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Aaron Bain is spreading the love. And the early signs are positive. During the recent Albion Park winter carnival, the talented and enthusiastic horseman made the long trek by road from Gawler to Brisbane with stable star Ideal World chasing the riches on offer. While a feature race triumph proved elusive, Ideal World raced with distinction during a number of events including his placing in the Premiers Cup behind star local product, Colt Thirty One. But the trip north proved invaluable for a number of reasons. Based at Glamorganvale (west of Brisbane) with Narissa McMullen, Bain enjoyed his time in the Sunshine State and the way the system works which prompted some serious thinking on his way home. “I like the Queensland assessment system and decided to explore it further and found its another way for owners to gain maximum reward with their horses. So, after careful consideration, I’ve sent two horses up to Narissa.” Bain said. The two horses sent to the care of McMullen were Prince Of Zanzibar and Just Seduce Me. And the latter scored an impressive first-up victory at Albion Park last Friday. The Ohoka Arizona mare overcame a second-line draw to defeat Mammals Magic and Motu Real Style in a time of 1:56.2 to claim the Mr Feelgood @Egmont Park Stud Pace. “We’re thrilled because she’s always been a better front-running type so to score from the back row is an added bonus. Narissa said she was happy with her going into the event and her recent trial was good but until you go out and do it, that’s another matter. “Taking a good time is an added bonus and only adds to her value long term, she’s a lovely big roomy mare with a nice pedigree so it’s a great start to the venture. I felt she reached her mark here in Adelaide but still had plenty left hence the move to Queensland. “I think she can win a few more, hopefully some of those Saturday night mares events are within range. Prince Of Zanzibar is better than what he’s showing presently and I’m sure Narissa can get him sorted in time. “I’ll be sending up another one soon, Hilltop Rose is being considered for a Queensland mission.” Bain also has a number of racehorses based in Melbourne with Alex Ashwood and Kate Hargreaves and they’re also enjoying good success spearheaded by Cresco Park. The talented horseman has prepared four winners for the new season in Adelaide. And stable star Ideal World is set to resume very shortly. The plan of putting the racing team in the best environment is certainly working and looks like paying good dividends.   Chris Barsby

Was history created at Albion Park on Tuesday? During the eight race program, the four McMullen siblings took away half the program with Pete, Narissa, Dannielle and Taleah all tasting glory. The ‘awesome foursome’ are the children of John and Jennette McMullen. Both sides of the family are steeped in harness racing history and the McMullen name is synonymous and a constant at all race meetings staged in south-east Queensland. But today is the first time that all four siblings have landed a winner at the same meeting. It started with the eldest of the siblings, Pete taking the Changeover @ Burwood Stud Pace with Our Delight who scooted the sprint lane to run down Miss Mia in a time of 2:01. Our Delight is trained by Pete’s wife, Chantal Turpin. It was the maiden victory for the Bettors Delight filly that is raced by her breeder, Tony Turpin – Pete’s father-in-law. Up next, Dannielle guided Ima Top Tycoon to victory in the Seymour Group Pace when defeating Ned Pepper and Might And Main in a time of 1:55.8. Ima Top Tycoon is prepared by Ryan Veivers, partner of Dannielle. Narissa then stepped up and took the Lunchbox Lodge Spelling Farm Pace when leading all the way with former New Zealand pacer Tom Me Gun in a stunning time of 1:55.5 for the 2138m distance. It was his first local start and the Courage Under Fire gelding is raced and trained by Narissa. In the final event of the day, Taleah shot through along the sprint lane with Waste Of Time to take the UBET Pace in a time of 1:58.5 defeating Famous Shoes and Modernday Falcon. Waste Of Time is prepared by big sister Dannielle, the veteran gelding scoring his first win since May last year. And just for good measure, cousin Nathan Dawson also scored at the program when Tell The Linesman took the Gotta Go Cullect @ Egmont Park Stud Pace. Dawson currently leads the Queensland Drivers Premiership with 156 winners. Scanning the record books, this feat has never been achieved before on a Queensland racetrack and when digging a little deeper, it may be a first across the nation.   Back in 1989 at Yarra Valley, three sisters in Rosemarie Weidenbach, Gaita Pullicino and Rita Burnett all steered winners at the meeting. The Turnbull clan holds a record where they finished in the top five placings in an event at Bathurst back in 1988. The record of the first 5 place getters in a race driven by members of the same family belongs to the Turnbull’s after Cindy Rixon (nee Turnbull) beat home her father Tony and brothers Steve, Craig and Greg in the Family Hotel Pace. So, it may well be history that was created at the famed Breakfast Creek oval. And it’s not the first time history has been created in the Sunshine State after the father/son combination of Greg and Matt Elkins scored a deadheat victory last year. Chris Barsby

