciate some further ground.”

The Congrats three year-old was a $100,000 purchase from Vinery Stud at the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions. His dam Dirty (Hussonet) was a Group 3 winner of the Vo Rogue Plate and she also foaled the Gai Waterhouse trained winner Cabeza De Vaca (Northern Meteor).

Mihalyka is back from Karaka for the Inglis Classic Summer Sale and returned home with colts by Reliable Man ($210,000) and Ocean Park ($120,000).

His Classic Sale buys last year included a $150,000 colt Like A Shot (Smart Missile) with Keith Dryden and the fillies Whytwokay (Domesday) with David Hayes and Rainover Manhattan (Manhattan Rain) who is a stablemate of Wide Acclaim.

News from FBAA

Despite the small field of just six runners, apprentice Jye McNeil struck peak hour traffic aboard Anaphora by running in dead ends throughout the Caulfield straight. But with the post looming, the flashy chestnut burst through the smallest of gaps to pinch a last stride victory for Mornington-based trainer Tony Noonan.

So disastrous did the situation appear, stable representative Jack Turnbull was forewarned he was being broadcast live on national television when asked for his thoughts on the final 100m.

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“She just kept running into traffic that I didn’t think she was even going to run a place,” Turnbull said.

But when the photo finish flashed up on the big screen, the mounting yard erupted into cheers of jubilation for the large ownership group managed by stable client Laurel Oak Bloodstock.

“It’s great to have so many owners on course today.

“Most of them have been with us for a long time but there’s a few new faces. It’s just great to see so many people have a good day at the races.”

Settling towards the tail of the field, the 4-year-old Dylan Thomas mare traveled kindly for McNeil who had the benefit of galloping the mare earlier in the week.

As the small field bunched upon straightening, McNeil looked to shift to the outside before being boxed in by Yellen.

Switching back to the inside, McNeil’s inside gap closed as Defrost My Heart shifted in but with further persistence, Anaphora bullocked her way through the small gap.

Running out of tarmac with the post approaching, McNeil gave himself just 30m to run down the leader once in the clear with Anaphora ($2.80F) charging late with her head down and ears pricked to claim victory in the three-way go from Yellen ($3.10) and Prepee ($26) in third.

The third win of Anaphora’s career took her earnings beyond $150,000.

Congratulations to owners Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd, Four Up Synd, A Fitzgerald, Club Number One Synd, P & Mrs J Macbeth, M Mannix, R Spargo, P Atley, B Marotta, R Lloyd, D Russell, Miss E Morrissey and Mrs E Grant.

News courtesy of Tony Noonan Racing

From a Friday night win at Canterbury to a Saturday at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day – Sir Bacchus is really stepping up!

Away well from the gates for jockey Rory Hucthings in the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap (1200m), the Chris Waller-trained Sir Bacchus settled nicely in fifth position on the outside of the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Barood, a full brother to Group 1 winner Starspangledbanner.

With the Gai Waterhouse-trained race favourite River Wild taking up the running, the pace was true from the get go and Sir Bacchus continued to travel where he was comfortable in the run.

As the field cornered into the home straight and River Wild appeared under pressure Barood went up along the inside while Sir Bacchus came out wide to make their runs.

Hitting the lead together with about 150m to go, it was clear from the hands and heels urging of Hutchings that Sir Bacchus had more to offer than his challenger, pulling away for a comfortable, and in the end, impressive half-length victory.

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Still only lightly raced with four runs under his belt, the Sebring gelding has improved at each and every start, recording two wins and a second and over $110,000 in earnings.

Purchased from the Magic Millions yearling sale from the draft of Widden Stud for $130,000, Sir Bacchus is eligible to head to the lucrative $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas next start with Waller weighing up his options.

Congratulations to the winning connections of Sir Bacchus; Laurel Oak Bacchus (Mgr: L J Mihalyka) F Cook, K Lowe, Mrs M Lowe, Club Bacchus (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Dirty Grey (Mgr: M Mulligan), A Reichard, J O’Brien, Grant Bloodstock (Mgr: S Grant), M Powell, N Macdonald, Mrs R Richards, Mrs C Cook, Mrs E Grant and Boeara Holdings (Mgr: Mrs D Dunphy).

We were slightly unlucky not to make it a hat trick of wins on the day with both Anaphora and Ring Da Belle both finishing second at Caulfield in runs where luck was not on their side!

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An honest second when making his seasonal debut last time out, also at Canterbury, three-year-old Sebring gelding Sir Bacchus produced a top class effort to break his maiden at just his third start.

Away well from the gates, Sir Bacchus drifted back in the field and although needing to be pulled off the heels of those in front of him a few times, and appearing to resist being restrained slightly, he still raced where he was comfortable over the 1100m.

With only two behind him in the run, it appeared as if the Chris Waller-trained runner was in trouble, but as the home turn was reached, jockey Rory Hutchings was able to find some room, and the Magic Millions graduate surged through the gap to take the lead and record a soft win in the end.

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Scoring by a half-length margin from fellow Sebring gelding Supply And Demand, Sir Bacchus was purchased by Laurel Oak Bloodstock from the draft of Widden Stud for $130,000. Bred by David O’Keefe’s Lockyer Thoroughbreds, Sir Bacchus is the first foal of his stakes-winning Encosta de Lago mare Bacchanal Woman.

Congratulations to his owners; Laurel Oak Bacchus, Boeara Holdings, Mr F W Cook, Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Dirty Grey, Mr K R 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 – it looks like we have a very promising horse on our hands.

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After 11 weeks away from the track, three-year-old Northern Meteor filly Meteora Miss started in the More Than Ready @ Vinery Maiden over 1200m at Canterbury on December 2.

After three prior starts, all against top class opposition, the Inglis Easter yearling sale purchased broke through for a much deserved win.

Trained by Anthony Cummings, the filly started well in the market and with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle, the filly was away slowly from a middle gate and settled in second last position.

With good pace set upfront by Chris Waller’s Navua Mist, Avdulla bided his time towards the tail of the field before pulling out to be the widest runner on the turn.

Although it took a few strides for the filly to realise what she was there to do, she pinned her ears back and started to accelerate impressively.

Swamping Ocean Spray and Involving on the line, Meteora Miss took her maiden victory by a short neck for owners Luskin Park Stud Racing (Mgr: P Whelan), M McGuinness, Bangaloe Stud (Mgr: Miss J Ritchie), Go U Sevens (Mgr: M Turner), Mrs S Staff, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: L Mihalyka), Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: S Grant), M Codling, J Murphy, S Gregory, P Carter, M Graham, C Heraghty and S Bourke.

Meteora Miss

Bred on the same pedigree cross that has produced dual Group 1 winner Zoustar, Meteora Miss is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Dual Diamond, and was secured at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Luskin Park Stud.

From a pedigree that includes stakes performing fillies Wager, Noesis, Fashion and Dual Star, if Meteora Miss can continue on her winnings ways, we will have a filly with good residual value.

After successes at the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, five-year-old mare Court Martial Miss headed to Doomben on November 28 to add another win to her now impressive record.

Starting well in the market in The Blue Ribbon Group Benchmark 80 Handicap (1100m), jockey Michael Cahill jumped the mare away well from the gates before surging forward to settle in second on the rail with Mywayorthehighway taking the lead.

