Speeding Spur (right) is fighting off an ill-mannered Enghien at the end of the race. Photo: Race Images
The pride in Joshua Dickie’s voice told the entire story - a story that could have panned out in a thousand different ways.
The young horseman knows better than anyone just how much of an effort it’s been to get back to the track with his old favourite Speeding Spur, let alone to be winning a Group 1 like he did on Friday night when claiming the Fred Shaw Memorial New Zealand Trotting Championship at Addington.
It’s been a patient and herculean effort by Dickie and his father, John who have, along with the experts, nursed their star performer back from near retirement on two occasions, each time not knowing if it would be the last time.
“I don’t think I can do him justice,” Dickie said.
“He’s broken down twice, in theory he shouldn’t be racing but here he is not only competing in, but also winning, Group Ones.
“He really is an incredible horse.”
Dickie said there were times when they wondered if it was all too much, but they let the horse tell them each time whether or not he wanted to be back on the track and such is the will to win that he’s made his way back each time.
And for his loyal band of owners, the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate, Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Dick Tayler and Dave Hewett, Friday night’s win was just reward for patience and royalty.
And perhaps, just perhaps - there’s more to come.
“You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but he’s back racing and good at the moment, so hopefully he can continue it.
“I think a lot of people just expected him to come back and be the same horse he was before things started going wrong.
“But he’s never going to be that same horse, but he showed tonight that he’s still a very good horse.
“His will to win is incredible, he just kept fighting all the way to the line.”
Auckland beckons next for the Speeding Spur camp and Dickie is looking forward to hopefully being able to drive him a little different in races like the Anzac Cup and then the Rowe Cup.
“I’d love to drive him with a sit - he’s still got the speed - but the way things have panned out it just hasn’t been possible.”
With $53,000 added to his lifetime stakes from 20 wins, Speeding Spur now sits just below $800,000 in stake earnings with $250,000 worth of kitty to chase at Auckland.
The victory on Friday wasn’t without drama.
Enghien galloped out of the gate, but then looped the field and looked set to stroll to the lead inside the final 150 metres before going rough in his gait.
It most likely cost him victory in what would have been an incredible performance, but there was no taking anything away from Speeding Spur.
“I don’t know if he was going to beat me, or I was going to beat him,” Dickie said.
“I just know my guy would have kept fighting.”
Destiny Jones emerged out of the pack to run a huge third continuing her great rise for Blenheim’s Dean Hunter.