Harness racing driver Narissa McMullen proved there’s no place like home after dominating the opening night of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship at Redcliffe on Wednesday. McMullen won aboard the Tayla Gillespie-trained No Confession, before backing it up to win with Shane Sanderson’s Stuunder NZ and claim the opening two heats of the series.   The 23-year-old has been one of the bayside track’s leading drivers in the past 12 months, scoring 57 wins from 417 drives. McMullen is representing Queensland for the second time since 2014, and is now in the box seat to claim the series. She sits two points clear of the three New Zealand representatives, Dylan Ferguson, Kimberly Butt and Sheree Tomlinson. “It was a really great feeling to win the first two,” she said.   “I’d just like to thank the trainers for putting horses in the race. Both of my first two drivers were nice horses so that made it easy. “It’s probably easier driving horses you know. But, your job as a driver is to get on horses you’ve never driven before … you work it out pretty quickly.” Heats three and four belonged to the land of the long white cloud, as Ferguson (North Island) and Tomlinson (NZ) put themselves into AYDC contention. Ferguson saluted in Heat 3 with the Ron Sallis-trained Punters Delight, before Tomlinson teamed with Matt Elkins to win aboard Its All Go. Ferguson said it was nice to get the first runs on the board. “We’ve just got to hope me and the girls can get another couple,” he said. “(Punters Delight) has been going great guns since Ron has had him and my job was the easiest one.” Tomlinson said her win was a “great way to finish the night” and it put her within striking distance of the lead.  

Harness racing driver Narissa McMullen is ready to hit the road. The talented young Queenslander will head south and tackle the iconic Golden Guitar series at Tamworth which starts this Sunday before heading further south. McMullen, 21, will make a permanent move to Sydney and set up base at Menangle and prepare a small team of her own on track headed up by in-form pacer Murano and open class performer Bettor Draw. “I’m prepared to make a change in my life and I see Sydney as a good opportunity so I’m ready to give it go and the timing is right for me. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time and now I’m ready to give it my best shot, I’m excited by the challenge and it will be hard but it’s now or never.” McMullen said. The third generation horseperson has been a constant fixture on the Brisbane scene since being granted her licence at age 16 and has built up an impressive list of accomplishments ever since. McMullen has enjoyed success previously at Menangle which includes a victory aboard Essbee Doubleyou in the Gr.2 $50,000 Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational back in 2014 while gaining valuable experience driving at tracks like Melton in Victoria plus in New Zealand at Alexandra Park and Ashburton. Over the past three seasons, McMullen has notched strong numbers and finished in the Top Ten State Drivers Premiership with totals of 96, 134 and 100 and as a result, was the leading female driver in the sunshine state during that period. In the 2013/14 season, McMullen claimed the Queensland Concession Driver of the Year title after finishing 27 wins clear of her nearest rival. “I’ve had a heap of fun over the past couple of seasons and been lucky enough to travel and compete at a number of tracks and meet new people and make new friends but I’m looking for a new challenge and Sydney looks right for this new venture in my life. “Obviously I’m taking a few horses with me like Murano, Bettor Draw, Ona Happy Note and an unnamed two-year-old by Rocknroll Heaven but I’m hoping to do a fair bit of catch driving too. It’s never easy trying to get established in a foreign driver’s colony but I’ll give it my best shot, I really enjoy the racing style at Menangle. “I’ve signed up for a few boxes at the new Menangle training centre but they’re not quite ready so I’ll be based across the road for the time being, I think the new training facility will be excellent.” But the immediate focus is clearly this Sunday when ‘stablestar’ Murano lines up in the 5th heat of the Golden Guitar series taking on the likes of Another Broadway and Kyalla Luke among others. Murano, a winner of his past 7 starts, must overcome a second-line draw after landing gate 8 in the 1980m event. “He’s in super form and this series has been on the radar for some time, I thought he was really good winning at Albion Park last weekend and he’s trained on well since. I don’t think the track will prove any problem because he’s handled Redcliffe in the past. “I’m not starting Bettor Draw at Tamworth but he’s making the trip and we’ll go straight to Menangle with him because he’s had three trials at Albion Park and he paced in 1:52.6 on Tuesday afternoon. He came back really fat so he’s needed some serious hit-outs to strip the weight off him. McMullen has also been engaged to drive Bettabe Perfect and Im El Magic in other Golden Guitar heats. The $25,500 final is scheduled for next Friday. by Chris Barsby

