There’s more money elsewhere but the Inter Dominion remains Harness Racing’s Holy Grail.
Tabcorp Park Melton took its turn last year with Tiger Tara and Tornado Valley dominating on Grand Final night. Tomorrow night, we head to Alexandra Park in Auckland for the 2019 version.
Controversy reigned earlier this week when it was decided the pacing division would have larger fields but just the two qualifiers per night.
For what it’s worth, I love the decision. Yes, the extra prize money could’ve been well served on top of the remaining heats but the large fields ensure we should see highly competitive racing from the jump.
The only downside will be the difficult on night two as poorly drawn horses try and overcome the leader/peg bias at Alexandra Park.
Anyhow, the opening night is upon us and here is how I’ll be tackling the night;
Race Five – Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, Heat 1 (2200m, $30,000)
With the removal of contender McLovin from this heat (yet to be determined whether he re-enters the series), it seems likely Dominion Trot winner Habibi Inta can stroll to the top and win. Aussie Big Jack Hammer secured the pole and with his gate speed he can comfortably hold the front the hand up to anyone he so chooses. I love his chances but I’ll be wanting $5 to play.
From there, play wide in exotics, including Massive Metro, Valloria, Kenny’s Dream, Didjabringthebeers and Monty Python.
1 Big Jack Hammer $4.40
2 Habibi Inta $1.70
3 Monty Python $34
4 Massive Metro $5.50
Race Six – Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, Heat 1 (2200m, $30,000)
This race is a direct benefit of the decision to have two heats instead of three. Here, we see San Carlo, Chase Auckland, Ultimate Sniper and Colt Thirty One clash with ‘second-string’ combatants Ashley Locaz, Henry Hubert, Our Uncle Sam and My Kiwi Mate not to be forgotten.
I’m torn when it comes to tipping here as All Stars horses notoriously being ID series’ slowly before building for a crack at Grand Final night.
I’ll stick with Chase Auckland but I am wary that they could all go unders giving horses like San Carlo and Colt Thirty One a winning chance.
Ashley Locaz is one I like at big odds throughout the series so keep him in mind.
1 Chase Auckland $3.20
2 San Carlo $5.50
3 Colt Thirty One $11
4 Ashley Locaz $8
Race Seven – Inter Dominion Trotting Championships, Heat 2 (2200m, $30,000)
Marcoola gets the favours with the ace alley but his last start effort was below his best. Before that, he blew them all away at Ashburton so we know his quality remains. Tough Monarch is in ripping form but does look the likely breeze horse whilst Winterfell is extremely talented but equally wayward so backing him is brave. Majestic Man and Temporale are the others worth considering.
1 Marcoola $1.70
2 Winterfell $5.50
3 Tough Monarch $6.50
4 Temporale $10
Race Eight – Inter Dominion Pacing Championships, Heat 2 (2200m, $30,000)
Not as strong as the opening heat but still very competitive. Atomic Red goes great in front and the New South Wales-trained gelding could try and lead throughout. Fellow NSW star Bling It On will come looking and should he find the top, he probably just wins. A G’s White Socks could bounce back with Barry Purdon in charge whilst star stable mates and New Zealand Cup winners, Thefixer and Cruz Bromac will need luck from second-row draws.
IF Bling leads, Bling wins, otherwise Atomic Red, Thefixer and Cruz Bromac all becomes good hopes.
1 Bling It On $2.50
2 Atomic Red $13
3 Cruz Bromac $3.20
4 Thefixer $5.50
Enjoy night one!