Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Legend Roy has need for speed

25 June 2024

Share this page

Share on a platform

Or copy the page link

Roy Chillemi's Speed Legend after a Cairns win earlier this year. Pictures: Peter Roy.

By Jordan Gerrans

The North Queensland Cup held at Cluden Park on Sunday afternoon offered a golden ticket into the upcoming Townsville Cup in early August.

The Roy Chillemi-prepared Speed Legend was a classy winner of the 1609 metre contest with leading hoop Lacey Morrison handling the wide gate with ease to score by more than a length in the end.

All signs would suggest that the powerful orange team of Chillemi, Morrison and owner Tom Hedley would progress on to Cluden Park’s $150,000 Cup.

However, the master trainer from the Atherton Tablelands has other - shorter - ideas.

The multiple premiership-winner at Cluden Park thinks a freshen up is on the cards for the seven-year-old former Sydney galloper as they target the upcoming carnival sprint contests.

“I do not want to stretch him out to 2000 metres – he may get it, he may not,” the Tolga conditioner said.

“I know he can get a nice mile and I can freshen him up and then get him to 1400 metres, no dramas.

“The 2000 metres is unknown for him.

“I want to pick races for him that I know he will be competitive in whereas the 2000 metres is an unknown.

“If I want to have a go at a 2000 metre race down the line for fun I will, but not now.”

Speed Legend has raced beyond a mile just once in his career, stretching out to 1900 metres at Canterbury in August of 2022 when under the banner for respected Sydney trainer Les Bridge.

The son of Star Witness was well beaten on that occasion.

With the 2024 Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival fast approaching, the top Tolga trainer says a sprint campaign is the best plan of his attack for Speed Legend who was quickly worked himself into being a stable star.

Lacey Morrison after riding a winner at Mareeba in 2021. Pictures: Peter Roy.

The $35,000 Lightning Handicap is likely to be his next assignment at Cluden Park in just over a month’s time before the Cairns Newmarket a fortnight later at Cannon Park over 1400 metres.

The Hedley ownership group and Chillemi purchased smartly when they picked up Speed Legend from Bridge.

He has gone to the races on 10 occasions in North Queensland and has never missed the money, winning seven times.

Morrison has had the race day assignment on the gelding in eight of his northern starts.

Chillemi was quick to praise the 40-year-old former city rider for her efforts with Speed Legend who can be a bit tricky at times when it comes to getting worked in the morning.

“He has been good to me,” Chillemi said of the galloper.

“He is a very difficult proposition to work on the track so we keep him away from the track.

Roy Chillemi Next Racing
Speed Legend

“We exercise and keep him fit that way, which makes him do good.

“He fires up whenever he goes to the track.

“Lacey does a good job with him swimming him in the dam.”

Of the beaten brigade in the North Queensland Cup on Sunday, the Cairns-prepared Olympic Korchnoi was brave in running second to Speed Legend and looks well on target for a Cups campaign through 2024.

Speed Legend’s stable mate Mystery 'N' Magic ran into fourth in the NQ Cup.

Mystery 'N' Magic contested the Townsville Cup last year.

Chillemi walked away with a double from Cluden Park on Sunday as Crowning Moment – also ridden by Morrison - won the Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1300 metres.