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The Hot Seat Weekender with Brittany Graham

In The Gig Harness Racing expert, BRITTANY GRAHAM, looks ahead to all the action coming up and tosses in a tip or two along the way.

THE BIGGEST SHOW IN TOWN IS HERE

INTER DOMINION 2021 has finally arrived and this time around, New South Wales plays host.

After an extended absence due to COVID, Australasia’s great harness racing prize hasn’t been up for grabs since December 2019 when staged in Auckland, New Zealand.

Each Inter Dominion is slightly different, with the host state responsible for setting their own conditions.

This is how the New South Wales 2021 edition will transpire.

THE FORMAT

BOTH pacers and trotters are catered for in the 2021 series with a $500,000 final for pacers and $145,500 on the line for their square gaiting counterparts.

Whilst the Inter Dominion has taken several shapes over the last decade, this year’s version will be in the traditional format. Three heats will be run over an eight-day period with a Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday format, requiring both gaits to contest all heats to progress through to the Grand Final six days later on December 11.

Check out the latest TAB Harness Racing markets here.

THE VENUES

HARNESS Racing New South Wales and Club Menangle have taken a regional approach to this year’s event.

Whilst the series will begin and wrap up at harness headquarters of Tabcorp Park Menangle, Bathurst and Newcastle will host the second and third rounds respectively. This not only allows harness racing’s best to be seen by a greater audience, but also adds to the gruelling fitness test.

FIELD SIZES AND CONFIGURATION

THE pacers division of ID21 will include 36 starters, spread across three heats each round while 24 trotters will do battle across two heats per round.

In each of the heats and the final, twelve starters will line up with a starting configuration of eight across the front and four on the second row. This will be streamlined across all venues.

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POINTS SYSTEM

IN a heat with a full field of 12 starters, the below points table will be used:
Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
Points 16 13 11 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Points are then accrued across the three heats equally, with the top twelve point scorers then taking their place in the Grand Final.

In the case of a tie of final points when determining the final field, the following count back ruling will be in place.

Preference will be given to the horse with the best finishing position throughout the series.

NOWHERE TO HIDE IN THIS TEST

THE Inter Dominion is set to be a test of endurance for horse and human, with the cream sure to rise to the top once again.

It is so hard to go past KING OF SWING in the pacers division, with his exposed body of work clearly superior of his rivals and the advantage of a home state series. Luke McCarthy has won everything there is to win in this game baring the Inter Dominion and looks in prime position to add this trophy to his mantelpiece alongside his wife Belinda.

When it comes to the trotting division, MAJESTIC MAN was quite dominant earlier this year on his maiden journey to Australia securing several G1 titles. Add to that his one and only look at Menangle resulting in a demolition job of his rivals in the Trotters Mile, if he turns up in comparable form, he looks the hardest to beat.

There is often a sleeper who relishes the unusual concept of the ‘Inter’s’ and performs well above expectation to become a major player come Grand Final night. Think MACH SHARD and OUR UNCLE SAM during the last two running’s.

My long-priced predictions are that MAJESTIC CRUISER and CALIGULA will perform admirably in this series and the $41 and $71 available respectively may represent the value for the Grand Final – should they make it there of course!
If you can, make sure to enjoy the amazing spectacle of ID21 on track this year with Menangle, Bathurst and Newcastle all set to welcome big crowds back for this pinnacle event.

Whilst COVID still lingers, it's of course not possible for everyone to be on course but Sky Thoroughbred Central, Sky Racing Active and Sky 1 will bring the action to your loungeroom if that’s where you experience the return of harness racing's greatest series this year.

BEST BET OF THE WEEKEND

Menangle Saturday R8 No.2 Majestic Man.

MENANGLE MULTI

R5 No.4 King Of Swing / R6 No.3 Alta Orlando (place only) / R8 No.2 Majestic Man.

VALUE BET OF THE WEEKEND

Menangle Saturday: R7 No.5 Malcolms Rhythm.

Check out the latest TAB Futures markets here.

Brittany Graham is a regular host on Sky Racing and the Sky Racing Active app, plus In The Gig with Ben Way and Gareth Hall every Tuesday night on Sky Racing 2 from 6pm.

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