AS PART of the Mares Month of May, www.nationaltrotguide.com.au will produce features on some of harness racing’s leading ladies.
Proudly supported by world-renowned breeding establishment Alabar Farms, the articles will focus on champions of yesteryear such as Robin Dundee to modern day idols like Adore Me.
WHILE she doesn’t have the romantic history of some of her counterparts from the halcyon days of harness racing, Make Mine Cullen deserves her position among the best mares Australasia has witnessed.
And given Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting is hosting a race in her honour as the first leg of the Mares’ Triple Crown, Make Mine Cullen is the obvious choice to kick-start our series.
Announcing her arrival as the best of her crop as a late three-year-old, Make Mine Cullen made an effortless transition to open company under the care of premier trainer Glenn Douglas.
Dominating mares-restricted events, Make Mine Cullen became just the second pacer to complete a clean sweep of Victoria’s Mares’ Triple Crown when triumphant in the Cinderella Stakes, Ladyship Cup and Queen of the Pacific in 2012.
Golden Flyin was the groundbreaker in 2005, having captured the Angelique Club and Ladyship Cups along with the Queen Of The Pacific at Moonee Valley.
Make Mine Cullen was also successful in three Breeders’ Crown Finals, the Ladyship Mile, Melton Plate and Kilmore Cup.
It was her last win, which doubled as her swansong, which seeled Make Mine Cullen’s greatness.
By scoring from Smoken Up and Captain Joy at Melton on August 24, 2012, the daughter of Christian Cullen became the most successful Melbourne Metropolitan pacer on record.
Heading into the meeting with 28 wins at Melbourne tracks, Make Mine Cullen was equal on numbers with Sokyola, which is credited as Moonee Valley’s best of the gait.
Sokyola’s tally breaks down to 25 metropolitan and three country front wins, while Make Mine Cullen had 24 city and four provincial triumphs.
By annexing the free-for-all, Make Mine Cullen owned the record outright.
Former outstanding pacer Dusty Miller is believed to have won 27 races at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds, but as no in depth records are available from the Showgrounds era, Sokyola was afforded the number one mantle.
Sokyola also bowed out of racing on a winning note, scoring at the Valley on June 22, 2007.
To put things into another perspective, the immortal Popular Alm registered 21 wins at the Valley, while his arch-rival, Gammalite, had 24!
Although she won numerous top shelf events, Douglas cites Make Mine Cullen’s second Breeders’ Crown success as her best triumph.
“For all her wins, the Four-Year-Old Breeders’ Crown really sticks out,” Douglas said.
“She’d won four of her previous five starts, yet some expert came out in the daily paper saying she’s not going that well, potted her a bit and pretty much wiped her really.
“Then she came out and did all the work in the ‘death’ before braining them in quick time.
“It was very satisfying.”
Raced on lease by Douglas’ father-in-law Eric Anderson from the family of breeder, Roger Bazley, Make Mine Cullen was retired with 40 wins and 15 placings from 80 starts for earnings of $847,178.
Thanks to her outstanding Melton record, The Make Mine Cullen replaced the Cinderella Stakes.
As for the race in Make Mine Cullen’s honour, the Dean Braun-trained stablemates A Piccadilly Princess and Carlas Pixel shape as the pair to beat.
Victorious at Menangle three weeks ago, A Piccadilly Princess has drawn barrier three, with Carlas Pixel to come from six.
Being primed for next month’s New Zealand Harness Jewels, Carlas Pixel hasn’t raced since winning the Ladyship Mile at Menangle in 1:49.5 on February 24.
- PAUL COURTS
HOOFNOTE: Former champion trotter True Roman boasts the record for the most wins of any gait at a Melbourne track, having won an amazing 35 races at Moonee Valley.
Scotch Notch is the next trotter in line with 28, while Sundons Gift won 24 between Moonee Valley and Melton.