Gerard O'Reilly nabs double in Timaru

By Jonny Turner

It has been a little while since he’d been in the winner’s circle, but Gerard O’Reilly showed he hadn’t lost any of his class with two pinpoint drives to score at Timaru on Sunday.

The Ashburton reinsman hadn’t won a race since his winning double on the same track back in May.

O’Reilly underwent hip surgery over the winter, ruling him out of his training and driving duties for a good part of the winter.

The reinsman returned to the sulky last month racking up placings before breaking through at Timaru on Sunday.

Having a new hip and now being back in winning form, O’Reilly will be hard to stop as the spring rolls on.

“I am a hell of a lot better than I was before,” the horseman quipped.

O’Reilly had Tanzania in front throughout race 4 after a slick getaway.

When the Laurence Hanrahan trained pacer’s rivals came up to challenge him on the home turn, he dashed away to score easily.

“He has always been a nice horse, Leo (O’Reilly) broke him in and he really liked him.”

“He had trialled up really nicely and he is just a lovely maiden.”

O’Reilly gave the second of his Timaru winners Sonoma Tyron a sweet trip in the running line in race 10.

That run helped the Patrick O’Reilly trained mare put a patchy run of form behind her.

“She has been pretty disappointing lately, she has only got a short sprint so she got the run to suit today and she exceeded expectations.”

Following his break from racing, O’Reilly’s own stable has been a little quiet lately.

The trainer has only had Sweet Belle racing recently, with the rest of his team still working up to race fitness.

“Most of them are still on the way up, Bettor B Sharp is probably going to be the next one to step out.”

“I don’t have as many racehorses at the moment but there are quite a few two-year-olds working up.”

Sunday’s double took O’Reilly to 18 driving wins for the season.

The horseman’s daughter Sarah has bragging rights in their family for the year well and truly sewn up.

Her victory with Tornado Banner in race 9 was her 56th victory of 2023.


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