The women’s coaches have won all six Inter Dominion stroke series

Girl power has taken over the Inter Dominion.

Halfway through harness racing’s biggest event, all six qualifying heats of the pace series have been won by trainers.

Emma Stewart, partnered with Clayton Tonkin, dominated with four series wins.

Honolua Bay won two, while Act Now and Mach Dan each won one.

The other heats were won by Jess Tubbs with Better Eclipse on the first night at Ballarat and Belinda McCarthy trained Spirit Of St Louis to win at Shepparton on Tuesday night.

The vast majority of Group 1 in Saturday’s grand final is set to be trained by women.

The top nine scorers heading into a 12-horse final are female-trained, including Amanda Turnbull’s Bundoran.

Going into the final round of the evening in Geelong on Saturday night, Stewart and Tonkin are perfectly poised to have a record five runners in the pace final.

The training combination of Kiwi champion Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen set the record with five runners in the 2019 Auckland Grand Final when they finished first and third with Ultimate Sniper and Thefixer.

Stewart and Tonkin have the top three and five of the top eight point scorers – Honolua Bay, Act Now, Mach Dan, Narutac Prince and Beyond Delight.

It’s also the most open Inter Dominion beat streak in memory, with McCarthy’s pair of Expensive Ego and Spirit Of St Louis sharing favoritism at $5.

“We couldn’t be happier. Our big two in the series are right where we want them,” Luke McCarthy said.

“Expensive Ego’s two runs were outstanding and Spirit Of St Louis was great last night.

“We bought them with room for improvement through the series, so they should only get better.”

Driver David Moran admits the Honolua Bay improvement was a pleasant surprise.

“He’s always had fantastic speed, but racing at the highest level has really strengthened him. I wouldn’t have thought of that before the series, but there’s no reason why they can’t go all the way now,” he said.

The biggest watch in the last round of heats at Geelong is Majestic Cruiser, the eventual favourite, who has only managed a third and sixth so far.

He is precariously placed 11th on the points table, needing at least a top three or four at Geelong just to make the finals.

And Majestic Cruiser drew the back row (gate 10) in Saturday’s strongest heat against stars Act Now (one), Beyond Delight (five) and Expensive Ego (five).

* Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor who writes about harness racing for News Corp

Originally published as a women’s coach, they won all six Inter Dominion heats after two nights of qualifying

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