John McMullen a proud father ahead of the Australian Drivers’ Championship series

The entire McMullen clan will be a delighted bunch on Saturday evening watching the Australian Drivers’ Championship series from Adelaide.

And, there will not be a prouder man in that group than champion horseman John McMullen.

The legend of racing in the Sunshine State will have his eyes on two of his children – Pete and Narissa – donning the maroon colours of Queensland on the national stage.

John – and the rest of the family – are proud of the duo’s efforts in the sport regardless, but the father admits it is extra special to see them go away and represent their state together in the popular series.

“It is pretty good for them,” John said on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s races.

“For both of them to go together, it is great.

“Pete has of course won it before when he has represented Queensland in earlier years.

“They would not be going on to be selected for concepts like this if they had not achieved what they have in recent times.

“They are doing a good job to be picked, it’s a great achievement.”

The Australian Drivers’ Championship series brings together the leading reinsmen and reinswomen from around the country to compete on the same card.

Drivers will compete across eight races with each Championship race worth $10,000 and are ratings exempt.

This year’s Championship will be the first time it has been held since 2019, which was won by Sandgroper Gary Hall junior.

Pete captured the Australian Drivers’ Championship series back in 2014.

“It is fantastic to see that Pete and Narissa have had their outstanding campaigns recognised by being invited to the Australian Drivers’ Championship series in Adelaide,” RQ’s Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick said.

“The brother and sister combination have had outstanding season’s in the sulky and there is no doubt they will represent the state proudly.

Driver Narissa McMullen.

“It was also excellent to see so many female drivers from different states be invited this year, which is set to be a cracking Australian Drivers’ Championship series in 2022.”

Narissa has also pulled on the maroon colours alongside another of her siblings in recent years, when her and sister Dannielle attended the Australian Female Drivers Championship in Tasmania.

Queensland’s Dannielle took out the title in the six-race series early last year.

Narissa won the Australian Female Drivers Championship series at Brisbane’s Albion Park back in 2019.

Narissa also previously represented Queensland in the junior drivers championships.

While being selected to drive for your state is a special occasion, John feels Narissa’s recent Group 1 Darrell Alexander Trotting Championship triumph during the winter carnival would stand out above the rest.

“It would have been one of her greatest moments,” the proud father said of her maiden Group 1.

“She has done a lot in the sport but to get the Group 1 like that, that is her biggest achievement.

“It was special for her.”

The man known as “Leader Pete” is again on track for another massive campaign of winners in the Sunshine State.

Last season Pete become the first driver in Queensland history to go past 300 victories in a season.

Driver Pete McMullen.

As of Thursday morning he is edging closer to the double century – on 187 – still with a fair amount of time before the calendar clicks over to 2023.

Pete’s youngster sister is also working towards a fantastic season tally, driving home 98 winners so far. 

While Pete was not as prolific in the early months of 2022, he has certainly picked up his pace in recent months and will again threaten for the magical 300 milestone.

He finished on an amazing 315 winners last year.

John – who has been laid up following ankle surgery over the last four months – has been doing his statistics and thinks his son is some chance of cracking the 300 once again. 

“I was only talking to him about the 300 the other day and we were saying that he may not be able to get near that milestone again but he said he was nearly on the same pace as last year,” John said.

“He still has a bit of time left in the season.

“He did not start the season off great but he has picked his game up a bit.

“He may not get to the big number he got to last year but I do not think he will be far away.”

The 59-year-old John still has 30 or so pacers and trotters in work at his property.

The Glamorgan Vale-based trainer has been a little light on in recent months following his ankle operation but says he is slowly getting back into the swing of things.

State driver representatives:


Danielle Hill

Wayne Hill


Conor Crook

Rohan Hillier


James Herbertson

Kate Gath



Cameron Hart

Grace Panella


Pete McMullen

Narissa McMullen


Gary Hall Jnr

Emily Suvaljko

Pete and Narissa McMullen.

By Jordan Gerrans