Day At The Track

McMullan heading to Harcourt Lodge

11:00 AM 18 Jan 2017 NZDT
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Simon McMullan in the winner's circle
Simon McMullan
Duane Ranger photo

The training partnership of Steven Reid and Simon McMullan ended on Sunday (January 15) because McMullan wants to be near his Christchurch-based father, Barry who is unwell.

McMullan starts working for Paul Court in Christchurch next Monday (January 23).

“Dad’s been a bit crook of late and I want to be near him when he’s not well. It’s a shame because Steven has been ‘huge’ for my career, and it was sad leaving him.

“He was a bit surprised with the news, but I have to do what I think is right. You only have one father,” 28-year-old McMullan said.

McMullan and Reid bagged 71 winners from 535 starters from 2014 to 2017. They also placed 144 times and won $839,059 in stakes.

He said one of his greatest thrills was developing and working Charge Forward into a better than average racehorse.

“I drove him in seven of his eight wins. He was a lovely horse who won more than $100,000. Another highlight was all the friends I made in the North Island - so many horsemen and women. I won’t mention them all because if I leave one out I’ll know they’ll let me know.

“I’ve had such great times in the North Island and I’ll never ever forget my time here, but the biggest praise has to go to Steven. He made my career. It was him who put my name out there, and he was the one who taught me the most,” McMullan said.

McMullan was born in Christchurch and educated at Burnside High School. He did work experience at Brent Lilley’s barn in Kaiapoi and through him got a job working for Brendon (Benny) Hill.

“I’d always liked horse racing and after working for Benny for a couple of years he got me a job working for Steven in Pukekohe.

“I was 17 when I started working for Steven, I was there for five years then I went and worked for Doug Gale for nine months, before returning to Steven again,” McMullan said.

He said he was looking forward to joining a stable, which at its peak could have up to 50 horses.

“It will be a new experience. I think the most Steven had in work at any one time was 26 or 27. I just want to go down there and take it all and do my best,” McMullan said.

So will he be driving down south?

“I just want to take it one day at a time with Paul. My main focus is Dad,” he said.

McMullan has driven 55 winners from 657 starters between 2008 and 2016. He also placed 131 times and won $430,923 in stakes.

He has had one placing from nine drives this season. This is his second year as an open driver.

McMullan has also competed in a couple of New Zealand and Australasian Junior Driving Championships.

Duane Ranger

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