Racing: Spur in speedy recovery

By Michael Guerin

Speeding Spur is showing signs his injury may not be as severe as originally thought. Photo / Stuart McCormick
Speeding Spur is showing signs his injury may not be as severe as originally thought. Photo / Stuart McCormick

A freakish recovery could see standout trotter Speeding Spur back racing in time to defend his title in Australasia's richest trot.

It was feared the multiple group one winner could be sidelined for up to a year when he damaged a hind suspensory after the Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park in April, just a week before he was set to take on arch rival Monbet in the Rowe Cup.

Monbet went on to thrash his opponents in both that Cup and the Jewels at Cambridge on June 4 and will be a unanimous choice for Trotter of the Year at the national awards on July 30.

But Speeding Spur's connections may have a less public but ultimately more important victory.

The four-year-old is showing signs his injury may not be as severe as originally thought, or it is improving more quickly than expected.

Either way, there is hope he could be back in work in the spring and racing early in the New Year.

"We are thrilled with how things are looking so far but it is early says," says co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie, who trains Speeding Spur with his father, John.

"Nothing is certain with these types of injuries but rather than having a hole there he had tears.

"So we are hoping he can be back in work earlier than expected."

If Speeding Spur can be racing around New Year he will be on target to defend the Great Southern Star title he won at Melton last March.

On that occasion the race was a heats and final event on the same night and after sitting parked in a track record when second in his heat, Speeding Spur came from a seemingly hopeless position three deep on the markers to win the final.

It gave both Dickies their richest win in harness racing and confirmed that the best version of Speeding Spur will be the biggest challenger to the rampant Monbet.

The Great Southern Star radically changes conditions next season, being a one-off race over 2710m mobile and is brought forward a month to early February. That means it will be the same night as the Hunter Cup and comes a week after the Australian Trotting Grand Prix, who big money races which would be ideal targets for Speeding Spur should he hold together.

The possibility of Speeding Spur's early return as well as good reports about the progress of former GSS winner Stent and two-time Dominion Handicap winner Master Lavros suggest the open class trotting ranks in the second half of next season could be provide some vintage racing.

Monbet's best performances this season bordered on unbelievable and he looks set to race to millionaire status next season should he stay fit and healthy.

But if his three main rivals can all return from their injuries, Monbet will not have things all his own way.

- NZ Herald

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