In-form Queensland pacer Murano is providing harness racing trainer Narissa McMullen with plenty of fun. And options. After purchasing the well-travelled pacer from South Australian clients earlier this year, Murano has firmly established himself as one of the more progressive pacers in the sunshine state. The Bettor's Delight – Laugh Out Loud gelding has won 8 of his 15 starts since joining the stables of McMullen including his past five starts. And McMullen is now eyeing off an interstate trip with her rising star. “The Golden Guitar series in Tamworth is my main focus with him right now and that series starts in a couple of weeks so everything is aiming at that target. He’s going really well at the moment and I think this series is a good option for him.” McMullen said. The Pryde’s Easifeeds Golden Guitar series starts on January 17 with the $25,500 final is scheduled five days later. Queensland trained pacers have enjoyed good success in this event in recent years including the victories of Goldplay in 2014 and Tiger Island in 2012. The winning form of Murano under the careful guidance of McMullen is further testament to her ability as a trainer. While her driving skills are well documented, her ability to transform and rebuild winning form in tried racehorses is quite sensational. A fine example of this was another well-travelled pacer in Bettor Draw who managed to win 6 races from 20 starts under the watchful eye of McMullen. The hard running style of Murano looks ideal for the Tamworth feature and his smart gate speed will prove invaluable on the tight turning track. His past four wins, all at Albion Park, have come in a stunning style and in blistering time including a ‘PB’ effort of 1:53.0 two starts ago. “He’s thrives on hard work; he was quite fat when he landed at my stables and I just poured the work into him and he’s obviously enjoying this new level of fitness plus mum (Jennette) spoils him rotten. “The heat/final format will really suit him because the more racing the better he performs; he likes the back-up style of racing because it doesn’t allow him to get fat between starts. Obviously a lot of horses from all over the place chase this series but I think he’ll perform well. “I thought he was really good last start (Friday) and that came off the back of his 1:53 victory so I’m very happy with his form. I’m still sorting what to do with him before the series starts now, he’s a C2 now and I want to keep my advantage for this series so that gives him a good draw.” The third generation horseperson is the daughter of John and Jennette McMullen and younger sister of star horseman Pete. by Chris Barsby

Champion young Queensland harness racing driver Narissa McMullen returns from a six week North American sojourn to drive at the Redcliffe Paceway on Melbourne Cup day. A co-winner of last season’s  RQ/Mercedes Benz Toowong Young Achiever Award, McMullen last drove in Brisbane on 19 September but she has kept her skills tuned while overseas, driving  just last week at Canada’s Flamboro Downs track. McMullen, who turned 21 while she was overseas, has a four drives for her return and she said she can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. “I missed the driving while I was away, it was an awesome trip and I got see some good races but I really missed driving all the time,” McMullen said. McMullen travelled North America and got to see the Breeders Crown, the Little Brown Jug and the Red Mile races on her journey. “The Jug was the highlight, such a great atmosphere, it’s a big party and everyone just has a great time at a great raceday,” she said. Late last month Narissa caught up with her sister Danielle and Hayden Barnes who had been staying with Natasha Day in Canada. “It was good to all get together and to also experience what Hayden and Danielle did, driving at Flamboro was really good and it was very nice of Tash to give me a drive in a race on one of her horses while I was there." McMullen said its now back to the real world. “I was up at five this morning and I have all of my seven horses in work, I spent too much money while I was overseas so I need to get some winners,” she said. Murano, her stable home at Redcliffe tomorrow could be her first deposit back into her bank account. The Redcliffe Club has a five race program with the first race timed to go at 12.20pm and McMullen has three drives for Tamborine trainer Richard Hutchinson in addition to driving her own horse Murano. Five-year-old Bettors Delight gelding Murano will be well fancied in the fourth race, the Might And Power Pace. The pacer has raced six times this season for two wins and two minor placings including a win and second placing this month at Albion Park with Narissa’s brother Pete at the reins. The Hutchinson stable horses will be at much more generous odds. Diabolo Star (Race 2) is resuming from a long spell. Life Sign gelding Diabolo Star, a seven-year-old, hasn’t raced since March 2013. He is a winner of three races with the last win at Marburg in 2012. Hutchinson’s six-year-old Bettors Delight gelding Cheyanne Warrior (Race 3) is also chasing its first win in more than two years. Cheyanne Warrior has raced eight times this season for two minor placings including a third placing at Redcliffe this month. Veteran In The Pocket gelding Barney Maguire will start in the last race on the program for the McMullen/Hutchinson combination. The 11yo's form has been poor at his last four starts but he has drawn the pole position and in September he did notch a win over this distance at Redcliffe after following the speed and using the sprint lane. by David Aldred Racing Queensland Fields for Redcliffe, Tuesday 03 November 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Tuesday 03 November 2015

