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The McMullen sisters have pulled off what is believed to be an Australian, if not a world, harness racing first. At 5.30pm last Friday (April 12) the trio nailed their first ‘sister-trifecta’, when finishing one, two, three in the eighth event at Albion Park. Oldest sister, Narissa (25) trained and drove the winner,  Tom Me Gun. She had 3.6m to spare over second placed Danni-elle (23) and Speedie McArdle. Youngest sister and the cheekiest one of the McMullen four, Taleah (17) finished a head back in third behind the brown gelding trained by her father John, Weedons Express. “I’m very proud of what we achieved, but I would’ve preferred to beat my sisters,” said, Taleah, who is based with her parents at Glamorgan Vale. “All of us siblings are very competitive and definitely like to win. We’ve all had the same teacher (Dad) and that’s why we all drive a bit aggressive and love coming out of the gate,” she added. Oldest sister, Narissa, the current Australian Female Drivers champion, and winner of the 2017 Australasian Young Drivers’ title, said she was proud to have led the ‘eldest to youngest sister trifecta’. “It was good to beat my two younger sisters home, but Taleah was quick to tell Danni-elle and me that she would have won if we didn’t get in her way. “The family have had a few trifectas before with Peter, Danni-elle, and myself, but last week was the first sister trifecta with Taleah,” she said. Danni-elle was also proud, but did give her big bro a cheeky serve. “I think it’s great that it was the three of us girls, without the older brother getting in the middle. However, it would have been good if he ran fourth,” she said. All three said their next family goal was to run the ‘First Four’ with older brother Peter. Mind you the 27-year-old Glamorgan Vale horseman and his wife Chantal (nee Turpin) had weekend to remember themselves. They won three races on QBRED night at Albion Park on Saturday, including two Listed events. Chantal trained and drove Will The Wizard to win race three - the Listed $25,000 QBRED Breeders Classic Final for the 2yo pacing colts and geldings. A race later Peter drove the Turpin trained Amaya Becomes to nail the Listed $25,000 Breeders Classic Final for the 2yo pacing fillies. Then the husband and wife duo then combined to win the last event, the $13,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 2yo Fillies Consolation. Mother of the ‘McMullen four’, Jennette, said she was ‘oh so proud’ of her children, daughter-in-law and wider family. “It was so exciting to see their first sister trifecta. We just need a first four now. They are all good mates and were pretty wrapped with their feat. “I’m sure Taleah would love to repeat it with her having bragging rights, through being the youngest sibling.  Their grandma, my Mum - Beryl Dawson, 85, gets a great thrill out of their achievements. “No doubt that will be her story at the next CWA (Country Women’s Association) meeting. Eight of her 10 grandchildren all drive in races and another one is a trainer. Her life revolves around the Sky Channel following the Dawson-McMullen clan,” Mum said.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Last night’s Harness Racing Awards Dinner brought exciting news for junior drivers and cousins Nathan Dawson and Dannielle McMullen when they were announced winners of the 2018 Kevin and Kay Seymour Young Achievers Award. The award comes with an unbelievable all-expenses paid trip to North America working and learning under the watchful eye of successful harness racing trainer and former Australian Ross Croghan. The trip will be an incredible learning curve for the youngsters and will include opportunities to visit the stables of prominent standardbred trainers such as Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke, touch base with ex-pats such as Andy McCarthy, Noel Daley and Chris Ryder to name but a few, visit renowned racetracks such as the Meadowlands, Yonkers and Freehold as well as the possibility of securing a race drive. Young Achiever nominations were selected on a monthly basis throughout the season by a panel of industry experts. Other nominees included Trent Moffat, Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Narissa McMullen, Isobel Ross, Mitchell Dawson, Alex Cain and Matt Elkins. Nathan Dawson was the obvious preference for the male award recipient given his unbelievable driving record in the 2017/2018 season and being nominated for the award on three occasions. He secured the Queensland Driver of the Year Premiership and was the only driver to land a double century of wins. Dawson’s career best month was in August where he landed 40 winners and 42 placings from 149 drives. In that month he drove four winners on two occasions, trebles on three occasions and recorded his 500th lifetime winner. “I hadn’t kept count of the winners that month, I just went out there and did my best. I had a really good season and it’s great to be rewarded for the hard work” Dawson stated. He was also selected to represent Queensland in the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers Championship held at Albion Park and Redcliffe in November. McMullen also enjoyed plenty of success last season finishing within the top 10 on the state drivers, metropolitan drivers and concession drivers premierships with 78 winners from 595 drives. Along with her sister Narissa, McMullen represented the state in the Australian Female Drivers Championship in Tasmania where she finished in 2nd place, as well as competing in the Reinswomen Invitational series at Globe Derby. Narissa was selected as last year’s Kevin and Kay Seymour Young Achiever and ironically the sisters finished on the same number of wins last season. “I’m really looking forward to the trip, it’ll be a really great learning experience and I know it wouldn’t be possible without the sponsors Kevin and Kay Seymour”, said McMullen. While the trip details are yet to be confirmed it has been suggested that the drivers will set off in August next year and their trip will coincide with the one million dollar Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack.   Albion Park Harness Racing  

