When he gave up his job as a high school teacher to become a
thoroughbred trainer, some might have called Tony Noonan a little bit crazy.
But those people need to look beyond the time a police squadron chased
him down the highway after the Straddy and the time he turned up to
Mornington trials in his underwear.
Forgetting those moments however, crazy may still be an accurate word to
describe the meticulous nature which Tony approaches his training.
Through his love of the horses, he thrives on the opportunity to
nurture, educate and develop thoroughbreds to reach their full
Tony prides himself on the excellent relationships he maintains with
owners through honest communication, regular updates and a personal
touch. By taking owners through their Owner’s Journey, Tony is able to
share the joys he experiences every day whether it is at the races, at
the stable or on the overseas trips he organises around international
When questioned about his greatest achievement, it wasn’t winning three
Mornington Cups with Gunnamatta, or countless stakes victories.
Instead, it is Tom, Sam, Jake and Laura – his four wonderful children
whom he shares with wife Gabriel – who inspire him to wake up each
morning for work at 4am.
When he’s not around the stable or the racetrack, Tony enjoys cheering
on his beloved Bombers, going out for Chinese food and spending time
with the family.
With his many successes and an adoring family, a little bit of crazy turned out to go a long way.
Jackie brings to her new role at Greendale broad administration and accounting experience that stretches back over 28 years.
Most recently working as a trust administrator in real estate, Jackie has also worked in the banking sector as a lead teller and helped run her family’s business, but has always found herself choosing to come back to accounting and administration.
Jackie is a true Peninsula local, having lived in Mornington for the past 40 years.
When not in the office Jackie enjoys nothing more than getting out and seeing the country, especially by Motorhome.
With her experience and versatility Jackie looks forward to playing a significant role behind the scenes in supporting and building the team at Greendale.
Social Syndicates Manager
John Mathieson comes to Greendale with an extensive professional background, both in Australia and abroad, in financial markets, investment banking and venture capital.
But while the fixed income markets have been kind to him, John has always considered racing a better reason for getting out of bed in the morning than bonds.
Over the years he has tried his luck at many things in racing – owning, breeding, punting and syndicating horses amongst friends. John has also worked behind the TAB windows at the Cup Carnival and even written regular past racing columns on the Sportsbet blog site and more occasionally The Roar, under the pseudonym The Lighthouse.
John is convinced through experience that there are few things in life more exciting than being trackside with fellow owners when a horse you have even the smallest share in, wins a race, wherever that race may be.
John has many ambitions left in racing - to own a “serious” horse, to visit all the racetracks he has never been to, and most importantly, to help bring the excitement he has enjoyed as an owner over the years to as many people as possible at Tony Noonan Racing through the stable’s Social Syndicate program.
He looks forward to hearing from you at email@example.com
When you hear the phrase, “racing is in the blood”, it’s 100% the case for Tom who is the eldest of four Noonan siblings that were riding ponies before they could ride bikes.
Tasked with carrying the colours bag to and from the races for his father from a young age, Tom witnessed many of racings highs and lows driving to and from the races on school holidays. But even with those long trips home after some ordinary performances, Tom jumped at the opportunity at the age of 12 to muck out boxes at Greendale on weekends for some extra pocket money.
Shortly after Tom joined the team, Greendale sent out Piavonic to win the Group 1 Manikato Stakes, beating Sunline in the process. At that point there was no going back, Tom was hooked.
Working his way up the ranks as a teenager, it was no surprise that racing came so naturally to Tom. As a gifted horseman, Tom thrives on the early morning starts where he brings a team-first mentality to Greendale with his mantra towards camaraderie and sharing the success of stable runners amongst the whole team.
Amongst his many racing memories, Tom fondly remembers accompanying Ortensia to the 2010 Hong Kong International Sprint as a career highlight, one made even better having been able to share the experience with his father and youngest brother Jake.
But despite possessing the Noonan name, a career in racing has not always been set in stone for Tom who has also been heavily involved in the arts via mother Gabriel, Head of Drama at Padua College. With his movie star looks, Tom ventured to North America in 2013 to gain international experience on the acting circuit whilst also pursuing interests in screenwriting before returning to Australia in 2018.
Combining his two passions, Tom hopes to one day produce a fictional screenplay about the drama and challenges of a racing stable whilst continuing to turn out winners from Greendale.
In 2008 when a striking Bay Colt walked into the Caulfield stables of Peter Moody for the first time, Rory was impressed by what he saw and quickly ensured the unnamed Colt would be assigned to his care. 6 months later Rory took that Colt to the races for just his third career start and the two walked away victorious in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.