Under a stranglehold as they turned for home, Cahill asked the mare for her an effort and she railed like a greyhound, taking the lead and holding off all challengers.

Winning the race by three-quarters of a length, the daughter of War Pass has been a revelation since heading north, taking her record to 12 starts for five wins and one second placing for earnings of $99,500 of which $62,400 has been added since moving for Brisbane.

To view a replay of the race, click the below image and select Race 4.

CMM Nov 28

Congratulations to the owners of Court Martial Miss; Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: S P Grant), M A Couter, Mrs K Couter, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Pardon (Mgr: K G Sheppard) K Lowe, Mrs M Lowe, Mrs E Grant and G Pointon who have been rewarded for their patience.

Rebel Dane will be prepared for a full Melbourne Autumn Carnival tilt for the first time in the entire’s consistent career.

The six-year-old son of California Dane has raced 25 times for seven wins, with 15 of those starts – and one of those successes – in Group 1 company.

The 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner has been a consistent galloper at the highest level, despite only having four top-three finishes in G1s to show for it – most recently running third behind Chautauqua in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

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Trainer Gary Portelli confirmed Rebel Dane had a month off after the run behind Team Hawkes’ star and Srikandi, and will now target the likes of the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, plus Caulfield features the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) early next year.

Rebel Dane’s run in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes
Listen to Gary Portelli discuss Rebel Dane as well as some of the other horses he trains by clicking here.

News from Racing.com

Press Release from Racing NSW

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing, Hon. Troy Grant MP and Racing NSW Chairman, Mr John Messara AM, today announced $21 million of increases in Country and Provincial prizemoney to take effect from July 2016.

Increases in minimum Country TAB and Provincial prizemoney as well as the introduction of Showcase Country Race Meetings will account for more than 60% of the proceeds from the second and third years of wagering tax parity and provide an enormous boost for racing in these sectors.

The increases for Country participants will see prizemoney jump to approximately $69 million per annum, up from $31.2 million in the 2011 financial year, an increase of 120% during that period.

“On behalf of the Baird Government I am delighted to announce that from 2016/17, minimum prizemoney for Country TAB meetings in NSW will be increased by $5,000 or 33% to $20,000 per race.  In addition, minimum prizemoney for Provincial meetings will be increased by $5,000 to $27,000, a rise of 23% per race,” said Mr Grant.

“Further, Racing in Country NSW will benefit by the introduction of Country Showcase Meetings to be staged throughout the State.  Approximately 40 meetings each year will be upgraded to carry premium prizemoney of $30,000 per race.

“These increases will build upon the economic and social contribution made by thoroughbred racing, especially in Country NSW,” Mr Grant concluded.

Racing NSW Chairman, Mr John Messara AM, said:  “While our first year’s receipts from parity are earmarked to fund The Championships and Highway races, we are pleased to announce this significant rise in Country TAB and Provincial prizemoney from July, 2016.

“Country prizemoney of $20,000 per TAB race along with the new Showcase meetings make for the biggest ever injection of prizemoney into Country racing.

“On behalf of the Board of Racing NSW, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Premier Mike Baird and our Racing Minister and  Deputy Premier, Troy Grant for embracing parity and placing Australia’s largest racing jurisdiction on a level playing field with Victoria over the next few years.

“Wagering tax parity is vital for the sustainability of racing in this State.  The challenge is now to ensure NSW has a competitive, vibrant and innovative racing industry,” added Mr Messara.

These latest benefits for Country and Provincial racing, follow the introduction last season of the Country and Provincial Championships of $2.3 million in prizemoney and the recently commenced Highway Races for Country-trained horses which provide a further $1.6 million in prizemoney annually for Country participants.

Racing NSW has also committed approximately $50 million for capital works at Country and Provincial race clubs throughout NSW from accumulated race fields fees.

Racing NSW Chief Executive, Peter V’landys AM also announced that from 1 July 2016 Racing NSW will launch a new Traineeship and Apprenticeship Scheme for youth in Regional NSW by committing $1 million per annum to the Scheme.

“The first priority of the Scheme will be to employ apprentice track curators throughout NSW,” said Mr V’landys.

Mr V’landys also announced a payment of $2 million per annum to race clubs throughout NSW to enable clubs to meet their operating costs and operate at best practice levels, to commence from 1 July 2016.

“Finally, in addition to their 5% share of the increased prizemoney, jockeys will also receive a further $660,000 per annum in riding fees from 1 July 2016,” Mr V’landys said.

The five year phase-in of wagering tax parity in NSW that sees the NSW Government progressively reduce its share of TAB gross wagering revenue to that of its Victorian counterpart will provide $181.6 million of additional funding to NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry, commencing in the present financial year.

The 2016 Magic Millions Yearling Sale catalogue went online today.

Laurel Oak Bloodstock are sure to be in attendance, and if you are interested in being invovled, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Magic Millions Press Release

On behalf of breeders across Australasia, Magic Millions is proud to unveil its catalogue for the 2016 edition of the Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Following a record year of real results in the sale ring and on the racetrack, Australia’s number one thoroughbred sales company acknowledges that its capacity to continually produce quality catalogues is dependent on the support of breeders.
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“This catalogue is a product of the faith breeders have shown in Magic Millions,” Managing Director Vin Cox stated.
The unequivocal support from breeders has resulted in an exceptional offering of yearlings to be presented for sale on the Gold Coast to a global market.

“The breeders have raised the bar and elevated 2016 to the next level. Take a look at the sensational catalogue they are responsible for,” Cox added.

Real dreams begin on the Gold Coast in January with 1016 quality yearlings set to be offered over five days. Book 1 of the auction comprises 746 lots and another 270 lots have been catalogued in Book 2.

The 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale will commence on Wednesday January 6 – to view the online catalogue click here or download it on your iPad via the Equineline Sales Catalog App. Printed copies of the catalogue will be available for distribution from November 23.

After three winners in the last few days for Laurel Oak Bloodstock horses, the well-bred Auckland Beauty made it four!

Winning last time out over 1200m to break her maiden, the Peter Moody-trained Redoute’s Choice mare started the race favourite in the field of eight at Sale.

Going forward after jumping away from the second widest barrier, jockey Linda Meech kept the mare where she was comfortable, and that appeared to be striding freely, about four – five wide.

As they tracked even wider around the home turn, the leading duo were closer to the outside rail than the inside.

Giving her head down the centre of the track, Auckland Beauty didn’t appear to have any issues with the slow rated surface as she continued to charge to the line, winning the race by almost two lengths from Powerossa with a long neck back to Rubyone.

To watch the footage of the race, click on the below image to be taken to Racing.com website.

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By Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice out of the Group 2 AJC Shorts winner Fritz’s Princess, Auckland Beauty was purchased earlier this year at the Inglis Broodmare Sale and is looking like she was a good buy!

Congratulations to our fellow owners Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: S P Grant) and Carpe Diem (Mgr: K R Lowe).

While it wasn’t the Melbourne Cup – which was an amazing race in itself, Laurel Oak Bloodstock horses did manage to secure two victories on the day; in Canberra with Bid Of Faith and at Kembla Grange with Tuscan Falls.

Off a very good second at her last start, improving three-year-old Zizou filly Bid Of Faith headed back to her home track of Canberra for trainer Keith Dryden where she contested the Ttm Secutity Maiden Plate over 1200m.

