By Duane Ranger
Nine days after winning the race of his life, Nathan Dawson, and his cousin, Dannielle McMullen, will leave Australia on Monday (July 29) to ply their craft in New Jersey.
The two promising young Queensland drivers are the winners of the ‘2018 Kevin & Kay Seymour Young Achievers Award’. The trip has been sponsored by the Seymours and the duo are staying with former ‘Down Under’ trainers, Ross Croghan and Chris Ryder.
They are due back from the United States on August 29.
The cousins hail from a powerful harness racing family. Dawson’s father Glenn, and McMullen’s mother Jennette, are siblings. The winners also get to take their partners, Bronte Nieuwenburg, and Ryan Veivers, with them on month-long venture.
Dawson and McMullen are both 23 years of age. They won the annual competition, which saw the Seymours select one winner, monthly.
At the end of last season the top young horsewoman and horseman were announced at the annual ‘Awards Night’ in Brisbane.
Dawson heads to the northern hemisphere on a high. Last Saturday he drove his first Group One winner behind the Aileen Smith (Redcliffe) trained Jiggle And Jive in the $100,000 Egmont Park Stud Triad for the 2yo pacing fillies.
“I personally want to thank Kevin and Kay for this amazing opportunity to learn more about the industry abroad. I’m not sure if we are getting any drives or not. I hope so, but just being there will be a huge thrill.
“This has been an amazing week and the Group One win has finally sunk in. I want to use this trip to further my career. I want to keep learning and improving. I am extremely grateful to Mr and Mrs Seymour. They do so much for our sport,” Dawson said.
Both Dawson and McMullen will get to watch the prestigious Group One Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Saturday August 3
Last year’s 93rd running of the great race saw Canadian, Rick Zeron, and his Chapter Seven filly, Atlanta, take out the $1 million mobile mile in 1:50.4. She was just the 14th filly to nail the 3yo trotting classic.
The Queensland quartet will also stop-over in Los Angeles for sight seeing.
McMullen, who has driven abroad before, was also humbled to be selected to go to the USA. She also thanked the Seymours and hasn’t forgotten that her career highlight to date came via the Seymour-owned Armazem in the Listed Classic $25,000 Rising Stars Final.
That was at Albion Park on December 13, 2014.
“Kevin and Kay owned her and they leased her to me. They have been really good to me throughout the years and Kevin has played a part in my success. I’m very grateful for everything that Kevin and Kay have done for me,” McMullen said.
McMullen said she would relish the chance to get in the sulky in the USA if the occasion arose.
“I’ve driven in Canada (Flamboro) in 2015, where I ran second. That was an awesome experience. The racing style was entirely different. I’d love it if I could have a drive over there.
“Both Peter and Narissa (older siblings) have driven over there. I would especially love to sit behind a trotter (even just track-work) because they are next level compared to here,” McMullen said.