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 with.
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.
Alfred joined the team at Greendale as the stable's Racing Manager in 2014 where he overseas the stable's racing and bloodstock operations.
The crowds, the excitement, the euphoria and the horses – the
excitement of the Melbourne spring racing carnival was all too surreal.
When Alfred saw people from all walks of life brought together by these
gorgeous animals, he knew he wanted to share the excitement of racing
Although he is no longer based full-time at our Mornington stables, Alfred's knowledge of the racing and breeding are invaluable so he remains a reliable resource where he is frequently seen in at the races and sales ring.
Off the track, Alfred is an avid AFL fan and believes he has
one of the best right foots in the country. Unfortunately though, he
introduced himself to chocolate and potato chips at too young of an age
thus ending any athletic aspirations.
Beyond his role as our Racing Manager, Alfred is predominantly based in the Melbourne CBD where he is Managing Director of Principal IR, an investor relations firm which assists ASX-listed companies engage with the retail investor community, and Founder of The Sentiment. As an extension of his work in financial services world, he is also an Analyst at Emerald Financial where he specialises in the Gaming & Wagering sector, as well as the small caps space.
Alfred holds a Masters of Marketing from Monash University, Bachelors of Commerce and Arts, is a member of the VRC and owns broodmare & racehorse interests.
He is also fluent in Cantonese and always happy to deal with international owners and bloodstock agents.
Alfred can be contacted via email at: email@example.com or be found on Twitter: @AlfredC91.
Prior to joining the team at Greendale, Gemma worked in corporate
business both in Australia and the UK as well as managing her own
business here in Australia.
She successfully launched businesses for household brand names ensuring
they had the processes and plans to move from implementation through to
Making Mornington her home with a young family, Gemma utilises her
skills in business, marketing, and customer engagement to manage the
stable’s commercial operations.
She admits her understanding of a form guide is limited beyond the
drinks menu but loves bringing friends and family together through the
social aspect of racing. Her distinct business nous ensures Tony and
Alfred do not get too carried away with their zealous plans of buying or
breeding the perfect horse.
Gemma will be looking after our accounts and marketing while ensuring
both our owners and employees have a memorable racing journey with Tony
Gemma can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 Maria’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.
Eloise joined the team at Greendale in 2016 when she first entered the horse racing industry via her Year 10 work experience program. Thriving at Greendale having ridden horses since the age of 9, Eloise gracefully accepted an offer from Tony to stay on the team, working on weekends and school holidays after her placement concluded.
Since learning the Greendale-way since her entry into racing, Eloise has developed an immaculate eye for detail where she is able to adapt different horsecare needs to the different requirements and personalities of each horse in the stable. With this quality, her favourite aspect of working in the racing industry is being able to see how each horse progresses through their racing career where her hands-on approach offers a unique insight into how changes in a horse's routine can have a direct impact on their race performance.
Whilst there is no greater buzz for Eloise beyond strapping a winner at the races, Tony is confident that bigger things are on the horizon for Eloise who has excelled at Greendale from such a young age. With her knowledge of racing and its global appeal, Eloise has ambitions to one day further her knowledge by working internationally to advance her skill set with the view of a long and successful career in racing.
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.
Harry knows all too well that thoroughbred horse racing is about unearthing champion bloodlines.
Joining Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program in 2016 at the age of 18, Harry is the youngest of three boys in his family who have all ridden professionally with brothers Lester and Kodie both also having forged successful careers in the saddle.
Following a stint riding in Western Australia, Harry joined the team at Greendale in 2020 where he was victorious in his first ride for the stable aboard Shockingly at Sale.
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.”