- for winners of the Inter Dominion see: Inter Dominion Pacing Championship and Inter Dominion Trotting Championship
The Inter Dominion is a harness racing competition that has been contested since 1936 in Australia and New Zealand. The host of the series is rotated between the six harness racing states of Australia and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The 2010 series (ID09) will be held in NSW at Harold park, Newcastle and Menangle.
Traditional programming of the series
Traditionally the series was held over a two week period with three heats held in the first week, over a sprint distance (1,600 metres - 1,900 m), a middle distance (2,100 m - 2,300 m) and a staying distance (over 2,400 m). The trotters series usually had two heats. The scheduling of the distances is usually at the discretion of the host club. At each round of heats there are three races to accommodate the number of horses in the series. The final and consolation are held usually around a week after the final round of heats. The usual distance is a longer distance in excess of 2,400 metres.
Programming of the 2008 Melbourne Series
Harness Racing Victoria proposed a new system for the 2008 series that was accepted by the Interdominion Racing Council that rewards Grand Circuit race winners. Each winner of a Grand Circuit race and the Grand Circuit Champion from the time period from the last Interdomion all gain an automatic start in two minimum $70,000 semi finals with the balance to be made up from horse that qualify through heats of at least $25,000 held a week previous. The first five horses in each heat along with the sixth horse in the fastest heat qualify for a minimum $750,000 final. The prizemoney had been originally put to $1,000,000, but due to the dire effects of the equine influenza that crippled the industry the final prizemoney was reduced to $750,000.
The trotting series was reduced to a simple semi and finals series raced over seven days. The semi finals were of $40,000 and the final was $250,000 which was comparable with previous series.
Programming of the 2009 Gold Coast Series
The system used in Melbourne received much criticism and therefore wasn't chosen to be used in the 2009 series on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast series will be similar to the Melbourne programming except there will be two rounds of heats and bonus points for winning major races. The bonus points races are not only include Grand Circuit races in Australia and New Zealand, but also The Graduate at The Meadowlands and the Canadian Pacing Derby, both open age races in North America. The prizemoney has also been raised to $1,000,000 for the final.
Another criticism of the Melbourne Series was the introduction of mandatory detention of horses for 48 hours before the final as had been done in the 2008 A G Hunter Cup. This will not be the case in Brisbane.
FOOTNOTE: Due to the permanent closure of the Russ Hinze Stand at Albion Park Raceway, the 2009 Inter Dominion is to be conducted at Parklands, Gold Coast.
Date and time of rotating championships
The rotation of the Championships is fixed annually at a meeting of the Council. It is fixed five years in advance. It is held in New Zealand once in each four years. The Championships are held once in each racing year at a time and venue approved by the Council by the completion of the Championships in the preceding year. The Grand Circuit race is not held at the same time as the Championships.
A horse shall not start in a race outside the Championships except in a race held after the completion of all qualifying races. The Controlling Body of the State or New Zealand in which the Championships are to be conducted or the Council may request a veterinary surgeon to inspect and provide a report on any horse scratched after final acceptances are declared.
A perpetual trophy is competed for. The conducting Club of the State or New Zealand in which the winning owner resides holds the trophy for a period until three months before the start of the next Inter Dominion Championship. The winner of the Inter Dominion Championship Final is presented with a trophy.