Day At The Track

Inter Dominion preview - will history repeat?

04:45 AM 01 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Mah Sish
Mah Sish - is a contender in Sunday's Interdominion Final

Harness racing doesn't get any better than what we will witness at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon with the running of seven Gr. 1 races including the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion on a ten race card and more than two million dollars to be won.

In an attempt to find the winners I have delved back into the history books and there are some important trends emerging.

The Inter Dominion has only been run once at Menangle and that was back in 2010 when Blacks A Fake won his fourth Grand Final holding off Monkey King in the run to the line. Most harness racing followers would have considered Blacks A Fake a sitting duck in the run with Monkey King stalking him inside the final lap but brawn prevailed over speed.

That pattern has emerged since the opening of the track, Smoken Up has made the feature events his own yet all would acknowledge he is very susceptible to a dive bomber, for some reason they just don’t appear at Menangle in the big ones. While it is regarded as a speedway, the track actually suits the tough grinding types and therefore has shaped my selections this way.

INTER DOMINION : With so many hopes, the race is like a Melbourne Cup where everyone has an opinion and I’m not going to rain on anyone’s parade. Don’t let me sway you by any means but for the record I am tipping Mah Sish.

He is a very tough pacer but proved he can still kick home a quarter when he reeled off a 26.1 closing split in his heat a fortnight ago. Obviously barrier one isn’t ideal but Mah Sish will be driven by Anthony Butt and he is absolutely world class.

Hardest to beat is Terror To Love because of his versatility. As a result, Ricky May is the only driver going into the race that has plan A,B,C and D, most of the other drivers will have one or two options.

Im Themightyquinn is a brilliant speedster and can handle tight tracks better than any horse in the southern hemisphere but away from a half mile track it does negate one of his biggest assets. If he is to win Gary Hall Jnr will need to produce something very special which isn’t beyond the talented reinsman.

Best of the roughies is Jaccka Clive, I think he is getting a bit short at 16/1 but driven cold he is a brilliant stayer and will be running on at the finish. The 3000 metres will find out a number of the competitors and I hope your selection doesn’t have traffic issues inside the final 800 metres.

CHARIOTS OF FIRE : History says the Chariots is a graveyard for favourites. Only one has been successful in the past decade and that was Elsu. Some very good horses have tasted defeat in that timeframe: Young Rufus, Karloo Mick, Lombo Pocket Watch, Melpark Major, Bitobliss and Excel Stride have all been placed in the race.

That puts Christen Me in the crosshairs, but it is hard not to be excited by his recent New Zealand form, his Hondo Grattan win and his superb midweek trial, however I’m going for the proven Smolda to make it a NSW Derby/Chariots double.

Smolda has done nothing wrong since arriving in Australia and despite the wide draw can work forward and do it tough. Connections of Mach Beauty have suggested they will hold the lead and if that is the case Christen Me could be sitting on the back of Smolda turning for home which is a mouthwatering prospect and they clearly look the quinella.

Of the rest Im Victorious, Restrepo and Keayang Steamer all have knockout hopes.

NSW DERBY : Another exciting clash where Majestic Mach puts his unbeaten record on the line against Guaranteed, Caesar Augustus, Macha and co. Grant Dixon is no stranger to winning the NSW Derby and I like the fact that he missed the Victorian Derby and concentrated on this feature.

The other leading hopes have all come through the Victoria Derby series and qualified on a wet track last week. The barrier draw for Guaranteed is concerning, Bit Of A Legend has the speed to cross him as proved in the Vic Derby although the Emma Stewart trained three year old did eventually find the front.

The anticipated early speed will help Majestic Mach find a good position early and I think he will be too strong. Caesar Augustus looms as the main danger especially if he finds the front, he was very good in the Vic Derby and he has a super record at Menangle. Guaranteed and Macha both have claims but will need some luck in the early stages.

LADYSHIP MILE : The most open race of the day in my opinion with a number of winning chances. I will be backing a couple of runners in this race at double figure odds.

Blucolla Tigerpie was very good winning the Ranji Bill Stakes and hit the line strongly behind Pembrook Caesar in the Ladyship Cup at Melton. Broadways Best is a former winner of this race and has been impressive since resuming for the Emma Stewart stable and is good value at double figure odds.

Better Cover Lover is the class mare in the race, she has drawn terribly but can work forward and still be a threat while Our Sixpence will be very prominent from barrier one.

NSW OAKS : Im Smouldering and Rozelski look the main two chances on paper but there are a few other hopes. Im Smouldering is a very tough filly and will run the 2400 metres but I would have preferred her drawn off the inside and Rozelski was impressive despite the last use of the track last Saturday.

Musical Delight is drawn to be prominent and can win while Itz Nosurprisesthere rocketed into contention defeating the Gary Quinlan trained filly last week. The best roughie in the race is All Starzzz Shark.

GLENFERRIE FARM CHALLENGE : The Kiwis looks to have the wood on the Aussies and we might have to resort to the “underarm” tactics to be competitive in this one. It is great to see Stig at Menangle and he should win. The Fiery Ginga can run a very cheeky race from barrier one and I Didnt Do It is a very fast trotter when on song.

BOHEMIA CRYSTAL FFA : I expected Glengowan to race in the Inter Dominion heats the way he won the Media Cup last week. If the good Glengowan turns up he should win, Pure Power has drawn awkwardly but has had excuses recently while Gaius Caesar lacks high speed but loves a dogfight.

The other three races on Sunday are all worth $50,000. For the record in race 1 I like the chances of Im On Target, there looks to be a lot of speed in the early stages which should suit and Chris Voak will drive.

In the Lady Drivers’ Invitation forget the run of Bettor Sweet in the Paleface Adios Stakes last week, his run the week prior was good and the draw is a lot better this time around although Mantoman will be very hard to run down off the pole. In the last race I will be having something on Rangataua Ray, he will need to be up on the speed and has drawn wide but has raced some of the best horses back in New Zealand.

Good luck and enjoy Inter Dominion day and if you can’t be there tune into Sky Racing 1 from 11am for full coverage.


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