Starting the favourite based on her half-neck second last time out, jockey Brendan Ward wasn’t able to get her in from a wide gate, but she still travelled extremely well within herself during the run.

Rounding the home turn it was clear she would be in the finish, but had the wide run taken its toll?

Charging away from the field, Bid Of Faith broke her maiden by an impressive two and a quarter lengths for owners; Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd Syndicate, F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, B L J Syndicate, G J McAllister, Goolabri 1 Syndicate, Mrs J E Wise, Club Dryden Sydney Syndicate, Trapper Syndicate, G K Syndicate, S R Syndicate, Ms D M Van Meegen, M G Houston, G C Harders, B J Speering and K P Griffiths.

Our second winner of the day came via the Gary Portelli-trained Tuscan Falls (below) in the Waples marketing Handicap at Kembla Grange over 1000m.

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Fourth as favourite at his most recent run, Nicconi gelding Tuscan Falls settled mid field on the rail with jockey Shaun Guymer in the saddle.

With the home turn reached and the runs starting to come, Tuscan Falls had drifted off the fence, but after no runs appeared, Guymer charged back towards the inside, finding a gap between the leading duo.

Joined by Cashenti, the two went head for head down the straight, with luckily Tuscan Falls getting his head in front when it counted – recording his second career win for owners Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Hon. W R Haylen, J M Ryan, J T O’Brien, N Macdonald, S C Cook, Mrs K Fraser, M R Tudehope, D Monch, M J Baumann, K Macdonald, J R Wilson, C J Reynolds, R H Spee, W A Chalker, S M Sandridge, M J Clift, R I Cullen and P McKenzie.

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An impressive winner last time out when scoring by two-and-a-quarter lengths at the Sunshine Coast, our five-year-old War Pass mare Court Martial Miss has really shown that she hass appreciated some ‘sun on her back’, giving rewarding her owners with another exciting victory.

Contesting the Nucon Concrete Handicap over 1100m at the Gold Coast, jockey Daniel Griffin had the mare settled handy in the run, just like at her last start, before she was too powerful at the finishing, charging away for a length victory.

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Defeating Brigadoon Legend by a length with the same margin back to Italian Storm in third, the Liam Birchley-trained Court Martial Miss has now recorded four wins from 11 starts for Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: S P Grant), M A Couter, Mrs K Couter, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Pardon (Mgr: K G Sheppard) K Lowe, Mrs M Lowe, Mrs E Grant and G Pointon.

With a nice pedigree, being out of the stakes performed Zeditave mare Grand Juror, the more success the mare has on the track, the better her broodmare prospects are come yearling sale time, if connections decide to sell her offspring.

Fingers crossed she can keep up her winning momentum at her next start – best of luck to everyone involved!

Rebel Dane’s best chance of winning a Group I this preparation will be Friday night’s $1 million Group I William Hill Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley according to trainer Gary Portelli.

More than two years have passed since Rebel Dane’s first and only Group I success in the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and Portelli believes now is the time for the six-year-old to claim a second victory at the elite level.

Rebel Dane Bradleys

Rebel Dane has excelled at Moonee Valley despite a deceptive record of one win from four attempts. In his four starts at the unique circuit, Rebel Dane has been beaten a combined margin of less than 4-1/2 lengths, and each of those runs were in Group I company.

Portelli is also buoyed by a recent wind operation on the horse which has proven a huge success in two outings this preparation. A brilliant first-up win in the Group II Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 19 was followed by a fast-finishing second behind Manikato Stakes rival Terravista in the Group II Premiere Stakes (1200m) at the same venue.

The son of California Dane travels down to Melbourne on Wednesday evening.

“That’s been his routine every time,” Portelli said. “And I think he’s going as good as ever.

“He usually peaks at his third run in so hopefully he gets a bit of luck this year.

“He galloped last Saturday and we’ve just kept him fresh since.

“The whole preparation has been centered on this race and Moonee Valley certainly plays into our hands, if he’s going to win a Group I this preparation this is his chance.”

Portelli also revealed that Rebel Dane has been vaccinated in case of a trip to Hong Kong for the Group I International Sprint (1200m) in December.

“There’s Hong Kong on the table, he’s been vaccinated so we’ll see what happens. Obviously Friday night will tell us a bit more,” he said.

News from Racenet

Purchased at this year’s Inglis Broodmare Sale for only $50,000, the well-bred Auckland Beauty went part way to repaying that purchase pricing by breaking her maiden!

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By Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice out of the Group 2 AJC Shorts winner Fritz’s Princess (pictured below), the mare had been placed prior to her purchase at the sale on multiple occasions, but since that time has had three starts for new owners Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: S P Grant), Carpe Diem (Mgr: K R Lowe) and Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd (Mgr: L J Mihalyka) and has produced two second placed effort before a spell, and then followed that up with an impressive maiden victory at Bairnsdale on Monday.

Fritz's Princess

Trained by Peter Moody, the now four-year-old jumped away well from barrier three and went forward to settle in fourth place, right behind the leading trio.

Short-priced favourite Golden Cropper, a More Than Ready half-sister to Group 2 winner and now Coolmore stallion Rubick, started to make her run rounding the home turn, going to the leader and looking as if she would go on with it, but jockey Vlad Duric aboard Auckland Beauty had started to get our mare going and she responded very well.

With a few “taps” from the whip, Auckland Beauty set out after the leading duo, catching them with about 30m to run to take the race by three-parts-of-a-length from Golden Cropper with Little Bita Spunk a long head back in third.

With a win and six second placed performance from nine starts to date, it is clear that the mare has ability, and fingers crossed she goes on with it now, as once she retires from the track she is very well-bred and will make a great broodmare prospect being bred on the Danehill x More Than Ready cross.

Congratulations to our fellow owners.

Sent to Eagle Farm trainer Liam Birchley, after initially starting her career with Gary Portelli down in Sydney, the now five-year-old War Pass mare Court Martial Miss was having her second start for her new trainer and was quite impressive with her two-and-a-quarter length victory.

Having run second over 1110m when racing first-up for Birchley back in August, the mare had a nine week break and headed to the Sunshine Coast on Sunday where she contested the Lindsay Consulting Handicap over 1000m.

Away from barrier three with Michael Cahill in the saddle, the mare went forward and settled in third position behind leader Cannizzaro who had flown the gates and went a couple of lengths clear.

Getting a lovely run in transit sitting on the rails, when the home turn was reached and Cannizzaro began to weaken; Court Martial Miss was reminded what she was there for and surged through a gap between the tiring leader and One In One Out who was on her outside.

Pulling away to win the race quite easily, it was a reminder that the mare does have some talent and now that she has broken through, it is likely she will step up in class and could possible head for a Saturday race.

CMM

Congratulations to our fellow owners Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr K R Lowe, Mrs M P Lowe, Mr M A Couter, Mrs K Couter, Mrs E K Grant, Pardon and Mr G A Pointon.

To view the race replay, click the above image and go to Race 5.

Rebel Dane’s trainer Gary Portelli has made a compelling case for why the Group II Premiere Stakes (1200m) should be elevated to Group I status.

The recent honour roll of the Premiere Stakes features the likes of Triple Honour, Hot Danish, Red Tracer, and Famous Seamus, all of which are Group I winners.

