By Jordan Gerrans
Record-breaking driver Pete McMullen can always feel that pull to spend more time with his growing family.
The top reinsman in Queensland is as hard-working as it gets within the harness racing industry, driving at Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg at almost every chance, rarely missing a meeting in the sulky.
And, as he is so dedicated to his craft and driving winners, he will often miss important milestones in his daughters’ lives.
It is always in the back of his mind when he produces another sparkling drive at Albion Park, usually from the front as the name “Leader Peter” suggests.
It will all be worth it later this year when McMullen becomes the first Sunshine State-based driver to crack 300 victories in one season.
He has been edging closer in recent week and is set to go past the triple ton before New Years Eve.
McMullen’s wife – trainer Chantal Turpin – who delivered “Leader Peter” with a large portion of those victories, detailed the sacrifices her husband has made to achieve the milestone.
“It is our big focus at the moment, trying to get Pete to 300,” Turpin said.
“He has gone pretty hard throughout his career, especially over the last few years – he has gone really hard – he has missed so many milestones of the girls, like things like their dance concerts or the first father’s day at school.
“He has been chasing it so he probably deserves it as he has been working very hard.”
The Group 1 winner would much prefer to be at his Patrick Estate farm spending time with his two young daughters at times when he is at the races but believes it will be all worth it.
When he does get to 300, McMullen flagged the likelihood of easing back slightly on his driving duties to best obtain a little more work-life balance.
“Some days there, you want to stay home and spend time with the kids but being so focussed, you have to go to the races,” McMullen said.
“You miss out on a bit of that family stuff.
“If we do reach this milestone and it looks like we are on track to win the Australian premiership, that would be a huge achievement and something you dream of doing as a kid.
“For that to be able to happen, it would be amazing.
“Then we can spend some time with the kids to celebrate it, I will spend some time with them to make up for the lost time.”
In the proud history of harness racing in the Sunshine State, there is yet to be a Queensland-based reinsman drive more than 300 winners in a single season.
Shane Graham has landed in the 250s on two separate occasions over the last decade, marks that McMullen has already surpassed on the way to the prized 300.