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By Adam Hamilton | TAB Media
Every sport needs a shooting star and Speech Is Silver is just that for Queensland harness racing.
The former Kiwi pacer has set tongues-wagging with seven successive Albion Park wins to stretch his career record to 14 wins from just 18 starts.
And the exciting, bordering on explosive way he’s been winning has quickly established him as not only the buzz pacer of Queensland but one of the most exciting in the land.
Now comes the test everyone has been waiting for with Speech If Silver leaving the comfort of restricted-class racing to tackle the big boys, headed by Queensland’s top pacer Colt Thirty One, in the Wondais Mate Pace (1660m) at Albion Park on Saturday night.
Trainer Darren Weeks is excited, but also quick to recognise the enormity of the challenge, especially from a back row draw over the sprint trip.
“We’re pretty sure he’ll measure up. We’ve got good horses to gauge him against (in the stable) in Major Cam and Lilac Flash and we’re sure he’s up to them,” he said.
“The barrier can work for or against us, depending on how the race is run. Colt Thirty One is the one to beat, but barrier five isn’t ideal for him either.”
While Speech Is Silver is versatile, Weeks admits his speed is his lethal weapon.
“He’s got brutal instant speed. He goes from 0-100kms in an instant and very few can do that,” he said.
Speech Is Silver started his career with the powerhouse Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen “All Stars” barn in NZ, but niggling issues restricted him to just three runs for a win and two seconds before connections agreed on a move to Queensland.
“I had a bug through the stable and he got crook soon after getting here, but that sort of made him. He came back sound and hasn’t looked back since,” Weeks said.
Speech Is Silver’s 15 Queensland runs have netted 13 wins and a second.
So how far can he go?
“He’s still on the improve and I’m pretty sure he’ll measure up to our best, whether he’ll be better than that time will tell,” Weeks said. “There’s good open-class races for him the next three weeks and it’s a good way of blooding him at this level without the interstate stars here.
“All going well, he’ll get his chance against some of the top interstate horses later in the year in the Blacks A Fake (December 12 at Albion Park).”