The Team Teal campaign is drawing to a close for another year.
It’s a wonderful initiative.
And only getting bigger.
Now in its eighth year, the Team Teal campaign has raised over $2 million.
The Team Teal campaign is a partnership between WomenCan, the Harness Racing industry in Australia & New Zealand and Tabcorp. All reinswomen race in teal pants to raise awareness and much-needed funds for women with ovarian and other gynecological cancers.
Around 300 female drivers throughout Australasia compete.
The 2023 Queensland ambassadors were Taleah McMullen and Jordan Topping and both are playing a splendid role.
But the clear standout performer in the Sunshine State this year has been Narissa McMullen, Taleah’s older sister.
And that leads me to another point.
Why is Narissa McMullen so underrated?
As it stands, (at the time of writing) Narissa sits second in both the National and State Drivers Premierships with her cousin Nathan Dawson leading the way.
Dangers in this sport are obvious and a sobering reminder happened recently at Redcliffe when Narissa was involved in a nasty incident when the field raced into the first turn.
Quite rightly, the highest of high’s need to be celebrated but the imminent pitfalls are always lurking.
Sadly, race falls don’t discriminate.
As Narissa recovers, I delved into some of her stats and its simply remarkable how she’s continued to work at her craft and develop better skills in the sulky.
Following the 2011/12 season, Narissa has been the leading female driver in the state by number of wins.
Mind you, Narissa only started her driving career during the 2010/11 season.
Her season totals include 14, 53, 96, 139, 101, 75, 105, 79, 137, 193, 112 and 148.
And her form over the past five seasons has been wonderfully consistent.
While big brother Pete has been the dominant driving force in the family, Narissa is carving out an excellent career in her own right.
Last year, Narissa was rewarded with her maiden Gr.1 victory when her own trotter, Global Flight triumphed in the Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship at Albion Park.
A horse she races, trains and drives herself.
After purchasing him from New Zealand, Global Flight has won four of his eight starts but was controversially overlooked as the Queensland Trotter of the Year despite claiming the Gr.1 feature defeating the horse who was crowned the top trotter.
The Shannon Price prepared Wee Man Trouble won the only other Gr.1 trotting feature in the state.
Narissa, 28, has amassed almost 1300 winners to date and has largely plied her trade to her home state of Queensland and her favourite track of Albion Park.
Queensland has great female talent.
The evolution of female drivers continues to grow at a rapid rate, each week I call, there’s times when there’s more female drivers compared to male drivers in races.
And that’s the same interstate too.
But I know Narissa would hold her own anywhere in this country, we’re blessed to have standout female drivers like Amanda Turnbull, Kerryn Manning, Kate Gath, Dannielle Hill and rising star in West Australia Emily Suvaljko among others.
But Narissa continues to put up sensational numbers, so much so, it’s hard to ignore or underrate.
Here’s hoping for a very speedy recovery for Narissa, one of our brightest stars on the track.
Until next time.