QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith.
QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith. David Nielsen

Talented Narissa's Group One ambition


HAVING won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in 2017 and now the Australian Female Drivers Championship, Narissa McMullen, has another burning ambition.

"I want to drive a Group One winner now. That's my next goal,'' the Fernvale resident said.

"In the meantime I just want to keep driving winners and become a better driver."

The talented 24-year-old reinswoman, who is rapidly closing on the magical milestone of 1000 winners lifetime, finished top of the 12-strong table with 79 points at Saturday's Australian Female Drivers Championship at Albion Park.

Her points came via wins behind Annika Magic and Subtle Delight in heats two and five; she also finished second and fourth behind Shards Halo (Ht 1) and Cool Scoter (Ht 3).

KerryAnn Turner (NSW) was runner-up with 75 points, while Victorian harness racing legend Kerryn Manning, and McMullen's cousin Kelli Dawson, finished tied for third with 54 points apiece.

McMullen said it was always good to get one over family members, especially brother Peter.

"He's my only brother and the only one older than me,'' she said. "I'm probably more competitive with him and my sisters than I am my cousins.

"It was great to see Kelli do so well. Nathan (Dawson) is also a cousin so there's a few of us out there. I've only just started to take it all in. I'm so happy.''

Champion farewelled

HENRY Pullen is not one of ours but a champion trainer/driver in his home state of Tasmania.

He left us last week for that big racetrack in the sky.

Born on September 26, 1931, Henry was 87 when he passed.

I remember being a regular reader of Trotguide in the late 60s through the 70s when the Tasmanian report seemed to always mention the doings of Henry.

Pullen, a successful trainer and driver, was awarded Tasmanian Harness Racing's highest honour when he was named the 2010 Edgar Tatlow Medallist.

His long and distinguished career began riding saddled pacers as a 12-year-old. But due to intervention by authority on the matter of his age, and the subsequent sidelining, he did not break through for that all-important first winner, riding Black Mischief until he was 15.

He drove the champion pacer Golden Alley to victory on 44 occasions, including the AG Hunter Cup of 1969, the Tasmanian Pacing Championship of 1967, and the Easter Cups of 1967 and 68, both off 72 yards behind. Other Tasmanian championships were 1969 with Paleface Tiki and 1969 Fair Clue. He won the state's drivers title on two occasions in 1971 (tied with Terry Peck) and 1978.

His everlasting love of horses shaped his entire life.

Henry's son Ray, well known to Brisbane trot folk for his two training stints in Queensland, picked Tenth Rose as possibly his father's best horse, beating Sydney star, Stormy Bruce, in a feature race at Melbourne showground in the "golden age" of trotting.

Henry Pullen was well known as the complete package as a trainer driver.

His runners were trained to the minute, and presented to race along with man, harness and sulky, in immaculate turnout.

His stable routine was no different, no corners were cut, a place for everything, and everything in its place, with no dust allowed.

He was a modest man, a great teacher, and also proud, with every reason to be.

His achievements were many. A massive funeral was testament to his standing among his Tasmanian peers.

Intense meeting

THE battle to re-open harness at Townsville may not be gathering momentum, but it is certainly gathering intensity.

A delegation from the northern region met with Racing Queensland reps on Wednesday. It was a less than cordial encounter.

The meeting opened around financial viability of the club before changing to the horse base and licensees not being sufficient. The discussion then shifted to horse and participant numbers in the southeast needing to grow prior to the venture being looked at.

Questions were raised over the five-year plan and a solution needed for Albion Park.

It is now incumbent on our administrators to produce a result, bearing in mind that a sport with a future is not static, it is expanding.

Redcliffe sale

MORE than 70 percent of the dams represented in this year's Redcliffe Yearling Sale, to be conducted by Darren Ebert & Co on Sunday, March 31, are race winners.

Of the 76 lots catalogues, 54 are out of race-winning dams with 41 taking a record of 2:00 or better.

Yearlings are out of the Group/Listed winning racemares such as the Seymour Nursery and QBred 2YO Triad winner Catwalk Beauty ($156,566), Too Smart For You ($149,684, QLD 4YO Breeders Classic), the Paleface Adios Classic winner Bangkok Dancer, Cullen's Jewel (QLD 3YO Breeders Classic and Redcliffe 3YO Sales Classic), Designer Style (Redcliffe 2YO Sales Classic) and the Redcliffe Oaks winner Montana Tess.

Other well performed mares include the dual Queensland Rising Stars Championship winner Ideal Tact ($98,454), Young Desiree ($89,451), Blissfull Kisses ($72,358), Perfection On Ice (1:55.9), Dance Like A Dream (1:55.9), Suki Suki (1:55.3), Riverboat Royce, the Seymour Nursery heat winners Emma Montana and Three Jewels and the Queensland Oaks placegetter Kiana Frances. Almost 50 percent of the dams represented in the catalogue are winner-producing mares.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-11-12: Recipe For Dreaming (P McMullen)-Jumping Jolt (M Elkins)-Psychedelic (John Cremin).

R2: E/w 2: Trilight Brigade (G Dixon).

R3: Quinella 7-8: Lincoln Road (B Barnes) and Beau Cishlom (R Maguire).

R4: Quinella 1-8: Bells Beach House (R Maguire) and Gas Monkey (Madi Dux).

R5: E/w 1: Renee Dale (N Chalk).

R6: Box trifecta 1-2-12: Grinvil (P McMullen)-Makoa (G Dixon)-Lilac flash (K Rasmussen).

R7: E/w 4: Left A Hurrikane (G Whitaker).

R8: Quinella 3-7: Beaver (T Dawson) and Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen).

R9: Box trifecta 1-8-9: Quietly Spoken (N McMullen)-Spud (N Dawson)-Mister Gunsen (G Dixon).

R10: E/w 2: My Ultimate Fella (N Dawson).

Honour board

It was "cousins week" on the drivers side of the leader board this week with Narissa McMullen and Nathan Dawson splitting the honours at four wins and ratings of 200. Darrell Graham resumed control on the trainers list leading in three winners, all of which he drove.

Most pleasing was the icing on Narissa McMullen's cake on Championship night, rounding out the evening by rating Quietly Spoken to a track record 1-55.9 win in the mobile trot.

Ipswich factor: 25/40.

Albion Park, March 8: Lifes Black (Nathan Dawson for Mark McNee); Feel Like Dancin (Adam Sanderson for Wayne Graham); Speedie McArdle (Matt Elkins for Steve Cini); Beau Cishlom (Reece Maguire for Karen Schulz).

Albion Park, March 9: Annika Magic (Narissa McMullen for Kerry Smith); Jumping Jolt Ellen Rixon for Greg Elkins); Misterriodejaniero (Adam Richardson for Tayla Gillespie); Subtle Delight (Narissa McMullen for Don Hancock); Hedges Avenue (Kelli Dawson for Ian Mabbott); Quietly Spoken (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini).

Albion Park, March 12: Escalera (Darrell Graham); Justabitlikemum (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Grinvil (Pete McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Just Deal It (Kelli Dawson for Ian Gurney); Slice Of Heaven (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith).

Redcliffe, March 13: Feel The Reign (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Hill (Paul Diebert for Ricky Gordon); Mini Miracle (Hayden Barnes for Kelli Dawson); Getoutnwalk (Adam richardson for Ryan Veivers); Go Ahead Make My Day (Gary Whitaker for Brett Cargill).

Redcliffe, March 14: Flashing Good Time (Nathan Dawson for John McMullen); Lurah (Darrell Graham); Bob Gage (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Platinum Roulette (Darrell Graham); Oscars Glory (Pete McMullen for John McMullen).