Champion harness racing driver Pete McMullen scored a treble of wins at Albion Park yesterday but his performance was overshadowed by his younger sister Narissa McMullen reaching the 100 win milestone for a second consecutive season. Pete steered a race to race trotting double on Thumbs Up Jerry and Ode to Success then won the Rising Stars Championship Heat on Floyd Mayweather while Narissa saved the best for last and took family bragging rights, taking out the meeting closer on her father John’s horse Blessed Is The Boy. Making a one act affair of the Virginia Pace Mile (1660m), Blissful Hall five-year-old gelding Blessed Is The Boy scored by 7.4 metres from Chevals Diamond and Smiling High. It was the 10th career win for Blessed Is The Boy and career best mile in 1.58.4. Narissa was at her brilliant best and displayed the top form that she has shown also season with a tremendous strike rate over the last 12 months. Her strike is particularly impressive when the win and place form are considered together. Narissa has had 867 drives winning 100 races, placing 209 times and finishing fourth 96 times which means that she was a top four finisher 47% of the time and has a UDRS of 0.2231, her best in five seasons of race driving. 20-year-old Narissa's total stakes winnings so far for 2014/15 are $650,562. Last season Narissa drove 139 winners from 1064 drives and failed by just four wins to reach the ton in 2012/13. Narissa joins Shane Graham (249 wins), Grant Dixon (213 wins), Pete McMullen (170 wins) and Gary Whittaker (106 wins) as the only Queenslanders to reach the century of driving victories this season. She is also the State’s number one female driver, ranks fifth on the overall state premiership, fourth on the state’s metropolitan premiership and first on the state concession driver’s premiership. In another high point for the year, Narissa also won a half share in the Leigh Plunkett Foundation Scholarship. She dead-heated for the award with NSW’s Robbie Morris. For her share of the prize Narissa received a $10,000 travel study voucher. Narissa is also a contender for Queensland’s 2015 Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Young Achiever Award winning a monthly nomination in October last year. David Aldred

Racing Queensland Stewards today resumed their inquiry into the driving tactics adopted by Narissa McMullen (Louboutin Nz) in Race 2 the Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final at Albion Park on Saturday 6 June. This inquiry was adjourned to allow stewards to review previous performances of Louboutin Nz and to make further investigations regarding wagering information. After consideration, Miss McMullen was charged pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 149(2) which states: A person shall not drive in a manner which in the opinion of the stewards is unacceptable. The particulars of the charge being the driving tactics adopted by Miss McMullen whereby she continued to pressure Louboutin Nz in an endeavour to obtain the lead from the 2138 metre starting point until passing the 1660 metres, when it was evident that Lumos (W Komorowski) had obtained the leading position and was holding that position comfortably were unacceptable. Miss N McMullen was found guilty of the rule and her licence to drive in races was suspended for a period of 4 weeks. In assessing the matter of penalty, Stewards took into account Miss McMullen’s good record in relation to this type of offence. Stewards directed that this term of suspension be served cumulatively with a 3 week suspension imposed on Saturday 13 June 2015. Miss N McMullen was advised of her rights to appeal. Panel: D Farquharson, L Wilson, C McLune - Racing Queensland

