100 wins for Sarah O’Reilly
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Talented reinswoman Sarah O’Reilly recorded her 100th driving success at Addington Raceway on Thursday and it was fitting that she did it in the colours of her biggest supporters, employers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety.
O’Reilly entered Thursday’s meeting just one win shy of the century milestone, and while she came close when finishing second behind the Fred Scott-trained Take After Me in the second heat of the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship, she was able to get the job done behind the Dalgety-trained Sugar Me in the Fixine For Equine Mobile Pace (1980m).
From the ace draw, Sugar Me found himself three back on the markers early where O’Reilly sat patiently until she was able to weave her magic down the home straight, managing to squeeze her charge up the passing lane to beat Somekindawonderful by a half-neck.
O’Reilly said it was a relief to finally get to the 100-win mark and was pleased to achieve the milestone with a horse trained by her employers.
“It was pretty amazing,” O’Reilly said. “It’s been a little while coming, but it was good to get it done.
“It was great to get the win for Cran and Chrissie because they have been giving me a good go letting me drive their horses, and they are good people to work for.”
O’Reilly was also impressed with the way Sugar Me won on Thursday.
“I didn’t expect him to eat up that leader so quickly, but when he took the lane he just glided up there and did it so easily,” she said.
“It was a big step up for him and I thought he did well because the time was a lot quicker than he had been going.”
O’Reilly was also involved in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championships and currently sits in third position with 18 points, trailing series leader John Morrison (29 points) and second-placed Sheree Tomlinson (27 points).
O’Reilly is looking forward to the second day of the competition at Addington Raceway on Sunday where she will have three drives, led by Tequila Sunset in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers (Heat 3) Trot (2600m) for trainer Kyle Cameron.
“Tequila Sunset has had a couple of good placings, so hopefully he can get another one on Sunday,” O’Reilly said.
She will also drive Motoring Major and I’m Tough in Heat 4 and 5 respectively.
“I’m Tough is coming back from a spell, so he might need the run, and Motoring Major doesn’t have the best formline,” O’Reilly said.
“I haven’t really got any standout drives, but hopefully I can gather up enough points to keep me near the top.”
O’Reilly will also take the reins behind the Cran and Chrissie Dalgety-trained Shards In Manhattan in the Mid-Winter At Addington – 6 August Mobile Pace (1980m).
“Shards In Manhattan has been racing well and working well,” O’Reilly said. “Those horses are probably a tad tougher than what she has been racing, but she should go an honest race.”
O’Reilly currently sits on 52 wins for the season, more than double her previous best tally. She is seven wins shy of New Zealand Junior Driver Premiership leader John Morrison but said she has been enjoying the battle they have shared for the title.
“I never expected to drive over 50 winners this season, so it has gone really well. I have gotten a lot of support from a lot of different trainers,” she said.
“The premiership might be a wee bit out of hand now, but it was a good battle there for a while.
“I always try and drive more winners than the season before, so I will be trying to do that again next season and just keep doing what I am doing.”