Great Things Happen Is The Trotter To Beat In Dominion

16 November 2017 | Chris Barsby
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If Gavin Smith is looking for inspiration, he doesn’t have to look far.

Fresh from his success earlier this week (Tuesday) with his maiden Group One victory as a trainer with giant trotter Great Things Happen in the $100,000 NZ Trotting FFA at Addington, they will combine again tomorrow (Friday) in the $300,000 Dominion Handicap.

The Dominion is the biggest trotting event staged in New Zealand, a time honoured feature staged over the marathon distance of 3200m and from the stand-start.

It’s the trotting version of the New Zealand Cup.

And it kicks off the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, a five leg series that takes in features spread between New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia.

Many great names feature in the honour roll of the Dominion which was first staged back in 1911 while many have achieved the Cup week double including Monbet last year.

A total of 17 trotters have achieved the Cup week double - names include Durban Chief, Tutira, Easton Light, Scotch Tar, Admiral Soanai, Simon Katz, Tobago, William Dee, Call Me Now, Chiola Cola, Take A Moment x 2, Lyell Creek, Stig, Vulcan and I Can Doosit.

So, Smith and Great Things Happen aren’t looking to rewrite the record books, more simply just chasing their own slice of Christchurch history and add their names to the exclusive list.

Great Things Happen was brilliant winning on Tuesday, winning by a widening margin while equaling the New Zealand record of Monbet.

And while he looked very comfortable from the mobile over the short course of 1950m, the extra distance of the Dominion looks even more appealing for the six-year-old Love You gelding.

Great Things Happen will sport saddlecloth number six.

Flashy trotter Bordeaux looms as a major threat but his chances were hampered after landing a second-line draw (13).

The Philip Iggo trained gelding is unbeaten this campaign and again will be handled by star reinsman Dexter Dunn, a rare feature he is yet to win to date during his glittering career.

Brothers Tim and Anthony Butt have enjoyed tremendous success in the Dominion; Tim has trained the winner 8 times (Vulcan, Mountbatten, Lyell Creek x 3, Take A Moment x 3) while Anthony has driven the winner 9 times (Simon Katz the extra to Tim’s list).

This year they combine with former European trotter Daryl Boko, lining up in his third Dominion and still looking for his maiden success in the great race.

Master horseman Paul Nairn is no stranger to success in the Dominion; the unorthodox trainer is a dual winner after scoring with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008).

He will be represented by a trio of starters this year including Wilma’s Mate, The Foot Tapper and One Over Da Moon.

The Williamson family also boast Dominion success owing to the 2009 triumph of Springbank Richard and this year they will have Monty Python (Phil & Matthew) and Dark Horse (Nathan) lining up in the feature.

Another duo chasing further Dominion glory is Ricky May and Kevin Townley, they will combine with talented mare Destiny Jones.

May has won the Dominion three times previously including last year with Monbet while Stylish Monarch (2010) and Cedar Fella (1998) were his other winners while Townley scored with Armbro Lady back in 1976.

No female driver has won the Dominion; Sheree Tomlinson (Amaretto Sun) and Sam Ottley (Arya) can claim history with their respective drives this year.

Female representation of the four legged variety includes Wilma's Mate, Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Destiny Jones, Arya and Dark Horse.

The last mare to win the Dominion was Martina H who deadheated with Take A Moment back in 2002.

Connections of Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Doctor Bones and Belles Son are all chasing their slice of Dominion history when they line up in the south island feature.

The Haras des Trotteurs Dominion is scheduled to start at 4.33pm local time.

 

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