Miss Glamorganvale 2015, Narissa McMullen, has achieved another high point, winning a half share in the harness racing Leigh Plunkett Foundation Scholarship. A panel of nine decided that a deadheat was the correct result for the efforts of McMullen and NSW candidate Robbie Morris. The Plunkett Foundation was formed by Harness Racing Australia and all other state control bodies, to provide support for participants in harness racing if they become ill or unable to work. The scholarship (in this case two serves of $10,000 apiece) also assists with career development in the junior ranks. McMullen was honoured to receive the award and is still deciding which country to travel to. "At this stage, I am tossing up between the US and New Zealand,'' she said. "Ideally, I would like to stay with a leading trainer and learn some techniques to help my future endeavours.'' Experience search NATHAN Purdon, a son of New Zealand's super trainer Mark Purdon has joined the stable of Ian Gurney. Having landed eight winners from 60 drives, Purdon is looking to extend his experience as a driver. His first outings in the sulky were three trial drives for Jack Butler, one of which Sammys A Kriden scored a runaway victory in 1-59.6 for 2138 metres with a last half in 56.4. Purdon joins former Wagga lad Paul Diebert striving to get drives in a large pool of concession or junior reins persons. The above pool contains the likes of Hayden Barnes, currently fourth on the concession drivers' table with 46 wins and 53 placings from 253 drives. Barnes will partner in-form pacer Bettor Draw tonight. Equal track record holder at 2138 metres, with a mile rate of 1-54.0, the seven year old gelding has managed nine placings from 10 starts for trainer/driver Narissa McMullen. Best overall effort has been a rate of 1-51.9 at Menangle NSW three starts back. Barnes is currently employed at the Turpin McMullen "winner factory'' at Patrick Estate Lowood. End of an era THURSDAY at Redcliffe saw the beginning of the end of an era. Go Gretel (Grant Dixon) is the last foal of the Queensland based super sire Fake Left. Fittingly bred an owned by Kevin and Kay Seymour's Solid Earth Pty Ltd form the top line mare, Girl In A Million, Go Gretel got home by 14.4 metres in a rate of 2-02.4. On that performance, Go Gretel will be around for a while and should see more of the winners' circle. The Kevin and Kay Seymour Goldrush Series for lower grade pacers has returned to the Friday meetings at Albion Park. With restricted class prize money ($3000) in the heats and a $12,000 country penalty final, the series is seen as a means of providing higher money for those pacers that cannot hack the pressure of the Seymour Rising Stars Championship. As has been the case for several seasons now, there appears to be little real benefit to the hobbyist/ battler in this initiative. Marburg meetings AFTER a successful Easter Sunday Fun Day, Marburg next races on Saturday, May 2. The feature of the meeting will be the first two rounds of the Marburg Junior Drivers Invitation. Due to the placement of meetings on the Marburg calendar the final rounds will be on Saturday, June 20, which is Ipswich City Councillors Charity Day. The 10 councillors will be sponsoring the meeting and donating to Ipswich Hospital Foundation, which the Marburg Pacing Association is proud to welcome as co-hosts on the big day. Put the two meetings in the black book. Honour board THE McMullen family dominated the leader board this week. Chantal Turpin was leading trainer on three wins while brother and sister Pete and Narissa McMullen ended the week locked together on five winning drives apiece. Albion Park, April 10: Five Star Trump (Kay Crone for Gavin Crone); Feel The Courage (Pete for Chantal Turpin); Millwood Chloe (Narissa for John McMullen); Don Boston (Adam Sanderson for Mick Grant). Albion Park, April 11: Lisesofine (C Petroff for Rachel Scott); Timeseel (Danielle McMullen for Vicki Rasmussen); Corey Odonohue (Narissa for Ron Sallis); Courageous Kiwi (Pete for Chantal Turpin); Goldstar Invasion Adam Sanderson for Vicki Rasmussen). Albion Park, April 14: Captain Turbulence (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Horace Foxley (Nathan Dawson for Peter Greig); Village Villain (Amy Rees for Eric Charlwood); Lady White Water (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Paint The Hammer (Pete for Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, April 15: Left In Command (Lynn Paton for Steve Benham); Noel Hamric (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Strike Power (Danielle McMullen for Dave Millard); Crackerofarainbow (Hayden Barnes for Gary Greard); Elz Boy (Gary Whitaker for Steve Towns). Redcliffe, April 16: Imthe Golden Girl (Brad Cowen for Meagan Armour); Onajoyride (Narissa for John McMullen); R Eleven Seven (Pete for Daren Garrard); LeBron (Pete for Brian McCall); Dream Chapel (Narissa for Ron Sallis); All About Art (Narissa for Steven Cini); Billy Badlands (Gary Whitaker for Kerry Smith). By QT trotting columnist Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of

Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby

Australian harness racing’s Leigh Plunkett Foundation Scholarship has been split between to winners. New South Wales horseman Robbie Morris and Queensland’s Narissa McMullen will share the $20,000 grant, with the LPF’s Vaughn Lynch full of praise for the recipients. “Ellen Tormey was the inaugural winner of the Leigh Plunkett Foundation Scholarship and as such spent six weeks travelling internationally, learning a great deal about the industry, which will enable her to further her career here in Australia,” Lynch said. “This year after the panel of nine voted, there was a tie between Robbie and Narissa, so it was decided a joint scholarship will be awarded. “Both will get the opportunity to travel internationally to learn more about the industry.” Lynch praised the Foundation’s supporters and explained without them the scholarship would still be a pipedream. “A lot of money is raised through a stallion auction and most of the studs support us,” Lynch explained. “We would also like to thank a few of the state’s controlling bodies, like HRNSW, that support the foundation and the concept. “It was also great that on behalf of the foundation we could give Alex Tout from Success Stud, the Breeding Encouragement Award. “Alex will be able to travel overseas to further his knowledge and career.” HRNSW Media

The eyes of Australian trotting fans will focus squarely on Menangle this Sunday for Inter Dominion Final Day. There will be much interest north of the Tweed in the 7 Group 1 races and 3 Group 2 events to be held on the amazing 10 race card, as Queensland has plenty of representation. The Queensland interest starts in Race 2 where Narissa McMullen will be out to defend her title in the Lady Drivers Invitational that she won last year and she has drawn barrier 1 aboard Saloon Passage for trainer Nathan Hurst. With third placings at his last 2 Menangle starts, McMullen will be hoping to emulate her performance last year in taking the prize. Hoping to thwart McMullen’s chance at a repeat victory will be the Grant Dixon trained Major Moment. Qualifying for this race with an all the way Heat win 2 weeks ago, Goulburn based Amy Day will be entrusted with the drive. The next combatant for Queensland will be Corporal Luna who will take his place in the NSW Derby for trainer/driver Grant Dixon. The gelding made his way into the blue riband feature with a 5th placing in his heat held last Saturday night and will need to bring his best artillery after landing barrier 7. Race 6 is the 4YO Classic, the Chariots Of Fire and Dixon will be hoping for a scratching to allow his runner Alleluia to gain a start. Currently the 1st Emergency, should he gain a start, the wide barrier has not helped his chances as he will carry saddle cloth 11. Race 7 is the big one, the Inter Dominion Final and is set to jump at 2.42pm Queensland time. There will be dual representation for the Sunshine State following the Heats held a fortnight ago and the issuing of wildcards. Majestic Mach has drawn barrier 8 and Grant Dixon has achieved a unique milestone with his stable star. Razzle has the distinction of lining up in successive years in New South Wales biggest events, the Derby, the Chariots and now the pinnacle event, the Inter Final. The other Queenslander is the fairytale story of Avonnova. Being granted a wildcard, the Ian Gurney trained hulk has not fared well in the barrier draw and will start from barrier 13. Will it prove to be an unlucky number or will it be the lucky blessing for the reigning Queensland Horse Of The Year? The way the Avonnova story has unfolded, there is every opportunity that there is another chapter to be written. The Bohemia Crystal Free For All is Race 8 and features the biggest Queensland participation. Narissa McMullen will saddle her first Group 1 runner as a trainer/driver when she partners the rejuvenated Bettor Draw from barrier 2. A luckless 3rd in the Brisbane Interdominion Heat will ensure that Bettor Draw is well supported after the favourable barrier in this event. Forever Gold starts from barrier 8 for trainer driver Darren Weeks and will be hoping for more luck than last year’s Interdominion Final. Like Majestic Mach it will be the third year in succession that Forever Gold will line up in a Group 1 race on Final day at Menangle. Majestic Major will start to the immediate outside of Forever Gold in his first ever taste of Group 1 competition and will be hoping that the staying journey of 2400m will better suit his constitution than the hard and fast mile racing that Sydney’s premier track presents. The Trotters have their moment in the Group 1 spotlight in the penultimate race of the day. Queensland interest here lies with the Dixon trained and driven Our Overanova. Stopping in Sydney for 2 starts before heading further south to the Great Southern Star Series in Victoria, he will line up for just the 2nd time in his career in a Group 1 event. Connections will be hoping that history does not repeat, as at his only Group 1 performance Our Overanova galloped when under pressure and a repeat of that will not help his cause. Formerly trained in Queensland, Supper Waltz Wilson is still owned by a Queenslander, Lawson Cockburn. Wilson’s former trainer and Lawson’s grandson Bart Cockburn will take the drive on the gelding that will face the starter in a Group 1 event for the first time at his 131st race start. The last race on the day is the Group 2 Carnival Stakes and the Grant Dixon trained Only The Brave is the 2nd Emergency and will be relying on scratchings to force his way into the field. Add to these Queensland trained or driven horses mentioned above will be at least 7 other horses who boast Queensland based ownership interests. They are Our Hi Jinx, Smooth Showgirl, For A Reason, Bettor Bet Black, Lochinver, Pub Blitz and Gaius Caesar. It all shapes well for a Queensland assault on Super Sunday. Racing Queensland

