Day At The Track

Christmas message of future trotting hope

09:49 AM 23 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Denis Smith
Denis Smith

It would not be Christmas without a message. As we come to the end of the calendar year, most harness racing participants would be considering the effect that the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission has had on harness in recent months.

With a number of leading lights arrested for "race fixing” and allied activities in recent months, there is division in the ranks.

Not all are grateful for a process which is aimed at cleaning up a sport.

The "nay sayers” called for more prizemoney and complained bitterly at the cost of QRIC, claiming that the funds involved would be better spent being funnelled into the pockets of the handful of trainers who had been getting the lions share for the past two decades.

The recent election delivered the opposition promise to emasculate QRIC should they be returned to power. Enough said.

Anyone with recollections of night trotting years ago will agree as to the superiority of the spectacle.

If QRIC can provide us with a squeaky clean product, and our administrators with a punter friendly racing format, then we will have the Christmas present of our dreams.

Harness participants will have the opportunity to rebuild harness to a stage where punters will happily bet on it, come to watch it in the flesh and a reasonable number will develop an interest in owning, training and driving.

There is the message.

Narissa's reward

GLAMORGANVALE based trainer/driver Narissa McMullen has added another trophy to the cabinet, taking out the Australian Young Driver's Championship conducted at Recliffe and Albion Park last week.

McMullen finished the series on 96 points, seven clear of Dylan Ferguson (New Zealand) on 89.

Chris Geary (NSW) finished with 75 in third, while Jason Lee (Victoria) ended on 72 points.

McMullen's series got off to a flier on the opening night when she won the opening two heats at Redcliffe to take the early series lead.

Ferguson and Sheree Tomlinson claimed the next two heats for the Kiwis, before Lee and Geary took maximum points on the second night.

McMullen made it another double on the final night, leading all the way on Parisian Rockstar at Albion on Saturday, with Lee and Jayden Brewin (South Australia) collecting wins ahead of the final.

The win meant McMullen had followed the footsteps of her renowned father John McMullen, who won the 1986 Inter Dominion Young Drivers Series.

He beat a star-studded field which featured the likes of Mark Purdon and Anthony Butt, whose daughter Kimberly Butt represented New Zealand in the 2017 event.

"(Dad) always talks about it,” McMullen laughed.

"It was good to be able to say 'now I've got a win too'. The family was really excited.”

Vital new role

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner has announced the appointment of a new Director of Licensing and Stewarding - Ali Wade.

"Ms Wade has acted in the role in a relieving capacity for much of the past year after transitioning to the Commission as Manager of Licensing and Registration,'' Commissioner Ross Barnett said.

"Prior to that, she worked at Racing Queensland in several senior management roles including Senior Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations after joining that organisation in 2006.''

The Director of Licensing and Stewarding is tasked with overseeing the work of 35 stewards across Queensland and the licensing and registration teams.

"Ms Wade comes to the role at a time of significant change in the racing industry, including greater community expectations for the welfare of animals and the integrity of the three codes of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing,” Barnett said.

Wade said she was looking forward to ensuring Queensland's racing industry maintained the highest standards for integrity and animal welfare.

"This is a great honour and I'd like to give special mention to the support I have received from the chief stipendiary steward for thoroughbreds Mr Allan Reardon,” Wade said.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Quinella 1-3: Chapter One (T Dixon). and Polished Rocks).

R2: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Nui Toc Tien (C. Petroff)-Rate Highly (N McMullen)-Mojo Major (G Dixon).

R3: Quinella 3-4: Young American and Long Road To Fame (A Sanderson).

R4: Quinella 1-5: Franco Revel (C Hart) and Chal Fire (K Dawson).

R5: Quinella 1-7: Arrokeefe (N McMulen) and Jakes A Joy (G Dixon).

R6: Box trifecta 5-8-11: Feel The Courage (C Turpin)- Catcha Lefty (C Cini)- Avonnova (Mark Dux).

R7: E/w 8: Overlap (C Turpin).

R8: quinella 4-5: Midnight Prowler (N McMullen) and Pompidou (G Dixon).

R9: Quinella 2-6: Our Diamond Edition (A Millard) and Heavens Hint (P McMullen).

R10: Box trifecta 1-5-6: Its All Go (M Elkins)-Baltic Blue Eyes (A Gorman)-Shadow Pass (B Graham).

R11: Box trifecta 3-4-9: Twice As Much (Wayne Graham)-Stoned Again (C Petroff)-Releven Dream (P McMullen).

Honour board

Trainers shared the success this week with Greg Elkins, Chantal Turpin, Ron Sallis, Bill Crosby and Jason Carkeet with two winners apiece. On the driver's side, Narissa McMullen nosed out dead heaters Pete McMullen, Matt Elkins and Gary Whitaker scoring five to four. Narissa was most pleasing as well, winning a national championship.

Albion Park, December 15: Always My Mate (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Maretti (Chris McGeary for Phil Mitchell); Firebby (Danielle McMullen for Chris Monte); Seven Rippin Aces (Kelli Dawson for Jamie Donovan); Govinni (Hayden Barnes for Al Barnes).

Albion Park, December 16: Parisian Rockstar (Narissa McMullen for Peter Greig); Mojo Major (Narissa McMullen for Kerryann Turner); Platinum Art (Matt Elkins for Kay Crone); Village Witch (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini).

Marburg, December 16: Living Free (Justin Pascoe for Phil Keats); Cheyenne Warrior (Matt Elkins for Richard Hutchin- son); Riverleigh Jeff (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); Elzboy (Adam Richardson for Steve Towns); Its All Go (Matt Elkins); Lots More Grins (Hayden Barnes for Wayne Davis); How We Roll (GaryWhitaker for Bill Crosby).

Albion Park, December 19: Likes To Rock (Gary Whitaker for Vic Frost); Gloveman Gilly (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Sicilian Slumber (Danielle McMullen for Lachie Manzelmaan); Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Yankee Strutter (Trent Dawson for Max Towns).

Redcliffe, December 20: My Mojo (Danielle McMullen for Jason Carkeet); Vader (Dan Russell); Cotton Cold Candy (Pete McMullen for Jason Carkeet); Georgia Grace (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey); Heavens Hurricane (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Redcliffe, December 21: Tascott Lady (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); How We Roll (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Cryptic Chance (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Monkseaton (Chris Petroff for Jay Edmunds); Mista Natural (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Punters Delight (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).

by TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith

Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

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