In the best possible fashion

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The big boys returned in the best possible fashion at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Speeding Spur was a resounding winner off a large handicap in the night’s main trot while later on Star Galleria smashed his own New Zealand record over 2200 metres from a stand.

It was two thumbs up from the team behind Speeding Spur.

Last season’s Rowe Cup winner was fresh-up for four-and-a-half months and lumped with a 50-metre handicap, but there was no stopping him.

Co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie said he felt the way the race panned out was the best possible scenario for he and father John.

“It was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for much better.

“He needed a bit of a blow out and, while we sort of thought he was a winning chance, we didn’t want to knock him round.

“But he felt great the whole way and let down nicely.”

Speeding Spur has had a tough time of it, injury-wise, the last few years, back-to-back leg injuries seeing him spend plenty of time on the sidelines.

The resultant micromanagement of his training meant he couldn’t have a ‘normal’ preparation thanks to long stints on the walker and getting additional treatments.

But this time in he has had a proper, faultless build-up like any normal horse and he is showing the benefits of that.

And the scary thing, according to Dickie, is that he is trending upwards.

“That’s the best he has felt this time in; he’s just gotten better and better each time he’s stepped out.

“Some may have thought he was disappointing at the workouts last week (when beaten by Mr Good And Evil), but when I got out of the cart I said to Dad that he couldn’t have trotted much quicker.”

There are no set plans as yet for what the next stepping stone will be on the way to November’s Dominion Handicap in Christchurch.

There will be a trot for him on mile night at Alexandra Park in a fortnight’s time, and a likely clash with Lemond and Temporale looks on the cards.

“We haven’t mapped anything out as yet or when we will head south.

“We’ll get him through tonight and then go from there.”

Star Galleria smashed his own national record to smithereens with a tidy resuming win over a gutsy Mach Shard.

The classy pacer shaved 3.1 seconds off the 2200-metre stand-start mark with a brilliant 2.39.7 effort.

Trainer Steven Reid said after the race it probably wasn’t ideal for a resuming run, but he doesn’t expect it will knock the horse around.

“It wasn’t really what I wanted for a first-up run, but once he was in the one-one, there wasn’t any way around it.

“He wasn’t 100 percent screwed down for tonight and will only improve on it, so that’s a good sign.”

At this stage, Reid says he will resist the temptation to head to Canterbury, like he had earlier planned, and will probably target the Spring Cup in a fortnight’s time.

“The Spring Cup and then the Canterbury Classic at Addington a week later; that sounds pretty good to me.”

Driver Tony Herlihy said the son of Art Major felt well within himself, and the signs are all positive heading towards the second Tuesday in November.

“He did what he to, which was plenty given they’ve gone a national record.

“He felt good and will take a lot out of the run.”

Star Galleria is currently the equal second favourite with bookies for the $800,000 feature on November 13, at a $6.50 quote alongside Chicago Bull, behind only Ultimate Machete ($4.80).

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