22 year old Londonderry trainer Clay Mullens is rapidly becoming a formidable force in greyhound racing after just two years as a licensed trainer. Mullen’s first taste of group racing success may come earlier than expected when three of his leading charges tackle the Group Three New Sensation semi finals this Friday night at Wentworth Park.
Seemingly Mullens best chance Fast Archer, recorded best of the night figures last week saluting from box four and clocked a sizzling 29.87 in notching up his fourth consecutive win. The rising star by Collision out of Clay Model certainly has his young trainer exited.
“I wasn’t really surprised with how good he went because he has run fast times before. I expect him to go just as well this week and I reckon he can improve on that time as well” said Mullens.
Coming up with box eight for the first time in his career in this week’s semi final does come with some minor concerns, as Mullens explains the dogs racing style.
“He loves the inside so box eight will be interesting. He has good early speed so ill expect him to go well, his just a mad crasher, the whole litter is the same”.
Despite the wide draw, Fast Archer handled the seven alley beautifully just two weeks ago, clocking a respectable 30.04 around the Glebe circuit. The definite two turn specialist also has a 29.82 personal best over the 520m at Dapto and will no doubt be stating his claims to book a finals berth for next Saturday night.
Mullens second chance of the night will come from litter sister Camouflage Model. The 24kg lightweight will also exit from box eight and does possess similar racing traits.
“She likes the inside too so eight is not ideal but that’s just how it is. I was happy with how she went last week from box six and like her brother there is definitely some room for improvement” Mullens said optimistically.
Spud Gun will step out in the last semi final of the night from box two, after a solid third performance last week behind current boom chaser Rigs who used a rails run to perfection in 30.46. Mullen’s was elated with the run and will expect significant improvement this week.
“That was his first 500 in four months so I was stoked with how he went. It was also his first time out of the boxes at Wentworth Park so I’m really happy he drew the inside as he likes to crash to the rails”.
With three talented greyhounds engaged, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the young trainer book multiple spots in next weeks $25,000 to the winner event, a pay check certainly longed by many newcomers to the sport.
Mullen comes from a thoroughbred dominated family with his mother and father both prosperous horse racing owners. Their most prestigious moment in racing occurred in 2008 when the horse they part owned, Sebring, claimed the Group One Golden Slipper for trainer Gai Waterhouse. With such a thriving start to his short career in greyhounds, Group One glory is bound to be bestowed upon the Mullens family once again.
Despite being surrounded by thoroughbred enthusiasts, Mullens always had a passion for greyhound racing he was keen to pursue. “I do enjoy horse racing but financially I couldn’t afford to buy one so greyhounds were a better option. I bought John Finn’s old place and now have my own rearing and spelling establishment which keeps me busy”.
Mullens began his career by purchasing and racing a bitch, Clay Model, who was greatly underestimated on the track and didn’t get a true chance to showcase her potential.
“She was really quick but her form didn’t show that. She had a couple of bad falls so that put her off racing a bit but she did have talent” explained Mullens.
Once Mullens decided to breed his first litter, there were some doubters who said the combination between Clay Model and Collision would not be a successful one. Having racked up 16 wins and over $30,000 in prize money so far; Mullens has certainly silenced his critics.
“I did have a few people say I was mad for breeding with her because she didn’t have good form on paper. It was my decision and I’m glad I made it cause I’ve got some handy ones” said Mullen’s exuding a sense of pride and achievement.
Clay Model currently has a six month old litter to El Grand Senor, with plenty of keen interest which will no doubt carry over to when they hit the race track.
By day Mullens runs a car dealership in Sydney whilst his two loyal workers Garry and Luke Adams hold down his Londonderry fort before operations go into overdrive of a night looking after pups and race dogs.
It is inevitable that Mullens name will be attached to some of our great races in the near future and he is a humble man who possess all the right attributes that other young trainers can certainly look up to.