Day At The Track

Turn It Up confirms a ticket interstate

02:56 PM 09 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Turn it Up, Harness racing
Turn it Up
Dan Costello photo

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.

THE GOOD 

Turn It Up did just that on Saturday night at Albion Park and confirmed his ticket to tackle an inter-state campaign in the process of his scintillating victory.

Starting from gate 10 over the mile, Shane Graham soon had the gelding in the running line as reigning Horse of the Year, Colt Thirty One rolled to the lead.

Staring from wide off the front line, Grant Dixon looked to take advantage of staying in front of Turn It Up and after an opening quarter of 27 seconds was able to slow it right down through the second stanza.

With 31.3 appearing for that second quarter of the last mile, it appeared that Colt Thirty One had a firm hold on proceedings.

However, in the space of 100 metres, Turn It Up had turned the race upside down.

Set alight from the one-by-one trail, Shane Graham hit the afterburners- with Turn It Up responding- scorching the back straight to be in command before the 400.

It was a winning move and the six-year-old was able to cruise home, running some slick closing sectionals.

Stopping the clock with a mile-rate of 1.52.1, the Courage Under Fire gelding now heads to the Newcastle Mile where a showdown with Lochinvar Art looms.

David Moran, trainer of Lochinvar Art has pencilled in that race as his preferred lead-up to the Miracle Mile with the winner gaining automatic entry to Australia’s richest pacing race.

Turn It Up has been in great form since joining the Vicki Rasmussen stable, finishing with three wins and three second placings in just six starts.

Yet to miss a place in 21 career starts, the gelding has faced injury concerns throughout his career but appears to be handling the racing demands under Rasmussen’s care.

The NSW Carnival of Miracles could be a bonanza for Rasmussen and Graham as their other stable star, One Change, chases a Chariots of Fire berth via this week’s Paleface Adios Stakes.

With the Chariots winner also securing a Miracle Mile berth, can Vicki dare to dream that she could possibly have a dual pronged attack in the Mile.

 

THE BAD

Every driver goes through a period where it can seem no matter how hard you try to win, it just does not go to plan.

Narissa McMullen experienced a lean spell by her lofty standards through the second half of January where it just seemed the next winner was an eternity away.

That feeling was no doubt exasperated from the fact of the momentous number that was lurking on her career statistics.

Overcoming the ‘nervous nineties’ Narissa McMullen scored a landmark victory on Friday at Albion Park when securing the 1000th driving win of her career aboard Royal Obsession.

Stuck on 999 wins after the victory of Slingshot on January 15, Rocket Riss had been close with several placings before finally landing the milestone breakthrough.

Scoring her first race victory aboard Miniature Classic at Albion Park on October 18, 2010, Ron Sallis was the trainer of Narissa’s first winner, and it was again Sallis that provided win 1000.

Royal Obsession had been building towards a victory after some good runs in recent weeks and settling midfield, arrived with a well-timed run to score.

The McMullen/Sallis combination has been a successful one in the ten years that Narissa has been driving, scoring plenty of victories together.

The most successful of their combination has been Comply Or Die, a pacer that Narissa has partnered to success on 26 occasions for Sallis.

Narissa- the second eldest of the four McMullen siblings- joins brother Pete in reaching 1000 victories.

Despite playing second-string to Pete in number of victories, Narissa was able to take bragging rights two races after her momentous win.

Narissa drove a perfectly judged race to defeat the odds-on favourite Big Wheels, driven by her big brother.

In the sulky behind the aptly named Cool And Calculating, Narissa quickly set about moving towards the next 1000 wins.

 

THE MILESTONE

Chloe Butler started her ambassadorial role for Team Teal with a full book of six drives in all six races at Albion Park on February 2.

With a six-week period of all female drivers wearing the teal pants to fundraise for ovarian cancer research, each state also has a pair of ambassador drivers Queensland represented by Butler and Taleah McMullen.

It was a mixed day for Chloe with two fourth placings and three fifth placed finishes.

The best result for the day was a strong finish aboard Cardlesfromheaven for trainer Ian Gurney when charging late to grab second place behind the odds-on favourite Paravani.

Heading to Redcliffe for the second night in the Teal silks, Butler had a book of four drives.

The night started perfectly when leading all the way in the opening race of the evening with Huntaway.
Sent straight to the front, the seven-year-old was able to stave off all challengers to claim his eighth career victory and second since joining the Jack Butler stable.

Race three was Chloe’s next drive and like race one, it was a case of first out, first home with Rum Delight continuing his strong form in scoring another victory.

Finishing down the line in race five aboard Cannan, Butler’s last drive of the night was in race eight for trainer Lachie Manzelmann.

Taking the reins aboard Cyclone Kelly, Chloe was able to issue another front-running display after hustling the six-year-old out of the machine, press forward and wrestle away the lead.

Once he was in control, the gelding was able to score an easy 4.9 metre victory and complete a winning treble for Butler.

That was the first treble for Butler as she starts her third season of race driving.

After driving 65 winners last season, Chloe Butler has completed the first five weeks of the 2021 Season with a handy 14 wins to sit fifth on the state premiership table.

In total, the pair raised $2400 through the opening week of Team Teal with further fundraising chances on the horizon.

 

THE WILDCARD

The father-and-daughter combination of Lacey and Warren Hinze had a successful end to the last week with wins on Thursday at Redcliffe and Friday at Albion Park.

Our Dolly was the first of the two winners in an owner’s partnership for the Hinze’s when proving too strong over the 1780 metre trip at The Triangle, driven to victory by Shane Graham.

Trained by Warren, the Lanercost filly was able to flex some muscle when scoring a tough win, breaking through for her fist career victory with a head margin on the line.

The win also secured the pair the QBRED first win bonus with the three-year-old breaking through at start number 17.

Our Dolly- out of the 2013 Redcliffe Oaks winner Montana Tess- went through the 2019 Redcliffe Yearling Sale but was unable to garner much interest before being a buy-back for $1000 by her then owners and breeder, Montana Park.

Purchased privately by Warren and Lacey Hinze, the filly had her first race start in the heats of the Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series back in June 2020.

Slowly starting to develop, the maiden breaking win came at career start number 17 for Our Dolly.

On Friday, High On Montana landed his 11th career victory with Jonah Hutchinson taking the reins for the winning drive.

Reversing the combination of Thursday’s win, High On Montana is trained by Lacey Hinze and like Our Dolly, is owned in partnership by Lacey and Warren.

Settling back in the pack, it was a well-timed drive with Hutchinson bringing the gelding with the perfect run to claim the victory in a 1.56.5 mile-rate.
Another private purchase from Montana Park, High On Montana started his career in Victoria with David Miles before heading to the Darrel Graham stable.

Lacey Hinze then became his trainer following 16 career starts and two victories and had quick success with the gelding claiming three wins his first eight starts for the stable.

Our Dolly and High On Montana have provided a successful start to February for the Hinze family.

 

THIS WEEK

Five race meetings will be held this week in Queensland with Albion Park hosting the regular three and Redcliffe two meetings.

Tuesday at The Creek is scheduled for a nine-race card with meetings to be held in day slot on Friday and the Metropolitan card on Saturday night.

Redcliffe hosts a nine-event meeting on Wednesday night partnered by the Thursday afternoon fixture from the Peninsula Club.

There is likely to be some Queensland interest at Menangle on Saturday night with One Change and Justalittle Torque featuring in the nominations as they search for feature race success.

 

Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

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