Louth Park reinsman Brad Elder will return from suspension just in time to tick off a "bucket list" item in the Inter Dominion Championships opening round of qualifying heats on Saturday night.
Elder will partner Bright Energy, owned and bred by his uncle Michael, at Menangle in the third of three heats to kick-off the three rounds of qualifying, which finish at Newcastle on December 5. Luke McCarthy was down to drive Bright Energy when fields came out Monday but that was because the horse was nominated for the series while in the McCarthy stable. He has since returned to Louth Park trainer Darren Elder, Brad's father, and had two placings and a win at Menangle in the push to secure an Inter Dominion start.
Brad has driven the six-year-old each time and he will be aboard on Saturday night after completing a seven-day suspension. Elder was hit with the penalty at the Friday, November 12 meeting at Newcastle when What Now Shannon pushed a runner wide.
Elder misses this week's meetings before the $30,000 heat, where he will make his debut in the premier Australasian series.
"For everyone in harness racing, it's on their bucket list," Brad said. "Even to just make the top 36, so it's everyone's dream, and if we happen to get a little bit of luck in the heats, then we can make the final."
Elder partnered Bright Energy in a solo trial between races at Newcastle on Monday when he went 1:51.5 for the mile.
"He's all good," he said. "We needed to keep him sharp. It was a little bit quicker than I was planning to go, but he just cruised home and I was pretty happy with him."