HomeSportLocal trainers star at Thabeban Park

Local trainers star at Thabeban Park

Christmas Party Raceday at Thabeban Park
Apprentice McKenzie Apel rides Traitor’s Gate (right) to victory in the Byron Bay Brewery Open Handicap at Thabeban Park on Saturday, getting up to beat Thetoyboy (Heidi Gillie) (left). Photo: contributed.

Bundaberg trainers Laura Cronan, Mary Hassam and Darryl Gardiner were each among the winners on their home track at the XXXX Christmas Party Raceday at Thabeban Park on Saturday.

Laura took out the White Claw Refreshr Class B with Tesseleight ($6), ridden by apprentice McKenzie Apel, which held on to beat the fast finishing Revitup Charlie by a mere .1 of a length.

The beautifully bred and lightly raced four-year-old mare Tesseleight, which is by Lohro stallion Exosphere out of Testa Rossa mare Balmarossa, had been runner-up at her previous start, also here on Melbourne Cup Day, after finishing third and fourth respectively at her first two starts on the track.

McKenzie also rode Mary’s former Victorian Traitor’s Gate ($2.40) to victory at his first start for her in the Byron Bay Brewery Open Handicap, crossing the line three-quarters of a length clear of Thetoyboy.

Traitor’s Gate won his maiden at Moe in October 2022, before arriving in Queensland early in the new year, and winning at Gatton in September and running third at Beaudesert, prior to two unplaced runs at Caloundra and Ipswich on 23 November, then joining Mary’s stable.

The four-year-old gelding is also superbly bred, by Redoute’s Choice stallion Pariah, with super-sires Danehill and Bletchingly in his dam’s lines.

Ten-times Bundaberg premiership winning trainer Darryl broke a mini drought when he got the money in the Hahn Super Dry Benchmark 50 Handicap.

Teaming with former premiership winning jockey Kelly Gates with Ethelda, which took her record to two wins, two seconds and a third from five outings at the Park, and three wins, four seconds and five thirds from 16 starts on all tracks since he purchased the four-year-old mare in July last year.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Revitup Charlie and Thetoyboy’s Sunshine Coast trainer Trevor Thomas, who was also runner-up with Daulat Machtigkuda in the James Squire Maiden Plate behind Firebird Two, which is trained in Gympie by Glenn Richardson and was ridden by in-form senior jockey Morgan Butler.

Firebird Two, which was a $1.80 favourite, is also impeccably bred, by another super sire Russian Revolution out of a mare by former Golden Slipper winner Sepoy.

In the XXXX Gold QTIS Benchmark 60 Handicap, Master Drummer ($3.60) maintained his perfect record in three starts in Bundaberg for Gympie’s Andrew Mead, outgunning favourite Jellishot over the tough 1380m course, thanks to a perfect ride by star apprentice Brodie Moffat.


Betta Heat will contest the Aussie Bundy Big Bash Final for the first time in its four-year history when they take on 2020 Champions and last season’s beaten finalists Takalvans Taipans in what promises to be a battle royale at Salter Oval at 6.30pm tonight.

The Taipans finished on top of the table, winning five of their six matches, while the Heat lost two games.

Both of the Heat’s losses have been to tonight’s opponents, on 27th October when Takalvans amassed 6-188, led by all-rounder Mitchell Waters with 79, and Betta replied with 4-181, with Taipans veteran and captain Dale Steele claiming 2-32.

Last week in the last round T/10 games, Heat scored 4-66, before Taipans got home for the loss of two wickets with 2.3 overs to spare, with Mitchell Waters again leading them home with an unconquered 25.

Both teams are loaded with all-round strength, experience, and exciting young talent.

Meanwhile, Easts already have secured a first-innings lead after day one of their two-day Rum City Foods Division 1 Premiership clash with Norths on Saturday, while Waves are on the brink of a first-innings lead over Brothers.

Norths were shot down for 115 with Dale Steele the main destroyer fort the Magpies with 4-13, while opener River Felstead scored a superb 54 for Easts, but veteran spinner Bruce Worthington cut loose with 5-27 to be principally responsible for reducing Easts to 8-134.

Brothers were reasonably placed at 2-75, with fill-in captain Sam Pearson and 16-year-old opener Toby Lamond at the crease but their departures for 39 and 32 respectively triggered an implosion of 8-56, with seamer Callum Neubecker cutting a swathe of destruction through their lower order with 5-14.

Waves reached 5-106 in reply with teenage talent Kori Pope unbeaten on 44, but Sam Pearson claiming three scalps to at least stop the one-way traffic, before the matches resume at 11am tomorrow.

Saturday was a red-letter day for Norths all-rounder Tom Elphinstone, scoring 44 for their Tallons under-16 team in the morning, then wreaking havoc with 5-10 as they destroyed Isis for just 32, then completed a seven-wicket victory in Division 3 in the afternoon.



