Breeding Profile - Speeding Spur
Courtesy of the NZSBA
In what Josh Dickie has described as his proudest achievement in Harness Racing to date, he and his good mate ‘Dell’ wound back the clock to take out the time honoured 2018 Rowe Cup.
Many in the horse’s camp would argue that simply getting Speeding Spur back to the races was an achievement after suspensory ligament injuries threatened to derail his racing career.
But here we are in 2018 with the Pegasus Spur entire having won two Group Ones and likely Trotter of the Year honours as well.
He had only raced three times in 21 months before returning last December for a 8 race campaign culminating with his Rowe Cup win. A combined team effort involving Tony Grayling and Charlotte Mooney at the stud, Auckland Vets, and John and Josh Dickie has ensured he has returned to his best, as detailed by stud co-owner Andrew Grierson.
“He broke down in his right hind suspensory during the running of the 2016 Anzac Cup where he gutsed out a second to Monbet. After that injury we were regularly scanning him and working out a programme where we involved the opinion of French vet Professor Deniox recognised as the world guru on scanning. He recommended not to use stem cells for his injury but instead a long exercise programme starting with boxing and hand walking for months.
“He was initially boxed for four months and hand walked twice a day building up to an hour per day. That followed a patient five-month preparation at the Dickies where he started three times for a second in the 2017 Southern Star but in March he went sore again.
“We got onto it immediately. He went back to being boxed for 3 months and walking followed by another 6 months of patient training build-up at the Dickies.
“He was such a good patient in part because of his amazing temperament where he just tolerated the whole thing, especially when you consider the fact he is a stallion.
“That perseverance and patience has all paid off, he’s in my paddock at home now and you can hardly tell there was anything wrong with him. When you look at the Rowe Cup and the Fred Shaw Memorial he has now won two Group 1’s post the injury which is a credit to the team at home and all those involved with his recovery,” said Grierson.
His recovery has taken a few twists and turns with a Southern Star Campaign earlier in the year his team would like to forget after Speeding Spur contracted a cold and raced well below his best.
His three runs prior to that all had merit where he was runner up in three Group races in December having been unsighted for nine months in between public appearances.
While it looked like he may have come back slightly below his best, the horse had lost none of his champion spirit which is evident in watching him race. How many trotters have you seen that genuinely stick their neck out and try to the find the line the way Speeding Spur does?!
“Lohnro won six Group Ones and the longest margin was a neck, he always seemed to get his head out on the line and knew where it was. Spur is a little bit the same in that sense. I think in his 36 starts he’s been out of the money five times and is the leading earner of any trotter this year.
“He a six-year-old stallion now and is a good size strong horse and full credit to John & Josh, they had him looking a million dollars on Rowe Cup night,” said Grierson.
Being an entire and a five-time Group 1 winner will serve Speeding Spur very well in his life after racing, but the future plans for the horse focus largely around his racing career.
“We’re pretty keen on racing as his imminent future. He loves racing and while he is fit and able we must maximise that potential. We will probably give him some time off now and bring him back with a view for the Dominion handicap in November. You then have the Great Southern Star and the Interdominion for Trotters back around that time also. Everyone is having a lot of fun that’s involved with him now.
“He certainly deserves to stand at stud, whether that is with us or someone else remains to be seen just yet and we will have to work that out long term. It’s always hard to get patronage with the colonial bred horse and we tend to have to aim at the top end.
While Woodlands have entered the top end of the Trotting Stallion ranks this week with their recent announcement of securing What The Hill, Grierson admitted to being very proud of his grand old campaigner and sire of Speeding Spur.
“A lot of people don’t realise that he holds the Australasian mile record for both males (Flying Isa) and females (Maori Time), they’re not just dour stayers, they have genuine speed as well,” said Grierson.
“We will probably retire him this year and he’s getting to the point where he would just like to go into a paddock, he’s had enough and he deserves a good retirement after all he has accomplished.”
This article featured in the Breeders Update, click here to read the most recent issue: https://goo.gl/FsGGo4
Click here to subscribe: https://goo.gl/qDyGev