Was history created at Albion Park on Tuesday? During the eight race program, the four McMullen siblings took away half the program with Pete, Narissa, Dannielle and Taleah all tasting glory. The ‘awesome foursome’ are the children of John and Jennette McMullen. Both sides of the family are steeped in harness racing history and the McMullen name is synonymous and a constant at all race meetings staged in south-east Queensland. But today is the first time that all four siblings have landed a winner at the same meeting. It started with the eldest of the siblings, Pete taking the Changeover @ Burwood Stud Pace with Our Delight who scooted the sprint lane to run down Miss Mia in a time of 2:01. Our Delight is trained by Pete’s wife, Chantal Turpin. It was the maiden victory for the Bettors Delight filly that is raced by her breeder, Tony Turpin – Pete’s father-in-law. Up next, Dannielle guided Ima Top Tycoon to victory in the Seymour Group Pace when defeating Ned Pepper and Might And Main in a time of 1:55.8. Ima Top Tycoon is prepared by Ryan Veivers, partner of Dannielle. Narissa then stepped up and took the Lunchbox Lodge Spelling Farm Pace when leading all the way with former New Zealand pacer Tom Me Gun in a stunning time of 1:55.5 for the 2138m distance. It was his first local start and the Courage Under Fire gelding is raced and trained by Narissa. In the final event of the day, Taleah shot through along the sprint lane with Waste Of Time to take the UBET Pace in a time of 1:58.5 defeating Famous Shoes and Modernday Falcon. Waste Of Time is prepared by big sister Dannielle, the veteran gelding scoring his first win since May last year. And just for good measure, cousin Nathan Dawson also scored at the program when Tell The Linesman took the Gotta Go Cullect @ Egmont Park Stud Pace. Dawson currently leads the Queensland Drivers Premiership with 156 winners. Scanning the record books, this feat has never been achieved before on a Queensland racetrack and when digging a little deeper, it may be a first across the nation.   Back in 1989 at Yarra Valley, three sisters in Rosemarie Weidenbach, Gaita Pullicino and Rita Burnett all steered winners at the meeting. The Turnbull clan holds a record where they finished in the top five placings in an event at Bathurst back in 1988. The record of the first 5 place getters in a race driven by members of the same family belongs to the Turnbull’s after Cindy Rixon (nee Turnbull) beat home her father Tony and brothers Steve, Craig and Greg in the Family Hotel Pace. So, it may well be history that was created at the famed Breakfast Creek oval. And it’s not the first time history has been created in the Sunshine State after the father/son combination of Greg and Matt Elkins scored a deadheat victory last year. Chris Barsby

