Regional trainers get into Inter Dominion mood

All eyes of the Australasian harness racing industry will be on Albion Park on Friday evening for the opening heats of the Inter Dominion series in its return to Queensland for the first time since 2009.

While the ‘ID23’ Grand Finals will be the main prizes on offer over the coming weeks, regional trainers from around the Sunshine State will also be fighting it out for a slice of the honours on December 16.

The Inter Regional Championship Final will be held on Inter Dominion Grand Final night with $31,000 going the way of the winner.

Heats will be held for Queensland trainers at Marburg (for Western trainers), Redcliffe (Northern) and Albion Park (Southern) to qualify for the race on ID23 Grand Final night.

The Marburg qualifier is the first cab off the rank on Sunday afternoon.

Wanora trainer Ron Sallis has last-start winner Hey Mister Taylor in the Marburg heat and thinks the Inter Regional Championship is a great concept for trainers aiming to have a runner on the show-piece evening.

“The idea behind this series needs a bit of credit as new things are being tried in the industry,” Sallis said.

“I think it is a good initiative. Much like the Marburg to Albion Park series’ that has been run before, they are always well-patronised.

“It is good they are thinking of the battler trainers to have a series like this.”

Sallis’ Hey Mister Taylor has drawn the second row for Sunday’s Marburg heat with Narissa McMullen booked to do the driving.

The gelding broke a long run of outs at his last start, scoring by almost 10 metres at Redcliffe’s Wednesday meeting of last week.

It was Hey Mister Taylor’s first victory since December of last year, with McMullen in the sulky on that occasion as well.

It was not like the seven-year-old was in poor form – he had run in the money in 19 of his 36 starts this year without winning a race.

The 63-year-old Sallis is hopeful the ‘Triangle’ victory last week can give his pacer some confidence ahead of the Marburg assignment.

“That was his first win this year but he was very consistent before that,” Sallis said.

“He found the lead the other day and that was his race. I am hoping he can take a bit of confidence from that.

“He has run 10 seconds and a heap of thirds. He is no champion but he is very consistent. He is no star but he tries hard and always seems to find one better on the day.”

Bryse McElhinney celebrates the breakthrough victory last week at Redcliffe with Hey Mister Taylor.

Ahead of the first set of heats on Friday evening from Albion Park, the local industry is abuzz about the popular Inter Dominion being back in Queensland.

Sallis will be on track for the second set of heats on Tuesday of next week and is hopeful of having a runner in one of the support races on Grand Final night, on top of his Inter Regional Championship bid.

“There is nothing better than Inter Dominion and the old format, I like the old format of the heats,” Sallis said.

“I love that sort of thing leading into the Final, all the heats, that is old school.”

In-form trainer Peter Greig – who works his stable out of Peak Crossing – has three from his team set for the Marburg heat on Sunday.

The Group 1-winning Greig prepared a winning treble at Redcliffe’s Wednesday meeting of this week.

Ryan Veivers is another trainer with multiple runners in the heat at Marburg on Sunday.

Despite the back row draw, Sallis thinks Hey Mister Taylor can figure in the finish.

“The barrier might not be so bad on Sunday because there is a fair bit of speed on the front row, so hopefully they run along,” the veteran trainer said.

“He will finish off ok, like he normally does.

“There is a few horses in this race that have won a lot of races but are reasonably low rated. It is a handy field for sure.”

The Redcliffe and Albion Park heats will be contested early next week.

Bryse McElhinney after the breakthrough victory last week at Redcliffe with Hey Mister Taylor.

By Jordan Gerrans