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Inter Dominion Pacing Championship

Trotting is a huge spectator sport in Australia and New Zealand. The Inter-Dominion Pacing Championship is the culmination of the whole season’s racing in both countries. This championship is very popular with spectators and bettors alike and is watched worldwide. The popularity of this race is in no small part because of the friendly rivalry between New Zealand and Australian horses.

History of the Inter-Dominion Championship

This championship has its beginnings in 1925 when a creative thinking James Brennan suggested a championship race that would alternate between capital cities. Two annual races were run that did not catch the public’s interest. They were a financial black hole and the impending Great Depression put the idea on hold until 1935 when the idea was revisited by the Australiasian Trotting Conference. This conference was attended by delegates from all Australian states and both New Zealand islands. 1935 held the first Inter-Dominion Championship in Perth, Australia. The Championship was held nearly every year, some years with very controversial wins. World War II also put the Championship on hold, but this championship has only grown in popularity with time.

About the Championship Race

So many competitors want the chance to win this race, there is a semi-finals series over a week to two weeks. Each race has three heats, a sprinting distance, a longer distance and an endurance race. The final race is longer than even the longest qualifying heat. There was an attempt to change the way horses were decided to run in the main Championship race, a complicated system of points. This system was not popular at all. The 2011 series has two heats for the pacers and two heats for the trotters. The point system will only give points for the top eight placed horses. The Championship schedule is fixed 5 years in advance, with the Championship race held at least once every 4 years in New Zealand. Unfortunately due to the earthquake damage in Christchurch, the 2011 races were moved from Christchurch to Auckland. The 2012 race is scheduled to be held in Perth. It has been considered that the 2012 race will be the final meeting of the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship.

The Trophy

Not only is a tall golden trophy handed out to the winner of the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, but a silver plate is given to the winner of the consolation race. The Inter Dominion trophy is a tall golden cup on a wooden pedestal with a very small golden horse and driver perched on top of the trophy’s lid. These trophies are perpetual, and the winning owner takes the trophy home. They must return the trophy in the three months before the next championship.

The Purse

The total prize purse for the Inter Dominion Championships was over $1 million, but in light of the Christchurch tragedy and the need to move the race final purse was reduced to $800,000. In the past, years that have had a smaller field the prize money was reduced in order to keep the track solvent, which is exactly what race administrators are hoping to maintain.