Ladbrokes Inter Dominion Countdown – Nov 1

As part of the countdown series until the running of the 2023 Ladbrokes Inter Dominion Championship at The Creek, Albion Park, ADAM HAMILTON will update the key happenings around Australasia’s premier harness racing event each week.

SPIRIT Of St Louis’ scratching from the New Zealand Cup will be a win for the Ladbrokes Inter Dominion.

Co-trainer Luke McCarthy confirmed the dual Miracle Mile runner-up would not head to NZ on Sunday as planned after blood tests “weren’t 100 per cent.”

McCarthy ordered the blood tests after Spirit Of St Louis ran well below his best when fourth to Swayzee at Menangle last Sunday.

“NZ is off. His bloods weren’t 100 percent and you need them spot on for a trip and race like that,” he said.

“We were going to miss the Inter Dominion if he went to NZ for those two races this month, but now we’ll definitely set him for Brisbane.”

It will be Spirit Of St Louis’ third consecutive Inter Dominion series.

INTER Dominion favourite Leap To Fame faces a fascinating challenge at his return to Albion Park on Saturday night.

The young pacing sensation will have the first of his two lead-up runs for the Ladbrokes Inter Dominion series at Albion Park when he tackles many of Queensland’s best pacers in the $31,160 Be Good Johnny Sprint.

The twist is his barrier draw … inside the back row (gate eight).

Over the short 1660m trip, it could present quite a challenge.

Although Future Assured has the pole, explosive beginners Turn It Up (six) and Blacksadance (seven) headline a very fast front row.

The race is the most defining yet as far as home state hopefuls go for the Ladbrokes Inter Dominion pacing series.

Most, including Leap To Fame, will then back-up at The Creek a week later for the Group 2 Queensland Cup.

LEADING Queensland trainer Jack Butler can’t wait for his first “real” taste of Inter Dominion racing.

Butler, one of the major forces in Queensland’s training ranks, competed at an Inter Dominion many years ago, but it was as a driver and less than memorable.

The then Bathurst-based Butler drove classy stayer Dinki Di in two of heats of the 2006 Tasmanian Inter Dominion series, but barely caused a ripper with ninth and 12th finishes. The final was ultimately won by former Queensland champion Blacks A Fake.

Next month, on his own playground, Butler will have four runners – two pacers and two trotters – across the series.

Leading his charge is classy former Kiwi pacer Hot And Treacherous, who boasts a third to Swayzee and Blacks A Fake in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 22.

“I’ll have him and Deus Ex in the pacers and Adelle and Funny Face in the trotting series,” Butler said. “I’m really looking forward to it, especially in our home state.”

Hot And Treacherous returns from a freshen-up and has gate four against Leap To Fame and others in Saturday night’s Be Good Johnny Sprint.

“He’ll back-up the week after in the (Group 2) Queensland Cup and then it’s two weeks into the first round of Inter Dom heats,” Butler said.

All of Butler’s Inter Dominion hopefuls are in action in Albion Park on Saturday night.

DRIVER Cam Hart insists Swayzee is better now than when he won the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in July.

And it looked that way when the five-year-old thrashed his rivals in a 2400m free-for-all at Menangle last Sunday.

Swayzee, who is unbeaten in eight runs since joining Jason Grimson’s stable, gives Grimson a fantastic chance of his third successive Inter Dominion final win after Boncel Benjamin (Menangle, 2021) and I Cast No Shadow (Melton, last year).

Before then, Swayzee is booked to fly to NZ on Sunday to prepare for the Group 1 NZ Trotting Cup on November 14.

Grimson trained Majestic Cruiser to run second in last year’s NZ Cup.

Swayzee may also tackle the Group 1 NZ free-for-all at Addington on November 17 before returning to Australia for the first round of Ladbrokes Inter Dominion heats at Albion Park on November 1.

Grimson’s other key Inter Dominion hopeful, Hi Manameisjeff, steps out at Menangle on Saturday night.

The gelding looked fantastic winning his first four starts for Grimson at Menangle before stepping into the big league in the Victoria Cup where he drew badly and didn’t enjoy racing away from the marker pegs when second-last.

Hi Manameisjeff drops sharply in class for the 1609m Nick Robin free-for-all on Saturday and looks ideally suited to bounce back.

REIGNING Inter Dominion trotting champion Just Believe is primed for a racetrack return.

Jess Tubbs’ globetrotting star looked sharp in his second trial back against the pacers at Melton on Tuesday and will have one or two lead-up runs ahead the opening round of Inter Dominion heats on December 1.

Just Believe has only raced nine times since winning the Melbourne Inter Dominion final last December and the most recent three starts were during his terrific Swedish campaign.

The gelding’s latest run was a monstrous second to Sweden’s most exciting trotter, Francesco Zet, in Boden on June 17.

Just Believe will definitely head to the $30,000 Breeders Crown Trotters’ free-for-all at Bendigo on November 17, meaning a clash with his arch-rival and main Inter Dominion danger, Queen Elida.

FIVE of Victoria’s key Inter Dominion pacing nominations step out at Melton on Saturday night.

And four of them are trained by Emma Stewart.

Stewart has Victoria Cup winner Act Now and Kilmore Cup runner-up Beyond Delight in the Group 3 4&5YO Championship (2240m).

Jess Tubbs’ dual Group 1 winner Better Eclipse is another in the race looking towards Brisbane.

But the highlight of the night will be the $150,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific where Stewart’s three outstanding mares, Ladies In Red, Amore Vita and Encipher, come together.

Although they are all nominated for Brisbane, Ladies In Red won’t go. Amore Vita and Encipher remain a chance.

IT only seems fitting that Turn It Up gets a chance to tackle an Inter Dominion.

The injury-plagued former Kiwi star has been superbly nursed through the second chapter of his career in Queensland by Shane Graham.

And he was back in stylish winning form at Albion Park last Saturday night.

The rising nine-year-old used his trademark gate speed to lead from a wide draw and gave nothing else a chance.

Turn It Up, who boasts 31 wins (and 26 placings) from just 69 starts and has banked $806,084, lines up again from gate six in Saturday night’s Be Good Johnny Sprint at Albion Park.

KEEP an eye on Team McCarthy’s emerging star Cantfindabettorman for the Inter Dominion pacing series.

The former Kiwi pacer hasn’t raced since winning the 4YO Championship at Albion Park on July 22.

Cantfindabettorman’s Albion Park record is fantastic with 10 starts at “The Creek” netting seven wins and two seconds. One of the seconds was to Leap To Fame in last year’s Queensland Derby.

“We think he’s the right sort of horse for the series,” Luke McCarthy said. “He trialled awesome at Menangle last week and is ready to go.”

Cantfindabettorman won his trial by 2.7m in a 1min52.9sec mile, ripping home in 25.8sec.

Australasia’s premier harness racing event will take centre stage at Albion Park this December. Don’t miss your chance to be trackside at Queensland’s first Inter Dominion in over 20 years!

There’s a range of ticket and hospitality options available for each night. Click on the link below to view info and packages.