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McMullen & Cini combo to salute again tonight?

By Duane Ranger

Expect the powerful driving and training combination of Narissa McMullen and Stephen Cini to kick more goals at Albion Park tonight.

McMullen, the 2019 Australian Lady Drivers and the 2017 Australasian Junior Driving champion, has seven drives at ‘The Creek’ – five for Alberton based Cini.

“We have been going all right again this year. We won last Saturday night with Urban Girl last week, and Quietly Spoken also won on the track earlier this month.

“Actually I’d rate Quietly Spoken as my best drive on Saturday. Blade in race three is also a very good chance,” McMullen said.

The 25-year-old said she had built up a good rapport with Cini over the years, and really enjoyed getting in behind his horses.

“He always has them spot on and Stephen is a quality horseman. I've been driving for him since my concession days. We go back a few years now. I enjoy wearing his colours," Fernvale-based McMullen said.

The former Lowood High School student said she also enjoyed driving at Albion Park, although a lot of the winning depended on luck in the running.

“You have to have a nice sit or be near or on the pace at Albion Park, especially over the mile. It’s real encouraging to have so many Saturday night drives this season.

“I’ve got a nice book of drives this week, and with a bit of luck I could get a winner or two,” McMullen said.

McMullen’s comments for tonight’s 10-race programme (with trainer, draw, form, and opening odds) are:

Race 1:

The Stephen Cini trained URBAN GIRL (5) 30621 ($17). “Five-year-old Western Terror mare, who won well when she got to the front last week. She’s pretty versatile, but I’m not sure where we are going to land this this time. I will have a good look for the lead, and if I can’t get there I’ll look for a handy position. She has the sprint to get over the top of them.”

Race 2:

The Stephen Cini trained MACEY JAYDE (3) 70217 ($8). “Another 5-year-old mare who went well last Saturday night. She can do things wrong and is stepping up to the 2,138m. Hopefully she will be on her best behaviour. From gate three I’ll have a look for the lead and then take it from there.”

Race 3:

The Stephen Cini trained BLADE (7) 94710 ($8.50). “He cops the outside of the front row, but he trialed impressively last week n preparation for this with a 27 last quarter and home in 55.  He’s got gate speed and should utilise the draw. I hate going back from seven because you can get too far back sometimes and lose contact. He showed plenty of speed at the trials and can lead here. I’d rate him one of my better winning chances on Saturday.”

Race 6

The Stephen Cini trained CLARRY (6) 20450 ($26). “His form doesn’t look that good, but he has been returning some of the quickest sectionals in his recent races, without getting any luck. It’s a tough draw and he will be looking for luck again, but if he gets some, he can figure in the photo finish.

Race 8:

The Mark Rees trained ALE ALE KAI (12) 13301 ($14). “Former Kiwi, who has drawn the outside of the second row. She won well at Redcliffe last start and that was in stronger race. The draw shouldn’t worry her too much because she’s the type that likes to be driven quiet for one run at them. She can win.”

Race 9:

The Julie Mason trained SONNY ORLANDO (5) 96692 ($9). “He went really well last start after returning some average form. He showed a bit of gate speed last start when running a real nice second. I’ll be looking for a handy position early and then hopefully we can box on into it.”

Race 10:

The Stephen Cini trained QUIETLY SPOKEN (5) 19212 ($3.40 favourite). “Classy 16-win brown mare, who loves the mobile and the mile. She meets a moderate field here, and off the front should be very tough to beat. She won well here two starts back from10m behind, and then was a good second a fortnight later from the 20m handicap. She has the gate speed to be prominent throughout. Win bet.”