By Duane Ranger (courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)
Redcliffe Paceway’s two departing Mini Trot drivers both have huge chances of bowing out of their sport as Interdom Champions when they compete in the Grand Final at ‘The Creek’ on December 16.
Scarborough-based Luke Thirgood (14) and Rockstar Oreo, are the current Miracle Mile and Australian National champions; while Caboolture resident, Davis (17) and Toogoodforyou, finished a close second in last year’s Interdominion Grand Final at Melton’s Tabcorp Park – and also placed in the 2022 Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Thirgood and Rockstar Oreo have drawn 10 in the Shetland Grand Final, while Davis and Toogoodforyou will start from marble five in the Pony Final.
Daniel Smith and You Tube Queen will also represent the Redcliffe Club in the Miniature Grand Final, while Daniel’s brother Zac and Charlie Rose will also represent the Sunshine State in the Shetland Division.
In fact, Queensland will have six, eight and seven representatives in the respective Miniature, Shetland, and Pony Grand Finals. They gained selection via results from the 2023 National Mini Trotting Championships held at Tamworth earlier this year.
They were selected In conjunction with the Queensland Mini-Trotting Clubs (the Queensland Junior Harness Racing Association and the Queensland Mini Trotting Sporting Association), and Racing Queensland. Ten other drivers from New South Wales (6) and Victoria (4) will compete against the 21 Queenslanders.
Two drivers from New Zealand are also expected. Full fields for all three Grand Finals can be viewed here: https://thecreek.com.au/id23/id23-mini-trot-championship/
“It’s an honour to represent Redcliffe and Queensland again, especially since we have been coming to Redcliffe to race our mini trotters for several years now. It would be a dream-come-true to win it in our last year. After the National Championships early next year, I’m going to try and get my Trials licence, because I already work in two stables here in Redcliffe.
“I intend going to Year 12 at St Pats because I want to play in the First XV one day. Hopefully when I’m 16, I will have my first race-day drive. All I ever want to do is drive horses against some of my heroes. That will be my career,” Thirgood said.
“I’ve had a lot of wins at Redcliffe – too many to remember, and so has Briana. It would be nice if we could both bow out Interdominion Champions. That would look good on the CV, and give me a bit of a boost heading into a driving career,” said Year Eight St Pat’s Shorncliffe student, Thirgood.
Davis has just completed her secondary school studies at Narangba Valley State High School, and like Thirgood is attending her last Interdominion Championship after having competed in them since she was aged five in 2011. She also works at the Caboolture stable of her grandparents, Jeff and Lynda Regazzoli.
“School is behind me now and I’m really looking forward to working more for my grandparents. They helped me to get started in Mini Trotters with my Mum (Wanita Regazzoli). It would be so great to win the Grand Final for them all, especially my grandparents, who were there when Queensland Mini Trotters originally started about 40 years ago.
“I’ll be competing against 11 other drivers, and I believe that Toogoodforyou can do it for me. She has consistent form and the gait to go close. It would be just a fantastic way to bow out,” Davis said. because it’s my last chance after six years of driving.
Davis is the youngest of two children. Her older brother Zac is 20. Here’s what her mother, Wanita, had to say about her daughter, and Interdom 23.
“We have done a lot of travelling throughout the years to attend big races like the Mini Miracle Mile, but the highlight would be when we went to Melbourne last year and they ran second. So, it would be a great finish to her mini trot adventure by taking it out. But all the same it’s still great competing, especially in Queensland. It was in her blood from the day she was born.
“Bri didn’t stand a chance when her mother (me) raced the minis as well when I was young (1985), and her grandparents taking ponies everywhere for other kids. If anyone deserves this it’s my girl, Bri. Regardless I’m proud of her no matter where she finishes.”
As for Thirgood’s Mum, Shondell, well she said that he and her husband, Michael, had conceded that their son was going to be a horseman years ago.
“He never had normal birthdays like other kids. He always wanted to go to the races or Doomben and celebrate. Then when he and his friends used to have races, my boy, who is quite big for 14, used to stretch out his long arms and tell the lads to follow in behind him. That was his version of being the mobile car.
“We have supported Luke from day one and travelled miles with him. He’s obsessed with it now and works at two Redcliffe Stables – Greg Franklin (two years) and Donny Smith (just over a year), He’s works afternoons with Donny and when Greg gives him a morning off he goes around there. Before school, after school and in the school holidays. We are proud of him and have just said make sure you have something to fall back on.
“We are very proud of what Luke has achieved with the Mini Trotters. His win in the Miracle Mile this year was a highlight, but Luke and his horse are going to have to be on their game.
“There are no second chances. No heats, just a straight-out final, but if anyone deserves this, it’s Luke. He has certainly put in the hard yards,” Mrs Thirgood said.
Luke is the youngest of three children after Ryan (18) and Macy (15). He wants to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Keith Richards, who was a trainer. He also finds time to play Rugby Union, Rugby League, and AFL.