Racing matters: It ain't what it used to be

Try as I might, I cannot get all giggly with excitement about this new Interdominions format that begins tomorrow night.

For those of you who haven't been following too closely (or didn't read the guide in yesterday's ODT), the Interdoms had an overhaul after last year's series in Perth. Harness Racing NSW now has the rights for the series until 2015, and in its infinite wisdom, it has decided to hold heats throughout Australasia tomorrow night before the final is held at Menangle on Sunday, March 3.

... what it . . .
While it's pleasant to have all the heats being run within a couple of hours for viewing purposes, hasn't Harness Racing NSW forgotten what the Interdoms was all about? It's supposed to be a grinding slog, a war of attrition (although I'm not going to pull out any Anton Oliver-style quotes here), heat after heat of Australasia's best pacers beating each other up on the track every few days

.... used to be
This, my friends, seems watered down. The Interdominions Lite, shall we say, where all you have to do is finish somewhere near the top of your solitary heat then line up and hope for luck on the day. When there were three rounds of heats (or even two in later years), you had to earn your spot in the final by producing the goods in each heat or risk missing out. The latest twist is the weakness of the first heat at Menangle tomorrow, which will still have the first four qualify for the final, while three (don't get me started on that, either) group one winners race for two spots at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. Righty-ho.

High on winning
It was good to see Jerry Garcia win at Waikouaiti on Sunday to continue his good recent form. I noted that he and his human namesake from the Grateful Dead had one thing in common - they both do/did their best work on grass ...

Lazy Fiver
Zurella flashed home late to get us some nice place money at Te Rapa on Saturday. There is always a good dividend or two on offer at Motukarara, so Amy's Invasion gets the nod in race 9 today at 5.15pm. Swedish-born trainer Mattias Hjalmarsson has hopped off and given the drive to Dexter Dunn. Forget about her last run and back her on the grass today.

- matt.smith@odt.co.nz