First Addington, then Aussie. Next? The World.
That’s the tentative six-month plan for champion trotter Speeding Spur after a courageous win the New Zealand Trotting Free For All on Tuesday.
Managing owner Andrew Grierson, the head of Woodlands Stud, made the surprising declaration soon after the seven-year-old won his eighth career Group 1, in front of more than 20,000 people.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to look at every opportunity for the horse and let the horse do the talking.
“We’ve got the Dominion on Friday, then he’ll go to the Inter Dominions, then probably the new race they’re about to announce at Menangle, and then there is the Great Southern Star and the Rowe Cup.
“But we’ve got to weigh up, if he’s at the top of his game, whether we go to Europe for the Elitloppet.
“We’d be silly not to look at going.
“It’s invite only, but I’m pretty sure they’d look at us.”
The Elitloppet, held in Sweden in May, is one of the world’s premier trotting events and has previously been contested by Kiwi trotters Special Force and Lyell Creek.
If the trip eventuates, it’s a lock that co-trainer and regular driver Josh Dickie will accompany him.
Dickie was in the cart at Addington on Tuesday and was simply in awe of the horse he has come to love and admire.
“It was pretty special to win today. Cup Day is our biggest day and for him to get it done today was a great effort.
“It’s hard to talk about him because he’s done so much. Just an amazing horse.”
Speeding Spur led from a handy draw over the mobile sprint trip, but was worked over by Woodstone and John Dunn over the last lap, and even looked like being headed on the point of the turn.
But, like only the best horses do, he dug deep and fought right to the wire.
“I was worried about the horse outside me because he actually put a nose on me past the quarter and I just flicked him on the tail, my fella, and he didn’t really respond to me and I got a bit worried.
“Then I pulled the hood and he took off.”
Speeding Spur looked all over the winner at the furlong, kicking three lengths clear, but Woodstone kept coming and just missed by a head.
“In hindsight, that was an error of mine, going for home a little bit early.
“Luckily he just throws everything at it and doesn’t know how not to try in races. Even when he’s been beaten in the past, he’s still giving me 110 percent.”
Dickie has to the realization that this might well be the best horse he ever has anything to do with, even though his career has many, many years to go.
“I’d struggle to come by a horse like him again. He gives everything he has to give, all the time. He’s an amazing horse.”
Friday’s $300,000 Dominion Handicap is next on the agenda and will be an inherently harder proposition with the likely addition of Marcoola, Harriet Of Mot, Temporale and Great Things Happen to the mix.
“It probably looked like he locked up a bit today, but he’ll be fine.
“He thrives off the back up and he needed that run. If anything, we are more excited by his prospects in the Dominion.”
Trainer Robert Dunn was over the moon with Woodstone’s run.
“It was a monster run.
“You would just about have to go to the Dominion on that.”
“I will consult with the owner and with Johnny and then we will make a final decision.”
“He has come such a long way, in March he was lining up in a three-win race at Alexandra Park.”
And Le Lievre’s Gift earned some valuable black type for a future broodmare career when she poked through for third.
“She went good, I was hoping she would get a good run and she has run home good,” trainer and driver Jim Curtin said.
“She will come back on Friday, it is on our backdoor step and she is not getting any younger.”