Top 10 Dominion Trot Wins
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Making a top-10 list is easy. Until you try and make a top-10 list and show it to other people.
Especially when many of the people who are going to see your list know just as much, or more, about the subject than you do.
Today HRNZ starts to revisit some of our great races with 10 of their best winners.
Now we aren’t going to lie to you, these aren’t lists we compiled this week like the rest of the online content world struggling to fill space. These are lists Greg O’Connor and I came up with over the last couple of years on Trackside for the NZ Cup, Sires’ Stakes and for the Dominion, which we look at today.
Going back and looking at some of the great winners of a race is a cool way to build anticipation of what is to come, who is going to add their name to the list so we compiled them to be run close to those iconic races.
Initially, when Greg came up with the idea, it sounded easy enough: Name the top 10 Dominion wins of the last 40 years.
But that is the key sentence. The top 10 wins, not winners.
If the list was just winners then most of us would probably agree Lyell Creek has to top the list because he was almost certainly the best trotter to win the great Addington race in that time frame, and maybe ever.
But here is something that will surprise you. When Lyell Creek won the Dominion in 1999 it was in a staggeringly slow 4:14.4, which would have put him almost 200m behind Monbet when he won in 2016.
Of course times can be termed irrelevant but in an industry where they are so prominent they at least have to be taken into account right?
And if they don’t really what, what else does?
The class of horses a winner beat? The nature of the victory? Did they overcome a handicap, which these days isn’t a factor but was for nine winners in a 13-year period starting in the 1990s.
And your list might well be influenced by your heart as much as your head.
Did you back a horse? Did somebody you know or like own, train or drive it?
Or even something as simple as was that horse from your region. After all, a Southlander might think more fondly of David Moss than the mighty Auckland mare Merinai.
Greg and I tried to exclude emotion and go on quality of opposition, the actual performance of the horse itself and with a small dose of times and maybe where the horse actually now sits in our memories.
So take a look at one list, by no means definitive, of top of the great Dominion winners of recent decades.