This year’s edition is littered with Group I-class gallopers and Portelli, who has Rebel Dane starting on Saturday, believes the $300,000 weight-for-age event meets the criteria of an elite level race.

“It’s an interesting race, there’s five Group I winners in it, two Group I-placegetters and there are only nine acceptors,” Portelli said.

“Should it be a Group I? It probably should.

“I think if it had Group I status you would get even better horses in it so I think they’ve got to look at that.”

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Rebel Dane is coming off a brilliant first-up victory in the Group II The Shorts (1100m), his first run since undergoing a wind operation during the winter.

Portelli said all indications point to a similar performance second-up over the Randwick 1200 metre course where he will clash with Joe Pride’s Terravista.

“He seems to be in great order, certainly no reason why he can’t run up to his best second-up,” Portelli said.

“Although he has sometimes run a bit flat second-up so we’ve got that in the back of our mind.

“His track work was brilliant on Tuesday morning.

“If he turns up I think he’ll be hitting the line strongly but whether he’s good enough to catch Terravista, we’ll soon find out.

“He’s beaten Terravista once, at the Valley, and Terravista has beaten us once and that was down the straight at Flemington so we’ll see what happens.”

Following Saturday, Portelli intends to travel Rebel Dane down to Moonee Valley for a third crack at the Group I Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Cox Plate eve.

FLASH IN THE DARK and ATLANTIC SENTINEL provided a tremendously enjoyable double in Canberra on 25 September. This was Tony Campbell Cup Day, which is always a very enjoyable day of racing, honouring and remembering the very popular Canberra racecaller, who died ten years ago. The meeting also has the Canberra Premiership presentations, so with all that entertainment, we had three Laurel Oak tables at the luncheon that day. Capping that off with two winners was a perfect piece of timing.

Atlantic Sentinel won the first on the day to score his maiden win at his fourth race start. He is the first foal of the former talented Laurel Oak racemare, CUT AND RUN, and he looks to have a promising future. While his win was at 1400m, he looks set to be even better at 1600m and perhaps beyond, but we will have to wait until next preparation to find that out, as he has now gone for a spell. Last month we reported in on Canberra’s Capital Cash prizemoney boost at every second meeting, and Atlantic Sentinel won the first of these races, which was an $18,000 maiden.

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Flash In The Dark book-ended the day by winning the last, giving trainer Keith Dryden a treble for the day. She was resuming from a spell, and this made it two wins from three starts for this well-bred filly. The win was perfect timing to go to the first of the Sydney metropolitan Highway Races. While originally announced to start in December, there was a Racing NSW announcement on the morning of the 25 September Canberra meeting that the concept was being fast-tracked and that the first race would be held at Randwick on 16 October as a Class 2 1200m race for country-trained horses.

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This was perfect in terms of class and distance for Flash In The Dark, so Keith Dryden targeted that race, but that is where the “perfection” ended, as she was badly interfered with in the race and the occasion got to her, so she finished well back. She may now run in Canberra on Melbourne Cup Day.

In an era where the red carpet is rolled out for any colt within a breath of a group 1 win, how refreshing for a six-year-old stallion to still be on the track.

In truth, Rebel Dane has been all dressed up as a group 1 winner for two years now. It is just that no one has really wanted to come to his party. At least not recently.

“We’ve had enquiries, but we’ve never had a firm offer for him,” shrugged managing part-owner Louis Mihalyka. “Just at the time he would have been ideal for going to stud he stopped winning.

“While he has been running thirds and fourths in group 1 races, he hasn’t won a race since the Rupert Clarke two years ago. With that the interest and enquiries stopped.

Rebel Dane Bradleys

“A couple of agents said when you retire him let us know and we had a few interested parties in May or June and they all dropped off. Now we just thought we’re going to enjoy him and let what will be be basically.”

Small and scrawny, with a breathing problem now amended, you can’t blame studmasters from shying away from Rebel Dane. But if there was ever an advertisement for his niche market post-racing days, The Shorts at Randwick on Saturday was it.

“I would have been a bit disappointed if he got beat today, to tell you the truth,” trainer Gary Portelli said after Brenton Avdulla lifted Rebel Dane to a last-stride win from Ball Of Muscle in the group 2 sprint.

“I hadn’t said it out loud, but I couldn’t see how these horses were going to beat him if he came back. He’s the only group 1 horse in the race and his qualifications have him [racing well] against the top group 1 horses.”

Which is exactly the same path Rebel Dane will plot this spring, en route to another Manikato Stakes showdown with Chautauqua and Terravista, a race-day scratching from The Shorts due to a waterlogged track.

It left Shiraz an overwhelming favourite at Randwick, but Tony McEvoy’s emerging sprinter laboured a little in third as Rebel Dane mowed down Ball Of Muscle to score by a half-head, showing no ill-effects from a recent throat operation.

“My legs are like jelly,” Portelli said. “When he was racing as a three-year-old he was 440 [kilograms]. He’s come a long way physically and looking at him I thought he might have even been a bit big, but that’s what we needed for 1100 [metres]. It was a lot easier to saddle him [today] – he didn’t try to kill us as badly as what he usually does.”

Avdulla had no qualms when overnight rain on Friday plunged the Randwick track into the heavy range before an upgrade earlier in the day.

“Doing his form and tapes [Friday] night and [Saturday] morning, he has had two goes on heavy tracks, he was beaten by Pierro one time and the other one was behind Lankan Rupee in the TJ Smith,” Avdulla said.

Joe Pride was forced to replace the three little letters he likes to attach to the Terravista name, “WBS”, with “SCR” on Saturday, but would have been forgiven for thinking it didn’t matter as Ball Of Muscle shot clear close to home.

“He’s never missed a place and he always run a good race,” he said. “We’ll go to the Moir because it’s the right race at the right distance.”

News from Adam Pengilly, SMH

Rebel Dane will return to the races in the 2015 The Shorts and trainer Gary Portelli is hopeful that the throat operation the six-year-old received during his stint in the spelling paddock will help him return to his best form.

Rebel Dane has not recorded a race win since his narrow victory in the 2013 edition of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.

Rebel Dane started his autumn campaign with a slightly disappointing sixth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 27 and jockey Blake Shinn informed connections that the California Dane entire had trouble breathing when he finished 11th in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 18.

Portelli told RSN that Rebel Dane had responded well to the tie-back operation and he said that he could not be happier with his star galloper ahead of The Shorts this weekend.

Rebel Dane 1 The Racecaller

“We couldn’t be happier with him,” Portelli said.

“He has had the perfect little prep.

“He had a tieback operation, his throat was a problem last campaign but he is really going well and he is a really happy horse.

“I am looking forward to the weekend, but it will be a tough race.

“I haven’t had that many.

“I’m All The Talk was one that was done as a three-year-old and he came out and ran second to Terravista and ran a couple of good races after that.

“They are never really 100 percent, but the way Rebel’s throat was at the end of last campaign we will certainly see good improvement at the start of the campaign at least.

“He is breathing really well and he is really attacking the line in trackwork.”

Rebel Dane recorded his only win at Group 1 level when he claimed a narrow victory in the 2013 edition of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Portelli believes that 1400 metres is the ideal trip for the six-year-old.