South Australia’s reigning Horse Of The Year, Emain Macha returned to Globe Derby Park on Saturday and demonstrated why he had been awarded the harness racing title. Basically untouched, Emain Macha rated a sizzling 1:55.2 in winning the Sage Hotel Pace (1800m), heat four of the Lonsdale Sand & Metal Reinswomen’s Invitation. Queensland’s Dannielle McMullen was the lucky reinswoman to pick up the drive on Emain Macha. “I have to admit I didn’t really know a lot about him before Saturday but everyone I spoke to said he was a very nice horse, and they were right,” McMullen said. “I was surprised he went so quick, he certainly did it easy. There is no doubt he could have run quicker had there been something up alongside challenging him. “He did it so easy, and still won by nearly 15 metres. We regularly run 1:55 mile rates around Albion Park, but if he came up here, I’m sure he would be doing better than that.” Coming away quickly from gate eight, McMullen took an early trail in the running line while up front there was a battle for the lead with a quick first quarter of the last mile of 28.3 seconds. Once the field settled, McMullen allowed Emain Macha to stride forward and with a lap to go went to the front and proceeded to make it a case of ‘catch me if you can’ - and they couldn’t. The four-year-old, which had been backed from $2 into $1.20 favourite, raced away to win by 14-1/2 metres from Clarenden Hustler ($26) with Montanas Jet ($31.40), 10-1/2 metres away third. Part-owner-trainer Greg Scholefield said the gelding was now back to peak fitness following a life-threatening illness last year. “When he got home after Saturday night, he ate up, and was ready for more,” Scholefield said. “Considering he has done a bit of travelling in the past two weeks, he has proved himself a tough horse. “I had been thinking of freshening him up, but he’s telling me he is happy to keep racing, so I will look for suitable races. There are races at Shepparton and Globe Derby Park which might suit him, so I’ll make a decision later in the week.” Emain Macha has had eight runs so far this preparation for five wins, a second and two thirds. His win, before coming to Adelaide, was an all-the-way victory in the Mark Gurry & Associates Cup during the Mildura Cup carnival. Graham Fischer

The McMullen siblings all found their way to the harness racing winners’ enclosure last weekend. It was the first time that all four have driven winners on the same day. Taleah, 16, the youngest of the quartet started the ball rolling with her victory aboard Hachem at Kilcoy on a dual-code race day on Saturday afternoon while the older siblings all tasted success at Albion Park later that night. Peter, 26, landed a treble at Albion Park with victories aboard The Charging Moa, Munroe and Wattlebank Flyer while Dannielle, 21, steered Secret Smile and Narissa, 23, took the winning driving aboard Ivanov who deadheated in the final event. Naturally, proud parents John and Jeanette were thrilled with their kids’ efforts. “It was a good day at the office; they’re good kids who work hard.” John stated. The McMullen name is steeped in harness racing tradition,  “Hollywood John’’ McMullen, the kids grandfather, is a pioneer of sending Australian horses to America while being an inductee of the Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame. “Hollywood John” is an Albion Park icon and prepared many top flight pacers from his Breakfast Creek stables, adjacent to the track, stables he has occupied since 1978. The McMullen siblings all possess natural ability in the race bike and graduated through the mini-trotting ranks. Pete is the youngest Australian driver to reach 1000 winners while he had the honour to drive one of the greatest in Im Themightyquinn for trainer Gary Hall Snr a few years back during his Brisbane campaign. While Pete is firmly established as one of the state’s leading drivers, his younger sisters are quickly carving their own names as forces to be reckoned with and all possess impressive individual stats. Again tonight (Wednesday) at Redcliffe, the McMullen clan will be fierce competitors when all four of them line up against each other in two races on the program. In the opening event, the Power Up Lawn Mowers Pace over 1780m, Taleah (Lynchman), Pete (Turbotufftalk), Narissa (Hammerhoff) and Dannielle (Andiamo El Ferrari) will look to battle it out before clashing again later. In race five, the Stevie Redback Pest Control Pace over 1780m, Dannielle (Ima Top Tycoon), Narissa (Annas Best), Taleah (Midnight Bender) and Pete (Levi Jade) will again chase success. Both Pete and Narissa have driven in excess of 100 winners this current season while Dannielle has enjoyed her best season to date with over 65 winners. Taleah, in her maiden season of driving has landed 4 winners to date (Stonebridge Royal, Weedons Express, Kaanapali & Hachem). But don’t expect any chances to be given tonight, all four McMullen siblings possess a steely determination and victory will only provide bragging rights at the next family get together. by Chris Barsby

