Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes (Image: Racing Photos)
Tom Dabernig will leave his training partnership with cousin Ben Hayes at the end of the season, with Hayes' younger brother JD set to fill the void in a major restructure at Lindsay Park.
In a surprise move in one of Australia's largest stables, Dabernig said he and his family are keen to run a smaller team, possibly back in South Australia, where Dabernig first worked at the original Lindsay Park property in the Barossa Valley under his late grandfather Colin Hayes.
Dabernig said on Tuesday: "I am excited that after 25 years of service at Lindsay Park I have decided to pursue an independent training career.
"It is a decision that I have not taken lightly, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that the Hayes family has afforded me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all the Hayes family.
"I would especially like to thank all the dedicated Lindsay Park team and their network of loyal owners.
"I wish Ben and JD and the Lindsay Park team all the success for the future."
In a press release issued on Tuesday afternoon, the Lindsay Park team confirmed the new arrangements which will begin at the start of the new racing season on August 1.
"The Hayes family's training tradition is set to continue under the next generation of leadership with JD Hayes (aged 26), David's youngest son, applying to join elder brother Ben in the training partnership from the commencement of the 2021-2022 racing season, while Tom Dabernig will step away and establish his own training business," the statement began.
"Just as Colin Hayes handed the reins to son David at a similar age, Ben will take on the lead trainer role handed on from Tom, and JD is in the process of obtaining his trainer's licence after seven years working full-time under David, Tom and Ben in the business.
"Importantly, our loyal and long-term team of dedicated staff at Lindsay Park remain the same, providing solid support to the operation as has always been the case, allowing business as usual.
"The time is right for JD to apply to be elevated into the role of co-trainer. JD has been groomed for the role and has a comprehensive understanding of the day-to-day running of the business and will be an asset in this exciting new chapter.
"Ben has been a training partner with David and then Tom since 2016 and is primed and eager to take the reins of the training operation."
Ben Hayes said: "After five years as co-trainer at Lindsay Park, I feel naturally very excited to take this next step in my career, and just the same about welcoming my brother into the partnership.
"Lindsay Park Racing is in my blood and I am so passionate about continuing its reputation and striving for success at every level.
"Tom's own family's future is his priority and he is looking forward to the next phase of his career and their lives."
When Dabernig joined David Hayes ahead of the 2014/15 season, they became the second notable, family training partnership in Australian racing after the legendary Bart Cummings took on grandson James.
David Hayes' eldest son, Ben, extended the training team to three ahead of the 2016/17 season, joining the partnership as a 26-year-old.
The trio won 1022 races together between August 2016 and June 2020, which included 14 victories at Group 1 level. Redkirk Warrior's consecutive Newmarket Handicap victories provided the trio with a career highlight, as after become the first horse in a century to win Australia's premier sprint handicap race first-up, the British import then became the first horse since Razor Sharp in 1983 to successfully defend his title down the Flemington straight.
The partnership also notably nursed Boom Time back from injury to win the 2017 Caulfield Cup as a $51 chance.
In September 2019, Lindsay Park principal David Hayes accepted an offer from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to return as a full-time trainer from the start of the 2020/21 season.
Dabernig and Ben Hayes remained in Victoria to oversee the Lindsay Park operation, with Dabernig based from Euroa and Hayes at Flemington.
They celebrated their 100th winner together since July 2020 when So Si Bon won the Listed Furphy Ale March Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 6, the venue of their single G1 success when Personal claimed last year's Kennedy Oaks (2500m).
Dabernig co-trained the winner of the TAB Australian Cup four times during his seven-year stint at Lindsay Park Racing, firstly alongside David Hayes in 2015 with Spillway before Harlem's consecutive wins in 2018 and 2019 were followed by Fifty Stars last year as a training trio.