Portelli believes that Rebel Dane was not getting enough oxygen to his lungs during his autumn campaign to run out a strong 1400 metres or beyond, but he is hopeful that the throat operation will help the entire bounce back to his best.

“I actually think we could go the other way because he is going to get more air down and you will be able to get him over a little further because he will be able to sustain a sprint longer,” Portelli said.

“That will give us more options in terms of placing him, he is a very high-rated horse now and it makes it hard to place him.

“You couldn’t put him in a handicap, so he is basically stuck in set weights races and weight-for-age races, which doesn’t give you too many starts in the year.

“If we can get him over a little bit further it opens him up for some of the other weight-for-age races.”

Photo by The Raceller Twitter

Story by Thomas Hackett, Oze Form

Tony Noonan’s Mr Optimistic is among a host of Spring Carnival hopes kicking off their campaigns when racing returns to the turf track at Racing.com Park on Wednesday.

The Mornington trainer has a good opinion of the talented three-year-old, throwing in early nominations for Group 1 features like the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate.

Mr Optimistic finished third in the Listed Bruce McLachlan Memorial Classic (1200m) on the Sunshine Coast last start and has form around the likes of Jameka and Lazumba.

“I hope he’s come back real good but I won’t know that until Wednesday,” Noonan said.

“There’s plenty that are dreaming – it’s pie in the sky sort of stuff – but he’s only had limited racing and looks a promising horse.

“He’s had some time in Sydney where he was going to run in the Run to the Rose but unfortunately we had to scratch him because he had a bit of a cough but now he’s in really good order.”

Mr Optimistic is the top-weight for the Polytrack 3YO BM64 Handicap (1200m) with gun apprentice Michael Dee taking the ride from barrier five.

It’s a hugely strong race with the likes of Faatinah (David Hayes and Tom Dabernig) and Mr Individual (Leon and Troy Corstens) also going around.

“I’d expect him to be hard to beat,” Noonan said.

“He’s going to improve with the run and he’s going to be better placed when he gets over more of a trip.”

To view the field, click here.

News from Racing.com

A good performance from promising colt Mr Optimistic in the Run To The Rose will be enough to convince trainer Tony Noonan to tackle the Group One Golden Rose.

But Noonan said it would take a supreme optimist to believe Mr Optimistic could win the 1200m Group Two feature at Rosehill on Saturday.

Mr Optimistic will take on the Chris Waller-trained duo Japonisme and Press Statement, as well as Godolphin pair Exosphere and Holler.

“There are some nice horses in it that are better credentialled than him,” Noonan said.

“The horse is going to measure up at some stage, but this is nice race that will test him out.”

While Noonan has a high opinion of Mr Optimistic (pictured below as a yearling), he says he wants to see him match it with top-class horses before he looks to the $1 million Golden Rose.

BE POSITIVE X DOMESDAY 12 027

“He’s such a raw type of animal and it’s hard to evaluate those horses sometimes,” he said.

After a Queensland winter carnival campaign which included a Listed placing, Noonan opted to spell Mr Optimistic in the winter sunshine.

“Years ago the great Victorian trainers used to race horses in Queensland during the carnival and then send them for a spell up there,” Noonan said.

“Over 25 years, all the good horses I’ve trained have got to Queensland and they normally come back better horses.”

Multiple Group One winner Ortensia is just one of the Noonan-trained former stars to have enjoyed a Queensland winter.

Mr Optimistic is the first foal from another Noonan-trained Group winner, Be Positive.

“Some of the people that were involved in Be Positive kept the mare and bred the horse, so there will be a pretty good crew there on Saturday,” he said.

Just Horseracing

With three second placed efforts so far this time in, all were confident that Wide Acclaim, affectionately known as Harry, would break his maiden anytime now.. and that day was Tuesday when the two-year-old contested Race 2: Farrar Legal 2YO C& G Maiden Plate over 1100m.

Team Hawkes saddled up race day favourite Elemenohpee who had had three barrier trials winning all three including defeating Sir Bacchus, the other Laurel Oak runner in the race on Tuesday.

Ridden by Winona Costin, the Gary Portelli-trained Wide Acclaim started the second favourite in the race and from barrier five jumped away well before being restrained and allowed to drift to a mid-filed position.

Sir Bacchus, who had the inside gate was slowly away and settled with only a few runners behind him.

At the 700m mark Wide Acclaim had pulled himself out of the pack and was travelling in three wide position without cover.

Continuing on his forward path, Wide Acclaim found himself hitting the lead at the top of the straight, while the race favourite Elemenohpee was trying to find a gap to set out after Wide Acclaim.

But the son of Congrats had too much on the race favourite as he continued to pull away for an impressive two-and-a-quarter length victory. To view the race win, click the below image.

Wide Acclaim win

Sir Bacchus worked home solidly to finishing fifth and with the run acting as an educational experience, trainer Chis Waller is confident he will return a much stronger 3yo.

Racing for a large group of owners; Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr M B Sandblom, Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Mr C P Keane, Mr N Macdonald, Mr B Carlstein, Club Dryden Sydney, Mr R R Cocks, Mr J Racovalis, Mr J V Camilleri, Mr G L Barker, Mrs K A Fraser, Mr R A Wise, Mr K Macdonald, Mr M J Baumann, Mr D A Russell, the Magic Millions Yearling Sale purchase from the draft of Vinery Stud has recorded five top three placed finishes from six starts to date and the manner in which he won suggest a horse with a bright future!

In the past few days, Racing NSW has announced some significant changes to the Benchmark system, as well as a number of initiatives to improve the competitiveness of country-performed horses.

The changes are designed to increase field sizes in Sydney, which have for a long time been way too small. These changes are particularly pleasing to me personally because racing horses regularly in both country and city NSW, we have understood the reasons why metropolitan fields have been so small for so long, and years of lobbying have proven to be very frustrating. Having the opportunity to contribute in a non-official capacity to a consultative process that took place early this year and came up with a raft of recommendations, it is pleasing that many of our suggestions have now become policy. For the sake of racing in NSW, I hope they work!

Without going into fuller detail, the key changes are an increase to the minimum top weight in benchmark races from 59kg to 61kg, with the minimum staying at 54kg. This means that in any given benchmark race, the range of horses that can compete at their correct handicap weight now has a 7kg or 14 benchmark points spread, rather than 5kg or 10 benchmark points. While that may not seem a lot, it is a 40% increase in the available pool of correctly-handicapped horses, so it has to have a natural flow-on benefit to field sizes.

Due to the increased weight that horses will be regularly asked to carry, changes have been introduced to allow apprentices to keep their claims longer, which will give trainers more opportunities to use apprentices and reduce the actual weight to be carried by the horses.

In NSW, metropolitan fields have for some years been drawn exclusively from metropolitan-trained horses. This is simply because country-performed horses were at a huge disadvantage when competing against metropolitan-performed counterparts under the benchmark system. In a simplistic example, a horse may win three races at a country centre like
Taree or Moruya, and be penalised four points for each win. Suddenly, after, say, three wins and a few placings after ten career starts, a handy bush horse has a benchmark rating of 70.

