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Laurel Oak Newsletter









Saturday, 21 September, saw one of the highlights of Laurel Oak’s history, when INTO THE NIGHT put up a game  performance to win the Listed Starlight Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.


He continued his great form of this preparation after his brilliant first-up win at Randwick and then his narrow defeat in a very hot Group 3 Concorde Stakes.

In the end, the win in the Starlight Stakes had a solid element of relief about it as well as excitement, because Into The Night looked so well-placed on paper.  After his previous start, so many of the horses who finished behind him went on to run extremely well behind Defier in the Theo Marks Quality.  The good form around Into The Night continued when Empire, who ran third to Satchmo (as Into The Night is known around the stables) went on to win the $175,000 The Shorts on Metropolitan Day.


In the Starlight Stakes Satchmo travelled beautifully one out and one back to the home corner after finally drawing a good alley this preparation.  Things looked grim, though, at the 300m mark when Empire loomed up menacingly on the outside and Satchmo hadn’t quite reached the lead.  After watching the replay, however, in a more rational state of mind, it was apparent that Danny Beasley was biding his time and hadn’t yet moved on Satchmo.  When he went for him, he quickly asserted his superiority and went to the lead to hold on for a narrow but convincing win.


In a way he didn’t look as spectacular and dashing as his previous two starts, however when the time was semaphored it was very fast, including a sizzling last 600m sectional, so it was hard to imagine his running any faster.  However subsequent events have shown that it may in fact be possible to imagine Satchmo running even faster, because he came back to the mounting yard really feeling one foot, and it transpired that a corn that trainer Keith Dryden had been battling for some weeks flared up and had an abscess in it.


Keith decided there would be no more patchwork jobs between races and he would get the horse right before going on to the next start.  That is the reason that Satchmo missed the very suitable-looking The Shorts on Metropolitan Day. 


While Sydney was focused on “Luke’s leg” in the lead-up to the Rugby League Grand Final (for interstate non-league fans, that refers to Sydney Roosters player, Luke Ricketson, who had a hamstring injury, which became the focus of media attention in the lead-up to the Grand Final), Canberra was much more concerned with Satchmo’s foot.


Luke’s leg came good for him to put in a sterling performance in a winning Grand Final, and hopefully Satchmo’s foot will head in the same direction.  After constant treatment, Into The Night was given the all-clear last Friday week to proceed with the preparation and his regular work rider has now indicated that Satchmo feels better than he did before the Starlight Stakes win.  That news can only be good!!



Satchmo now heads to Caulfield next Saturday, Caulfield Cup Day, 19 October, for the Group 2 National Telecoms Group Sprint over 1100m, a race better known to purists as the Chirnside Stakes.


With Into The Night maintaining such a solid focus in our lives at the moment, you can imagine our surprise when suddenly we saw him mentioned on the Fox Movie Channel on television.  It turned out not to have anything to do with the horse, but a 1985 movie called “Into The Night”, starring Jeff Goldblum, Dan Aykroyd and Michelle Pfeiffer.


Jeff Goldblum is obviously playing a young Keith Dryden (or perhaps could that have been Dan Aykroyd), and as the previews featured a nude scene with Michelle Pfeiffer, the film clearly must be worth watching!


How Into The Night goes at Caulfield will determine his next race thereafter.  A good performance on Saturday could see him take on the Group 1 Salinger on VRC Derby Day.  And as the original Satchmo once sang so well, “Oh what a wonderful world!” (it certainly is if you have a good horse!).



Several of our more humble steeds also ran in the past month, including some very good efforts without winning.  It doesn’t matter, though, whether one of our horses is moving into the barrier for a provincial maiden or for a black-type race in the city, I still get just as excited, which is good, because every owner will always have more horses move into the gates for a provincial maiden than they will for a black-type race.


PATTIE ROYALE, our 4yo Personal Flag-Petite Royale mare, made her long-awaited debut in September.  I think she is the second-oldest horse in Laurel Oak history to debut, with only CANALETTO being older.  While the latter’s career was delayed due to injury, with Pattie Royale it has simply been due to immaturity.


She ran a creditable first-up race to finish 6th on debut, when we expected that the race would be far too short for her.  At her second start two weeks later at Werribee over 1400m, she actually led the field quite comfortably and looked a genuine threat in the early part of the straight.  In the end, a couple of smart-looking gallopers beat her home, but she finished a very good 3rd, and Pattie Royale runs again today (15 October) in a 1600m fillies and mares maiden at Ballarat.

JINDELARA ran third over 2000m at her last run before a spell.  After looking a threat in the early part of the race, it appears that she hit the wall for this preparation about 50m from the finish line.


It is one of the longest first racing preparations any of our horses have had, and though she hasn’t won, she clearly has a future.  Tony Noonan is always encouraging us to critically look at our horses with a view to only keeping those that will make it through to city company, and he believes that next preparation, in mares races on soft tracks over ground, this Palace Music mare will graduate through to city company.  She has now gone for a long summer spell with a view to coming back and racing next autumn. 


