Jason Grimson with eyes on a triple Inter Dominion prize

It is a sizeable statement coming from a man with the last two Inter Dominion pacing crowns in his back pocket.

But, champion horseman Jason Grimson believes the 2023 edition of the prized ID series is when he presents with the best chance he has ever had in the prestigious contest.

He is of course talking pre-race.

Grimson feels as confident as he has about an ID runner before the big show this week as he ever has.

It is not just one he has belief in, but two from his barn.

The Riverina product has lifted the last two ID titles: Boncel Benjamin a couple of years ago at Menangle and the Queensland-owned I Cast No Shadow at Melton last year.

If reigning Blacks A Fake champion Swayzee or stable mate Nerano can win the 2023 version of the Inter Dominion, Grimson would become the first trainer to win the pacing decider in three years on the trot.

“This is the best two horses I have brought into this race, at the moment,” Grimson said.

“They are both full of confidence and are hitting the line well. Hopefully they can go accordingly on Saturday night.”

The Grimson runners have paced different paths to the Group 1 Grand Final.

Swayzee was a known commodity coming into ‘ID23’ having won the Grand Circuit Blacks A Fake title earlier this year at Albion Park.

He rolled local hope and half-brother Leap To Fame on that occasion.

On the other hand, Nerano has been branded as the ‘find’ or ‘discovery’ of the series after emerging from the pack.

Owner Mick Boots had decided to sell Nerano to connections in the USA late last year before he suffered an injury not long after the sale went through.

The gelding had a long break to recuperate and was transferred to the stable of Grimson to resume his racing.

In a matter of months down the line, the pacer now finds himself as a $6.50 shot in an ID Grand Final.

It is the Grimson impact.

He turns these average pacers into stars.

He did it with Swayzee earlier this year and as his training resume shows, he has done it with several other pacers.

The concreter-turned-harness trainer has a knack of winning these big races and with two leading hopes on Saturday evening, there is every chance he nabs a trifecta of ID crowns not long after just his 30th birthday.

Inter Dominion hopeful Nerano.

“He has a dual-pronged attack here, both horses can win given the right trip,” the voice of harness racing in Queensland Chris Barsby said.

“Without doubt, he has been the find of the pacing carnival, Nerano.”

As Barsby notes, Nerano has been the bolter of the series.

He started his first heat at $41.

He ran second on that occasion before winning his next two efforts at $4.40 and shorter.

The surging Nerano drew perfectly in one for Saturday’s 2680 metre contest.

“His form has been outstanding,” Barsby said.

“He has brilliant tactical speed and amazing change-up speed and he proved that again on Saturday night.

“The fact that he was able to come off the back of a horse like Spirit Of St Louis and run him down, it just underlines how well this horse is going and how fast he is. He is a threat, there is no doubt about it.”

Having won the last two ID series’ and now preparing two of the three favourites for 2023, the significance of it all is not lost on the master trainer.

“Honestly, you’ve got to pinch yourself being in a race like this,” Grimson said.

Inter Dominion hopeful Swayzee.

“The first time I was in it I ran second in the Consolation race and I drove the horse myself.

“Three years later I am winning one and then the next year I am winning another. It is a really good series to be a part of.”

Swayzee claimed Queensland’s biggest race in the middle of this year before heading across the ditch and winning their famous New Zealand Cup.

He is back to do battle with his half-brother ‘Larry’.

Swayzee drawing three on Monday of this week, with Leap To Fame in six, has set up the race for the reigning BAF champion.

“I am very happy with the barrier draw,” the top horseman said of Swayzee’s starting position.

“It could not have worked out any better.

“I would like to see when Leap To Fame draws inside him and Swayzee outside of him because it would be a very strong race and they will go to war a long way from home. But, it has worked out well for us with the barrier draw.”

Leap To Fame was the public elect before and throughout the series but following Monday’s barrier draw Swayzee has taken over the favourite tag.

Leap To Fame racing during the series.

By Jordan Gerrans