Meanwhile back in the city, a horse may win a provincial maiden and then a midweek race, and throw in a few placings, and it, too, gets penalised four points for each win. However it may now be on a benchmark rating of 66 because it has won two races only compared to the country winner’s three races, even though the former has earned much more prizemoney. So when the country horse came to town for a benchmark 70 midweek race, it would be carrying 59kg under the benchmark handicapping system, while the provincial/metro winner was carrying only 57kg, despite being a far superior horse and having earned more prizemoney. The latter would start near favourite and perform accordingly, while the former would start at 50/1, and invariably perform accordingly.

So in time country horses simply stopped coming to the city as they had little or no chance to be competitive. While I have been pushing this barrow for some years now, because it has been so obvious, there are now finally some rules in place that will hopefully make country-performed horses competitive again against their city-performed counterparts. The key to the changes are that the handicapper now has discretion to alter the weight of a horse moving from the country to the city, or vice versa, from its standard benchmark-linked handicap.

In our example above, if the Taree/Moruya winner now comes to the city, the handicapper has the discretion to give it up to a 6kg weight relief. While we will now see to what extent this will be applied, the reality is that that horse is now much more likely to be carrying 54kg when it comes to town, rather than 59kg. What this will do is make country-performed horses more competitive in the city, which will have the flow-on benefit of more country-performed horses actually coming to the city to have a go because of the greater likelihood that they will be competitive.

Similarly when the 66-rated provincial/city winner went to the country, it wasn’t penalised in any way under the current system, so it invariably started short-priced favourite and stifled betting, because its form was so superior, and it was so generously handicapped. Now the handicapper has the discretion to penalise those horses heading from the city to the country several kilos to give the locals much more chance of remaining competitive.

Further, Racing NSW has announced the introduction of “highway” races. Starting from December, there will become a ninth race on Sydney Saturday race programs run for midweek prizemoney, and exclusively for country-trained horses. This is another huge filip for country-trained horses to help boost their earning potential and indeed give their connections the opportunity of enjoying an exciting day in Sydney.

There are other nuances to the changes, but they are the key points. Racing NSW will review the impact of the changes after six months.

News from Louis

Gary Portelli hopes what appears to been a successful throat operation will see Rebel Dane rediscover his best form this Spring Racing Carnival.

The Group 1 winner, who turns six next week, has not started since finishing among the tail in the All Aged Stakes on 18 April, after which it was discovered his breathing capacity had been severely impacted.

“We scoped him the next day and his throat was completely paralysed,” Portelli told racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN.

“He’s always been a thick-winded horse, he’s always had not the best wind and he’s always made noise, but you can’t really operate on their throat until the larynx is completely paralysed.

“He’s a stallion, so he’s very hard to scope, but we got him scoped the next day and his throat wasn’t working at all.

“He only got beaten three lengths twice in Group 1 races and I think they said he only had about 30 per cent of his airway working under full pressure, so hopefully the op looks at this stage it’s pretty successful.”

The All Aged Stakes followed a sixth placing – beaten 2.9 lengths – in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, while he was beaten less than half a length in two Group 1 races – the Moir Stakes and Manikato Stakes – at the Valley last spring.

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Portelli said the son of California Dane did some three-quarter pace work down the straight at trackwork on Tuesday morning and feedback was positive.

“He’s always been a horse that has made a little bit of noise in his work and there was no noise at all today,” he said.

“Hopefully we’re seeing him right back to his brilliant best and if his airway is working better he may even get a little further,” Portelli.

Despite that, Portelli is keeping his spring options open with the galloper who has not won since snaring the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in September 2013.

“We got him scoped yesterday by my vet and he’s very happy with the way the throat looks, so that gave him more confidence as to what sort of work I should be doing,” he said.

“He’s right to do some fast work, so we thought we’d probably give him another three to four weeks of work and then obviously we’d know where he is fitness-wise and what race will be available at that point.

“But I’m not setting him for anything because I just want to watch him come along steadily.”

To listen to a radio interview with Rebl Dane’s trainer Gary Portelli and RSN’s Shane Anderson, click here.

News from Brad Bishop, Racing.com

While the temperature might have been a little ‘Arctic’ at Echuca on Tuesday, it was a ‘Dream’ result for her owners as four-year-old mare Arctic Dream broke her maiden status.

Having finished third last time out over 1580m, the step up to the 2100m of the Betfair Murray Mallee Winter Stayers Series Heat 5 really aided the Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison-trained mare.

From the outside barrier in the field of 12, jockey Billy Egan took the mare forward where she sat on the outside of Speed ‘N’ Reef.

A mid-race move came from back in the pack as Gold A Plenty charged around the field to try and wrestle the lead from Speed ‘N’ Reef.

As the field rounded the home turn, Gold A Plenty had got the better of the race leader, and began to assert his superiority and was pulling away from the field.

Having enjoyed a good trail just behind the leaders, Arctic Dream began to make her move and with about 20m to go she got her head in front to record a half-length win, breaking her maiden.

Arctic Dream Win

To view a replay of the gutsy performance, click here.

Set to head to stud this season, it was a great to get a win on the board for the well-related daughter of Sebring, as she is also a half-sister to the Group 2-winning, Group 1 placed Hallowell Belle (Starcraft) as well the Group 3-winning Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom), all daughters of the Beautiful Crown mare Bella Inez, herself a full-sister to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas winner In Top Swing.

Congratulations to all fellow owners on the win of the well-bred mare; Mr M B Christian, Mr B Johnson, Mr B G Christian, Mr R H Soussa, Maniana, Mr A N Fitzgerald, S & K Dean, Mr M W Bristow, Dr P D Braude, Ms J Marretta, Mr D A Russell and Mrs R C Fitzgerald.

While we all love to highlight success, we are confident that ‘Harry’ will make the grade in the coming weeks after recording her third consecutive second placed finish this time in!

Wide Acclaim as he is officially known, returned from a spell to finish second over 1000m at Kembla Grange on June 16, before finishing in the same position just over two weeks later when stepped up to the 1100m at Hawkesbury.

Starting race favourite at Kembla on Tuesday, Wide Acclaim was ridden by leading jockey Blake Shinn and after settling down in third position in the run where upon entering the home straight looked a live chance of taking the win.

With the race favourite, the well-spruiked Egyptian Symbol still in front of him, Wide Acclaim was doing a few things wrong but still set out after the leader.

Narrowing the margin to a half-neck on the line, it was a great effort from Harry and we are confident that it won’t be too long before the son of Vinery stallion Congrats finds himself crossing the line in front!

Harry 2nd

To view his run from Tuesday, click here.

With five runs under his belt for four placed effort, Wide Acclaim, will slightly frustrating, is proving to trainer Gary Portelli that he is at least consistent.

Purchased from the draft of Vinery Stud at the 2014 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Wide Acclaim is out of the Hussonet mare Dirty, a winner of the Listed BTC Vo Rogue Plate during her career.

Congrats to fellow the fellow owners in Harry and we hope to be writing about his maiden win in the coming weeks!

Sky Dazzle produced a big effort to lead all the way on debut at Sale for Mornington-based trainer Tony Noonan and triple her purchase price in earnings from just one race.

“She was a $5,000 yearling purchase so Louis Mihalyka at Laurel Oak Bloodstock has really outdone himself by picking out this lovely filly,” said Alfred Chan, Racing Manager for Tony Noonan.

“She’s shown a lot of ability in her jumpouts at home and the Super VOBIS bonus today just makes the win all the more sweeter for her owners.”

