Day At The Track

Apprentice can teach master in trot

09:09 AM 25 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Speeding Spur,Harness racing
Speeding Spur
Stuart McCormack photo

The Kiwi master and his apprentice descend on Australasia's richest trotting race on Saturday and in an odd twist the apprentice has an experience edge.

New Zealand's most successful ever reinsman Tony Herlihy makes his first trip to Victoria in a couple of years when he takes Rowe Cup winner Temporale to the $300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on Saturday night.

On the same plane last night was Speeding Spur, who is co-trained and driven by Herlihy's long-time employee Josh Dickie.

Dickie these days trains in partnership with his father John but learned to drive under Herlihy, for whom he worked for years before developing into one of the bright young lights of New Zealand harness racing.

Herlihy knows all about winning major races in Victoria, having won a Hunter Cup, two Victoria Cups, an Australasian Trotting Champs, Interdom Trot Final, Breeders Crown and trained and drove Ohoka Punter to win the Victoria Derby five years ago. "I haven't been back there much since even though I'd love to because if you don't have a horse good enough those carnivals can fly by without having a runner," says Herlihy.

But the last time he did campaign a horse in Victoria it was Temporale two years ago and the ultimately unsuccessful trip has paved the way for his return.

"He didn't win a race over there as a 3-year-old but I think he learned a lot and it has made him a better horse since," says Herlihy. "So I am hoping it will help on this trip."

Temporale has drawn the inside of the second line in the 2760m mobile and Herlihy is hoping for a searing pace to break the field open late.

While his old boss hasn't been chalking up the airpoints to Melbourne lately, Dickie and Speeding Spur have campaigned there four times, winning the Great Southern Star when it was a mile two years ago and finishing second last season.

He has looked shy of his best this summer when Temporale has beaten him fair and square twice but Dickie says watch out for an improved performance on Saturday night.

"He needed the racing last month after being off the scene for a long time but in saying that Temporale has obviously improved," he says.

"But we have gone back to working him how we used to before his leg problems and he has really sharpened up and I think you will see a different horse this week."

New Zealand also has Spankem (4) and The Devils Own (13) in the Victoria Derby and Partyon (2), Delishka (4) and Piccadilly Princess (10) in the Ladyship Cup.

Michael Guerin

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