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Miracle Mile dream still on for Broncos hooker

By Duane Ranger

 

Opening night for the Brisbane Broncos might be still three Fridays away, but the next two harness racing weekends are just important for first-grade hooker and utility, Jake Turpin.

The 23-year-old younger brother of Queensland’s top female trainer and driver, Chantal Turpin (Patrick Estate), said he enjoyed winning horse races as much as he did winning rugby league matches.

“I get the same thrill out of winning a footy match as what I do winning a harness race. I feel real proud when my sister (Chantal) or Peter McMullen (husband) win, and when I own the horse it’s even better.

“I grew up in the industry, and I have brought a few of ‘The Broncs’ to the track in recent times. If I ever get time away from footy, and my horse is running, that is my priority,” Turpin said.

Unfortunately a clash of the codes last Saturday meant Turpin missed his pride-and-joy, and the bay he co-owns - Watch Pulp Fiction, win the $24,480 Cordina Value Pace at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

It was the New Zealand import’s 25th career win and took his stake earnings to $288,397.

If the Turpin trained and McMullen driven 8yo entire can win his Group One assignment on the same track this Saturday night, he will graduate to the ‘big dance’ a week later - the $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile, also at Menangle

“I was rapt with the result. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to watch it when he was racing, but we were playing North Queensland Cowboys in a rain-soaked pre-season match in Cairns at the time. Then when we finished I kept getting texts.

“The first thing I did when I got back to my room was watch the win on the replay. If he could do that again this week, that would be a dream. Everyone in harness racing wants a Miracle Mile starter. He started in the Group Blacks A Fake. That’s a good achievement too,” Turpin said.

The former St Edmunds College Ipswich student, who is contracted to the Broncos for the next three years, has played 17 first-grade games since his debut in 2018.

Opening night for the Brisbane Broncos is in Townsville is Friday March 13 (7.05pm) against the North Queensland Cowboys in the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Both opened up $1.90 favourites.

Turpin doubts he will be able to get to the Miracle Mile due to pre-season commitments, but insisted he would be following both Watch Pulp Fiction and stablemate, Mattgregor race at Menangle this, and next Saturday night, via TV.

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“I’ve only got a small share in Mattgregor, but he’s another good Free-For-All pacer. I have been fortunate to have shares in such good horses. I’m also pleased for Chantal and Peter, because they work so hard as parents and horse-people.

“I’m glad they are now racing quality pacers. When they win I get a real kick out of it.”

Watch Pulp Fiction (4) takes on fellow Queenslander, Colt Thirty One, in Saturday night’s Group One $100,000 Schweppes Sprint at Menangle (7.53pm). They are paying $51 and $5 respectively behind the $2.80 favourite, My Field Marshall (1).

Mattgregor (6) is at $26 in race one at Menangle, the $20,400 Two Suns Pace.

Since making the representative Queensland Under 15 rugby league side, the humble ‘country boy’ from rural Queensland has escalated into one of the toughest and most fearless hookers in the NRL.

“I’ve never been big, or even fast for that matter, but Dad (Tony) always told me ‘the bigger they are the harder they fell’. If you go in half-hearted that’s when you get injured.

“Growing up Dad always did the horses with Chantal and Mum Karen would take me to all my footy games. Mum and Dad have always taught us that if we are going to do anything then give it 101 per cent,” Turpin said.

“I was always the little kid who really tore into his tackling. I gave it my all, no matter how big or small they were. That still very much applies,” he added.

Turpin said harness racing was without a doubt his second favourite sport.

“When I’m not playing league I always like to flick the Tv on and watch my family race. I’ve grown up around the horses and I’m slowly trying to convince my team-mates to get involved.

Turpin said he was never one to rush and muck the boxes or do feed-ups when he was young.

“I’ve been around them all of my life. I still love them, but I was never too excited about doing it for a full-time job. I’m not sure what would have happened if I never got that Melbourne Storm (five-year) contract when I was 15.

“Footy has always been my number one sport. Harness two. Our parents gave Chantal and I a great country life and the best possible platform to do what we wanted in life.

“Chantal and I have always tried to do our best by our family and make them proud. We will never forget the hard yards they put in when we were growing up,” Turpin said.