By Gary Newton

In 1936 the first ever Inter-dominion was run at Gloucester Park in West Australian the series was won by Evicus who was declared the winner despite having never won a heat or the final. Logan Derby won all his heats and the final, but Evicus was declared the winner on points and won the one-hundred-pound gold cup, which is on display at Albion Park during the current series.

Evicus by Globe Derby out of a mare called Milky Way bred in Tasmania by Edger Tatlow.

The Inter Dominion started in sensational fashion and for 87 years since the Inter Dominion continues to dominate Harness Racing headlines.

The series since its inspection back in 1936 has had its champions, its upsets changes to the format, two winners of the final disqualified one championship won in the steward’s room, the demise of prizemoney over the years but the Inters has always been the Melbourne Cup of Harness Racing.

In the Early years, notable winners were Bandbox the 1947 winner would go on to become the grand dam of Champion Pure Steel.

Captain Sandy won the 1950 edition in Melbourne when prepared by Jock Bain then three years later as a ten-year-old took out the 1953 edition under trainer Dinny Nolan after the New Zealand bred gelding returned to the track after being retired by his previous trainer.

The 60’s saw champions of the track such as Caduceus (1960), Cardigan Bay (1963), in 1965 Robin Dundee dead heated with Jay Ar.

In 1967 Champion reinsman Phil Coulson won his first Inter Dominion on Binshaw, Coulson would drive Juniors Image to victory in 1971 only to have the gelding return a positive swab and subsequently was disqualified. In 2011 Smoken Up was also disqualified after an irregularity in his swab.

In 1972 the Inter Dominion has held for the first time in Queensland with Welcome Advice winning the final.

Hondo Grattan the “Bathurst Bulldog” and his trainer driver Tony Turnbull won the 1973 series at Harold Park and then took out the unforgettable 1974 final at Gloucester Park after a bad fall marred the race, traveling to the winning post the first time only five horses where left standing. Paleface Adios, Just Too Good, Haddock, Local Product and Welcome Advice all lost their drivers on the first turn.

Globe Derby Park Adealide 1976 was the venue of the biggest upset in Inters history when local Carclew driven by a twenty-year-old Chris Lewis, held off Pure Steel and Don’t Retreat to take the final.

Names like San Simeon, Gammalite, Village Kid, Thorate, Westburn Grant, Our Sir Vancealot, Blacks A Fake have all been Pacing Champions.

Scotch Notch, True Roman, Pride Of Petite I Can Doosit head the big names of trotters to win final.

The Inter Dominion has been as I said before the Melbourne Cup of Harness Racing it has been tinkered with over the years but the true old formular of three sets of heats and the final a week later is the only way it works.

The positioning of the series needs to be looked at where does it fit best to attract the best horses from both sides of the Tasman?

Prizemoney also it is the prime race of Australasia it needs a boost. As Mark Purdon said in a recent interview, he can bring a horse across the ditch for the Hunter Cup for the same prizemoney and does not need to be away for 2 to 3 weeks.

The Inter Dominion also needs to go back to the state-to-state rotation! Why do you ask? Well in a state like South Australia or Tasmania it gives owners trainer the chance to compete in a series that they normally would not compete in and the dream of owners having a horse in the series heaven forbid it makes the final and as we know over the years anything can happen from there.

The other side is comradeship and economic value to the host state, friendship have been made over many years and people from all over Australia and New Zealand come together once a year at the Inters,

Try a get a hotel room near Albion Park this week not to mention the eating out and shopping.

Yes, the Inter Dominion needs help but its still the best series down under.

 

The Gold Cup won by EVICUS in 1936
Chris Lewis with 1976 winner Carclew.