Picture: Rob Williams
Picture: Rob Williams

RQ overlooks helping region in short term


THE "Meet Racing Queensland" event conducted at Marburg last Monday night attracted a crowd of 50 participants.

The bulk of the major players from the Greater Ipswich footprint were present, no doubt hoping to hear something good in the line of major venues in the immediate future, and an across the board improvement in all facets of race meetings to be conducted at Marburg. Sadly, no such news was forthcoming.

The representatives of Racing Queensland very firmly explained that no such venues were planned for the Ipswich area in the foreseeable future. Nor, in fact, was there any joy for the Marburg Pacing Association, which had hoped to gain support for additional meetings in the Sunday SKY timeslots, in order to give hope to the hobbyists who need racing opportunity when they can actually get to the races (outside of work commitments).

There would also need to be further research done on the vexing question of a full driver's fee and float rebate to apply to Marburg meetings.

The same ambassadors reassured us that they were strongly focused on growing "grassroots racing".

From the information given out, it would be difficult to believe that.

Stories to ponder

THE following two stories are sourced from the Australian Harness Racing website.

The Miracle Mile, Australia's speed pacing championship final, will be run on Saturday, March 7.

Queensland might not have a horse in the big one, but the Sunshine State will have four starters in the Mini Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

Queensland representatives are Kalee Shackleford driving Bella Donna in the Midgets division; while in the Shetland Division there are Briana Davis driving Jumping Jack, Ezekiel Fitness driving Flash Thunderstorm and Layne Dywer driving Dan-Elles Dash.

Layne qualified two horses for the 10-strong Mini Mile, but can't drive two horses at once, so he gifted his other drive to friend and fellow Queensland Junior Harness Racing Association competitor Ezekiel. There were 200 ponies from three states who travelled to Tamworth at Easter to qualify for the Mini Miracle Mile. There were eight races for each pony over two days, and just 10 horses from each division got invites into the Miracle Mile.

The Miracle Mile evening kicks off at 5pm Saturday. Congratulations to all four Queensland entrants.

The second story is a strange one, as it is a revamp of a racing format which has failed at every attempt to introduce it in this country.

Commencing in March, the inaugural Trot Rods Series will be introduced at the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club.

The Trot Rods is a series of races to be held over 947 metres, which is one lap of the track from the 1780m starting point, set over a period of nine weeks with at least one race per week set aside for the Trot Rods each Wednesday night.

Following feedback from participants from past short course or one lap races that it can be difficult for horses back in the field to get into the race, the maximum field size will be set at five plus an emergency. (Emergency to receive $100 if not drawn in another race on the same night). All races during the series will be Penalty Exempt and the barrier draw shall be performed on a preferential basis using the horse's average mile rates at their last 10 starts.

One wonders if the decision makers gave any thought to the difficulty that many pacers have at Redcliffe when negotiating the first turn after the 1780 metre start. Especially in an event which carries a hefty bonus for the fastest lap run during the series.

Is our product, which we are told is going gangbusters in the revenue department, in need of a circus as described in the above?

Honour board

ONLY room for McMullens up there on the leaderboard this week. On the trainer's side, Chantal Turpin-McMullen and John McMullen finished the week tied on three winners apiece. In the driving department, Narissa McMullen resumed top spot, victorious on six occasions while younger sister Taleah McMullen chased home three. Most pleasing was Dave Russell's double at Redcliffe on Wednesday night. Nathan Dawson had the reins. Ipswich factor: 27/42. If our friends at RQ took any notice of the weekly factor, they would see that the Ipswich influence is to the fore in more than 50% of all tote races almost every week of the racing season.

Albion Park, February 28: Mind Of My Own (Trent Dawson); Weedons Express (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Red Terror (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees); B Mac C (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Majestic Simon (Chantal Turpin); Rosehill Magic (Denis Smith); The Reaper (Narissa McMullen for Terry Hancock).

Albion Park, February 29: Cardles From Heaven (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Hard To Hear (Trent Dawson); Major Currency (Narissa Dawson for Ron Sallis); Mach Alert (Kelli Dawson for Ian Gurney); Quietly Spoken (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Slippery Jade (Nikki Chalk for Bill Crosby).

Albion Park, March 3: Garland Greene (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); My Ultimate Hell (Hayden Barnes for Wayne Davis); Twitter Bromac (Chris Geary for Jay Edmunds); Eternal Promise (Adam Sanderson for G Dixon).

Redcliffe, March 4: Andrew Jay (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Feeling For A Rainbow (Nathan Dawson for Dave Russell); Timeless Appeal (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Studleigh Will (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Tulhurst Kate (Nathan Dawson for Dave Russell); Amaya Becomes (Chantal Turpin).

Redcliffe, March 5: Nesters Hill (Taleah McMullen for Peter McKay); Schooby (Angus Garrard for Kay Crone); Eulo Flyer (Pete McMullen for Dale Belford); Guptas Cullen (Hayden Barnes).

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Quinella 1-3: Parisian Rockstar (P Greig) and Innocent Crocker (P McMullen).

R2: Quinella 1-3: Tell The Linesman (N Dawson) and The Doorman (N McMullen).

R3: Quinella 1-3: Just Joshin (N Dawson) and Our Sequel (K Morris).

R4: Box trifecta 1-3-4: Major Currency (N McMullen)-Corey William (P McMullen)-Jamies Bad Boy (P Diebert).

R5: Box trifecta 1-6-8: Smooth Showgirl (A Richardson)-Casino Tommy (N Dawson)- Mattgregor (P McMullen).

R6: E/w 1 - Miss Mia (L Weidmann).

R7: Firstfour 2-10-13-15: The Reaper (N McMullen)-Rosehill Magic (D Smith)-Heart Of Change (K Rasmussen)-Majestic Simon (C Turpin).

R8: Quinella 1-7: Twitter Bromac (C Geary) and Slippery Jade (N Chalk).

R9: Quinella 1-3: High On Montana (R Gordon) and Cupcakesnwhippedcream (C Geary).

R10: Quinella 2-3: Divas Delight (T Dawson) and Secret Jack (A Richardson).

R11: First Four 6-7-8-9: Northern Muscle (A Richardson)-Gee Up Neddy (H Barnes)-Justabitnoisy (L Wiedemann)-Quietly Spoken (N McMullen).