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Qld InterDominion Heat preview

The InterDominion series begins this weekend around Australia with the final to be run at Menangle on Sunday March 1. Preview by Darren Clayton, Racing Queensland handicapper, @dashman01.


Sky Racing Interdominion Heat 3
Albion Park, Brisbane
Mobile Start, starting 7 across the front
8.00pm Local time

Current Tatts market
Link to form guide with replays

The Queensland Heat of the Interdominion will be the third heat held in the back-to-back running of the five heats across four states of Australia. With so much commentary on the format, one could wax lyrical about "the good old days" but that’s a discussion for another time and we will look solely at the Queensland Heat and who will be the sole Banana-bender to automatically progress to the big Final.

Runner by runner the field lines up like this
Avonnova- the free legged monster will be out to atone for his defeat in this same race 12 months ago at the hooves of Forever Gold. The barrier gods wee smiling on trainer Ian Gurney when the 1 marble dropped out, perhaps in sympathy for his recent Victorian snubbing where he could not force his way into the Victorian Cup field. He comes into the race as the top rated and it really looks like a case of how can the others defeat him.

Forever Gold- Queensland's best mare has drawn well, however it is unlikely that she will have the early speed to cross Avonnova off the arm. After a disappointing run in a Ladyship mile qualifier at Menangle four weeks ago, she has since returned home, had a trial hit out and then put away an open class field last week with a sharp 55.4 closing 800m. Trainer Darren Weeks will drive the mare again, hoping that history will repeat by making it back to back Interdominion Heat wins.

Brigadier Bronski- Scratched early Wednesday morning after succumbing to a virus

Funny Boy- The Ken Rattray-trained gelding is one of three 10YO in the series (the others being Saucy Legend and Shardons Rocket) Having always raced in the shadow of his stablemate Destreos, he gets his time to shine. Setting a new track record at Redcliffe four starts ago and with a second to Forever Gold here last week, he is in some nice form at present, however the 265 (!) start veteran has always just appeared to be one rung below the top-liners.

Majestic Major- one of three Grant Dixon trained runners in the race, this giant Art Major gelding has really taken some giant leaps in the past six months. Arriving from the Shaky Isles in March of 2014, it took him a while to get sorted. Once on the straight and narrow and some niggling leg issues controlled, he has built quite an impressive resume with wins at G3 (x2) and Listed level as well as three wins from his past four starts in Open events.

American Legend- one of the three QBred runners in the field, the Shannon Price trained 6YO has made the rise to Open company this season. A horse that loves to sit off a hot tempo and finish with the spinnaker up, he will need the leaders to really cut at each other to make his sprint noticed in the concluding stages.

Our Pacquiao- the least experienced of the field in terms of race starts having only turned up in race livery on 44 occasions, the outside of the front line has certainly not helped his cause. With wins at four of his past five outings, he is certainly a horse on the up and will give young Trent Moffat a huge thrill at getting to drive in a race of this calibre. The 5YO is versatile and that attribute will need to be called upon to feature at the top end of proceedings here

My Jellignite- this guy has perhaps scored the best barrier in terms of a barrier suiting the racing pattern of the horse. Possessing a very sharp turn of foot if saved up and given his cues into clear racing room, 1000 win driver Pete McMullen will be looking to break his Group Race duck and what a race to do it in. Following out the anticipated leader in Avonnova, Pete will be looking to muster enough momentum to hold the spot behind. Should he achieve that, it will be a case of young McMullen smoking the briar and waiting for the sprint lane before launching. Whether he can then overhaul the leader may be harder to achieve once the whips are cracking, however he will be coiled ready to strike when the opportunity presents.

Majestic Mach- the former juvenile star will be given his first real taste of Open class racing in this. Although having squared off with many of the top horses, they have been in age restricted events and this will be a true test of his mettle. Following out Forever Gold who should find herself outside the leader, Razzle should be able to hold the one by one position and from there he will either need to lead up the three-wide train or hope to catch a ride as another runner of the field takes that role.

Bettor Draw- connections of this rejuvenated pacer were in attendance at Monday's barrier draw and were hoping to avoid two barriers. Unfortunately for them one of those two numbers was drawn when 10 slid down the chute. Transferring the horse to the care of Narissa McMullen, the 7YO has laid down some impressive miles in recent times and shown some of the zip he possesses. Stepping up to the middle distance may be of concern and with a tricky running position to consolidate, exactly where he finds himself in running will ultimately determine when and if he can get into the race. The chronicles will be re-written, as I believe it will be the first time that a brother and sister have competed in the same Interdominion Heat.

Beau Dandy- originally slated as the first emergency, the enigmatic 6YO will line up following the scratching of Brigadier Bronski. Blessed with great ability but cursed by awful manners, trainer Jim Morris and son Paul will line up for what is arguably their biggest moment in the sport. Having visited several stables trying to find the key, the Morris' have been patient in trying to rectify some of the geldings ways, with Jim frequently riding Beau Dandy in attempt to get him to settle. His formline shows wins at two of his past three starts as well as a 3rd placing in the race where Funny Boy broke the Redcliffe track record, setting the hot pace out in front allowing the swoopers to cash in.

With the seeding of the Heats, the Queensland Heat has only been afforded the winner automatic entry through to the Interdominion Final to be held on March 1. Whilst this is disappointing for the Queensland participants, it should equate to some great racing action as all drivers will be keen to be the lone holder of a golden ticket to the Final. However it unfolds, there is no doubting that with a solitary position up for grabs, there will be 10 drivers all doing their utmost to have the hottest ticket in town in their possession.

Avonnova, the current Albion Park track record holder over this distance, holds all the aces and will be looking to take them all the way. With his last 6 starts featuring a track record at Newcastle, wins at G2, G3 (x2) and Listed level, as well as a sixth placing in the G1 Miracle Mile, this amazing story looks certain to have another chapter with all indicators pointing to an Avonnova victory. Best price available Friday midday $1.32

Majestic Mach may not have the best numerical form to recommend but he could well be warming up to something. Having always been driven to circle the field and either take up the running or do the bullocking outside the leader, he may just relish being allowed to race with some cover and finish off nicely if the pace up front is genuine. Best price available Friday midday $26/$3.80

Forever Gold may find herself doing all the work in the race and to be fair, she will find it very difficult to run past Avonnova if she has to do too much work. Likewise if Avonnova is given a no pressure in the early sections, then she possible won't be able to out sprint him either, which places her in quite the quandary. Best price available Friday midday $6.50/$1.40

Majestic Major does his best work at the front of proceedings. His chances rest on whether Darren Weeks on Forever Gold allows Majestic Major to take the position leading the one wide line. If no position eventuates, he may be forced to restrain to a position and that could be the end of affairs for him. Best price available Friday midday $31/$2.95

My Jelliginite will face his acid test to see if he can put his best hoof forward over the distance. His last win over the 2138m came back in November 2013 which must be a serious question mark. He will be given a cosy run in transit, but can he finish them off? Best price available Friday midday $7/$1.57

With Avonnova well into the sauce, if you shop around there is as much as $3.80 place available Majestic Mach, as tight as $2.15 with some. This is perhaps the best way to play looking for value and should give you a good sight for your investment.

Numbers 1-9-2-5


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