Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.
Saturday night’s action at The Creek started in a blaze of glory for the state’s leading female driver Narissa McMullen, and it continued on an upward trajectory.
After just three races, McMullen had already completed a driving treble, proving untouchable in front with her drives all leading throughout in their respective races.
The night started when Ideal World, a pacer she also trains, found the front over the 2138-metre trip soon after the field was released.
Rating the pace in front with identical sectionals through the first two quarters of 30.3 seconds, Ideal World was able to dig deep with closing quarters of 27.4 and 28 flat to hold on for a half-head margin and repel Governor Jujon and Scarlet Babe with the victory.
Race two may have been over the shorter 1660-metre distance but the race result was a carbon copy of the opening event with victory going the way of a Narissa McMullen-trained and driven gelding sired by American Ideal.
This time it was Streitkid that was able to lead all the way, with the six-year-old never in danger to claim the win in a 1.53.9 mile-rate and make it back-to-back Albion Park victories.
With Italian Lad starting the odds-on favourite in race three, Narissa’s drive, Jumping Jack Jimmy, sat on the third line of the betting market at $5.
However, it was déjà vu as Jumping Jack Jimmy was sent straight to the front, a position that he would not relinquish.
Trained by Mark Rees, the gelding was able to bounce back to winning form in stylish fashion with the 1.53.9 winning mile-rate a new career benchmark for the eight-year-old.
After three races and three wins, McMullen was dealt a dampening blow in race four when taking a pick-up drive aboard Will The Wizard.
Facing the ire of the stewards, Narissa was handed a suspension following the open class event that will see her sidelined for 14 days.
It has been a wet week in the South East of Queensland with rain falling most days in large volumes.
This has led to some muddy conditions, with the weather taking a toll on race fields with an increase in the amount of scratchings.
Despite the tough conditions, the track staff at Redcliffe and Albion Park should be complemented that the week was able to progress without the loss of a meeting.
The big wet comes just a couple of months after both tracks were resurfaced yet both have stood up superbly to the rigours of racing.
Saturday at Albion Park even saw some sizzling times regardless of the rain, highlighted by a 1.50.9 mile-rate in the free-for-all event.
Later in the evening in the Trotters event, an unofficial record may well have been broken.
Stepping away from the 2647-metre standing start point, the pressure was on in earnest with Im The Commando finding the front early before releasing to Gee Up Neddy.
The pace was frenetic with the lead time laid out in 77.8 seconds, a search of the time records failing to find a quicker opening section to a trot over this distance.
Putting the speed into context against the pacers, the Flashing Red Open handicap run over the same distance has never had a quicker lead time.
With a look at the forecast, it seems this week may well see more of the same.
George Michael is a passionate breeder and owner that continues to be heavily involved in Queensland through the deeds of Melton Stud.
On Thursday at Redcliffe, Michael was represented by three horses in the opening race of the day by Melton Killara, Melton Boomer and Our Little Skipper.
Putting his own polish on Our Little Skipper, John McMullen prepares the other two pacers, with Michael and McMullen having had a working relationship over many years.
Soon after the mobile released the field, it was Melton Killara that was able to spear across to take control with a 30.9-second opening section, driver Nathan Dawson able to control the tempo perfectly.
Backing it off with a 32.6-second quarter, there was enough in the tank to finish off the closing two splits in 30.4 and 29.7 to score a maiden-breaking win.
After being locked away three back on the inside, Taleah McMullen was able to find the space to charge home with Melton Boomer and grab second placing.