Australasian trotting suffered a serious blow with the cancellation of the Inter Dominion Trot. Thanks to some creative thinking of a leading trotting breeder, the Inter Dominion has been replaced with a new race, called the Trans Tasman Trotters Challenge. The race is not exactly the highest in respect to purse with a total purse of $200,000NZ being offered the first year on April 27 at Alexandra Park.
The format is simple. The race will be an Invitational trot with five horse plus an also eligible being selected by Harness Racing New Zealand and Harness Racing Australia. To make it worthwhile for Australian horses to make the trip, there will is another Group 1 even in New Zealand the following week, the $150,000 Rowe Cup. Negotiations are already underway with Harness Racing Australia to host the race in New South Wales next year.
The race will be contested at a distance of 2,200 meters using a mobile start. To make it worthwhile for all horses, the starters are guaranteed purse money at a minimum of $5,000 with each foreign started receiving a $5,000 stipend for travel. In addition to the regular wagering there will be sports wagering on which team does better; Team Australia or Team New Zealand.
No, the race will not have the caché of the Inter Dominon, but with horses not having to go through a grueling campaign to qualify, it maybe easy to get the best trotters in Australasia to race.
Hats off to breeder Peter Chambers who is a prominent trotting breeder in Australasia for coming up with this idea. Instead of waiting for the someone else to do something, Mr. Chambers decided to take the proverbial bull by the horn.