Maygrove (pic. Trish Dunell)
Ever since Louis Mihalyka purchased his first horse in January 1986, a lot of winners have sailed under his Laurel Oak banner.
One of them is leading Kiwi stayer, Maygrove, who well and truly put his hoof on the till for November’s New Zealand Cup after an emphatic victory in Saturday’s Listed Jakkalberry Classic at Rotorua.
Bred in NSW by the Laurel Oak Lady Zhivago Syndicate, Maygrove has now won over $NZ350,000, with his victories including the Group Two Awapuni Gold Cup and Group Two Wellington Cup.
“We’ve always had an opinion of Maygrove and were actually the underbidders when he sold for $110,000 as a yearling,” Mihalyka reveals. “A really flashy grey, he is by the former Darley stallion, Authorized: a son of Montjeu who won the 2007 Epsom Derby. John O’Shea really liked the horse and said to me that he wanted to train him, but obviously the other mob were keen to buy him too.
“Laurel Oak raced Maygrove’s mother, Lady Zhivago, which we’d purchased at Easter for $120,000 and she ended up winning a couple in Sydney and a VRC race at Bendigo.
“Her first foal (by Casino Prince) won a race in China, while Maygrove was her second foal. Her third foal was by Flying Spur who, despite being a 5YO, is only lightly raced and ran a good second at Cranbourne last Friday night.
“Then she didn’t have a live foal for three seasons and, as luck would have it, that included a dead foal that would have gone through the sale ring a few days after Maygrove won the Wellington Cup. So it goes!”
Laurel Oak has been the Australasian agent for Brain Pedigree Analysis since the early 1990s, a pedigree analysis company that currently plans matings for many of the largest independent broodmare owners in Australia.
“Maygrove was obviously a Brain mating and Laurel Oak directly manages around 12 to 15 broodmares at a time, although we currently analyse 400 to 500 matings annually on behalf of clients. A lot of it is repeat business and we’ve been busier than ever.”
Probably busier still after Saturday!
HOOFNOTE: Mihalyka has an interesting story as to how Maygrove got his name.
“When he was being sold as a yearling, some people from a local rest home were there at the sale for a day out. Maybe they liked him because he was a grey, but anyway the new owner got wind of it and decided to name the horse after their rest home … Maygrove. Evidently they now take a bus load to the races to follow the horse and undoubtedly they would have been a happy bunch after Saturday. Now, that’s grey power!”