Born into racing with his father a successful trainer, Rory caught the racing bug at an early age where decades of being around Thoroughbreds has ingrained an appreciation for the development of racehorses and the unique details that can get the best out of each one, something he looks to achieve as a trainer in his own right one day.
Having spent so much of his life around racing, Rory understands the mental toll that comes with positions of responsibility in racing so away from the stables, he will be found on the footy field lining up for the Caulfield Bears.
While a football win is always enjoyable, there is no greater thrill for Rory than seeing young horses developing through the grades and witnessing their success at the races - a culmination of all the hard work he and his team have put in getting a horse to such a stage. It's only apt that the Colt he picked out back in 2008 was named Reward For Effort.
Trackrider & Pre-Trainer
Mariah joined the team at Greendale in 2016 to take up a senior position at the stable having worked extensively in the industry since 2007.
Originally joining the Mike Moroney stable as a Year 10 work experience student, Mariah instantly fell in love with the horses which led her to accept an offer from Moroney to join their stable’s weekend team whilst she completed her schooling.
At the conclusion of her studies, Mariah was offered an opportunity to join the Moroney team in a full-time capacity where she commenced riding trackwork for the stable as she quickly developed a reputation as the most reliable of handlers.
Possessing natural empathy and a loving nature, Mariah seamlessly developed a strong affinity with the young horses coming through the stable where her skills made her an integral part of the successful team that claimed the 2009 VRC Derby with Monaco Consul followed by the 2010 VRC Oaks with Brazilian Pulse.
With a smile that can brighten the darkest days, Mariah’s nurturing of the horses under her care made her a favourite amongst stable owners so much so that connections of Brazilian Pulse named another of their horses – Mariah’s Pulse.
Although her namesake did not prove as successful has her Oaks-winning stablemate, that never dampened Mariah’s spirits having always treated the horses under her care as her own children whether fast, slow or proverbial donkey.
Away from the stables, you just can’t keep Mariah away from horses because if she’s not playing with her beloved puppy Pebbles, she will be out riding Nugget, one of her stable favourites who raced as Murcielaga.
She may weigh in under 50kg but you’d be wary of getting on Dakotah’s bad side once you learn she was a 2-time Australian Champion boxer prior to her arrival in the racing industry.
Bringing that tenacity and strength, Dakotah joined the team at Greendale in 2019 where her impressive athletic background has translated seamlessly into her career in horse racing where her balance as a rider is most impressive.
With her bubbly attitude and positive demeanour, Dakotah loves a laugh and makes 4.30am starts at a stable something to look forward to for the Team.
Gaining this valuable experience riding trackwork at Greendale every morning, Dakotah has ambitions to pursue a career as a professional jockey where she will seek admission to Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Program in the future with the full support of Tony the Team at Greendale.
Where many would find the high-pressure environment at Greendale each morning a frantic one from the outside, you’d never believe it watching Imogen ply her craft having previously worked in a 24-hour equine emergency centre.
Like many equine professionals, Imogen’s experience in racing first started at a racing stable when she commenced under the tutelage of Peter Moody at Caulfield in 2013. Finding that instant connection with horses, Imogen’s confidence with horses quickly grew which led her to pursue tertiary studies in veterinary nursing whilst also gaining experience at riding schools, dressage stables and stud farms along the way.
Hungry for knowledge, Imogen has a professional interest in equine biomechanics of performance horses where her hands-on experience in a racing stable and vet nursing experience give her a keen eye for musculoskeletal detail.
Beyond the stable, Imogen will either be working with her warmblood mare pursuing a dressage career or playing with her dog. With animals the joy of her life, welfare is always at the forefront of Imogen’s mind where her poise under pressure and extensive veterinary knowledge are just some of the reasons Imogen is a key member of the team at Greendale.
Farm Manager & Pre-Trainer
Lisa joined Tony Noonan Racing with extensive riding experience and a
passion for horses. She has traveled the world with some of our greatest horses to Hong Kong (pictured), Dubai and England.
Beyond riding trackwork, Lisa's expertise across all
facets of horses beyond racing enable our horses are managed with the
utmost care when at the farm.
Whether they be in agistment or pre-training while out at the farm,
Lisa's familiarity with the horses from riding them at trackwork ensures
they are cared for by a friendly face.
Ted 'From Tassie' Goss
Ted keeps Greendale in tip top condition and always puts in an extra effort for our annual After Derby Barbie.
Beyond his immaculate attention to aesthetics, Ted is the ultimate Renaissance Man happy to fill in for other team members when required. Whether it be mucking out boxes, driving the truck, strapping on race day or mowing the lawns - Ted is always keen to help the team.
Just don't hold the fact he's from Tassie against him...
