Big task for classy Speeding Spur

By Michael Guerin

Speeding Spur.
Speeding Spur.

Speeding Spur's sheer class should overcome what could be a tricky mathematical equation at Alexandra Park tonight.

And his driver Josh Dickie is in the best position to know the full enormity of the task facing the exceptional four-year-old trotter.

Speeding Spur faces a 50m handicap in the main trot, a race he is using as a lead-up before heading to Victoria to take on Monbet in a A$100,000 race on February 6.

Monbet and Speeding Spur quinellaed the group one National Trot on December 31, suggesting they may be the new bosses of trotting but Speeding Spur's task tonight is still huge.

Dickie and his father also train Scarrymcleary, who starts off the front in that race, and only have to go back two starts to work out what Speeding Spur might need to produce tonight.

"On New Year's Eve, Scarry trotted 3:28 for 2700m so if he repeated that this week off the front, then Speeding Spur is going to need to do something special to beat him," says Josh Dickie.

"But I still think he can because his manners will be a big help.

"He begins so quickly I can see him being four back at the 800m and from there he should have too much speed. Yes, it's a big ask but I think his class can overcome it. But knowing how quick Scarrymcleary could trot also makes you realise it is not just a turn up and win race."

Speeding Spur's manners and raw speed should ensure he gets home over the top but punters would want $2 to be getting any real value with the potential for traffic concerns and/or the leaders setting him a brutal task.

Tonight's pacing feature should see Jewels winner Lancewood Lizzie claim her first victory of the season as she drops massively in class from the Flying Mile at Cambridge last start.
There is enough gate speed off the front line, where she has drawn seven, to suggest she might need to work but the best version of her would be too good.

Meanwhile, the focus of harness racing punters will transfer to Australia tomorrow night as New Zealand's two four-year-old heroes make their Australian debuts.

Only a poor start can defeat Have Faith In Me from the ace in his sprint at Menangle but Monbet faces a 20m handicap in his Australasian Trotting Champs heat and has a seriously talented Australian rival in Arboe.

The latter isn't as good as Monbet - who is a potential champion - but if she leads she can trot her last 800m in under 56 seconds so would make the Kiwi superstar work.

Smolda has emerged as the favourite for the A$120,000 Ballarat Cup and could be too fit for Lennytheshark if he can work to the lead, with Lennytheshark's main aim the Victoria Cup a week later.

But even a second line draw shouldn't stop Smolda's stablemate Lazarus being too good in his heat of the Victoria Derby.

Park pointers

Best bet: Zadaka (R5, No.4): Good horse going places, last start was in Sales Series Final.

Go Again: The Almighty Johnson (R4, No.13): Won in premier grade last start and 10m handicap here hardly much of a penalty.

Class drop: Lancewood Lizzie (R8, No.7): Comes out of Flying Stakes at Cambridge to taking on mid-grade mares.

- NZ Herald

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