Former partners set to reunite at Alexandra Park
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Former training partners Simon McMullan and Steven Reid are set to reunite at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
McMullan will line-up Group One performer Princess Jessie in the Colleen Edmonds – Happy 88th Birthday Mobile Pace (1609m) and the West Melton trainer has convinced his former boss to get back in the cart.
Reid will don the same green and white silks of Woodlands Stud he wore to victory behind Shes No Lady in the Gr.2 Delightful Lady Classic (1700m) last week.
With regular driver Jonny Cox back in Canterbury, McMullan was only too happy to hand the reins to Reid.
“That other filly went very well last week,” McMullan said. “With the two fillies raced by the same group of owners I didn’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be happy for Steven to fill the seat while Jonny (Cox) is down here.”
McMullan was pleased with Princess Jessie’s last-start placing in the Gr.1 Northern Oaks (1700m) at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago and he believes she will be a strong contender on Friday.
“We are really happy with her, she didn’t get around the last bend that well in the Northern Oaks, but we have changed around a little bit of gear and worked on her with that and she is definitely steering a bit better now, so she should go a good race,” he said.
“I thought it was a tough run, she looked like she was only going to run about fifth at the top of the straight and then she kicked back to run third. She is a gutsy filly and it was a top run.”
The three-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight has a strong record at a mile, having won two of her three starts at the distance. However, her wide draw of six does pose a slight concern for McMullan.
“Back to a mile this week, she has won twice over the distance, so fingers-crossed she can do it again,” he said.
“But those mile races can be a bit tricky when you are a drawn wide. If she doesn’t get the right trip and it is a sprint home, that won’t suit her. She needs to be on the pace.”
Princess Jessie could be set to stay north for one more run before returning south to tackle the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2600m).
“We will see how she goes on Friday,” McMullan said. “If she goes as well as we are hoping she will there is a fillies and mares race that I have got lined-up before she comes back down south for the Oaks.
“If she doesn’t steer that well I will just bring her home.”
While already Group One-placed as a three-year-old, McMullan believes she is only just starting to fulfil her potential.
“I really do think she is going to be a nice mare next season,” he said. “She is starting to do what I always thought she could. Her two wins prior to the Northern Oaks were very impressive.”
McMullan is currently working four horses from his West Melton barn and he said Woodlands Stud have been a big part of kicking off his solo training career.
“I had trained a couple of horses for them in partnership with Steven, prior to coming down south,” he said.
“I was trying to kick-off as a young trainer. I had success looking after Victors Delight for Paul and Mary Kenny, so I asked them along with Andrew Grierson if I could train a horse for them and they have given me a go, which was great.”
McMullan is enjoying Princess Jessie’s recent success and he is hoping that will help in opening up more opportunities for his growing stable.