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Turpin and McMullen reflect on magical career milestone

 

Husband and wife trotting partnership Pete McMullen and Chantal Turpin have many a similarity but differ in one significant way.

They are both up at the crack of dawn every morning with the horses at their Patrick Estate property, then looking after and raising their daughters, before usually rushing off to the races.

They are on the hunt for winners almost every day of the week – hopefully a few feature races along the way.

But, in what sets the leading Queensland trotting duo apart is their goal setting – or lack thereof.

McMullen, one of the top drivers around the country, will set himself little goals every season or every few weeks and will aim to knock them over as he goes along.

On the other hand, Turpin is happy to go with the flow and just pick up winners as they come, never really thinking too far ahead down the track.

So, when the hard-working mother and trainer, Turpin, reached the magical 1000 winners’ milestone late last month, while it is was a special occasion, it was not something that she had longed for.

“To train 1000 winners, that is special to anyone,” Turpin, who previously drove but more often focuses on training these days, said.

“It is great as we have a good bunch of loyal owners around us.

“It is fantastic, but I have never been really a goal setter – whereas Pete always has been.”

It is fair to say McMullen is achieving most of the goals he sets for himself, winning the drivers premiership last year Albion Park on top of driving 100 winners in each of the last 11 years.

“I have had a lot of personal goals, always,” McMullen, who is the leading driver in Queensland this year as of the second week of February, said.

“I have slowly been achieving mine over the years.”

Winner-JimMcNeil-Championship-March-2020.jpgRegardless of goals, the Turpin and McMullen combination have been a prolific duo over the years, Turpin winning a Group 1 for the first time last year as well as stacks of other victories.

“Chantal reaching 1000 winners as a trainer, that is a really huge milestone that not many trainers do get too,” McMullen said.

“We would have to look at the record books, but she would be one of the youngest to do it.

“It is all because of owners and we are fortunate and lucky to have them.

“Hopefully the 1000 winners are only just the start, we have got a few babies coming along too.”

McMullen, who is a third generation trots participant, believes the marriage of husband and wife, and trainer and driver, helps produce the results on the track.

 

BIG WHEELS

“Working with Chantal, it makes us a stronger stable, it aids us as the driving aspect is big when it comes to training,” McMullen said.

And, regardless if the 29-year-old comes home from Albion Park empty handed or drives four winners, as he did last Saturday evening, McMullen says being able to share it with Turpin and his daughters makes it even more special.

The kids are regulars around the stable and like much of their family, will most likely get involved in the harness racing industry when they are of age.

Both families have been in the harness racing caper for decades, Peter is the son of John and grandson of “Hollywood John” McMullen, who was instrumental in getting Australian horses across to the USA.

“It is good to share it with the family and the kids now,” McMullen said.

“They are all a part of it, they come down to the barn, with the ponies and what not.

“Sometimes it can be a little challenging working with your wife (laughs).

“I just keep her happy and that solves all the problems.”

With McMullen driving at the races most days of the week, Turpin can look after the horses at home and everything else that goes along with being a mother and leading trainer.

“We are pretty lucky, Pete goes to the races and that allows me to stay home and raise the kids and do the afternoon shift at the stables,” Turpin said.

“I am pretty lucky that Pete is able to go to the races every day.

“I hate when he gets suspended because then I have to go to the races (laughs).”

The record breaking Turpin-McMullen partnership prepare their horses at a magnificent Patrick Estate stable in the Somerset Region.

They have been there for around eight years and have almost built it up from scratch, now housing almost 50 horses in work and have all the training facilities that are required.

McMullen thinks the horses thrive in the open air environment near Lake Wivenhoe.

“It is a never ending thing, there is always more to do but it certainly is getting to the stage now where it is quite a nice set up,” McMullen said.

“We have set it up very open, we are in Queensland, it is hot and that is the environment the horses are in.

“It is open to keep it open with the air flow so all the horses can see each other.

“They seem very happy and healthy.”

Majestic-Simon-2020-03-07-Resized.jpgAs well as driving a ton of winners over each of the last 11 years, McMullen’s sparkling resume also includes being the youngest driver to reach 1000 winners earlier in his career and claiming the Australian Drivers championship.

McMullen, who was born into the industry, pin-pointed Big Wheels’ Group 1 triumph in the QBRED TRIAD Final – 2YO Colts and Geldings in July of last year as one of the duo’s career highlights so far.

They will go searching for more feature events and Group 1 races into 2021 and beyond, with McMullen declaring he would like to improve their strike rate as the year goes on, as well.

The pair have Will the Wizard, Saucy Dreams, Blacksadance and Miss Ruby Sunshine in at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday evening.