72, 77 and 86- The First Three at The Creek

The initial origins of the Inter Dominion can be traced back to 1923, where the West Australian James Brennan proposed to an assembly of officials, a concept that was far ahead of any idea of its time.

Brennan suggested that an annual championship be held and rotated amongst each Australian State, New Zealand and the United States of America, an idea that was not met with any enthusiasm by the delegates of other jurisdictions.

While Western Australia did host an Australasian Trotting Chacampionship in 1925, the idea was shelved until J P Stratton, the president of the Western Australian Trotting Association revisited the idea a decade later.

In 1935 The Australasian Trotting Conference was held in Sydney where trotting administrators from all States of Australia and both Islands of New Zealand gathered.

From this conference agreement was reached to commence a new race Series and the Inter Dominion Championships were born.

To recognise the contribution of Stratton, who had been instrumental in pressing for the introduction of the Series, the decision was reached for Perth to host the inaugural Series.

The honour roll may show that Logan Derby was the 1936 winner, however it was Evicus that was presented with the trophy as the Inter Dominion Grand Champion.

South Australia would host the second renewal of the Series, with the first time the it crossed to the Shaky Isles coming in 1938 when Addington played host to a Series won by Pot Luck for Maurice Holmes, with Evicus finishing 7th in her third straight Series.

Despite each Australian State and both the North and South Island of New Zealand all having held the Series at least once, Brisbane would not enter the rotation until 1972, Albion Park hosting the 31st Inter Dominion Series.

There were four qualifying divisions for each of the three distance rounds in 1972, with Manaroa the only horse to go remain undefeated in the three rounds for driver Neville Hargreaves.

Welcome Advice won two of his three rounds for trainer George Harpley and drive Alan Harpley and was handicapped off 12 yards for the Final.

On a rainy evening in front of a huge crowd, the Final saw an early scrimmage with up to four horses effectively out of business soon after the start with the field well strung out.

After looking to be in an awkward position, Alan Harpley was able to angle Welcome Advice off the fence and the pair charged home down the straight to defeat Monara by 10 yards with Reichman a head away in third.

The ‘Junee Jet’ ended his 5YO season in emphatic fashion, with his Grand Final victory earning him the Australian Harness Horse of the Year title, later retiring the winner of 49 races.

After not hosting the Inter Dominion for 36 years (interrupted by WWII), Brisbane only had to wait another five years before hosting for the second time, with Albion Park again the venue for the 1977 Series.

After it was the Riverina to the fore in 1972, hopes were high that it would be the Temora Tornado that would provide another victory for the Southern New South Wales region.

1977 Champion Stanley Rio

Colin Pike’s trained star was the only runner to go through the three rounds of heats undefeated, winning the 2130 metre and 2940 metre standing start heats and also claiming the 2150 metre mobile heat.

Handicapped of 15m for the Final, Paleface Adios would share the back mark with Dont Retreat and Pure Steel.

Sporting Son began best in the Final to lead the field, with Stanley Rio finding the position behind the leader, while Paleface Adios was forced to move forward to face the breeze.

With two laps to travel, Pure Steel was sent forward but Pike made Pure Steel work hard to finally cross to the leaders wheel with a lap and a half to travel.

Approaching the turn off the back straight on the final occasion, Pure Steel was starting to feel the pinch, which allowed Stanley Rio to angle off and move up to issue the challenge, pulling away to claim a winning margin of 4 metres.

George and John Noble combined to win the Final with Stanley Rio defeating the Eldon Papworth trained and driven Master Findlay and Kevin Thomas finishing third with Sporting Son.

1986 would be the next rotation that Albion Park would pick up, the fourth year that the full Series had been run under mobile start conditions and the first time the Series would be held racing left-handed after The Creek was reconfigured to a 1000 metre oval three years prior.

In front of arguably the biggest crowd ever assembled at The Creek, it was the West Australian Village Kid that was able to claim the Final.

The 1986 Field

Once again there were four qualifying divisions across three heat rounds, with Village Kid the only competitor to win each heat contested, with Stylish Guy and Karalta Gift both claiming two heats on the way to the Final.

The first two qualifying rounds were run at the mile, before the final qualifying round and the Final were both run over 2100 metres.

Village Kid was fired off the mobile from the outside front line soon after the start and was able to find the front, with Bag Limit moving off the inside to sit parked.

As the field approached the 400, Bag Limit had run his race and Village Kid looked in complete control and Driver Chris Lewis and Village Kid pulled clear to defat Vanderport and Line On grabbed third.

The Queenslander, Scientific, trained by John Stariha and driven by Des Weeks which had won a heat over the mile enroute to the Final, finished at the rear of the field.

Willie, as Village Kid was known, set a new track record in claiming the Final, gaining redemption for his defeat the year prior at Moonee Valley behind Preux Chevalier, with the Bill Horn trained champion going on to win 93 races and over $2m in stakes during his career.