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Swettenham Bloodstock Agent Profile - Louis Mihalyka from Laurel Oak
March 1, 2018
Louis Mihalyka has seen many changes in the thoroughbred industry over the past 30 years, but through his passion, resourcefulness and unwavering love of the industry, Laurel Oak Bloodstock has stood the test of time.
Although not having a family background in racing, Mihalyka’s love of horses goes back to his school days.
“By the time I was 14, I was following the races, and after beginning a successful career as a chartered accountant, I decided to take a chance, follow my love and start syndicating horses with my wife, Jill. We thought it would be the perfect way to race more horses and be paid for it.”
Laurel Oak Bloodstock has been operating now for over 20 years “making racehorse ownership easy and enjoyable”.
“The social angle of racehorse ownership is extremely important. You want your owners to have fun, meet new people and enjoy the races without financial strain.”
Luois Mihalyka (left) celebrates Rebel Dane win
Although Laurel Oak started off as pure syndication business, the syndication business ceased around 14 years ago and the focus is now on acting as a bloodstock agent to a private client base providing a multitude of services in the racing, bloodstock and breeding industries.
“On average we obtain a dozen new horses each year, and we are particularly selective in our acquisitions, focusing on both the physical and pedigree structure to be successful racehorses.”
“My bloodstock knowledge and experience has developed through years of attending sales and looking at thousands of yearlings, and I believe once you are happy to spend your own money without relying on other people opinions, you qualify to become a bloodstock agent in your own right.”
“It’s such a subjective game, as in the world of thoroughbreds, everyone has a very different opinion. We all see different qualities, strengths and weaknesses in each yearling.”
Being a firm believer in pedigrees, Laurel Oak is the Australasian agent for Brain Pedigree Analysis.
“Patrick Brain opened my eyes to a deeper level of research. His formula has been a major contributor to our many successful matings and breeding results.”
One of those successful results was the 2003 Group 1 Salinger Stakes when Laurel Oak quinellaed the race with Ancient Song and Into The Night.
“Both horses were purchased on Laurel Oak’s recommendation, both were raced by syndicates formed and managed by Laurel Oak, and both horses were produced by matings recommended by Brain Pedigree Analysis.”
Laurel Oak now manages a band of 15 commercial mares that are capable of producing first-class racehorses.
“My golden rule is to always use high-quality mares and the Brain Pedigree Analysis tool.”
“It is not a magic formula, it simply helps a mare fulfil her breeding potential, and while it may not choose a ‘commercial’ breeding decision, it will select the best stallion to achieve the best possible outcome on the racetrack.”
"I look at the family, the broodmare sire and the female line. I look for opportunities to not necessarily duplicate ancestors but complement those ancestors.”
“A good mating is a merging of compatible bloodlines, as seen when the Danehill and More Than Ready pedigrees complemented each other to produce our pin-up boy, Rebel Dane.”
“His dam, Texarcana was a well-bred city-class mare whose pedigree page is full of genuine racehorses, and her son, Rebel Dane is the perfect example of that honesty.”
“There are many fantastic operators in the industry and some wonderful established farms like Adam Sangster’s Swettenham Stud, who is standing Rebel Dane.”
“When the time came to retire Rebel Dane, we spoke to Sangster at Premier last year. We were thrilled that he had the opportunity to stand at a highly regarded commercial Victorian stallion farm, that would give the horse the best possible chance of succeeding.”
“I have known Adam for a very long time. He is someone I admire, and he is well respected in the industry. He is involved on many levels; local, state and Nationally and will do everything he can to help encourage the success of the Victorian breeding industry.”
“The owners of Rebel Dane have supported him well by sending over a dozen mares in his debut year, complemented by a number of commercial mares for the yearling sales. We are eagerly awaiting his first foals to arrive this season.”
“In a similar fashion to Spirit Of Boom, Rebel Dane is a strong, gifted and tough, Australian sprinter and that could possibly be Sangster’s next gun stallion.”
“Let’s hope for both Swettenham Stud and Laurel Oak, that Rebel Dane becomes a bright shining light in the Victorian and Australian stallion ranks.”