A harness racing driver has been slapped with a ham-fisted three-month suspension because of a fundraising pig whose name “boar” similarities to that of a racing official. Dannielle McMullen was suspended for three months for “misconduct” after her prank at the recent BOTRA Charity race day in a penalty that left harness racing participants with disbelief. McMullen did not drive at the meeting, preferring to help raise funds for the charity, being a full-time employee of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. One of the fundraisers on the day was a pig race, where participants could “buy” a pig. McMullen took up an offer to race one of the contestants, before deciding to give it a name that had a striking resemblance to deputy chief harness steward Kwan Wolsey. The pig, officially named Qualm, won the race and McMullen even took the winning ribbon to show Wolsey. Nothing further was said on the day. The “incident” took a turn for the worse two days later when McMullen was issued with a misconduct charge by stewards. Harness racing driver Dannielle McMullen. Picture: Dan Costello At a subsequent inquiry presided over by Joseph Elliott, Kerry Lathopolous and Robyn McCrae from the QRIC Integrity Regulatory Unit, McMullen was suspended and fined $500. The driver estimates the suspension could cost as much as $10,000. As she’s also a trainer, she has already relinquished horses in her care to other stables. Albion Park Harness Racing Club chairman David Fowler said the penalty was “over the top”. “Maybe Dannielle should have been more mindful, but the penalty is way out of kilter for a somewhat innocent mistake,” he said. “In her employ at Albion Park, I have never once had reason to question her respect or manners.” Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett vigorously defended the sentence on Friday and said he expected QRIC staff to be “treated with a high level of respect”. “This action was inappropriate and showed a lack of respect and disregard for common decency in relation to a QRIC staff member. Ms Wolsey felt disrespected by this regrettable incident,” Barnett said. McMullen is now awaiting the result of an internal review of the penalty before deciding if she will appeal the verdict to QCAT. By Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail  

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into conduct exhibited by Dannielle McMullen (licensed harness racing driver) following a Stewards Inquiry at the Albion Park race meeting on Saturday, 11 March 2017. After taking initial evidence from Ms McMullen, Stewards issued her a charge under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHR) 247, which reads: A person attending before the Controlling Body its members or employees, the Stewards, officials, or at any proceeding under these rules, shall not speak or behave in a malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper manner. The specifics being: That on 11 March 2017 when attending before the Stewards, Ms McMullen, did speak in an improper manner. Ms McMullen pleaded guilty to the charge. In assessing penalty, Stewards were mindful of Ms McMullen’s personal circumstances and her guilty plea. Stewards were also mindful of similar precedents and considered this her first breach under AHR 247 given that a similar conduct related penalty handed down on 11 March 2017 was still subject to an Internal Review. Stewards also considered the requirement that a penalty serve as an adequate deterrent to ensure that licensees conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. Stewards fined Ms McMullen $500. Ms McMullen was advised of her right to an Internal Review. Stewards’ Report – Dannielle McMullen Date – 03/04/2017 Panel – Ian Brown, Daniel Aurisch, Joshua Elliott

Queensland's young driving talent will again be in the international harness racing spotlight tonight when Hayden Barnes and Dannielle McMullen make their Canadian driving debut at Flamboro Downs in Ontario. Barnes and McMullen will drive stablemates in the second and third races at Flamboro for Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Carl Jamieson. Both horses are newcomers with Barnes' drive The Big Digger (Up The Credit - Lone Mystic) a 6-1 shot from gate four and McMullen's drive Ninoscredit (Up The Credit - Security Banner), a 3-1 third favourite, leaving from the pole in race three. The duo have been chaperoned in Canada during the past month by aussie Natasha Day with the usual bucket list items all ticked off including North America's Niagra Falls and an Ice Hockey game. There's also been qualifier drives at Mohawk but tonight's race drives are sure to be a highlight. Barnes who was a co-winner of last seasons Mercedes Benz Toowong "Queensland Young Achiever" award simply dispalyed "first drive (in Canada)" on his social media page today. Both Barnes and McMullen have had several representative driving experiences over the past 12 months, representing Queensland interstate and in New Zealand. In NZ Barnes was a race winner and he also was the leading driver in the Qld Vs. Vic driving series. Their Canadian trip, a prize awarded to further their international and overall harness racing experience was sponsored by Kevin Seymour. by David Aldred

