Defeat aids success

By Matt Markham

Getting comprehensively beaten by two and half lengths might not sound like the perfect way to prepare for a Group One trotting feature, but for John and Joshua Dickie it was just what the doctor ordered with their exciting three-year-old Speeding Spur.

The defeat came over a month ago in the Hambletonian at Ashburton at the hands of Prince Fearless but last night they turned that table with a staggering New Zealand record breaking performance in the Inkwise New Zealand Trotting Derby.

Driven confidently by Josh Dickie, Speeding Spur was simply too tough and wore down his opposition to give Dickie his first Group One win as a driver.  And while people were quick to heap the praise on the young man’s shoulders, he was just as keen to see it deflected to his father.

“Dad has done an incredible job with this horse,’’ Dickie said.

“He’s mapped everything out and had him absolutely spot on for this race.

“We got a bit of an understanding of where we were at when we came down to Ashburton. I thought his run there was very good, but it showed we had a bit of ground to make up.

“So Dad took him back up North and kept chipping away and tonight was the result.’’

With confidence behind him, Dickie showed his aggressive side early on in the Derby and surged forward to attack the raging hot favourite, Prince Fearless.  The pair went to war before Natalie Rasmussen yielded the lead.

“We had to do a bit of work to get there, but once I got him to the front he relaxed beautifully and we just kept bowling along.

“When I asked him to run at the 400 metre mark, he really took the bit and hooked into it.’’

Owned by the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate, Andy Ellis, Keiran Read, Dave Hewett and Dick Tayler, Speeding Spur doesn’t lack for a famous name or two behind him.

He will now be pointed towards the Harness Jewels meeting at Ashburton in what is now a wide open affair.

Prince Fearless wasn’t bad in his effort to run second, but he certainly wasn’t the same horse who won at Ashburton.

Last week’s Trotting Oaks winning filly, Habibti Ivy was very good in running third.

She burned from the gate to find the markers early and didn’t give up the fight while Monbet made up good ground from his tricky barrier draw.