Day At The Track

Interdom will gladden southern hearts

07:26 AM 23 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Addington Raceway, harness racing
Addington Raceway

Addington joins Auckland as one of the big winners in the confirmed Inter Dominion reshuffle. The great transtasman pacing series is returning to New Zealand three times in the next nine years, starting with Alexandra Park in 2019.

The Inter Dominion council yesterday confirmed the news broken in the Herald six weeks ago that the series will now rotate between Victoria, New Zealand and New South Wales for the next nine years.

Perth kicks off the latest series tomorrow, the last of their three-year cycle and did not bid to hold the series again.

The tri-organisation bid from HRV, HRNZ and HRNSW was the only one tendered, leaving the Inter Dominion council to agree on the details and rubber stamp it.

As suggested, Victoria will hold the series in December next season, with Alexandra Park the following year and Menangle in 2020.

That cycle will then repeat with Addington taking the New Zealand-based slot in 2022 while it is expected it will return to Alexandra Park in 2025, although that is an awfully long way away just yet.

While it was already known the series was coming back to Alexandra Park, its return to Addington will be warmly received as the track is still the spiritual home of harness racing in Australasia.

The series is likely to be two rounds of heats a week apart with the initial A$500,000 final a week later in mid-December.

The New Zealand-based series can only help both the New Zealand Cup carnival, which will run directly before the series and the Auckland Cup, which will be about two weeks after it.

Not only should it ensure more Australian horses cross the Tasman it means the Kiwis who head to Victoria or New South Wales for the Inters will have shorter flights to get there or travel home for the Auckland Cup and the series won't be as taxing.

Racing traditionalists will also be hoping the change of venues will prompt serious discussion over the return to the trotting series, which was scrapped for no good reason five years ago.

On the subject of trotters the best one still in work in Australasia makes his long-awaited public return on Saturday when Speeding Spur heads to the workouts.

The age group and Great Southern Star hero has had an enormously interrupted career over the last 16 months but has thrilled trainers John and Josh Dickie with his soundness this campaign.

If he holds together he will return to racing at Alexandra Park next month at a time when the elite trotting ranks are shorn of his arch rival Monbet and there is no dominant force.

Courtesy of The NZ Herald

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