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Hat-trick from McMullen Snr at Marburg

Photo: Whata Stride in action at Redcliffe recently

By Duane Ranger

Experienced Glamorganvale trainer, John McMullen, knows when a racehorse has had enough.

The daughter of Stonebridge Regal, Whata Stride, could have been in the retirement paddock yesterday thinking of a possible broodmare career.

Instead, she won the second event at Marburg, thanks to a confident drive from McMullen’s daughter, Dannielle.

It was the five-year-old brown mare’s fourth win this season, and fifth in a career dating back to January 2018.

“She sat parked and kicked on well,” John McMullen said.

“The owner told me to retire her, but I thought she was worth a few more races.

“I didn’t she wasn’t done with, I thought she put in some nice runs this term.

“I think Norm (McCloy) would have been pleasantly surprised, I used to train for Norm for a numbers of years back in the day and he’s a wonderful owner - he also bred this mare.”



It was a good day for McMullen, who trained three of the eight winners at Marburg.

Three races after Whata Stride’s 4.3 metre win as the $3 favourite, McMullen’s youngest daughter, Taleah drove Nifty Studleigh to an easy 12.2m win, a $2,90 favourite.

McMullen said he was also pleased for his second eldest daughter, Danielle, who drove $10.60 fifth favourite, Swaffham Water, to a head victory in race seven.

“Dannielle has had a pretty dry run of late, and she had to postpone her marriage to Ryan Veivers on April 19 due to COVID-19, so I was delighted for her” John McMullen said.

 “I think I trained three winners at Redcliffe earlier this season, so that was my second hat-trick, and I’m grateful to my two daughters and the owners for that - It was a good day out.”

McMullen has been training standardbreds for 40 years, and currently works a team of about 30.

Although he claims to have no real stars, it was ‘bread-and-butter’ horses like yesterday’s Marburg winners that kept him committed to an industry he’s given his life a life to.

“Whata Stride has been racing against much tougher fields in the city, and has won four races (and paced 12 times - $19,443) this season,” John McMullen said.

“She ran fifth at Albion Park the start before and I knew her tank wasn’t empty.

“Both Swaffham Water and Nifty Studleigh have also done a good job, and I thought they might go close.

“Nifty’s last 17 starts have been at Albion Park - Lee Davis brought him up from New South Wales, and left him with me in late May.

“He’s ready for a spell, but he’s only four and still got quite a bit of racing left in him yet.”

McMullen also wanted to make mention of his two eldest children, Peter and Narissa, who have themselves enjoyed successful seasons to date.

“They’ve both had good seasons, I’m proud of Narissa becoming one of the first female drivers in Australia to notch up 100 wins,” he said.

“Pete’s also driven more than 100 winners and is second in the driving premiership behind my nephew, Nathan Dawson.”

Meanwhile the matriarch of the McMullen family, Jennette, was equally proud of her four children.

“I think it was me who wouldn’t sack Whata Stride though, she’s just a beautiful easy mare to do anything with,” Jennette McMullen said.

“Poor Dannielle has had her worst time in years too, she lost a month’s driving when she was on holiday in the USA.

“Then she was out with a broken arm for nine weeks, and then obviously disappointed over the wedding, so was great to see a smile on her face last night.

“She actually said she thinks it was her first double at Marburg, she’s had them elsewhere of course.

“Pete’s not far off 2000 winning drives - maybe 20 odd to go, I love them all and am so proud of what they are doing – John included.”

Nathan Dawson still leads the Quuensland Driving Premiership with 132 wins ($874,136), followed by Peter McMullen 126 ($885,854), and Narissa McMullen 105 (717,703).

The only other Queensland driver to hit the 100-mark this season is Paul Diebert on 101 ($680,667).

John McMullen sits fifth on the Queensland Training Premiership with  58 winners from 574 starters, including 103 placings for $324,646 in stakes.

Australia’s leading trainer Grant Dixon sits atop the Queensland premiership with 169 wins, with Chantal Turpin (82) and Jack Butler (71) rounding out the podium.