Speeding Spur returns
By Michael Guerin
Trainer John Dickie will talk to stipendiary stewards in an effort to be as honest as possible with punters before Speeding Spur returns at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The favourite for last season’s Trotter of the Year title faces a 50m handicap in race three on Friday and Dickie admits it is hardly an ideal starting point for the new season.
But he is just as adamant the now seven-year-old stallion needs racing now so he all but has to start, even if he will struggle to win.
“He is forward and ready to race but that might not mean he is ready to win,” said Dickie.
“He has had two workouts and was good in them both but peaked on his run finishing second to Mr Good And Evil last Saturday at Pukekohe.
“So he could struggle this week from the 50m and to be honest it is a less than ideal comeback race.
“Bceause he will carry money and is a well-known horse I will speak to the stewards and alert them to the fact he will probably be driven for one run unless there is a slow tempo in the middle stages.
“If he can come out and win, great. But he won’t be looking to loop them and we want people to know that.”
Speeding Spur had six weeks off after winning the Rowe Cup on April 27 but has been in work a long time with no signs of the soreness that has dogged him in recent years.
But Dickie says he needs to start racing for another reason.
“As he is getting fit he needs a race or two to take the sting out of him because he is so well he is running around the place like a lunatic.
“So this will do him the world of good then he has a mobile free-for-all in two weeks. Those two races will really bring him on.”
Dickie and training partner Josh (son) will then decide whether Speeding Spur heads south to prepare for Cup week or whether they can get another start in the north.
He is the $6.50 second favourite behind arch rival Monbet for their major aim of the spring, the Dominion, now sponsored by stallion Used To Me.
While Speeding Spur is back the stable’s top young trotter Paramount King will be out until the new year as the Dickies give him an eight-month break.
“He really needs the time to strengthen up and being a Love You we are going to give him all the time he needs.”
Friday’s Alexandra Park programme not only sees the north’s best trotter return but arguably its best pacer in Star Galleria, who faces a 20m handicap in the 2200m main pace, a decent challenge fresh up against more race hardened rivals.