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Sisters excited to represent Queensland at Australian Female Drivers Championship

By Jordan Gerrans 

Dan-Costello-Narissa-McMullen-It-Aint-The-Money-Matt-Elkins.jpgQueensland driver Dannielle Veivers believes this Sunday’s Australian Female Drivers Championship will be a celebration of equality in the racing code.

One of the top female drivers in the Sunshine State, Veivers says she often hears tales from overseas where the fairer sex will not get as many driving opportunities as men.

But, here in Queensland and in the rest of Australia, the 24-year-old thinks the harness racing industry is equal as it gets.

“It is good to come together as the female drivers in Australia, I know in Australia that the female drivers get a good go,” Veivers said.

“We will often hear trainers say 'that horse goes better for girls' and not the other way round, nothing like 'it’s only a boy’s horse' and we all get a fair chance.

“I have never heard anyone say, for example, girls are not strong enough to drive this one, everyone just gets a fair go these days, which is great.”

Veivers will be joined by older sister Narissa McMullen (pictured) in Tasmania this weekend, representing Queensland at Sunday’s Australian Female Drivers Championship.

The pair were selected to don the maroon colours of Queensland last year but with the pandemic’s impact on travel around Australia, their trip was delayed by 12 months.

They have done it together as a duo before, as well.

The McMullens are from a family entrenched in Queensland’s harness racing fabric and they bring a wealth of experience to the series with Narissa having recently notched her 1000th victory. 

Dannielle has driven almost 400 winners across her career.

“Going with my sister, we did it together in 2017 and it was a heap of fun,” Veivers said.

The Championship follows on from the successful Team Teal campaign here in Queensland, with over $15,000 donated to raise funds for ovarian cancer research on Saturday night at Albion Park.

Like during the six weeks of the Team Teal campaign, Veivers and McMullen will wear their teal pants while driving in Tasmania.

In 2017, Veivers drove one winner and finished second in the overall Championship on the back of a number of consistent efforts that saw her pick up points across the heats.

Two drivers from each state will contest a series of heats on a 10-race program with the winners determined on a point-score basis this Sunday.

“I have had a look and think I might have one or two winners in there, hopefully with a bit of luck,” Veivers said.

“One of my horses I am driving, he has only missed a cheque once this season and he has led and won almost every race, except for last start, so he is one I am looking forward to getting on and it should be good fun.

“It can be a bit difficult as we do not know the horses well going to Tasmania, but we will do the form and try get a winner or two.”

The sisters have six heats on Sunday to rack up their points total.

Before heading to Tasmania, McMullen will be one of the six drivers that will debut their own drivers colours on Saturday evening at Albion Park.

McMullen will go by the nickname “Rocket Riss” during the initial six month trial of drivers’ colours.