BLACK ANTHEM took on Saturday company at Rosehill Gardens which showed clearly that he is not up to that grade.  In a very prudent decision by the owners, it was decided to send him north from Kerry Jordan to brother Chris, who relocated there earlier in the year.  He is still a Class Five horse, and they are well catered for over distances in Saturday company in Brisbane, where Black Anthem should find the quality of opposition much more like those that he beat when he won at Royal Randwick in August.  In his first run in Queensland he looked a chance around the corner but ducked in sharply and then ground to the line to finish a creditable fourth.  He runs again on Saturday, 26 October, at Eagle Farm.


CAPE CRUSADER has had two runs since the last newsletter for two placings.  At his first-up run after a let-up over 1300m at Hawkesbury, he blew his chances at the start and gave away any advantage he had from the inside draw.  After giving away a long start he ran home well to finish second behind the promising-looking Penetrator.  While we thought he was unlucky that day, history has shown with Penetrator’s subsequent form that we may have struggled to beat him regardless as that horse has gone on to bigger and better things already.


At his next start at Hawkesbury three weeks later over 1400m, Cape Crusader had a good run in transit and looked a genuine winning chance when he pulled across the heels of the leaders.  However he couldn’t run them down, even though he was gaining on them on the line, and finished third.  There was a tremendous leader bias at Hawkesbury that day, and only next start will we know whether his run was a little disappointing or whether the leader bias was too much to overcome.  That next start should be on Wednesday, 23 October, at Wyong.


The only other runner was DESERT HARASSER, who resumed at Hawkesbury in mid-September.  While he ran miles better than his first start last May, it was decided that he really will be a bush horse in the long-term, and he has been relocated to Trevor Shoesmith at Taree, who has enjoyed success with Desert Harasser’s big sister, Annshin.  Desert Harasser has yet to have a start since his relocation.


We have a number of very promising horses in the team which could be ready for action in the coming weeks, and the full list of horses is outlined in the Summary of Progress of Laurel Oak Horses insert to this newsletter.



There is good news once again in several of the families in which Laurel Oak horses are involved.  BE BOP A LULA’s first foal, St Jessie, had her second career start and ran third at Canterbury in another encouraging run.  She has since run fourth with top-weight again at Canterbury, which was another very good start.  She was checked at the start and was last early, when she is normally an on-pace horse, but she made good ground to eventually finish fourth, despite carrying top-weight. 


Her half-brother, the Danewin/Be Bop A Lula 2yo colt, has broken in extremely well and appears a very athletic, natural sort of horse.  The very good reports about him from the breaker meant that after discussing our various 2yos with our various trainers he was the only one for which we paid up the first acceptances for the Golden Slipper.  Meanwhile, the FILANTE-PEACH TREE ROAD colt also received a boost when Peach Tree Road’s first foal, La Peche, won brilliantly at Warwick Farm on the Monday of the long weekend.


Another horse that holds interest for the owners of the Filante colt is Macedon Lady, the very promising staying 3yo filly in Melbourne.  She resumed with a slashing first-up run to finish fourth in a strong race in Melbourne recently and is due to run in the Group 1 1000 Guineas tomorrow (16 October) at Caulfield.


The significance that Macedon Lady has to the Filante colt is that they were both Brain-recommended matings, and both are by Filante out of Cossack Warrior mares.


SHINE ON BRIGHTLY’s pedigree page also received a boost when Royal Purler won the Group 1 Flight Stakes in a surprise win over Victory Vein.  Royal Purler’s third dam is Princess Talaria, while the latter mare is Shine On Brightly’s second dam. 


Earlier in the year, Tully Thunder won the Group 1 Australasian Oaks to boost QUICKSAND’s family page.  The recent Gimcrack Stakes winner, Spurcent, is out of a mare called San Century, who is a three-quarter sister to Fleur De Chine, the dam of Tully Thunder.  While all that may sound like a loose relationship, the catalogue producers will certainly manage to get that on to Shine On Brightly’s catalogue page, which can only help her family appeal. 




The horses we have referred to so far in this edition of Grandstand View, including Into The Night, are not in quite the same class as the horses we are about to mention now.  Last Saturday’s Caulfield (Yalumba) Stakes battle between Lonhro and Sunline was another of those magnificent races that will go down in racing folklore, like the 1986 Cox Plate (Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star), and the 1987 Australian Cup (Bonecrusher and At Talaq).


Hollywood could not have scripted a better appetite whetter for the Cox Plate next Saturday week than that magnificent Caulfield Stakes, and the George Main Stakes at Randwick a fortnight earlier.


Let’s face it – some Cox Plates end up having disappointing fields, even though they represent the best in the land at the time.  2000 was a classic example, when Sunline won easily as the only on-pace horse on a very leader-biased Moonee Valley course.  Last year was the other extreme, when Northerly emerged as a genuine challenger to the great mare, and then Viscount rose to the occasion on the big day to turn the race into a three-way thriller. 


