The 2020 Gr.1 $270,000 Majestic Son Dominion at Addington looks a little different.
The great race is still the same in many ways but completely new in other ways.
It is still staged at Addington, still raced under standing start conditions, still staged over 3200m and still the biggest trotting event staged in Australasia plus being the opening leg of the 2020/21 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters.
And most importantly, it is still the race that every trotting enthusiast wants to win above all others.
So, how is it different compared to previous years?
The 2020 version ushers in a brand-new wave of generational talent, the latest blue-chip pedigrees mixed with some outstanding young horsemen destined for bigger and better things.
Recent winners Habibi Inta, Marcoola, Amaretto Sun and Monbet are all missing yet the ‘replacements’ are filled with youthful exuberance, athletic frames and powerful motors that are primed to perform.
Headlining the new youthful brigade is the richly talented Cracker Hill, the Brad Williamson trained four-year-old who went down narrowly on Tuesday in the Gr.1 NZ Trotting Free-For-All behind Heavyweight Hero.
The Muscle Hill gelding has built an impressive resume in a short space of time and looms as the horse to beat in the staying feature.
Untried at the distance range and yet to win this season, Cracker Hill oozes class and will be an obvious threat to his rivals.
Leading trainer Robert Dunn has a trio of representatives from his stable in Sundees Son, Pres The Belle and Woodstone, the latter lining-up for his third shot at claiming the feature after being unplaced in both of his previous efforts.
Sundees Son, a trotter with enormous potential, deliberately skipped Tuesday’s feature with connections electing to concentrate on the stand-start staying feature.
Fresh from his Gr.1 triumph four days ago, the Bob Butt prepared Heavyweight Hero is looking to become the first trotter since Monbet (2016) to claim the Cup week double, the NZ Trotting Free-For-All and Dominion.
Since 2000, others that have completed the double include Take A Moment (2002/3), Lyell Creek (2004), Stig (2008), Vulcan (2011) and I Can Doosit (2012).
Heavyweight Hero is thriving under the tutelage of Butt who is looking join his father Davey as a winner of Dominion following his victories with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008) while his great grandfather Wes Butt scored back in 1970 with Johnny Gee.
Former World Driving champion Mark Jones is chasing his second success in the Dominion with Majestic Lavros, a younger half-brother to his 2013 winner Master Lavros.
Majestic Lavros is a last start winner of the South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura and cannot be underestimated given that last year’s victor Habibi Inta took the same path on the way to the Dominion.
Greg and Nina Hope are no strangers to success in the Dominion following the success of Monbet back in 2016 and have a pair of worthy challengers in Matua Tana and Midnight Dash.
Both trotters have obvious ability and can score with normal luck.
Another trainer with previous Dominion glory is Phil Williamson, the respected horseman scored with Springbank Richard back in 2009 and will be represented this year by the quality performer Majestic Man.
The six-year-old was unplaced last year behind Habibi Inta but looks a more mature type this time around and can bounce despite his unplaced here on Tuesday behind Heavyweight Hero.
Boasting more ability than most is Dark Horse for Nathan Williamson, the enigmatic mare is a half-sister to last year’s placegetter Monty Python.
Dark Horse was unplaced behind Amaretto Sun back in 2017 but can provide Nathan with his first win in the famed feature as a trainer after taking the winning drive behind Springbank Richard back in 2009.
Improving type One Apollo backs-up from Tuesday and will be hoping for some luck following his late break behind Heavyweight Hero.
Triple Dominion winning reinsman Ricky May takes the drive for Ashburton trainer Brent White.
The Nyhan name appears on the Dominion winners list with Hal Good scoring in 1975 for Dennis Nyhan and now daughter Margo is hoping her handy type Overzealous can collect.
Overzealous is backing up following his unplaced effort on Tuesday.
Veteran mare Destiny Jones tackles the Dominion for the third time, the Dean Hunter trained mare finished 5th back in 2017 behind Amaretto Sun while finishing 8th last year behind Habibi Inta.
In 2018, Destiny Jones was the emergency and did not gain a start.
And The Dominator is also backing-up from Tuesday after getting fired up early and losing all chance, the talented trotter is prepared by busy veterinarian Donna Williamson.
The Dominator finished at the rear of the field last year.
Representing Australia again is Tough Monarch, a runner-up last year behind Habibi Inta following his NZ Trotting Free-For-All victory.
The Rickie Alchin prepared gelding was unplaced on Tuesday behind Heavyweight Hero but is capable of much better while the booking of Mark Purdon is significant.
The only Australian trained winner of the Dominion was the mighty mare Scotch Notch back in 1983 for legendary Victorian horseman Graeme Lang.
A field of 15 will contest the Dominion with the emergencies drawn as Didjabringthebeers and Majestic Hurricane.
The Majestic Son Dominion will be staged at 4.36pm local time.