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Q-BRED scheme a bonus for harness trainers

By Duane Ranger

Racing Queensland’s Q-BRED bonus scheme was never part of the plan for two winners at Redcliffe Paceway last Wednesday.

The owners of both Whateley and Melton Max Gentle termed their $10,000 bonuses as a bonus on top of a bonus.

Both Darren Ebert and George Michael never initially targeted the $10,000 bonus initiative, but they are now embracing the concept with next season’s $7,500 bonus firmly in their minds.

“I bought Whateley as a four-year-old off Anthony Perkins at Trump Bloodstock at Tallegalla for $500, originally as a show horse,” Ebert said.

“I just wanted to have him compete at all the shows like The Ekka etcetera.

“The Q-BRED bonus was never part of the plan.”



It was Whateley’s fourth win in 24 starts, which also includes six placings for $11,918.

The horse is by Sportswriter, which inspired the name after sports journalist and radio host Gerard Whateley.

“He came to me already named - I’m a retired butcher now who works a team of eight,” Ebert said.

“This fella has really hit his straps, so he’d have to be near the top of the pecking order now.

“Not bad for a $500 purchase; when I got him I think he had one race as a two-year-old and since Taleah has got on him, he’s grown a leg.

“I’m off him now, my driving days are for Shows only.

“The $7,500 QBRED bonus next year is now a big goal.

“Racing Queensland needs to be applauded for giving horses like this good incentive to race on.”

The same path was followed by Melton Max Gentle, who was bred by Toogoolawah resident George Michael.

“No-one wanted him, just like no-one ever wants to buy my horses,” Michael said.

“It’s a shame because I rate this one’s father, Bonamax, as the best Queensland-based sire since Fake Left.

“I used to stand him and I’ve got plenty of his progeny in the paddock, but I just haven’t got the time and manpower to work them all.

“I only brought this fella into work this year as an eight-year-old and he’s won a race now and placed three times.”



Melton Max Gentle is the last of seven foals of the 1997 Doojea Bye Bye un-raced mare, Melton Gentle.  

“It’s a great concept and this fella will now race on because of it - I just wish I could get more of my Bonomax’s out there because there’d be a lot more bonuses won,” Michael said.

“In 2002 I sold eight colts by him and I averaged $800 per sale, and three of them went on to win $250,000.”

Taleah McMullen drove both geldings in their recent wins – her father, John, also trains Melton Max Gentle.

This Thursday, Whateley and Melton Max Gentle will face off against each other at Redcliffe Paceway in the fifth event.

Who wins could come down to who McMullen chooses to drive.