Track Talk Tuesday – Rain Rain We Want you to Stay with Noel Mayfield-Smith

We asked Hawkesbury trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith, who had a runner at Rosehill on Saturday 18 January 2020, what he thinks of the latest welcomed rain and how it effects his horses.

“It’s very good to see the rain, like everywhere we’re desperate and in need of water. The dam was getting very low and there are a couple of the tracks that are very water dependant and there was only a month’s supply of water left in the dam. There is a bore, but it is quite acidic so has to be mixed with fresh water anyway, so it was great to get a good down pour of rain, but we’ll need more to top us up.

Very happy to see the rain to settle some of the dust because a lot of horses tend to get a box cough so as soon as the rain comes they immediately seem to shake off that cough and obviously it also softens the tracks which cuts down on jarring of the horses joints.

I think with horses and rain there’s two things I notice, it seems to freshen them up around the stable and they also seem to handle their work a lot better because of that little give in the ground. For example, a horse that’s not that great of a doer and working of rain affected ground seems to pull up a lot better and eat better too. Not all horses handle the wet, there’s usually plenty that don’t but you just have to work through that.

My training, I probably use the grass more when it has been raining or is raining because it’s got a bit of give in it. I don’t like particularly using the grass when it’s firm especially when we have the polytrack available.

Track closures and race meeting abandonment’s don’t worry me, it’s a part of the game. It’s just like what we’ve had recently from hot temperatures and smokey skies and calling race meetings off because of that, where as these days they try to pick up the race day elsewhere where as previously they’d just be lost, so it’s not that bad really.”

Written by Amy Halliday

Track Talk Tuesday – Sue O’Keeffe

Open days at racing stables are a great way for owners or potential owners to see how their chosen stable…

Track Talk Tuesday – She Has a Name

Following on from the “Dreams Do Come True” story recently, our beautiful Bel Esprit x Monte Bella filly has been named ….. Spirit Rich.

Bella, as she is affectionately known by two of her happy owners, commenced her second educational preparation at the Robert Heathcote stables last month.

To date, Bella has had two jumps from the barriers, one on dirt over 400m which she won by five lengths and a second on turf over 800m on a heavy track.  Unfortunately, our girl didn’t like the tough going and finished a creditable 4th in a field of seven.

Despite having not handled the softness of the ground, her track work rider says Bella is doing everything right and did not sustain any injuries from her gallop.

On a positive note Bella received her barrier certificate on the same day which is very good news, meaning she will be able to officially trial and race when she is ready for the next step.

Many race meetings and trials have been abandoned in South East Queensland over the past couple of weeks so we are waiting on some clear, track drying weather.  The Deagon track will be holding trials next Thursday, so at this stage we hoping Bella can participate.

Spirit Rich … May she have lots of spirit and make us all rich …


Track Talk Tuesday – Vinery Stud

A stud farm is where it all begins.  This is your first step on choosing your potential new champion that you aim to get to a track.  Breeding is so important and research is absolutely vital.

One of our favourite studs is Vinery Stud.  Situated in the Segenhoe Valley just five minutes from Scone is one of the most ideal thoroughbred nurseries in Australia.

Last weekend the doors opened in the Upper Hunter to view all the current stallions and Thoroughbred Events Australia had our scouts out and about. Thank you Robyn Fowler.

Vinery Stud provided a beautiful morning for their Stallion Parade. After a night of much needed rain to the area the morning was saved for a dry event.  Bacon and egg rolls, mouth watering pastries, coffee, champagne and orange juice were being consumed on the lawn before the parade began.
Vinery Stud showcased all of their 2018 stallions on. The parade consisted of PLUCK, CASINO PRINCE, ALL TOO HARD, PRESS STATEMENT, STAR TURN, HEADWATER and  the magnificent MORE THAN READY.
Thank you to Vinery Stud for presenting a fantastic Stallion Parade and please take the time to watch our video of the morning.

