McMullen Still Setting Records


The whirlwind career of Pete McMullen reached a new high when the man known as Leader Peter landed his 3000th career driving win at The Creek on May 11.

Bringing up the milestone aboard Alta Revelry- trained by wife Chantal- McMullen becomes just the fourth Queensland driver to reach 3,000 winners, joining Grant Dixon, Lola Weidemann and Shane Graham.

McMullen has set several firsts throughout his career, some which he still holds, some which have been surpassed.

As a 16-year-old, he made his debut in the 2006/07 Equine Influenza impacted season but had to wait until the following term for his maiden victory when successful aboard Melton Royal Bonny at the now defunct Rocklea Showgrounds.

That winner was prepared by his father, John McMullen and came on January 12, 2008.

His first 100 winners set a new Australian record as the fastest driver to reach triple figures when reaching the mark at 18 years and eight months, a record which was bettered firstly by Angus Garrard, before Jett Turnbull lowered the figure again on May 10, just 24 hours prior to McMullen reaching 3,000.

Since claiming that record, McMullen has become the youngest driver to 1,000 wins, eclipsing the mark set by Amanda Turnbull at 24 years and four months.

At 23 years, four months and 18 days, almost 12 months was shaved off the record when McMullen scored aboard Ezi Days, trained by wife Chantal at Albion Park on December 30, 2014.

That year also saw McMullen claim the inaugural Australian Drivers Championship held at Globe Derby where he beat a field that included Gary Hall Jnr, Greg Sugars, Chris Alford and Amanda Turnbull.

Continuing to blaze a wining trail, 2015 saw McMullen claim his maiden Group1 triumph when partnering My Valerie to victory in the Darrel Alexander Memorial at The Creek in October of that year for trainer Blake Fitzpatrick.

That same season, McMullen went agonisingly close to his first 200-win season when reaching 199 for the term, having scored his first 100-win season in 2009/10.

The 2019/20 season would be the first occasion that McMullen reached 200 winners for a single season (205), that year also coinciding with his first State Premiership title, a second Group 1 triumph- his first aboard a pacer when Big Wheels secured a QBRED Triad victory, and career win 2000.

That 2000th win came when guiding Uncle Shank to a 1.54.8 two-year-old victory on July 11, 2020, the high-speed colt prepared by Chantal.

Uncle Shank

The maiden premiership title spurred McMullen to chase a bigger season and with the racing term aligning with the calendar year for 2021, Leader Peter lit the fuse and went hard after some big numbers.

With big numbers month-on-month, Pete secured his third Group 1 trophy with a victory aboard Awaywego and set another first, becoming the first Queensland driver to claim 300 wins in a single season, eventually wrapping up his term at 315 when securing a second successive State title.

2021 also saw McMullen crowned the Australian Champion, with Queensland finishing one-two as Nathan Dawson’s 238 winners saw him hold second place.

In 2022, McMullen completed a premiership threepeat with his 266 winners enough to claim his third State title and a second successive National title.

That title helped Pete secure selection to represent Australia at the World Driving Championships held in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in August 2023.

McMullen was consistent throughout the series, winning two races and at one stage leading the points race, eventually finishing sixth.

McMullen racing in Belgium

Returning home from Europe, McMullen had the chance to drive in his home state Inter Dominion Series for the second time in his career, having driven in the 2009 Series on the Gold Coast for his grandfather aboard Riverboat Star.

Partnering Blacksadance in ID23 at The Creek, the gelding was unable to get through to the Final but did finish runner-up in the consolation.

Finishing the 2023 runner-up in the State drivers Premiership, one record Pete relinquished to his cousin Nathan Dawson, was the most winners in a season for a Queensland driver, Dawson becoming the first driver to 400 winners for a term.

Finishing the season on 219 winners, it was the fourth season that Pete had secured a double century.

After a steady start to the 2024 year, McMullen slowly built into the season, with the milestone of 3,000 winners on the horizon.

“You go about your business and don’t really worry about it until it gets close,” McMullen said when asked if he was aware of the milestone.

“At the moment we are on a roll so I just have to go with it,” he said.

By the month of May the record was imminent, and Alta Revelry provided win 3,000.

That set about a huge week and the roll turned into an avalanche for McMullen as well as the Turpin stable and seven days after win 3,000, he drove four winners on Breeders Classic night, including three of the four feature juvenile races.

Breeders Classic Success

The streak continued just three days later, on May 21, Pete became the first driver to reach 100 winners for the season in Australia, with the victory of Arrive.

That was not the only first for the day, by race ten, McMullen had become the only driver to ever win six races at an Albion Park meeting and just the second ever in Queensland.

Bill Dixon is the only other driver to have recorded six winners at a single meeting, securing the feat at Townsville in 1976.

Pete was quick to turn the adulation of his own achievements on to wife Chantal when reflecting on the month of May.

“Obviously this week has been amazing as a driver, but Chantal, the amount of winners she has been able to train in the past week and the feature races.

“I was proud of her efforts, taking five to the races and getting five winners, that’s a pretty incredible feat.” he said.

Rylee Rhayne Bow

Reaching triple figures took McMullen’s record to 15 successive seasons where he has managed to secure 100 wins in a season, so how does this type of success lead to setting future goals?

“You can’t set too far ahead because it becomes unreachable, but for me with the stud side of things, so probably it might not be the driving where the next goal is.

“Whatever it is with the horses, I enjoy it and every day is just a great day.”

That stud business is Somerset Farms, which along with wife Chantal is the home of A Rocknroll Dance, the sire of their track record holder Blacksadance.

Last season also saw Somerset Farms stand Catch A Fire and the trotter Classic Connection in conjunction with Haras des Trotteurs.

Setting new records for the fastest driver to milestone wins helps highlight the fact, if there is any doubt that McMullen likes to do things fast, one only need look at the list of horses to have bettered 1.51.0 at The Creek.

On 14 occasions a horse has bettered 1.51.0 and McMullen has been at the reins on eight of those, Blacksadance sitting atop that list, having set the track record at 1.49.2.

With all that speed that McMullen has partnered on race day, which includes the great Im Themightyquinn, there is one horse he would relish the chance to sit behind and the race he would love to win.

“Silly question, Leap To Fame,” he says with a grin.

“Definitely a maiden, so there’s not much pressure.”