Can more history be created at Albion Park this weekend?
Fresh from the success of the four McMullen siblings all driving winners at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon, another chapter can be created tomorrow (Saturday) night.
The Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Oaks is one of the co-features on a sensational card of racing and the three-year-old fillies are chasing the major riches on offer.
But for Isobel Ross, the talented young driver has a chance at etching her name into the record books.
Ross will partner Red Charmer, a winner of last week’s Gr.3 South East Oaks, the traditional lead-up event to this week’s feature, and join Shane Graham as the youngest driver to land the Queensland Oaks.
Back in 2002, Graham steered a magnificent race when successful with Sparkling Melody, prepared by his father Wayne, to beat some of the best fillies in the southern hemisphere.
He was 20 years of age when triumphant.
If Ross is successful, she will join Graham as a winner at the age of 20; her 21st birthday comes up later this year (October).
But there’s a twist with Ross.
The natural lightweight is a quadruplet, sister to Victoria and Stephanie and brother Sam.
None of her siblings took up race driving but are all capable on horseback.
The Ross family is synonymous in harness racing circles with the family conducting the Clerk of the Course services at all TAB tracks in south-east Queensland.
Don Ross snr occupies the role with his son Donny and grandson Donald plus the assistance of Dexter McLean each and every week.
Donald is the older brother of Isobel, Victoria, Stephanie and Sam but is currently on annual vacation and sunning himself somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.
All five kids are the children of Donny and Lisa Ross.
A scan of the record books indicates that no quadruplet has won a Queensland Oaks, let alone a feature harness event in this part of the world.
Red Charmer, with Ross driving last week sprung an upset when victorious in the South East Oaks downing stablemate Aqua Miss and race favourite Sociable.
Can they do it again?
Tomorrow night, Ross and Red Charmer will line up in gate seven, the outside of the front-line, and will again be at big odds as a result but the youngster is confident her filly can feature again.
“The draw is far from ideal but she’s got quality and class and just needs some luck going her way, she’s super fit and ready to go again.” Ross said.
Red Charmer is prepared by the state’s leading horseman Grant Dixon and Ross has been part of the “Black & White’ army for just over 12 months now working alongside the husband and wife team of Grant and Trista.
The Mr Feelgood filly has won 9 of her 23 starts to date and Ross has a near perfect record with the filly.
From two drives to date, Ross has claimed the South East Oaks while finishing a narrow second behind Aqua Miss in the Gr.2 $50,540 QBRED Triad Final back on May 12.
“She’s a real sweetie to drive and work with; I’ve had some luck from the two drives to date and hopefully its third time lucky this weekend. It wasn’t a shock to me last week because she was luckless in the Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle in her previous start.
“This is a harder field with the likes of Goodtime Heaven, Chevrons Reward, Art Series and Major Occasion all starting but my filly will compete hard again. Goodtime Heaven is the filly that won the Breeders Challenge in Sydney so she’s the class runner.
“I think all of Grant’s fillies will race very well, Fame Assured has a good front-line draw while Aqua Miss is nicely placed off the second-line. Hopefully, one of us can take the prize.”
Gambling giant UBET has installed Goodtime Heaven as the favourite at $3.20 despite drawing gate 13, the outside of the second-line.
The Courtney Slater trained filly is having first start in the Sunshine State.
Red Charmer is quoted at $21.
The trio of Dixon trained fillies is raced by their breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour.
Surprisingly, Dixon has never prepared a Queensland Oaks winner.
First staged back in 1972, the list of winners is loaded with talent with names including Jan’s Chance, Amber Lobell, Ashton Lass, Girl Called Destiny, Handibank, Happy Haldon, In A Whisper, Kates First, Tailamade Lombo, Tupelo Rose, Ima Spicey Lombo, Nike Franco and Shartin among others.
As it stands, last year’s winner Shartin has now established herself as the best pacing mare in the world with a string of feature victories in North America and Canada this season.
Unfortunately, a training mishap has forced the scratching of talented Bathurst filly Callmequeenbee.
Miss Hooligan has now gained a start.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | July 13 | Photo by Dan Costello