This year however looks like being even better.  Sunline and Northerly have returned this spring in fine form.  Lonhro has now emerged as a genuine threat as well.  Defier has been in scintillating form this spring as well, and already holds one decision over Sunline and two over Lonhro this spring.  Now Bel Esprit has shown himself in defeat at his last two starts to be a better horse than we probably gave him credit for.  His connections have already indicated he is heading for the Cox Plate as well.


Add the international spice of the Godolphin challenger, Grandera, regarded as being one of the best horses in Europe and this year’s Cox Plate is shaping as one of the very best.



Australia Post will now give you the opportunity to “lick a champion”.


Today, 15 October, Australia Post will issue five new 45c stamps depicting five champion horses that were recently inducted into Australia’s Hall Of Fame.  The issue is designed to acknowledge the important place thoroughbred racing has in Australian national consciousness.


The five horses depicted are Wakeful, the champion mare at the turn of the century;  Rising Fast, the only horse to win the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year, and who, in the following year, almost completed the Cups double again when he won the Caulfield Cup and was beaten into second place by lightweight Toporoa in the Melbourne Cup;  Manikato, the second equine millionaire in Australian racing history, who won the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley (now known as the Australia Stakes) five years in a row, the last time in 1983 as a 7yo, and who, six weeks later, came out and won the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield, his fourth win in that event.


The fourth horse acknowledged is Might And Power, who won the Cups double in 1997, and in the following year brilliantly won the Cox Plate in record time.  The fifth and last horse acknowledged is the mighty mare, Sunline, who is generally acknowledged by just about every person, young and old, involved in racing as the best mare they have ever seen.


For collectors, or just simply for racing fans, who would like a very well-presented souvenir of these great horses, there is a range of products including stamp pack, maximum cards (which are postcards), first day cover and gutter strip, with each of the five horses in the one strip and their colours printed in the gutter.  (For the non-philatelically inclined amongst you, the gutter is the white border between stamps.)


There are some big horses about to be bred.  We recently had a stud master ring and tell us that our mare had a 40cm follicle and was about to be covered by the stallion.  On a separate occasion recently we received a vet report on another foal, which made reference to an umbilical cord 60cm in diameter! 

Now a mare with a 15-inch follicle producing a foal with an umbilical cord 2-feet in diameter would suggest the age of the dinosaur is going to be upon us again soon. 


Perhaps the stud’s name is Jurassic Park!



The Winform racing club newsletter is always an interesting read and this month there is a report from one of their Malaysian clients who gets to the local racetrack by train and then by local bus.  Unfortunately the bus company was taken over by a Muslim-owned company, which does not believe in gambling.  Consequently they refused to drop punters off at the races.  Instead they were let off at the nearest bus stop, one kilometre away.  Punters in Malaysia, just like punters here in Australia, are enthusiastic and resilient souls, and were not put off by the bus company’s attitude.  They simply leave for the track a little earlier and find they are much fitter as a result of the bus company’s stance.



The NSW Racehorse Owners’ Association has lobbied successfully on behalf of its members that horses that are amongst original nominations are given preference over those who are entered when nominations are extended.


The NSWROA had written to the TRB expressing concern over the fact that with the increased incidence of extended nominations, there have been some instances where horses who were original entries were being balloted out after the nominations were extended.


The NSWROA’s suggestion seems only fair and horses in the original entries will now be given priority if there is a ballot.




Some good news for Sydney-based owners is that the Sydney Turf Club has announced an increase in minimum standard Saturday prizemoney to $50,000.  The STC has also announced that through the months of November and December, the unplaced starter’s bonus will increase to $1,000 for horses who have not earned prizemoney.



Both Sydney-based metropolitan clubs, the STC and the AJC, have announced membership drives.  The STC has announced a reduced joining fee for a period of time to mid-November, I believe, while the AJC is also encouraging membership.  There are pro-rata subscriptions for people joining mid-year;  for young members the eligibility age range has been extended, from 18 to 34 years of age, which have a reduced joining fee, while there is also a reduced joining fee for extended family members, which include husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father, and grandparents of existing members.


If you would like to join either of these clubs, and need assistance with proposing or seconding, please call me.  Both clubs adopt the attitude that any friend of mine can be a member of theirs (as opposed to Groucho Marx, who once stated that he would not like to be a member of any club that would have him as a member!).



A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport.  After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude the captain made an announcement over the intercom:  “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.  Welcome to Flight 293 non-stop from New York to Los Angeles.  The weather ahead is good and therefore we should have a smooth and uneventful flight.  Now sit back and relax … oh my God!!”


Silence followed and after a few minutes the captain came back on the intercom and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m so sorry I scared you earlier.  While I was talking to you the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilt the hot coffee in my lap.  You should see the front of my pants!”


A passenger from the back of the plane yelled, “That’s nothing!  You should see the back of mine!”

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