The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (The Met) announced today that the 2011 Christchurch Casino Inter Dominion Championships would be run by The Met at Alexandra Park in Auckland on Friday 25 March, Friday 1 April and the Grand Final Meeting on Friday 8th April.
2010 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2009 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2008 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2007 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2006 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2005 INTERDOMINION SERIES
2004 INTERDOMINION SERIES
Only centimetres seperated the first four home, with Jofess piping The Falcon Strike, Sokyola and Mister D G, the leading points scorer in the heats. Jofess won the race at the barrier draw when he landed the ace and driver Darren Hancock was able to hold out all challengers in the short run to the first turn. All the heats, the final and consolation, were won in sub 2:00 mile rates, with the final cut out in 1:58.7 (mobile 2544m).
Doug McLachlan's eyes filled with tears as his partner Carol greeted him with a hug back at the stables last Friday night. Annie's Boy stood a few feet away, his body covered in sweat from the display he had just treated the Addington fans to. Annie's Boy had run his rivals off their feet in the Inter-Dominion Pacers' Consolation. And, little did he know it, he had almost brought McLachlan to his knees with the emotion surrounding this victory.
Half an hour earlier, McLachlan had geared-up Annie's Boy for what he knew could be the very last time on racenight; not just at Addington, but anywhere. For the little pacer from Myross Bush who is known affectionately as 'Jacko', this was do or die. "If he had gone out there and not raced any good, I was taking him home to retire," McLachlan said. "He had been too great a horse to us. After the road we have been down to get him here, I wasn't going to put him through it again."
Getting Annie's Boy to Addington for the Inter-Dominions has been a nightmare, to say the least, and all the way through McLachlan was ready to pull the pin at the first glimpse of anything untoward. The Soky's Atom pacer's last full campaign had ended back in March last year, and after a spell he resumed at Addington in September. But he broke a pedal bone during the running that night, and McLachlan prepared himself for the worst. "Our New Zealand Cup hopes were gone, and I was convinced that it could be the end of the line for him," he said. "I put him in a paddock for a month, and threw a colt in there with him for a bit of company. One day I looked out there, and he was teaching this colt to race around the paddock. They were tearing around, and Jacko was running into the corners without any signs of discomfort. So I thought I would take another chance, and try him again."
Jogging his pride and joy for eight weeks, McLachlan kept looking for signs but couldn't find any. Addington became a little bit more possible with each week that passed. "I knew we were up against it trying to get him ready for the Inter-Doms, because we just didn't have the races for him down here. First-up he finished third at Forbury Park, and then he muffed the start at Gore so it was just another run. I took him to a workout at Invercargill the very day that the final payment for the Inter-Dominions was due. I drove him myself in the 2200 metre mobile heat and we sat back, then he ran his last half in a tick over 55 seconds. That night, I faxed through a copy of the cheque to Addington and told them it would be in the mail the next day."
Annie's Boy's performances throughout the heats didn't earn him enough points to make the Grand Final, but he was improving all the time nevertheless. Twelfth behind Holmes D G the first night, the 8-year-old was unlucky not to finish closer than fourth on night two and then he did all the work to lead and fill the same placing in the last round. His trainer tried something different at the carnival too, sending Annie's Boy out for a three-lap warm-up an hour before his scheduled event each night. "It helped to get his blood pumping, and it got him fired up a bit," McLachlan said. "We'd had some intimidation from the vets on-course during the series, because on two occasions they had threatened to withdraw the horse because they thought he was lame. We even held up his heat on the first night, when they asked him to pace up and down the home straight before allowing him to start. Jacko's always had a touch of arthritis. He has got a club foot, and that combined with the fact that he has broken both his pedal bones during his career means that he has always going to walk with a limp. I specifically asked my vets to document everything before I came up, for this very reason. I had it all down on paper."
Handing the reins to Clark Barron last Friday night, McLachlan felt like there was no point to be proven. Knowing Annie's Boy would soon show whether he was up to it or not, he asked his driver to "go out there and get us some money." Barron worked Annie's Boy to the front starting the last lap and they never took their foot off the pedal, winning the Consolation in a tenth of a second quicker than the 3:12.6 Baltic Eagle required to win the Grand Final. The final splits compared favourably too...Annie's Boy reeling off his half in 55.8 and quarter in 27.7, as opposed to the Aussie giant's 57.8 and 27 flat.
"It was a great honour to have a horse in the Inter-Dominions, and we were rapt to make the Consolation. To win it, well, I can't put how that feels into words. Since Jacko injured himself again last September, every hour of my time has been devoted to him. It has been a truly magic day, because my foreman Kirstin Green also steered home two winners for us at Invercargill."
During the Inter-Dominion carnival, McLachlan said he received offers for Annie's Boy from both Australian and American parties. But selling him is not even an option. "I have just got so much admiration for the little horse. He's the sort I will give to the grandkids. I just don't know what to do, now. Where he starts next will depend on what races we can get over the next month or so, and then he'll be wintered inside. He will tell me when he is ready to retire. And even when he does I will keep him in light work, because he'll be a great team horse to teach the young ones with. Jacko and I have a great bond. When he was born, he was so weak for the first month of his life that I had to lift him off the ground every day to help him stand. He got pretty used to me. I would be out round the place doing something, but I only had to cough and he would leave his mother in the paddock and run to the fench to see where I was."
Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 16 Apr03