Mick successfully trained Rain Lover to back-to-back Melbourne Cup Victories in 1968 and 1969 before joining the team at Greendale in the 90's as a mentor to Tony.
He is one of just four men to train a horse to consecutive Cups.
From the mines of Broken Hill to Flemington: Mick Robins and Rain Lover
Published 30 October, 2014 by Alfred Chan at The Roar
Racegoers were left in awe when a metal miner from Broken Hill produced Rain Lover to win the 1968 Melbourne Cup, in what was to be believed to be Mick Robins’ third month as a licensed trainer.
Robins had taken out his Victorian trainer’s licence on August 1, 1968 and on the first Tuesday of that November he lifted the Melbourne Cup in an era dominated by household names of Cummings and Smith.
“When I came over to Melbourne for the spring, I had to get a Melbourne licence because you needed a permit license,” said Robins.
“So when I won, a lot of people were like, ‘How lucky he won – he’s only had a license since August!’
“I didn’t say it at the time but little did they know I had a license since 1950.”
It was the first time he had been to the Melbourne Cup and was shaking as he got off the float with Rain Lover. Although he had been to Flemington before, Robins was the new kid on the block, having spent much of his professional life in Adelaide.
With his father being a butcher, Robins followed his bloodline and commenced his butcher’s apprenticeship at the age of 15. But by the age of 18, he realised he was earning less than a third of what his friends were earning and tossed aside his apron to take up a job in the mines.
There he worked for the next ten years while training a handful of horses as a hobby. Following a decade in the mines to the ire of his father, Robins accepted a job in Adelaide to be the foreman for Graeme Heagney.
When Heagney moved to the United States to continue training Tobin Bronze for his new owner, Heagney’s stable was disbanded and Rain Lover was assigned to Robins, who had broken him in but had never expected him to become the horse he did.
Rain Lover had already put together an impressive resumé when entering Robins’ care, having won the 1968 Adelaide Cup as a three-year-old.
As an Adelaide Cup winner, Rain Lover was assigned 8 stone 2 pounds (51.7kg) for the 1968 Melbourne Cup, which Robins was delighted with. He would carry it to an eight-length win in record-breaking time.
After the race, jockey Jimmy Johnson declared to Robins that there was not a horse in the world that would have beaten Rain Lover that day.
While winning a Melbourne Cup in his first appearance was a remarkable story, the real legend of Rain Lover could not be appreciated until his second crack in 1969.
In between his two Melbourne Cups, Rain Lover had won the St George Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, Craiglee Stakes and Underwood Stakes – all at weight-for-age level. He even won a Fischer Plate and ran second in a Sydney Cup, both under handicap conditions.
Having won just about all before him, Rain Lover was allotted 9st 7lb (60.3kg) in his title defence, which surprised of Robins.
“I knew he would go up but I didn’t think he would go up that much.”
After being assigned the weight, Rain Lover’s preparation appeared in disarray, with a disappointing run in the Mackinnon Stakes.
“There were only five or six in the Mackinnon and he ran fourth at 2-1 on. Big Philou ran second for Bart Cummings and in my mind, Big Philou would win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
“I said to Jimmy, I don’t like the idea of Tuesday now. He was at weight-for-age in the Mackinnon, he couldn’t run a place and he’s got to jump to 9 stone 7.
“Jimmy just threw the reins over and said it will be different on Tuesday over two miles.”
A doping controversy ensued over the coming days and Big Philou was scratched from the Cup just 39 minutes before the race.
“I knew he (Rain Lover) would run well but when they went past the trainers’ stand, which is about half a furlong from the post, I said to the strapper standing next to me, ‘Not bad to win one and run second’, because I thought he was beat.”
Carrying 2 stone (12.7kg) less, Alsop went head-to-head with Rain Lover for the final furlong and they hit the line locked. Robins had already given up, thinking there was no way Rain Lover could have won with 60.3kg and it wasn’t until Tommy Smith started jumping up and down while screaming “You won” at Robins that the reality hit.
Robins had become the first person in 107 years to train a horse to consecutive victories in the Melbourne Cup, courtesy of Rain Lover’s monumental weight-carrying effort.
Looking back at the 60.3kg Rain Lover carried in 1969, Robins is surprised by the amount of weight-related headlines for modern Cups. He believes the handicapper is now more lenient than ever, especially for “drawcard” horses.
“When you look at it now, Maykbe Diva carried less weight in her third cup (58kg) than what Rain Lover carried in his second (60.3kg).
“He earned that weight. Being a handicap, that’s the idea – to give others a chance.”
Asked if we’d ever see another back-to-back winner, the apprentice butcher-turned metal miner-turned trainer chuckled.
“I won’t, but you might.”