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'Leader Peter' celebrates decade of successes

By Duane Ranger

The reinsman nicknamed ‘Leader Peter’, is now a ten-times centurion.

Last Wednesday (March 13) at Redcliffe Paceway, Patrick Estate horseman, Peter McMullen, just 27, drove his 100th winner in a season for the 10th consecutive year.

His ton came up behind the Chantal Turpin trained Feel The Reign in the first event.

Redcliffe

HUSTLER RAPTOR PACE 1780m

Remarkably, McMullen has only been driving for 12 seasons.

“I’m delighted to have won on our horse. Family means a lot to me. Even more so now with Riley (3) and Olivia (six months) growing so fast," McMullen said.

“Family makes you stronger and I believe I’ve become a better driver competing against family like Dad (John) early on, Chantal, my sisters and my cousins."

McMullen started driving in the 2007-08 season and landed 29 winners first-up. The following year he saluted the judge 92 times and from then from 2009-10 on he has won at least 100 races a season.

His stats read:

  • 2018/19: 103 winners 
  • 2017/18: 174 winners
  • 2016/17: 130 winners 
  • 2015/16: 199 winners
  • 2014/15: 174 winners
  • 2013/14: 174 winners
  • 2012/13: 159 winners
  • 2011/12: 162 winners
  • 2010/11: 191 winners
  • 2009/10: 147 winners
  • 2008/09: 92 winners
  • 2007/08: 29 winners. 

“I owe a lot to my father (John) in the early days. He gave up a lot of his drives for me. He has been my mentor and inspiration over the years," McMullen said.

“I owe much of my success to him. George Michael was also very kind. He owned a lot of horses that I drove. I made a lot of mistakes early and he persevered with me."

As of Monday this week McMullen currently sat fifth on the Australian-wide driving premiership with 103 wins this season. The top four are Chris Alford (Victoria), 198, Greg Sugars (South Australia) 119, Ryan Warwick (Western Australian) 117, and Grant Dixon (Queensland) 105.

McMullan has achieved 1,742 wins from 11,670 race-day starts. He has also placed 2,910 times 1,521 seconds and 1,389 thirds) for $9.02 million in career stakes.

He has cracked the $1m mark three times – in 2017-18 ($1.09m), 2015-16 ($1.15m), and 2014-15 ($1.06m).

Pete-McMullen-Holding-Cup.jpg

GUN: 'Leader' Peter McMullen shows off his Australian Drivers Championship trophy.

“This is my 12th season now and even though family are becoming more important as the kids get older I still want to drive winners. It doesn’t matter whether its at a metropolitan track or at a rural country meeting, I just love the thrill of winning,” McMullen said.

McMullen said he also loved the nickname bestowed on him a couple of seasons ago by his little primary school buddy, Lane Dwyer.

“The young fella started calling me ‘Leader Peter’ and I quite liked it, and it’s starting to stick. A few others have called me that name, including Chris Barsby in his calls on the odd occasion,” McMullen said.

McMullen has achieved one Group One victory in his career and that came behind the Blake Fitzpatrick trained My Valerie in the October 2015 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final at Albion Park.

That memorable victory came seven years and nine months after McMullen drove his first race-day winner behind the John McMullen trained Melton Royal Bonny at Rocklea on January 12, 2008.

McMullen also won his first Metropolitan Driving Premiership last year.

“I’ve never won a state championship but have been thereabouts finishing in the top three for the last 10 years. I also won four or five junior premierships when I was starting out,” he said.

McMullen and Turpin work a team of 35 at Patrick Estate. He said the best of them were New Zealand-breds - Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction.

So what are McMullen’s remaining goals for the remainder of the 2018-19 season?

“I haven’t actually thought about it now. Chantal and the kids are my main priority these days, but out on the racetrack I just want to keep rolling those winners home,” McMullen stressed.

“Maybe 200 winners. I did get 199 one year (2015-16). That was my best. I could have got the 200 too, but I was suspended late that season,” he added.