Diane Reilly back for more Inter Dominion spoils

There is not a day that goes by that Gold Coaster Diane Reilly does not feel joy about her Inter Dominion ownership exploits.

The long-time harness racing identity enjoyed her greatest triumph in the sport when she claimed the 2022 Inter Dominion crown as an owner with pacer I Cast No Shadow late last year.

Almost a year on and with the 2023 Inter Dominion series on the horizon, Reilly is relishing every second of being the reigning champion of the time-honoured Australasian series.

In her Gold Coast home, she has built a shrine to I Cast No Shadow in her garage while also displaying the ID trophy on her bar inside her house, which she walks past proudly on a daily basis.

“I drive in and get out of the car and look at it, so every day I am looking at I Cast No Shadow,” she said as ID23 in Brisbane nears closer.

“Every day I am celebrating.

Gold Coaster Diane Reilly with pacer I Cast No Shadow after a Brisbane win.

“I get joy every day about winning the Inter Dominion, it has lasted the whole year and it will probably last my whole life time.

“I also think about it every day when I walk past my bar as that is where I keep the trophy.

“It was a marvellous time and I relive it over and over again.”

The popular Queensland owner won the pacing championship on enemy territory in Victoria last year and she gets the home ground advantage this time around.

It is just a short trip up the highway from her Gold Coast abode to Albion Park.

She was on track for the occasion when the series was last held in the Sunshine State in 2009.

It was run at the Gold Coast-based Parklands track and Reilly quickly rattles off that the pacing title was won by Mr Feelgood, who is living a life of luxury on Queensland’s Darling Downs in retirement.

The long-term harness fan says the atmosphere was electric on that evening when Mr Feelgood claimed the treasured prize and she is confident it will be similar at ‘The Creek’ in December.

Racing Queensland’s Harness Operations Manager Brett Rail believes owners like Reilly are crucial to the code in the Sunshine State.

“Diane is a wonderful person and the life of the party, she is an absolute character and we all love her here,” Rail said.

“It was great to see her get some good horses, in particular I Cast No Shadow winning the Inter last year.

“He is here to defend his title and is a good chance to do it again for her.”

I Cast No Shadow will be in Queensland to defend his ID title in December.

The latest rankings for the Inter Dominion series were released last week with I Cast No Shadow still in the top position as last year’s winner.

The seven-year-old chestnut is now in the care of Biddaddaba trainer Darrel Graham.

Gold Coaster Diane Reilly with her Inter Dominion ownership spoils.

But, Reilly is not putting all her eggs in the I Cast No Shadow basket as the horse has struggled to recapture his best form through 2023.

She also has Cantfindabettorman that she owns in the hunt.

Cantfindabettorman is currently ranked 25th overall for trainer Belinda McCarthy.

As Reilly – who is in her early 80s – puts it, if her reigning champion cannot find his peak form, she has a back-up in Cantfindabettorman.

Cantfindabettorman was successful during the recent winter carnival in Brisbane, claiming the 2023 Group 3 4YO Championship.

“I have got the old boy there – I Cast No Shadow – and the young boy – Cantfindabettorman,” she said with laugh.

I Cast No Shadow raced through the recent Queensland winter but failed to fire, with Reilly noting he battled with foot issues through the carnival.

He subsequently spelled in the Sunshine State and has resumed under the guidance of Graham.

The Palm Beach-based Reilly is eager to see if he can find his best form when ID23 commences early next month.

“He has spelled in Queensland and he has come through it with flying colours, his feet are excellent,” the owner said.

“He has enjoyed this beautiful weather we have up here.

Gold Coaster Diane Reilly with her Inter Dominion ownership spoils.

“He had his first start back earlier this month and all signs are well that he is recovering and ready to rumble.

“He will be there trying his heart out.”

And, she is also hopeful Cantfindabettorman can be competitive.

“By all reports from Luke McCarthy his driver, he is on target for ID,” she said.

“I am grateful that the races are in our backyard here.”

Before ID23 kicks-off next month, Reilly has travelled to New Zealand this month for their popular Cup carnival.

She has been attending the NZ carnival for almost a decade and will spend a week across the ditch.

The smiling owner will be encouraging the Kiwi’s and people from other states in Australia she comes across at the carnival to ensure they travel to Queensland next month for ID’s return to the Sunshine State.

This will be the first time Queensland has hosted series since the Gold Coast in 2009.

The 2023 Inter Dominion Championship commences on Friday, December 1, 2023.

The second and third rounds of qualifiers will follow on December 5 and December 9 respectively, culminating with both pacing and trotting Finals on Saturday, December 16.

By Jordan Gerrans