Australasia’s premier harness racing event is set to return to the Sunshine State with Queensland confirmed as the host of the 2023 Inter Dominion Championship.
Earlier today, the Inter Dominion Event Committee confirmed New Zealand had withdrawn from hosting duties, paving the way for Queensland to secure the time-honoured series for the first time since the Gold Coast in 2009.
With NSW poised to host this year’s event, Victoria will host the 2022 edition before the Inter Dominion is staged at Albion Park in 2023.
Racing Minister Grace Grace was among those who welcomed the news.
“The Inter Dominion is steeped in tradition, so I am delighted to welcome back the Inter Dominion Championships to Queensland in 2023,” she said.
“This is a major win for participants and punters alike, and the countdown is on to what will be an exhibition of the best our Queensland harness racing industry has to offer.”
In recent years, Queensland has been at the cutting edge of harness innovation, with broadcast enhancements such as driver cam and drone vision, along with programme innovation including The Rising Sun.
Following the success of this year’s TAB Queensland Constellations, the return of the Inter Dominion to Albion Park, which last hosted the event in 2001, is expected to be warmly on both sides of the ditch.
“The Inter Dominion is one of the world’s great harness racing events and boasts a long and storied history with Queensland,” Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“Having hosted our first Championship in 1972, the Inter Dominion’s standing as the industry’s pinnacle event has continued to solidify on both sides of the Tasman - and further abroad – and provides the perfect platform to showcase the code.
“The legendary feats of Blacks A Fake remain synonymous with the Inter Dominion and continue to be a source of great pride for everyone involved in the Queensland harness racing industry.”
IDEC Chair, Ken Spicer, who is also a Board Member of HRNZ, confirmed the news, but left the door ajar for New Zealand to return to the hosting rotation in the future.
“It is disappointing to withdraw from the time-honoured event after one rotation,” Spicer said.
“But with Racing Queensland expressing their interest to join the rotation at the first opportunity, it provided a reprieve to exchange positions for the 2023 Championships.
“We are indebted to the team in Queensland for their enthusiasm and support for such a smooth transition, which also provides an opportunity for HRNZ to re-join the hosting rotation post-2025 should circumstances improve.”