Ladbrokes Inter Dominion Countdown – October 18

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.

REIGNING Inter Dominion trotting champion Just Believe grabbed the eye in a Melton trial this week.

The Jess Tubbs-trained star made his first public appearance since that fantastic three-race Swedish campaign in the middle of the year when he charged home into fourth spot against the pacers in Monday night’s trial.

Unbeaten two-year-old pacer Smoken Ace led throughout to win the 2240m trial and ripped home in 56.7 and 28.1sec.

Just Believe settled back at the rear of the six-horse field and made good late ground. He clocked similar closing splits to the winner.

“We were really pleased with him. He’ll have one trial and then we’ll look for a race. Ideally he’ll have a couple of runs before we head to Queensland,” co-trainer and driver Greg Sugars said.

His main danger in the Inter Dominion, superstar Victorian mare Queen Elida, will back-up on Friday night, just six days after she posted the seventh Group 1 win of her career in last Saturday night’s Bill Collins Trotters’ Sprint.

Her NZ-based managing owner Tony Barron stayed across after the Bill Collins to watch Queen Elida tackle Friday night’s Maori Miss Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m) at Melton.

“She’s just awesome. I was always coming over for the Bill Collins and when ‘Lil’ (trainer Brent Lilley) said she’d run again this weekend, I decided to make a week of it. You’ve got to make the most of the great moments she’s given us,” Barron said.

ACT Now showed he was on target for his second crack at the Inter Dominion with an upset win in last Saturday night’s Group 1 Victoria Cup.
The Emma Stewart-trained star won two heats and finished third in the other before starting favourite, leading and finishing third in last year’s Melbourne final.

The five-year-old has sparingly raced by design since and peaked when it matters as an $81 outsider when he charged home from near last to upstage one of the strongest Victoria Cup fields in recent history.

“He was always going to need luck from the back row (draw), but he needs racing and we thought he was ready to run a big race,” Stewart said.

“I know he’s won most of his races by leading because he’s such a quick beginner, but he’s become a bit of a sitting shot there and we know he’s terrific of a sit, too.

“He won a heat of the Inter Dominion coming off the speed, it’s all about how the race is run.”

The win was a huge thrill to driver Jodi Quinlan, who has driven Act Now in all but the first three of his 43 starts.

Quinlan won the Miracle Mile on Sokyola in 2004 and said the Victoria Cup ranked right up with that as a career highlight.

“He’s been such a great horse to me and I really thought he was the forgotten runner the other night,” she said. “To give away that sort of start and run them down was amazing. It was an incredible race to be part of.”

All bar runner-up Catch A Wave of the 11 Victoria Cup runners are nominated for the Inter Dominion pacing series.

Leap To Fame was fantastic again in third spot after doing all the work outside the leader, while Rock N Roll Doo led and was just nabbed late. He was beaten less than a metre.

Bulletproof Boy, who got into the Cup as the emergency, ran the race of his life for fourth.

Mach Dan, Spirit Of St Louis, Amore Vita and Encipher all had little luck at crucial stages.

Hi Manameisjeff was beaten for the first time in Jason Grimson’s care, but didn’t seem comfortable racing away the marker pegs. He was only beaten 6.2m despite finishing 10th.

The disappointment was Better Eclipse, who led early and then took a sit on Rock N Roll Doo. He weakened late to finish at the tail.

THE Inter Dominion now looms as the chance for redemption for local hero Leap To Fame.

Three monstrous runs in defeat in the last three major races he has contested, set the scene for him to make a statement at Albion Park on December 16.

But for now, the superstar four-year-old gets a quiet few days after his third in last Saturday night’s epic Victoria Cup while trainer-driver Grant Dixon maps out his lead-up races into the opening round of Inter Dominion heats on December 1.

The $53,040 Group 2 Queensland Cup looks a logical target on November 11, but Dixon could also be tempted by the $31,160 Be Good Johnny Sprint a week earlier.

There is also a $25,000 1660m free-for-all at Albion Park on November 18 to throw into the mix.

TWO of the Inter Dominion pacing big guns will head towards the series via next month’s New Zealand Cup at Addington.

Blacks A Fake winner Swayzee and polished Grand Circuit performer Spirit Of St Louis look right on target for November 14.

Swayzee returned from a spell to win in terrific style at Menangle last Saturday night. He is unbeaten in seven starts since joining Jason Grimson’s stable.
Spirit Of St Louis was one of a few hard luck stories in the Victoria Cup with driver Jack Callaghan running into traffic jams most of the way down the home straight.

ROCK N Roll Doo headlines five Inter Dominion-nominated pacers tackling Saturday night’s $50,000 Geelong Cup (2570m).

Rock N Roll Doo, who ran a close fourth in last Saturday night’s Group 1 Victoria Cup, joins Mach Dan (sixth) and Bulletproof Boy (fifth) as the three runners backing-up from last week’s epic race.

Former Victoria Cup winner Max Delight and last-start Kilmore Cup runner-up Beyond Delight are the two other Inter Dominion nominees lining-up at Geelong.

Rock N Roll Doo will; be favourite from gate three, but there’s plenty of early speed in what shapes as a terrific contest.

TOP WA trainer Greg Bond will make his call on any Inter Dominion runners after the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup on November 10.

Bond and wife, Skye, have four pacers nominated: Minstrel (ranked 19th), Steel The Show (40th), Tenzing Bromac (43rd) and Patronus Star (50th).

“The timing suits better, which is why we nominated a few,” Bond said. “Now the WA Cup is earlier and the Fremantle Cup is later, an Inter Dominion trip would actually fit quite well.

“But it’s more about whether we’ve got the horses good and in the right form when it matters.

“We’ll really be using the WA Cup. Our horses we’ll really need to be at the top of their game in the WA Cup to consider taking them to Queensland, as much as a trip like that would be terrific.”

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.