History beckons: Driver Gary Hall Jnr (left) celebrates with his father Gary Hall after driving Im Themightyquinn to victory in the Inter Dominion last year. Photo: Mick TsikasIm Themightyquinn’s sizeable shadow may not loom large over this year’s InterDominion, yet he’ll never be far from the mind of Gary Hall jnr as he stands on the brink of history.
Nanjing Night Net

No reinsman has managed to win the race four times in a row, but thanks to Im Themightyquinn’s three straight victories in Australasia’s premier event, Hall finds himself only a few minutes away from rewriting the record books.

Brian Hancock (Our Sir Vancelot, 1997-99) and Natalie Rasmussen (Blacks A Fake, 2006-08) have also scaled the InterDominion mountain on three consecutive occasions.

Hall is relying on the West Australian runner Im Victorious, prepared by former Olympic gold medallist Michael Brennan, to launch his bid for InterDominion history.

”Knowing I’d be the first person to do it is not going to stop me from trying harder,” Hall said. ”I’ll definitely be going out there to win it.

”I probably thought about it when it was first mentioned, or about a week out from the race, but I try to forget about everything … When I’m on the track it’s game face on and I’ll forget about everything else.”

Hall steered Im Victorious, fourth in last year’s Miracle Mile at Menangle, to Fremantle Cup success in January as part of the five-year-old’s campaign to fill the Grand Circuit void left by the recovering Im Themightyquinn in the west.

Strangely enough, Hall’s father Gary Hall snr could ruin his son’s history-making exercise with outsider Livingontheinterest, starting from barrier two in the $750,000, 3009 metre final.

”I would love to have [Im Themightyquinn] there, but it’s not to be,” Hall said. ”It’s just a different feel about it [this year], not driving one in a race like this for dad. There are eight or nine horses – maybe even 10 – that are better than [Livingontheinterest] and you would have to think all of them would have to have a bad run and not live up to their form for him to be in the finish,” Hall said. ”[But] I think he’ll surprise a few people. He won’t get beaten down the track.”

Im Victorious is expected to be afforded all the favours from barrier one for Hall as most of the top chances are drawn awkwardly. His driver’s confidence certainly hasn’t diminished in the lead-up to the race.

”I think he’s a genuine chance from the draw,” Hall said. ”I think every other horse in the race that I think are dangers are in barriers where they’re going to have to make moves. We don’t really have to do that until the last 400 [metres].

”Just watching last year’s replay, and the year before, everything seems to get a run if they’re travelling well enough coming to the last bend. I’ve got no worries about the trip with him … it’s just a matter of getting the right sort of run.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand raider Smolda is likely to have a couple of Australian supporters as the equine ambassador for Children’s Cancer Institute Australia.

Smolda’s part-owner, Marcus Kirkwood, and his wife, Sharon, lost their son Tom to a brain tumour in 2009 and have since raised more than $800,000 for the institute.

”Fellow owners Neil Pilcher and Phillip and Glenys Kennard embraced it and [trainers] Mark [Purdon] and his partner Natalie Rasmussen willingly adopted the idea and proudly wear the colours,” Kirkwood said.

While the royal blue and silver grey racing colours for Smolda are highly visible, Kirkwood said, slightly less obvious were the words around the cuffs of the sleeves. ”They read ‘Our Mate Tom’, so Tom will be there on InterDominion day.”

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