McMullen and Elkins land long-term goal

A long-term plan for the Narissa McMullen and Matt Elkins stable has come to fruition.

When former West Australian and Victorian gelding Im Loki landed with their team in the back end of 2021, they quickly identified that he was speedy, but he lacked stamina.

The partnership immediately thought with those qualities he would be a perfect TAB Trot Rods pacer.

Im Loki’s form since arrived in the Sunshine State has been excellent and he took it to Redcliffe’s Triangle on Wednesday evening, setting the fast time of the 2022 series so far.

Driver Lachie Manzelmann, with Kay Crone’s Schooby, stopped the clock at 66.7 seconds in the opening heat last Wednesday evening at The Triangle to set the early pace, which Im Loki bettered in heat three.

With Elkins in the sulky, Im Loki roared home in 65.2 seconds after putting together a stunning 26.5 second first quarter of the 947-metre trip.

“I reckon everyone else will struggle to beat that for the first quarter,” Elkins said on Thursday morning.

“The overall time might be beaten later in the series but it will be tough for them to go better that for the first quarter.”

Elkins, who is fourth on the drivers’ premiership this season with almost 50 winners, was convinced the seven-year-old would get the chocolates in the opening event from Redcliffe.

“I cant remember a time I have been more confident going into a race with a horse,” he said with a laugh.

Im Loki has been an excellent acquisition for trainer McMullen and driver Elkins, winning on seven occasions since late November of last year when he arrived in Queensland.

He has run in the money on four other occasions as well. 

As Elkins explains, Im Loki is a perfect Trot Rods horse.

“Ever since his first start for us late last year, we flagged this series for him,” Elkins said.

“He is normally pulling and loves to run fast; he can sort of sustain it for three quarters of a normal race but he can probably run a really good 1200 metres.

“He normally gets a bit tired at the end of a mile race so 1000 metres suits him down to the ground.”

When Im Loki races over a mile or more, reinsman Elkins usually aims to settle him down but in the fast and exciting concept that is Trot Rods, the gelding can go hell for leather.  

“He just pulls a bit too hard, he gets keen in his races,” Elkins said.

“He can hold a high speed for 800 or 900 metres, so we fired him up on Wednesday night instead of trying to relax him.

“He went really good on Wednesday night.”

Trainer Mick Benham and driver Angus Garrard claimed the other heat on Wednesday night with Rollonx in a time of 65.9 seconds.

Garrard drove a winning treble on Wednesday evening.

Last year’s champion, Adam Crocker, claimed the series in 63.7 seconds.

The Triangle will host weekly heats each Wednesday, culminating in a finale night on Wednesday, May 25, which will be isolated to 10 Trot Rods races and showcased on SKY 2.

The quickest time over the six weeks and 20 heats of racing will receive a $10,000 cash bonus and Otto Tuza three horse float.

By Jordan Gerrans