Jumping well from gates, Sky Dazzle showed excellent tactical speed under rider Jake Noonan to drift across from barrier 7 and find the lead.

Travelling sweetly, Sky Dazzle ($8.50) gave a kick in the straight to hold on by a head from Magna Rossa ($26) and Rillito ($7) a further two lengths back in third. To view a reply of the race, click here.

Capture“She’s a really nice filly,” Noonan said after the victory.

“I’ve got to give credit to Michael Carson who rides trackwork for Dad and has done a lot of work with this filly.

“He’s always had an opinion of her and he’s done a really good job educating her.”

The win continues the excellent partnership Laurel Oak Bloodstock are having with Noonan-trained horses for Sky Dazzle to be the 7th individual winner for the major syndicator in the Noonan stable this season.

Secured from the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Ultra Thoroughbreds, Sky Dazzle was was offered to clients as part of the Tony Noonan Club Syndicate 2 – moral of the story – take notice next time!

Racing in Victoria will become more viable for owners in the 2015/2016 racing season with a $16.5 million prizemoney increase announced from 1 August 2015. Across the various race types and grades, the increases range from 6.7% up to 71.4%, all very significant percentages which will be very much appreciated by all owners.

Importantly the increases are from maiden grade up to open handicaps which has a greater widespread benefit than the black-type races. A summary of the new prizemoney for each class of race can be viewed here.

This is very welcome news and we are looking forward to the Laurel Oak horses taking home more prizemoney in the future.

In major news for industry professionals like yours truly, Inglis have announced that they will be moving their office and auction facilities to Warwick Farm.

Inglis acquired 26 acres of land adjacent to the Warwick Farm racecourse in 2009 as an option for the future. Now with the rezoning of Inglis’ Newmarket site in Randwick that property will be sold and relocation plans will proceed.

It is expected that the first yearling sales to be held at Warwick Farm will be in 2019.

Sydney will then have a similar set up to Karaka and Melbourne’s Oaklands Junction whereby the industry participants generally stay in the city centre and make the 30 to 40 minute journey each day to the sales complex.

The current Inglis site will be redeveloped to Newmarket Green, a new community for Randwick with a mix of housing, neighbourhood shops and services while retaining heritage elements and all significant trees, including the iconic Moreton Bay fig that dominates the current Inglis auction ring.

To read more about the move as per the Inglis Press Release, click here.

Anaphora booked a trip to the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) with a last-stride victory in Saturday’s $80,000 No Fuss Events Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.

Trainer Tony Noonan said he went into the race confident despite the fact the daughter of Dylan Thomas was beaten as favourite last start at Seymour.

“I always knew that she was going to be better back on the firm ground and her work during the week was really good so we were really confident that she’d come here and run well,” Noonan said.

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“Gee I was a bit worried along the side, I know they were going along at a good clip but she was giving them a big start so it was a good effort.

“We’ve always had a good opinion of her and she’ll be even better as she gets over more ground.”

After settling at the tail of the field, Anaphora ($12-$8) produced a powerful finish under jockey Vlad Duric to win in a photo over Violent Snow ($12), with Tears Of Joy ($7.50) a further two lengths away in third.

Noonan said Anaphora may have one more run over 2000m at Caulfield in a fortnight before heading north.

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“She’ll only have one more run before the Oaks but I don’t think a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) will worry her,” he said.

“The Oaks is only 2200m this year and she’s got to improve a lot still but she’s lightly-raced and on the up.”

A special congratulations to the connections; Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Four Up, Mr A N Fitzgerald, Club Number One, Mr P J Macbeth, Mrs J E Macbeth, Mr M S Mannix, Mr R T Spargo, Mr P A Atley, Mr B Marotta, Mr R A Lloyd, Mr D A Russell, Miss E Morrissey, Mrs E K Grant and trainer Tony Noonan.Anaphora 4

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Always having held this colt in high regard, as evident by his debut run in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington (1400m) back in March, the Tony Noonan-trained Mr Optimistic has been in Queensland for a few weeks and made his local debut today at the Gold Coast.

Starting the clear favourite, jockey Luke Dittman jumped the colt away well from the inside barrier in the 12 horse field and he settled back on the rail with cover.

Working home when it mattered, Luke Dittman got the best out of Mr Optimistic to hit the lead with 150m to go, winning the race by a length and three quarters to break his maiden at just his third career start.

Trainer Tony Noon was clearly elated with the victory, “We’ve always had an enormous opinion of this colt which is why we bought him up to Queensland,” Noonan said.

“He’s been doing a few things wrong in his races but he jumped well today for the first time and Luke (Dittman) did an excellent job to get off the fence when he did.”

With no firm plans in place as to where the colt will head now, with Queensland riches just around the corner, it could be tempting to aim the colt at some stakes races during the carnival.

By Darley stallion Domesday, Mr Optimistic is out of the Anabaa mare Be Positive, a mare we raced to Group 3 victory in the Victoria Plate in partnership with various owners with Tony a few years back.

Congratulations to trainer Tony Noonan, jockey Luke Dittman and to owners Laurel Oak Norman (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Boeara Holdings (Mgr: Mrs D A Dunphy), S P Reilly, M J Birrell, A N Fitzgerald, Bobbin Along (Mgr: A Cork), Mrs S M Ridgway, A Mavridis, Miss S J Collins, W H A Rigg, P A Innes, Club Number One (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), Mrs N C Birrell and B D Bryant on the victory.

Mr Optomistic

The Keith Dryden-trained duo, WARINDA and CRUSADER GENERAL, were both poking along in reasonable form in their own grade in February, when the decision was made to target them both for the Country Championships Qualifier at Goulburn late in March, which we hoped would flow on to a run in the Country Championships at Randwick during The Championships.

Both horses fell short in that ambitious program, so we “resumed normal programs” with both of them.

With Warinda we established at the end of last preparation that 1600m seemed his ideal distance. However with the distraction of The Championships over 1400m, we kept him at shorter distances for longer than we otherwise would have. Once we had moved on from that plan, he ran a fast-finishing fourth over 1600m in a strong race at Goulburn, and the decision was made to try him over 2000m. That didn’t work at all, as he pulled too hard in the slow tempo, and didn’t finish off.

Back to 1600m in Canberra for what was only his third attempt at his “best distance”, at his 20th career start, jockey Brendan Ward had him perfectly placed and travelling sweetly on the fence behind the leaders. When he got into clear running 300m from home, Warinda quickly joined the leaders and had the race in his keeping to come away for a comfortable 1.5 length win. With two wins and a good fourth now at that distance, we will certainly be sticking to it, and there is a chance that he may back up into another 1600m race at Wagga this coming Thursday, 30 April.

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Meanwhile Crusader General was going for the Laurel Oak double two races later. Once he had moved on from The Championships objective, he won his next start in Canberra on Golden Slipper Day. Then a poorly-judged ride saw him finish well back in Canberra two weeks later, before having another go over 1400m last Friday.

With his drawing wide in the small six-horse field, jockey Kathy O’Hara’s instructions were to get cover, and the only way she could do that was to go back to last. In a clever piece of riding, Kathy cut the corner as they turned for home to go underneath two horses rather than around them. However she was still three lengths off the leaders and not coming quickly enough. Fortunately Crusader General stoked up under Kathy’s riding, and was flying at the finish.

