McNair Is 'In It To Win It'

Reigning NDC champion Doug McNair

As anticipation builds for the 2024 National Driving Championship (NDC), Standardbred Canada caught up with Doug McNair, Canada's representative at the 2023 World Driving Championship to discuss his thoughts on this year’s NDC.

McNair, who also holds the title of defending champion from the 2022 NDC in Edmonton, Alta., was granted an automatic bid to compete in the 2024 NDC at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivières, Que., scheduled for Friday, July 5.

As announced by Standardbred Canada on March 6, the driver who represented Canada in the most recent World Driving Championship (WDC) will receive an automatic invite into the NDC.

When asked about the change in format, McNair had this to say: "It's a positive development, which provides more opportunity,” he expressed. “In many countries, drivers are simply selected, whereas we have to secure victories for our regions within Canada. It's a challenging process, so bypassing the provincial level initially makes it a little easier."

The runner-up finisher in 2023’s WDC couldn’t be more thrilled for an opportunity to represent Canada yet again.

"I’m excited," McNair stated. “The NDC is going to be a good tournament... Extra tough with the added driver but great for the competition; it’ll be a good showdown, one you won't want to miss."

McNair, having previously represented Canada twice in the WDCs (2023 & 2019), spoke positively about both of his experiences. 

"Everything was top-notch in Germany last summer, and the same goes for Sweden [in 2019],” he said. “It's tough coming close a couple of times without clinching the win; however, they were beautiful countries, and I was happy to visit and drive horses there.”

McNair currently ranks in the top 10 statistically among drivers in Canada this year. He has found the winner’s circle 64 times and bankrolled more than $1.1 million in earnings in 2024.

Offering advice to those competing regionally, McNair stressed the importance of luck and experience.

"Most have competed in tournaments, so they'll be well-equipped. However, luck is a factor -- it's not just about skill," he said.

When asked what excites him most about the 2024 NDC, McNair replied, "My main goal is to win it. The idea of visiting New Zealand and Australia adds to the excitement, except for the 15-hour plane ride," he chuckled.

The winner of the event will have the opportunity to represent Canada at the next WDC, scheduled to take place in New Zealand in 2025.

For a list of the dates and locations of the NDC and all Regional events, click here.

(Standardbred Canada)

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