Few too many guns
LOCAL trainers dominated the Bundaberg Boxing Day meeting yesterday with Darryl Gardiner picking up a double and Mary Hassam and Lynette Petersen grabbing a winner each.
The other event was won by former Bundaberg trainer Gail Harrison, who is now based at Sunshine Coast.
Gardiner was the best represented trainer on the afternoon with six runners and he started slowly with May finishing out of the money in the Class B behind the Hassam-trained Magic Turbo.
He was also unplaced in the second event, the Class 4, with Morongla as Angel Place saluted the judge for new Bundaberg trainer Lynette Petersen.
But Gardiner broke through with Craiglea Fighter on track debut in the Dunmaglas Lodge Class 2 Handicap.
He then saddled up two mares in the maiden but he had to settle for a distant third with Granny McPhee as Harrison claimed the spoils with Out of Character.
However Gardiner finished on a high note with Twogundan showing his qualities to defeat White Cap in the Bundy Diesel Specialists Open Handicap and win for the third Bundaberg meeting in a row.
Champion Gympie jockey Desiree Gill rode for him in four of the five races, including Craiglea Fighter and Twogundan, and she had been booked to ride another of his horses which was scratched.
The widely travelled trainer said that the 850m of the event was "a bit short" for Twogundan.
"I was not overly confident with him over the distance - he's a lot better suited over the 1000m where he can settle a bit more but his class prevailed," Gardiner said.
He again stopped short of declaring the gelding more than a very good country horse.
"He likes a bit of a soft track but to be honest, he has run a couple of good races at Caloundra - he is a very effective horse when the track suits and from his last six starts, he has won four, just poking around the sand," Gardiner said.
"Desiree has had four rides on him for four wins, so I think we'll stick to her."
Craiglea Fighter, a flashy four-year-old son of former champion Falvelon which is owned by the high-profile Craiglea Stud Kenilworth syndicate, headed by popular stud principal Stan Johnston, was having just his second race start for Gardiner.
He had finished third at Rockhampton on debut for the stable, and his chances were improved by the scratching of Special Dragon, with his trainer Greg Grainger opting to run him at Caloundra instead yesterday - and he won.
Fellow talented locals All Significant and Private Chat each received strong support and All Significant ran a gallant second, but Private Chat finished a forlorn last with apprentice Bridget Floyd easing him down, believing that he had broken down.
Gardiner described Craiglea Fighter as a "pretty fair horse".
"It's the old story - bring a TAB (meeting class) horse to the bush and he will be very hard to beat even with 60kg," he said.
"The horse can go to Caloundra and win a race and go to Rockhampton and win a race - he's a very effective short-course horse and the only reason he started here was the QTIS (bonus prize-money) winner's cheque of $6800.
"My only disappointment was that I did not win the maiden, which I thought I could."