By Duane Ranger
Taleah might be the youngest of the four McMullen siblings, but the 18-year-old sees that as an advantage – and she’s more than proved it in the last month.
Fresh from achieving the biggest win of her brief driving career behind the Kerry Smith trained Annika Magic in the Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes at Albion Park on July 13, McMullen has now achieved a personal milestone as a trainer.
Last Friday (August 2) at the same venue the talented teenager nailed her first training victory when Tommy Under Fire won the ninth event by 11.4 metres. McMullen also did the steering.
“It was pretty exciting to train and drive a winner, but if it wasn’t for my oldest sister I wouldn’t have got the horse. Narissa was the one that told me to buy him. You see being the youngest one does have it’s benefits,” McMullen said.
She believed she was in an advantageous position having a big brother, two older sisters, parents, and several cousins to call on for advice.
“I like to listen to what they all have to say. They all good horsemen and women in their own way, and have more experience than me.
“And their advice seems to be working. I’ve driven over 50 winners this season. I’m pleased with that because this is my first full year since leaving Lowood State High School,” McMullen said.
Tommy Under Fire has now had five starts for his new trainer. He is one of two that McMullen has in work. The other is the five-win pacer, Midnight Bender.
“I applied for my licence not long after I turned 18 (April 23) and then must have got it in May. I enjoy driving and for now am happy just to train one or two,” she said.
“I think driving is easier but training is more rewarding,” she added.
McMullen works three mornings a week for her brother, Peter, and sister-in-law, Chantal Turpin.
“That allows me to work my horses in the afternoon. The rest of the week I work for Mum (Jennette) and Dad (John). They have been my biggest mentors and supporters. I have achieved what I have because of them. I’m so grateful,” McMullen said.
McMullen drove her first career winner behind the Ryan Veivers trained Stonebridge Royal at Redcliffe Paceway on July 6, 2017.
Asked what her career highlight to date was, McMullen replied:
“I think it would have to be that win behind Annika Magic in the Fleur De Lil. She is such a wonderful well-gaited mare to drive. Probably the best horse I’ve driven. That was special.
“My first driving and training wins were also memorable but driving a Saturday night Listed winner during the Winter Carnival has to be my most memorable moment so far,” McMullen said.
McMullen has one drive at Albion Park today in Race 7 behind the Ron Sallis trained Major Currency. They have drawn two (9) on the second line, and opened up at $16 on the fixed odds market.
The 1,660m mobile starts at 5:54pm.