Day At The Track

McMullen switching States

01:28 PM 14 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Narissa McMullen at Flamboro Downs in Canada
Narissa McMullen at Flamboro Downs in Canada

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

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