TAKALVANS TAIPANS 2-67 (Mitchell Waters 25no) d BETTA HEAT 4-66.

HEADLAND PIES 3-101 (Hayden Pope 49no, Kynan Hard 31) d SEARLES RV CENTRE VIKINGS 5-95 (Adam Pozzebon 30, Shaun Pinney 29, Jayden Santacaterina 1-0-12-2).



BROTHERS 10-131 (Sam Pearson 39, Toby Lamond 32, Callum Neubecker 10-4-14-5, Chris Duff 15-2-35-3, Mitchell Waters 17-13-13-2) v WAVES 5-106 (Kori Pope 44no, Adam Pozzebon 30, Sam Pearson 12-5-42-3).

NORTHS 10-115 (Damian Turner 36, Chris Napper 29, Dale Steele 15.2-10-13-4, Trent Seeds 7-2-13-2, Ollie Horne 10-4-27-2) v EASTS 8-134 (River Felstead 54, Bruce Worthington 13-5-27-5, Shannon Smith 7-2-27-2).


ISIS 3-197 (Adam McCoombe 89, Scott Willing 38no, Ashley Helmore 34, Andrew Weeks 5-0-43-2) d BROTHERS 7-196 (Shannon Heycox 54, Giles Cunningham 47no, Ryley Gibbs 32, Catherine White 8-2-23-2, Jackson Rehbein 8-0-34-2).

EASTS 8-271 (Roderick Jensen 64, David Bonser 52, Wesley Bramley 38no, Lachlan Donovan 32, Ethan Hamel 8-1-48-3, Levi Faint 7-0-68-3, Shaun Pinney 8-1-40-2) d NORTHS 9-120 (Shaun Pinney 33, Lachlan Donovan 2.3-0-9-3, Jarman Grigg 8-2-24-3).


EASTS BLACK 5-109 (Dave McKenzie 7-1-22-4) d BROTHERS 10-106 (Mark Austerberry 58no, Sarbjit Singh 6-1-18-4).

WAVES 4-214 (Wayne Niekerk 69, Kris Johnson 42no, Albert Motbey 34, Lex Webster 7-0-42-2) d EASTS WHITE 10-106 (Corey Stevens 28, Albert Motbey 3-1-6-3, Storme Martin 7-0-36-3, Jack Kleidon 7-0-36-2).

NORTHS 3-33 d ISIS 10-32 (Tom Elphinstone 5-0-10-5, Steve Tucker 3-2-0-2, Rodney Thurston 7-1-17-2).


NORTHS KNIGHTS 7-173 (Harrison Single 38, Jaxon Hill 5-0-22-4) d BROTHERS BIG MEATS 10-106 (Jordan Mather 2.5-0-3-3, Harrison Single 6-2-17-2, Levi Faint 6-2-18-2, Mackenzie Clifford 5-0-22-2).


WAVES 7-201 (Alex Stuchbery 53, Tully Dorgan 32) d NORTHS TALLONS 10-166 (Ferdy Jenner 49, Tom Elphinstone 44, Deegan Black 5-0-22-3, Archie Webster 6-0-35-3).


Down 17-5 with 10 minutes to go, Waves Falcons had to dig deep to maintain their perfect record in the Rugby Bundaberg Spring Cup, scoring two converted tries to clinch a 19-17 victory from the jaws of defeat against inspired reigning champions Eastern Suburbs Pythons in their 10th round clash at Jubilee Park on Saturday.

Fearless Falcons captain/coach Tom Akers said he converted from the side-line after Fijian flyer Blindside Flanker Nateva Naruma crossed, before 17-year-old rookie Substitute Mitchell McCallum-Mumford also scored on the buzzer, before he again cooly converted for their 10th win of the season.

Tom praised their character to overcome a fierce Pythons challenge and go on their winning ways.

Tom said Nateva Naruma, his brother and powerhouse No. 8 John Akers, the electrifying Scrum Half Cornelis Van Der Merwe and rugged Hooker Dean Honeysett were their best in another robust team performance.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered Turtles Brothers’ season from hell continued with a 102-3 away massacre by Gladstone Goats.

Goats Outside Centre Isaac Castanho-Kerr had a field day, racking up five tries and converting two of them, while Player/Coach Aubrey Harmse racked up 26 points with two tries and eight conversions.

A Dylan Harradine-Hall Penalty Goal for the once mighty Turtles was all that prevented a white-wash.

The competition now goes into Christmas recess and will resume on 13 January.

WAVES FALCONS 19 (Ruka Asai, Dean Honeysett, Mitch McCallum-Mulford Tries; Tom Akers 2 conversions) d EASTERN SUBURBS PYTHONS 17 (Peni Vakaduadua, Viliami Nadruku, Joseva Ramanu tries; Tom Cox conversion).

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