Country Racing – Illawarra Turf Club

There’s nothing like a day at the races! As NSW’s premier racecourse south of Sydney, Kembla Grange Racecourse is the perfect blend of charm, sophistication & affordability.

The Illawarra Turf Club is a thoroughbred racecourse that conducts 30 meetings per year at it’s Kembla Grange site.  The meetings attract in excess of 65,000 patrons per year and generates employment for 30 permanent staff and up to 150 casual employees each meeting.

With a train station located directly across the road from the Racecourse, access could not be easier.

Introducing Illawarra Turf Club’s Board of Directors

  • Barry Vandenbergh – Chairman
  • Matt Howlin – Vice Chairman
  • Paul Mack – Treasurer
  • Tony Stephen – Director
  • Ross Farrell – Director
  • Ian Millward – Director
  • Ross Kennedy – Director

Chief Executive Officer – Peter De Vries

Let’s go Country Racing!!!!

Produced by Hannah Brooks


Track Talk Tuesday – Matthew C Smith Racing Stables

On Sunday Matthew C Smith Racing Stables open their hospitality doors to invite all their owners and guests.  Over 180 people turned up which was such a great turn out in what was a glorious winter’s day.

Catering for that many at the Track was no easy accomplishment.  Plenty of food and dessert plus the bar was open – mind you from 11 am!!!!

A big success of the day would have to be the walk on the track with Andrew Adkins.  Andrew explained what each spot would mean to a jockey, also explaining conditions of the tracks.  

While the adults were learning racing tactics, the kids were enjoying their interaction with the cute miniature animal farm:  bunnies, goats, ducks, lambs were a huge hit. 

Matthew kept the adults well and truly entertained when he bought out 7 horses for either leasing or buying.  

These open  days are invaluable to both trainers and owners.  You get to feel part of a huge family with everyone mingling and enjoying their day. Also a great way to see the new horses available in the stable.  We can highly recommend if considering a metropolitan trainer, you consider Matthew – so approachable, knowledgeable and knows how to look after his clients. 

But we all know, behind every great man is an amazing woman and this is so true when it comes to Matthew’s wife, Melissa.  This woman is Wonder Woman. Nothing too hard, and always a pleasure to talk too.  Melissa can pull off any event and they are always a great success.   

Last season the Matthew C Smith Racing Stable trained 42 winners and so far this season has produced the winners of 35 races, with the latest winner being Catmosphere at Wyong on July 14.

Congrats to all the team at Matthew Smith Racing Stable on your success and, for the way you look after your owners.


Track Talk Tuesday – What happens after your race?

Have you ever wondered exactly what after your horse races?
It was fabulous to catch up with Lucy Keegan-Attard, Assistant Trainer / Office Manager at Jason Attard Racing where we asked this exact question.  Thoroughbred Events Australia’s very first horse Cinderconi just won at Goulburn and it was perfect timing to ask Lucy – exactly what happens to Cinderconi after she races while we are all celebrating?
Lucy was able to run us through the process.