Queensland young guns Brittany Graham and Trent Moffat jetted into New York on Sunday and have quickly settled in nicely to harness racing USA style. The two winners of the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz (Toowong) Young Achievers Award at last years RQ Industry Awards, commenced their one month educational prize this week easily filling in their first two days in North America at expat Aussie trainer Ross Croghan’s Gateway Farms, New Jersey. “What an amazing place,” Graham said. “There are about 600 horses on the property which is privately owned and trainers rent barns. “(On our first day) Trent and I both got to do two jog trips which was exciting. “ Day two delivered even more positive experiences for the two Queenslanders. “We both got the opportunity to do trainers (fast workers) so that was very exciting, and I drove a two-year-old colt out of a half-sister to Rocknroll Hanover and Trent drove two other pretty promising colts,” an excited Graham said.  “I also got the opportunity to train a mare called Sudoku who has paced a mile in 1.51.4 this season. “As well as that I got to jog a mare called Single Me who is in a half-million dollar (US$500,000) race on Saturday night! “All in all a good day. “We are sitting and watching some races at Pocono Downs now and trying to learn what we can, which will hopefully help us out!” The education prize of the trip to the USA was the brainchild of Queensland’s young guns ‘supremo’, Kevin Seymour. With the assistance of Racing Queensland's management, Albion Park Harness Racing Manager Damian Raedler and Management at The Meadowlands, Seymour was able to initiate a harness racing educational trip of a life-time for the star young drivers. The duo is being mentored by Croghan and the team at Gateway Farms in all facets of training and driving. They will return after an Los Angeles stopover at the end of this month. Not one to rest on his laurels, Seymour has already selected another two young Queensland drivers, Danielle McMullen and Hayden Barnes to be educated in Canada next month. David Aldred

Racing Queensland Harness Chairman Greg Mitchell enjoyed his best night in the sport. At Albion Park last night (Saturday), the Mitchell owned Alleluia and Corporal Luna both claimed Gr.2 features on the feature harness racing program. Both pacers and trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon. New Zealand bred gelding Alleluia put his best foot forward by taking the $50,000 Cups Carnival Final when he powered home to beat race favourite Epaulette and Paint The Hammer in the 2138m contest. Alleluia rated 1;58.0 while the last half was covered in 57 seconds. The victory of Alleluia pushed his prizemoney tally beyond $200,000. In the $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace 3yo Colts and Geldings Final, Corporal Luna caused a massive upset when he wore down hot favourite Birdy Mach in a thrilling finish. Corporal Luna scored by a head margin over Birdy Mach with A Good Chance a game third. The Elsu – Find Fake Cash gelding rated 1;57.9 while the last half was covered in 56.9 seconds. Bred and raced by Mitchell, it was the gelding’s biggest victory to date and takes his career earnings close to $100,000. Both horses are being aimed at several features during the upcoming Queensland winter carnival. The night almost got bigger for Mitchell when his talented trotter Our Overanova was beaten by a narrow margin by Foray in the Gr.3 $30,000 Bruce Skeggs Memorial Trotters Cup at Cranbourne. Our Overanova is prepared by Luke and Belinda McCarthy. The McCarthy stable claimed the $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace 3yo Fillies Final after Smooth Showgirl recorded back to back victories in the feature. Starting at very skinny odds, Smooth Showgirl kept her unbeaten Albion Park record intact after a masterful drive from McCarthy and defied the Shannon Price trained pair in Bettorthanspecial and Bettor Promise in the 2138m event. The time was 1;57.8 while the last half was covered in 57 seconds. The Art Major – Golden Showgirl filly has now made a clean sweep of both the two-year-old and three-year-old divisions of the Nursery Pace. Smooth Showgirl now heads to Melbourne for the Vicbred Super Sires series in the coming weeks. The Listed $25,000 Flashing Red was taken out by former New Zealand gelding Magical Mel who led throughout in the 2647m staying feature to beat Caesars Folly and Terror Time. Magical Mel stepped brilliantly to lead and proved too strong in a driving finish while rating 2;02.5. The victory proved to be a career highlight for winning driver Trista Dixon, wife of trainer Grant. The Dixon stable has now claimed the past two editions of the Flashing Red after winning last year with Vegas Bound. And Dannielle McMullen also found herself in the feature race enclosure after landing the Charity Cup Final with Red Vee Hanover who came through via the passing lane to defeat Judyfree and Our Pacquiao in the 2138m feature. Red Vee Hanover rated 1;57.2 with the final half covered in 57.6 seconds. McMullen, the younger sister to leading drivers Pete and Narissa recently landed her first Saturday night double at Redcliffe and her good form continued last night. Red Vee Hanover is prepared by reigning Albion Park trainer of the year in Vicki Rasmussen.

Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby

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