Tuesday saw the Queensland Young Guns travel to Sydney for the New South Wales leg of harness racings State of Origin Young Drivers Championship. The joint initiative between Racing Queensland and Harness Racing New South Wales was the brainchild of outgoing Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Kevin Seymour AM. The group consists of 10 young trotting participants who were selected to engage in a range of programs aimed at educating the group to further their knowledge, not only in the sport but in business, presentation and media. The Young Guns selected for the initial group training are Pete McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Hayden Barnes, Amy Rees, Ryan Veivers, Narissa McMullen, Dannielle McMullen, Brittney Graham, Trent Moffat and Isobel Ross. With early starts not being a problem for this group, they gathered in the wee hours at Brisbane Airport ready to jet off to Sydney for a day full of programmed activities. Looking extremely smart in their team uniform, the professional look the team displayed was a credit to all. Arriving in Sydney, first stop following a trek over the Harbour Bridge was the Frenchs Forest studios of SKY Channel. The group were given a tour of the studios and were able to meet and question some of the SKY ‘stable of stars’. Narissa and Trent were then interviewed for a segment of In The Gig that aired on Tuesday night. Venturing from the North-East back to the South-West, it was all aboard the express to Menangle. Of the 10 Young Guns, 5 were selected in Queensland’s starting lineup with 1 on the ‘bench’. Unfortunately for Pete McMullen, he met the wrath of stewards at Albion Park on Saturday night, meaning Brittany Graham was called into the starting lineup. Brittany joined the other starters, Narissa McMullen, Chantal Turpin, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees to provide the Queensland team with a strong advantage in experience. The Queenslanders boasted a combined total of 739 career wins with Narissa and Chantal both having over 300 wins a piece going into the Series opener. Taking to the track in the New South Wales lineup were Kasey Hocking, Chris Geary, Kylie Barnes, Cameron Jones and Todd Prest with a combined total of 128 wins. The total lifetime winners counted for little once the on track action started, especially considering that only Chantal and Narissa had previously driven at the famed Menangle circuit. Kylie Barnes, the most experienced of the Sky Blue Brigade put on a clinic in the first 2 races to show the Maroons that the Blues would not be easy-beats on their own dirt. In cold, wet and windy conditions the first race saw two scratchings, leaving both teams one runner short with Trent Moffat and Todd Prest left to cheer from the stands. In a great finish where only 5 metres separated the field, Kylie Barnes came with a well-timed run aboard Miss Artistic Tara to score majority points over Cameron Jones. Narissa McMullen was Queensland’s first finisher, coming in third position. Heat Two saw victory once again go to the Blues and once again it was Kylie Barnes to the fore. As the field turned for home, Barnes driving the race favourite El Chango, loomed up to the leader Eagles Ace and looked to run right on by. However, Narissa McMullen driving Eagles Ace fought back, as did Bazzas Art for Chantal Turpin. As the trio drove down to the wire, El Chango packed too many guns and scored a gutsy victory for his cartel of owners. Turpin finished second with Narissa third. It was left until the last Heat for Queensland to restore some pride and Trent Moffat provided the right tonic aboard Fellas R Trouble. Leading off the barrier, “The Moff” gave no others a look in with a very controlled drive to take the field all the way in a barrier to box performance. Brittany Graham making the most of her call up to the starting lineup ran into second place with the outsider of the field Major Command to provide the quinella to Queensland. Chris Geary finished third to avoid a Queensland trifecta. The series now moves to Albion Park for the deciding three Heats on Friday and early indications see it going down to the wire, despite New South Wales holding a 17 point lead. TrotTips Michael Polster’s form assessment sees two of those heats going to Queensland. Racing Queensland  