After the Race

“Firstly, straight after the race the strapper will meet the horse & jockey back in the enclosure, clipping the lead back to the bridle and making it safe for the jockey to unsaddle the horse.
Should the horse be lucky enough to have won (which we did) or achieved a minor placing, the strapper will bring the horse into their allocated place stall for unsaddling.
If the horse wins, then the strapper will keep the horse in the enclosure so that the winning owners and race sponsors have photos taken with the winning sash being held across the front of the horse.
Following a win, the strapper is then accompanied by a qualified swabbing attendant who will stay with them whilst they carry out the usual duties for post race.
The horse is taken back to it’s allocated stall where it’s bridle and any other items worn for the race are removed, their head collar and bit will be put on ready for it to be hosed off.
The horse will then be thoroughly hosed off in the wash bay.  This is the ideal time for the strapper to check the horse for it’s recovery (how quickly the breathing comes back to a normal rate, if deemed necessary heart rate can be taken also by placing the back of your hand against the horses girth & counting heart beats for 15 seconds and then multiplying by 4 to get a 60 second rate).  The horse is also checked for any cuts or abrasions that may have been sustained in the barriers and in the race itself.
Once the horse is washed and the strapper is happy, a small drink of water is offered followed by hand walking for up to 45 minutes depending on how the horse is recovering and how hot the weather is.  The walking is done with intervals of stopping back in the stall to offer a drink.
If the horse has won the race or has been requested to provide a post race urine sample all of the above is done in the presence of the swabbing attendant using their water bucket, scraper and a special swab box for the horse to urinate in.
Whistling is a good tool to encourage the horse to urinate and you will often hear stable hands whistling at horses whenever they pass urine in order to familiarise them with the command.
The swab staff will catch an amount of urine in a pan on a long handle & then prepare it to be sent to the laboratory for testing.
Once the horse has recovered sufficiently well and at least 45 minutes has passed since it raced it is ready to be transported home.  Rugs, travel boots and overreach boots will be put on before the horse is loaded onto the truck or trailer.
When the horse arrives back at home it will be checked again & if deemed necessary sometimes a pain killer / anti-inflammitory may be administered for recovery. Stable bandages and rugs will be applied as per usual routine and the horse is then bedded down for the night with plenty of clean fresh water, hay and an evening feed.”

At Home

Lucy further goes on to say: “We are very lucky that we are able to put our horses out in a medium sized grass yard for at least a day after each run.  This is done in morning stables after the horse has been checked, it’s feed level recorded and temperature taken.
A routine trot up is carried out on our drive way and if there is any cause for concern our vet will come and assess the trot up as well.
The horse will then be offered a roll in the sand roll before being turned out for the day.
Offering a roll is a great way of seeing how the horse has come through their race initially as you get to know what each horse does each time it has a roll and how fresh they are feeling, most of our horses bounce around in the roll & will roll quite vigorously!
After having a full day off in a grass yard our horses will then the next day have a swim and a walk on the horse walker followed by another day out on the grass.  Depending on how hard a run they had they may even have a couple of days walking and  swimming or just cantering on our track at home before they resume their work at the race track.


Usually gallops start again a week after the race, again depending on the horse and how it performed and it’s programme going forward.  They are all different and no two horses follow the exact same programme.”
You can see how much work goes into every step of the way to ensure the horse’s welfare is of paramount concern.  A happy horse is a happy race horse!!!
Lucy concluded:  “I would love to wish everyone involved in ownership luck and more than anything, happy racing!”

Amy, Sharon & Lucy

We cannot thank Lucy enough for her time and knowledgeable insight.  Every part of ownership should be enjoyed and owners need to appreciate just how much time and love goes into getting your horse to, from and after the track.
See you at the track

Track Talk Tuesday – Portelli Racing’s Open Day

Open days at racing stables are a great way for owners or potential owners to see how their chosen stable operates.  It is a great way to meet other owners, see your horse and discuss any queries you have personally with your trainer in a more relaxed setting.

Our Kiersten Duke went to Portelli Racing stables last Sunday to see first hand how this sleek operation works as well as enjoy the hospitality provided.

Kiersten, how was your open day at Portelli Racing? 

“I was so impressed with the turn out and how hospitable Portelli Racing was. Gary has a great team and all were so friendly and approachable.  Gary himself is extremely knowledgable with regards to buying young horses and this knowledge was shared to those present.   It was nice chatting to owners and listening to their stories on how they got involved- it was easy to chat as we all had one thing in common, the love of horses.”

Gary provides a complete range of training services with state of the art facilities. He has an astute attention to detail.

A stable is only as good as your staff and Portelli Racing pride themselves on knowledge and dedication to ensure that their horses are given every opportunity to perform at their best.

With a philosophy “to ensure every individual horse gets the attention they deserve on and off the track” how can this stable not have the success they rightfully deserve.