With three horses across the track in front of him, with about fifty to go he was most likely going to finish either first or fourth, but  more likely the latter. Thankfully he really motored in the last 50m and arrived in time to score a long-neck win in a four-way finish, to make it two wins from his last three starts.

As we reported on his previous victory in last month’s edition of Grandstand View, getting him back to winning form was very satisfying for everyone concerned, as he was coming back from a double knee injury that had him off the scene for eighteen months.

Keith will now look for another suitable race for him.

The double took Keith to a five-win lead in the local trainers premiership, with three meetings to go to the end of the season, so we hope he can hang on to win another premiership. It has been a great season for Keith, as his main opposition in Canberra includes talented young trainers, Nick Olive and Matt Dale, and the strong Barbara Joseph stable, all of whom have good-sized racing teams.

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Secured from the 2014 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale by Laurel Oak Bloodstock for $130,000 from the draft of Broadwater Thoroughbreds, two-year-old Northern meteor filly Flash In The Dark travelled from her Canberra base to Wagga to make her debut on Sunday in the Alert Handicap over 1000m.

Given barrier 12 of 13 in a field of mainly unraced juveniles, the race day favourite was the Nick Olive-trained Lock The Doors who last campaign had finished just under five lengths from Ottoman, with Pride Of Dubai in third – both of those two-year-olds going on to claim stakes races during the carnivals.

Finding the 900m of a barrier trial in November too short, the Laurel Oak Pink Syn, F W Cook, T D Millard, Back To The Bay Syn, B L J Syn, Club Dryden Syd, H R Wallace, M G Houston, M K Graham, V A Elvin and C J Elvi–owned filly was well supported for her racetrack debut, but as she was having her first start, there is always the unknown of racing, plus added fact it is two-year-old racing!

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Settling just behind the leaders getting a perfect run, jockey Brendan Ward asked the filly for an effort about 300m from home, and she surged through a gap to defeat Our Project by a head with a neck back to the race favourite in third.

Trained Keith Dryden was suitably impressed by the performance post-race stating that while he felt the filly would run well, she would be better over further.

Set to head to a lucrative Inglis Bonus race next time out, best of luck to her connections!

Returning to the track after a 12 week break, the Tony Noonan trained Anaphora (Dylan Thomas x Power of Love) scored a very classy two-and-a-quarter length win in Perco Australia Maiden Plate (1200m) at Mornington.

Recording two placed efforts from her four starts last time in, the three-year-old filly clearly appreciated the break, and after settling well back in the run, produced an exciting turn of foot to break her maiden with jockey Jake Noonan in the saddle.

With gate 15 of 15 proving no problem for the Grant Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd, Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd, Four Up Synd, A Fitzgerald, Club Number One Synd, P & Mrs J Macbeth, M Mannix, R Spargo, P Atley, B Marotta, R Lloyd, D Russell, Miss E Morrissey and Mrs E Grant owned filly, Noonan has always held this filly in high regard.

Anaphora Win

“This was a very deserving win for her connections,” Noonan said.

“They have been very patient and she really should have won before today so it’s a great result.”

“I’ve always said she is a Saturday class filly so it’s great for her to get the monkey off her back because she’s just had no luck in her past runs.”

Starting to make her run 600m from home, the Dylan Thomas filly powered strongly in what was a performance of a filly who can get further as her dam Power Of Love, who was raced in similar ownership was a winner up to 1600m and was placed up to 2000m.

It has been a great few days for the Laurel Oak Bloodstock and trainer Tony Noonan, having scored a victory a few days back with Swiftly Red at Bendigo.

A graduate of the 2012 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Swiftly Red (Testa Rossa x General Resolve) recorded her second win, from her last four starts, scoring by a short head in the Andy’s Earthmovers Handicap over 1400m for trainer Tony Noonan at Bendigo.

Raced by a large group of owners; Laurel Oak Jane Syndicate (Mgr: L J Mihalyka), A N Fitzgerald, Mrs M D Turnbull, Boeara Holdings Syndicate (Mgr: Mrs D A Dunphy), D A Jeffery, Mrs C J Jeffery, Miss A L Goble, K E O’Brien, Mrs T O’brien, P W Hickey, Mrs A M Hickey, Mrs M V Horrigan, P Sutton and Mrs R C Fitzgerald, Swiftly Red, now a four-year-old mare, has improved this time in and Noonan feels she will continue to improve, especially as the tracks get a bit wet underfoot during the Winter.

Holding off a late challenge in the final 50m of the race, Swiftly Red held on to record her fourth consecutive top four finish.

“I’ve got to give a lot of thanks to my foreman Viv Bertrand and Lisa Jones who manages our farm,” Noonan said.

“They have done a lot of work with the mare who has had blood enzyme problems in the past and a lot of people have worked extremely hard and got a lot out of her.”

Swiftly Red Bendigo

Ridden by leading jockey Nick Hall, he continued his perfect record on the mare, two rides for two wins!

Jumping from barrier 1, Swiftly Red pinged out of the gates forcing Lilian to work hard in the early stages to find the lead.

Settling Swiftly Red in the run, Hall eventually gave up the lead but gave his mare the dream run in transit on the fence, one behind Lilian.

Peeling out at the top of the straight, Hall peeled out and balanced up Swiftly Red ($4.60) who was strong to the line to score by a head from Deeming ($6.00) and Ungreatful Ellen ($2.70) in third.

“I was happy to switch her over to the left and it really got her through the line,” Hall said.

There is not as much prestige and a considerable difference in stakes than the obvious alternative.

But for Sydney sprinter Rebel Dane and his trainer Gary Portelli, winning the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley promises to be just as significant as a victory in the TJ Smith Stakes.

Looking to Rebel Dane’s future beyond the racetrack, Portelli and the horse’s syndicate of owners have chosen the lesser of two Group One sprint races run eight days apart in setting the entire for a first-up Melbourne win.

Rebel Dane is also already a Group One winner but another success at racing’s elite level would add value to his career as a commercial sire.

“We are probably a better chance of winning a Group One if we go to Moonee Valley rather than go to Randwick and be a ten-to-one shot and run another place in the TJ Smith,” Portelli said.

Rebel Dane Boss

“The William Reid is a Group One race, he’s a stallion and it’s very important for him if we can get him over the line.”

Rebel Dane earned $450,000 in finishing second to Lankan Rupee in last year’s TJ Smith and he gets $240,000 for a William Reid win.

“It would have been great to race him in both because it’s hard to turn your back on a race worth two and a half million dollars,” Portelli said.

“We ran second in the TJ last year with him but it wasn’t going to be any easier this year. Terravista is going to be there and so is Chautauqua.

“Around the Valley he’s been competitive against Lankan Rupee and Buffering but on the bigger tracks they’ve just had that little bit on us.”

Rebel Dane was among a host of unlucky runners when figuring in a blanket finish behind Lankan Rupee in last year’s Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley and Portelli says his horse is due for a change of fortune at the track.

“He’s had a couple of goes at the Valley and he’s been unlucky so hopefully his turn comes this time,” Portelli said.

“The field is a rung below the TJ Smith but there’s still genuine Group One horses like Angelic Light and Famous Seamus so it’s not going to be a walk in he park for anyone.”
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