Leading reinsman Mathew Neilson has registered another century season. Neilson posted the milestone moment with a driving double on Tuesday afternoon at Albion Park when successful aboard the Peter Donohoe trained He Gets It and the Shawn Grimsey prepared Pacific Cruza. It becomes the eighth season where Neilson has driven more than 100 winners. During the 2001/02 season Neilson registered his maiden century with a total of 113 while his biggest haul came during the 2002/03 season when he landed his first double century with 204 winners. With his tally currently sitting at 101 for this term, he finds himself second on the Queensland statewide premiership table behind dynamic junior driver Narissa McMullen who has a total of 103 winners to date. McMullen, a third generation horseperson has been in tremendous form this season which includes multiple victories in New South Wales but is currently serving a two week suspension. On Inter Dominion Grand Final day (March 2) at TABCORP Park, Menangle, McMullen landed an all-the-way victory aboard the Peter Walsh trained Essbee Doubleyou in the Gr.2 $50,000 Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational. The battle between McMullen and Neilson in the final months of the season should be enthralling. “It’s nice to reach that figure again but I’ve just got to keep improving on it, there’s still a long way to go this season with several good drivers competing.” Neilson said. The lightweight driver is now preparing his own team of horses after splitting with leading conditioner Grant Dixon earlier this year and has recently invested in a new property at Toorbul, north of Brisbane where he will expand on his stable. Other Queensland based drivers close to registering century seasons include Grant Dixon, Pete McMullen, Shane Graham and Bart Cockburn. Another milestone moment from Tuesday’s meeting arrived for rookie horseman Hayden Barnes, who prepared his first winner as a trainer when Alberts Flight proved too strong for his rivals in the New Farm TAB Pace in a time of 1;55.5. Barnes prepares the son of Flight N Irish for James McDonogh. Currently employed by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, Barnes previously spent time with Darrel Graham along with his father Al. Barnes has driven 9 career winners to date. By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

SA BOTRA who put over $48,000 is bonus and extra stake money in South Australia are currently running a on line auction to raise funds to continue to support Harness Racing in the state.   They are auctioning the set of horse shoe full framed that Smoken Up aka "Trigger" wore on his way to a Australasian record at Menangle Park NSW of 1.49.9 on November 23rd 2013   This must for any lover of Harness Racing comes framed with certificate of authenticity signed by his trainer Lance Justice.   This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bid on this piece of harness racing history. A true collector's item.   This item is being offered by SA BOTRA.   Proceeds of this auction will be used to promote harness racing in South Australia. To make a big you only have few hours left go to \   Gary Newton    

There were winners left, right and centre after the opening race at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. The Menangle track was a “first-up” winner with horses coming from everywhere in the closing stages of the final heat of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship as the Peter Walsh-trained Little Red Cloud got the money with a 1:59.9 mile rate over the 2400m journey. Tasmanian reinsman Dylan Ford may have also given a hint of things to come for his fellow Tasmanian Beautide in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final later in the day when he brought Little Red Cloud with a well-timed run up the middle of the track to score. All the competitors in the Young Drivers Championship rated the track in remarkable condition despite persistent showers over the weekend, with every runner accorded a fair run. Still none were more satisfied than New Zealand’s Andre Poutama, who finished seventh with Im Blue Double Dee, but accrued enough points to take the series from another Kiwi, Samantha Ottley. Poutama, from New Zealand’s North Island, went into the race with a 13 point lead and was desperate to avoid running in the last couple to jeopardise his chances of winning the overall series. Little Red Cloud grabbed Poacher (Aaron Bain) in the shadows of the post, with Condagen (Josh Duggan) third. Trainer Peter Walsh’s good run continued in the Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational when Narissa McMullen led all-the-way with his pacer Essbee Doubleyou. The Queensland reinswoman took the son of Presidential Ball straight to the top from barrier nine where they dictated terms throughout. Rolling through the quarters in 27.1, 29.0, 28.5 and 27.4s, which resulted in a slick mile rate of 1:52.0, again proving the track was in fine order for the string day of racing ahead. Bathurst reinswoman Amanda Turnbull finished second with Medal Of Honour while the Tasmanian Kate MacLeod finished third with Ballochbuie. Harness Racing NSW

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