Thank you for having Thoroughbred Events Australia at your successful open day.  We would personally like to thank Gary Portelli, Loren Wadsworth together with Handlers: Nathan, Wayne, Karry & Foremen:  Sharon & Cracker ☺

Portelli Racing is situated at 7 Manning St, Warwick Farm.[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”″ title=”Portelli Racing”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Track Talk Tuesday – Dead Heat

On Sunday 22nd April a dead heat occurred in race 6 at Goulburn Racing Club between Subban, trained by Bryce Heys (Warwick Farm) and Cape Wickham, trained by David Pfieffer (Warwick Farm).

Cape Wickham, ridden by apprentice jockey Jean Van Overmeire, was the favourite, paying just $3.  While Subban, piloted by Japanese jockey Yusuke Ichikawa, paid $8 and carried 61kg’s- just 1kg more than the favourite.

Running at the rear of the field under Bryce Heys’ instructions to be ridden quietly, Subban swooped down the Goulburn straight to meet Cape Wickham at the finishing post.

The result left both strappers behind the scenes and spectators with plenty of questions regarding prize money, ratings and how it would affect the punter. So we pestered a few trainers, jockeys and hit Google search to provide you with all the answers!

For the punter: A dead heat is calculated by dividing the stake between the two winners.  So your return would be half of what it could have been.  This can be referred to as half-face value of the bet or a bet for half the original stake.

As for the prize money, each horse in the dead heat is rewarded an equal share of the total prize money that would have been rewarded in respect of the horses had they finished in successive places and not dead-heated.

If a dead heat occurs in a cup race, or a race where a prize is rewarded that cannot be divided and the nominators of the horse cannot agree on who is to have the cup/prize then the stewards make the final decision and decide what sum of money (if any) is to be paid by the nominator taking the cup/prize to the other nominator.

Both horses in the dead heat are rewarded the same status as if they had won the race, so it effects their ratings in the same way. The same theory applies when an apprentice jockey that has a claim is in a dead heat; it goes against their weight claim as a win.

Words by Kiersten Duke
Photo credit to Bradley Photographers

Track Talk Tuesday – Inglis Sales an Undoubted Success

As the gavel came down on the last lot of the Inglis Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale on the 17th of April 2018, it signalled the end to an incredible and historical Easter Sales period for the team at Inglis Riverside Stables Warwick Farm.

It was  a huge 2 weeks for Inglis seeing not only the Australian Easter Yearling Sale over 3 days but also the Inglis chairman’s sale of elite breeding prospects on the 12th of April, which concluded with the Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale over 3 days the following week.

Undertaken at Inglis Riverside Stables Warwick Farm, $163,756,050 worth of horse flesh had been sold over the 3 individual Easter period sales.

Inglis Managing Director Mr Mark Webster quoted that the first Inglis Easter Sales period was “an undoubted success”.

The Australian Easter Yearling Sale saw 22 yearlings sold for $1m or more and 71 individual lots sold for $500,000 or more.

Arrowfield Stud was again a leading vendor at Inglis, with one of their lots (lot 400 – a Bay Colt by Snitzel out of The Broken Shore with close relations to the likes of Redoute’s Choice, Platinum Scissors, Manhattan Rain as well as Rebuick) selling under the hammer to trainer Anthony Freedman for a whooping $2.3 million. This colt was not only the top lot for day 3 of the Easter Yearling Sale but was also the overall Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale topper.

The team at Inglis Riverside Stables, as well as all the vendors, experienced an extremely outstanding first Inglis Easter Sales period. Six individual studs had 100% clearance rate at the Easter Yearling sales and Inglis had an overall Sales clearance rate of 84% with a gross earning off $116,057,500.

We are very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Inglis at their new Complex, Inglis Riverside Stables Warwick Farm. We wish Team Inglis (as well as all the vendors) all the best and every success for the foreseeable future.

Also a huge thank you and shout out to Mr Arthur Inglis and his team as well as Mr John Jeffs of Kitchwin Hills and his team for having Martin (our new team member at Thoroughbred Events Australia) over the past two weeks who states “it was an absolute pleasure to see it all first hand”.

Statistics and sales information courtesy of Inglis.

Words by Martin Parsons
Chief Editor Sharon Lenton