By Duane Ranger
Mike Sparkes says he and his wife, Karen, might own one of the least respected pacers in Queensland, but Weedons Express, will always be a sentimental favourite.
“We think when we bought him for $6,500 in 2017 he had won $65,000. He’s now nine and won just over $121,000. You wouldn’t find a more honest pacer anywhere. He just loves to race and we love him for that.
“It obviously pays to back him when he’s an outsider, because when his odds are tighter, he doesn’t oblige,” Brighton-based Sparkes said.
The John McMullen trained and Taleah McMullen driven Weedons Express paid a whopping $67.10 when winning the second race by 1.5 metres at Albion Park last Saturday.
In fact if you backed the brown Elsu gelding in his last five wins you would have collected some nice win odds.
On December 5, Weedons Express and Chloe Butler paid $26 to win at Redcliffe Paceway; on February 9 last year he and Dannielle McMullen paid $41 when winning at Albion Park; on December 29, 2018 he and Peter McMullen paid $23; and on October 17, 2018 the gelding and Dannielle McMullen paid $41 to win.
“John McMullen actually recommended that I buy the horse when Kelli Dawson was trying to sell him in 2017. I’ve always held John in high regard. He’s not only a quality horseman, but he is also one of the most genuine blokes going around.
“In fact Karen and I love the whole family. Believe it or not, but John and all four of his children have driven Weedons Express to win on either race-day or in a trial,” Sparkes said.
Weedons Express has now raced a whopping 195 times for 16 wins, 32 placings, and $121,663 in stakes. He made his Australian debut at Albion Park on November 10, 2015 when he ran third.
He had previously won three of his 41 starts in New Zealand before being exported to Australia in October 2015. He made his race-day debut second at Forbury Park in Dunedin way back in June 2014.
“I’m not sure that many punters like him, but we absolutely love him. He will tell John when he’s had enough – and the day he signals that, we will retire him,” Sparkes said.
And on the subject of the McMullens…
All three daughters saluted the judge on Saturday night with Narissa winning the last three races on the 10-race card.
McMullen (Narissa) told Racing Queensland last Friday that she thought she would be in for a good night, adding that Quietly Spoken was her best winning driving in the last race.
Sure enough the Stephen Cini trained $3.60 favourite obliged winning easily by 4.5 metres. She also won the previous two races behind the $8 Mark Rees trained Ale Ale Kai, and the Julie Mason trained $23 outsider, Sonny Orlando.
Two days later at the Marburg Showgrounds the youngest of the four McMullen siblings, Taleah, saluted in two of the seven races carded.
The gifted 18-year-old won race three behind the Peter McKay trained $3.80 favourite Corindhap Creek, and straight after that 4.2 metre victory, she tipped the Steve Towns trained Where’s Tascott to win race six – the Team Teal Ovarian Cancer Pacer for the Lady Drivers.
“This is a very special win to me because I’m a ‘Team Teal’ Ambassador this year. Cancer is a horrible disease and I want to do all I can to assist with the fundraising.
“She’s a lovely horse and travelled beautifully throughout. Steve needs to be applauded for his training. He has done a great job on this promising 4-year-old mare,” McMullen said of the $2.80 favourite.
Where’s Tascott, who is by Pet Rock, has now won three of her 34 starts and placed in eight others. Monday’s win was her first in eight starts at Marburg.
Footnote: Story tomorrow on the Aileen Smith trained Group One winner, Jiggle And Jive (Chris Geary), who won Race 5 at Albion Park on Saturday – the $16,240 Egmont Park Rising Stars Championship Final.