McMullen team prepare to take on NSW talent
HARNESS RACING: McMullen duo Peter and Chantal will be looking for two sought-after pacing victories in Sydney next month.
The Patrick Estate harness racing team are currently in Sydney, aiming to qualify New Zealand imports Mattgregor in the $200,000 invitational Chariots of Fire and Watch Pulp Fiction in the Miracle Mile.
Although the races aren't until February, driver and co-trainer Peter said despite Mattgregor's lack of race starts, the gelding was showing plenty of potential to race in the biggest four-year-old race in Australasia.
He raced last week at Menangle as favourite, winning by a solid three metres, taking his tally to eight wins from 12 starts.
"It was nothing special, but hopefully that gives him enough to get into the lead up to the qualifying races,” Peter said.
"He hasn't had a lot of race in him yet and we haven't seen the best of him yet.”
Both Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction will both need to qualify for the invitational feature races which will test the best horses in their category.
If Watch Pulp Fiction doesn't make the qualifiers for the Miracle Mile, Peter said they would aim to enter him in the Bohemia Crystal, held during the same meet.
"We've only had him about a month... it's a bit out of reach but we're hoping he can make the Miracle Mile,” he said.
The duo have trained some 54 winners this season, putting them squarely in second place on the trainers board behind the black and white army of Grant Dixon.
And in the driver's seat, Peter holds a solid third place on the state drivers table with 55 wins, 46 seconds and 40 third from 363 starts.
If the two lead horses don't finish in the top two for their qualifying races, Peter said the experience and connections from New South Wales which will add to their southern venture.
"We're looking to expand a little, broaden the horizons and the other horses we took with us,” Peter said.
"They're all nice horses, they're the best of our bunch in Queensland, but its stronger racing in Menangle.
"But if we can make new connections from the horses and broaden our stable at home that would be great.”
The McMullens have spent the last couple weeks in Menangle, based at the track in the lead up to the Chariots of Fire and Miracle Mile.