More than one way
By Michael Guerin
Driver Josh Dickie says there is more than one way for Speeding Spur to become a millionaire in the most glorious of styles at Addington this afternoon.
The wonderful trotter will start a hot favourite in the $300,000 Dominion, New Zealand’s richest race for trotters, after he drew perfectly while most of his key rivals copped second line draw.
That gives the rugged South Auckland squaregaiter the option of almost certainly leading and being near impossible to catch over the 3200m.
As the winner of $959,000 even second place would earn Speeding Spur millionaire status but co-trainer and driver Dickie isn’t thinking like that. He wants to enter that exclusive club through the front door.
But how he gets to that door may not be as one-dimentional as it looks.
After leading throughout in the NZ Trot Free-For-All on Tuesday many would expect Speeding Spur to definitely stay in front today.
“But he doesn’t have to be in front to win, in fact he is probably a better horse with a sit,” admits Dickie, who did exactly that to win the Rowe Cup last April.
“A lot will depend on who steps away and who doesn’t and to be honest I wouldn’t hand the lead to most of them because plenty of horses struggle with a really hard 3200m.
“You saw that in the Cup the other day and in most of these big 3200m race, a lot of them are really tired at the 600m.
“So we have options, but it would want to be a serious horse for me to hand the lead away.”
Dickie says Speeding Spur bounced through Tuesday’s victory in good order, no surprise for one of the true warriors of New Zealand harness racing and if he performs to his maximum today it will take a special performance to beat him.
There are rivals capable of that but Great Things Happen, Marcoola, Temporale and Kyvalley Blur have been handed no favours by the draw.
Any of them could win with the right cart into the race, especially Marcoola and Great Things Happen, but luck and race tempo have become bigger factors for them.
So the best placed of Speeding Spur’s major rivals appears to be Harriet Of Mot.
Her connections are still having nightmares about when she stormed down the outside to cause a huge upset in this race last season only to roll into a gallop, which pretty sums up her career.
If she behaves at the start she could beat Speeding Spur for speed at the end but that is a lot easier said than done.
Those looking for a value place bet or trifecta booster should consider Monty Python from the ace.
He drew barrier two, led and trailed Speeding Spur early before coming from three deep on the markers to run second in that Rowe Cup in April. So today could feel like Groundhog Day for him and at $6.50 fixed for the place last night he looks great value.